Nordic swap to benefit local skiers
BRECKENRIDGE – While many warm-weather athletes resign themselves to losing some of their fitness over the winter, others reach a fitness peak through Nordic skiing.
“We’re getting a lot of new people who recognize the health benefits of cross country skiing, coupled with the low-impact nature of the sport,” said Gene Dayton, who along with his wife, Therese, operates the Frisco and Breckenridge Nordic centers. “Every aspect of fitness is covered – cardiovascular fitness, kinesthetic fitness and strength fitness.”
This season, Gene Dayton is going to be the assistant coach of the Summit High School Nordic team. Long-time coach and skier Marty Gervais will serve as head coach while former head coach Gary Giberson focuses on his duties as coach of the Rocky Mountain Division Nordic Ski Team.
The SHS Nordic skiers are the key beneficiaries of the Nordic centers’ annual Nordic Ski Swap, which begins Friday at the Breck Nordic Center.
“With both weekends of Ski Swap, we’re making about the same for the team as the Gold Rush (race) weekend,” Therese Dayton said. “The funds have been used for new uniforms, entry fees into Rocky Mountain Division and high school sanctioned races, transportation …”
The Nordic center opened one loop last weekend. Depending on the weather, operators hope to open more terrain in conjunction with the swap this weekend. After three weeks of dry-land training following a summer of biking, running and other activities, some of the SHS Nordic team began on-snow training in Breck Monday.
“It doesn’t matter how much you roller-ski, it’s not the same,” said SHS Nordic team skier Meredith Gilliland, who won state last year in the classic event. “I’m really excited to be back on snow this early. It’s really going to be fun to see if all the training over the summer is paying off.”
Many of the high school Nordic skiers are also interested in seeing the sport grow in the United States. Summit High junior Kyle Ahern, whose father, Pat, is a two-time Olympian and played a large role in inspiring 2002 Nordic Combined Olympian Matt Dayton, would like to see Nordic skiing become more popular in Summit County.
“It’s really big in Europe,” Kyle Ahern said. “It’s getting bigger in the U.S. The Olympics and stuff is helping the sport out and inspiring people. The competition is really fun. You get to travel a bunch and meet new kids.”
Ahern and Gilliland both hope to medal at state this year and place in the top 10 at nationals. Competition for the SHS team begins Dec. 7.
The Breckenridge Nordic Center will be accepting classic gear, skate gear and snowshoes throughout the week for the swap. Twenty percent of all sold gear will be donated to the Summit Ski Club, and 80 percent cash or 100 percent in store credit will go to the owner of the gear.
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