Andover Nordic got off on the right ski to start the 2004 season. The Nordic team had an excellent race this past Wednesday at St. Paul’s School in Concord, New Hampshire. Under the leadership of returning Coach Deborah Carlisle, team members have been working toward improving both technique and stamina while practicing this season. Assistant Coach Keith Robinson has also worked with skiers to help them develop these invaluable skills. All of the hard work that Andover Nordic has put in certainly paid off at the race, in which the team performed very well. “We had an excellent race”, said Travis Green ’04. “It’s great to see that both the guys’ girls’ racing teams have expanded.” The expansion of the Nordic team has been impressive, as this year they have almost doubled in size from last year’s membership. The team now has over 30 skiers, which Ms. Carlisle has separated into two groups – a development team and Varsity squad. Due to the unprecedented growth of the team this season, the skiers have been privileged to add several new members to the racing squad, one of which is Jim Elder ’07. The St. Paul’s race was Elder’s first, which he tackled with an outstanding performance. On the way to the race, he admitted to feeling “a little nervous, but excited to be part of the team.” The race was also a first for Charlotte Pougnier ’05 and Katie Folkman ’04, both new members of the Varsity squad. Their performance was fantastic, especially considering the fact that they are new to the racing team. The conditions were great for a race. It was about 30 degrees outside with little wind, so it was not too cold on the course, which was expertly groomed by St. Paul’s snow mobile crews. Total track length for the race was about 5 kilometers, which is about the standard for most skate races. The course was certainly a challenge, for it contained several steep climbs, including a particularly daunting downhill with a sharp turn at the bottom. The group that organizes the competitions always alternates starting times for the boys and girls races; this time the girls started first. For this reason, the boys were able to leave campus a little later, showing up to St. Paul’s around 2:15, just in time to catch the beginning of the girls’ race. Andover entered a large number of skiers into the race, in which everyone did very well. Both coaches were proud with the teams’ performance on the snow. After the race, Coach Carlisle decided to take the squad for a few more runs down the steep hill so that people could practice their downhill skiing and cornering techniques. This exercise was followed by a short cool-down, after which the team loaded back into the rally wagons and embarked on the hour-long trip back to campus. Another race is planned for this upcoming Saturday at Northfield Mount Hermon, and Carlisle is planning to have the team attend. It promises to be difficult, as the course is 7 kilometers long, making it 2 kilometers longer than that of the Wednesday race. However, the coaches are confident that the squad is ready to take on the challenge.