On Day 1 we mostly stayed on the loop - good coverage and lots of good technique work, including a few exciting breakthroughs. The senior/junior team set a high bar with their dinner: chicken/eggplant parmesan, lemony kale salad, roasted veggies, homemade bread, and carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. Highly flavorful and an impressive exhibition of cooking skill.
Day 2 (Thanksgiving) was a mix of loop skiing and exploration - conditions on the roads got better and better due to steady small doses of snow.
Everyone teamed up to pull together a great Thanksgiving dinner. There was some question as to whether the turkey would turn out OK, since our expert turkey handler (Mac) had graduated, leaving no heir apparent. When Little Ian and Elliot stepped up to take over, there was much skepticism. Fortunately, these fears were unfounded - these two did their homework and jumped into the task with confidence. With some wise advice from Sawyer and a few prayers to the salmonella gods, they produced a magnificent centerpiece for our meal. A few people even declared that this was the best turkey we'd ever had at camp - high praise considering some of the legendary turkey chefs that have come through this program. I can't vouch for the accuracy of these claims - as a fake vegan, I've never eaten the turkey at a Bowdoin Nordic Thanksgiving - but I can say that I've never before heard such enthusiastic feedback from the team.
With more snow on Day 3 we skied mostly on the roads, but continued to do a number of quality technique sessions. The afternoon highlight was our first Polasky Ball game of the season (won by Team Awesome, of course). I'm happy to report that this year's crew is actually pretty good at Polasky Ball - a marked contrast to their ineptitude at basketball. At dinner, the sophomores made their bid for glory with a chicken/tofu curry over rice, salad with pomegranate seeds, homemade naan, dill popcorn, and gingerbread - healthful, diverse, and delicious.
Day 4 was time trial day. For the first time in years we got off the loop. Instead, we did a 5.5k point to point skate on the roads - rolling gradual descent followed by a big climb and some more rollers to the finish. Since the roads weren't officially open, they'd been minimally groomed, which made for rather sloppy skiing - this was a real test of who had good snow feel and a light touch on their skis. Elliot was our top finisher in 4th, while Sara led the women in 12th - very impressive performances against a tough field that featured over half the teams in our league plus some fast Canadians and US juniors. Like every other team we had some hits and misses - energy and/or speed wasn't there for some of our skiers - but overall it was a pretty solid day for our team. People look strong and fit, and they're improving technically. From what I saw and heard it seemed like everyone's race day process was sound. Most of all, I'm happy about the effort - a good hard push across the line by everyone. Definitely good to get that first on-snow race under our belts and figure out what we're doing well and where we need to improve.
After a pleasant easy ski through still more snowfall in the afternoon, we settled in for the youngsters' entry in the cooking competition: super cheesy enchiladas with rice, tortilla chips with homemade salsa and guacamole (some of the best guacamole I've had in a while), spinach salad with goat cheese, and snickerdoodles. Super tasty and filling if somewhat artery-clogging - just perfect after a long snowy day.
With lots of fresh powder on the ground, we decided to spend our final Foret morning on a long adventure ski. We skied as far as we could on the groomed roads and then forged on through the powder. It was slow going for a while until Sawyer went to the front and started breaking trail at a remarkable pace. We climbed for a few kilometers up to a remote hilltop with gorgeous views before deciding it was time to turn around. The downhill was outrageously fun as we tried to stay in our deep tracks at high speeds, with mixed success - some powdery crashes ensued but everyone was more or less whole by the time we got back to the shack. A perfect way to close out a very fun and productive camp.
Now we've rejoined reality back on campus - as always, it's a bit sad coming back to dryland after good times on snow, but our crew has jumped right back into it with good spirits. Still some adjustments to be made - everyone's hungry all the time now that they're not eating three lunches a day - but we're doing well and looking forward to crushing the last couple weeks of training before a quick sprint through exams and the start of Winter Break!