Nordic Co-Captain Claire de Saint Phalle ’22 Leads Through Experience and Traditions

Co-Captain Claire de Saint Phalle ’22 began Nordic skiing during her freshman year of high school before coming to Andover. According to de Saint Phalle, she loves the Andover team for its light-hearted competitive nature.

“In terms of competitiveness at Andover, it’s not the most competitive sport, which is kind of nice. I enjoy competing, but it’s not as intense as some of the other sports. There’s a lot of newer skiers as well, so it’s fun to teach people and share my love of the sport with other people,” said de Saint Phalle. 

As a co-captain, de Saint Phalle strives to help her teammates with their technique. She not only hopes to serve as a role model and lead by example, but also tries to impart her knowledge of the sport onto her less experienced teammates.

“I try to set examples and encourage people to work on staying more upright, for example, or giving people things to focus on. Sometimes it can be hard for the coach to point things out and so I sometimes try to step up and help people learn how to ski,” said de Saint Phalle.

Head Coach Keith Robinson ’96 acknowledges de Saint Phalle’s ability to connect with newer skiers through her outgoing and charismatic disposition as well as her commendable determination and willingness to put in the work. 

“In her case, probably one of the things that she brings to that trifecta of captainship is she’s probably the most outspoken and has sort of stepped in and done a really good job at helping explain to the beginners what needs to happen for the team to work. So, you know, it could be the nitty gritty things like making sure that they’re there on time,” said Coach Robinson.

According to Tori Darling ’22 and Co-Captain Hannah Justicz ’22, de Saint Phalle is effective at communicating between the coach and players. Being an experienced skier, she is able to provide others with unique tips that she has learned from skiing.

Darling said, “She’s always thinking about the best interest of the team, whether that’s telling people they need to be on time, it’s always because she wants us to have enough time to set up, to put wax on, to set up. She definitely voices to the coaches what we are thinking. She’s really good at communicating with the team about what the coaches want from us as well. She’s usually the one who plans team dinners after meets, she’s checking in with us over the long break during Christmas, she sends workout videos on email.”

Justicz added, “Claire is a great leader. She is a more experienced skier than I am, so I think she compliments me in terms of the fact that she just has more experience. She has more to say to the team in terms of certain things. I think sometimes I get a little nervous to call people out in a sense. Like if people are late to the bus, I might not say anything about it, but she’ll be more direct and be like you need to be on time.”

Darling said, “Claire is one of the strongest skiers on the team, she’s a really big role model for me. She’s so nice to help me and everyone with technique and to give me advice after races. She brings glitter to all of our races so we can put glitter on before because it’s a Nordic tradition in sun valley where she does club. That’s really fun.”