SMS T2 closed out 2014 with early bedtimes and dreams of snowflakes and gold medals from the cobble-stoned streets of Oberstdorf, Germany to the snowmobile highways of the Upper Peninsula. A skier’s New Year might not be worth writing home about, but 2014 certainly was and SMS T2 had plenty of highlights (a few lowlights) that made the cut for our first annual holiday letter. Enjoy!
Simi started 2014 with a big World Cup Victory in the Tour de Ski sprint stage, the first for any American since Kikkan Randall (okay technically it was still December and a few hours before 2014 but we are counting it). Between backcountry adventures he also qualified for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic games, pairing up with Eric Bjornsen (APU) in the team sprint for an historic 6th place result. Simi also graced the pages of Outside Magazine showing some skin and reminding us that skiing is, in fact, ridiculously good-looking and cool.
Jessie shined in 2014 (she is the Sparkle Chipmunk after all), racing to multiple top 6 World Cup results and finishing 8th in the opening skiathlon at the Sochi Olympics, the top distance finish for an American woman in cross-country at the Olympics…ever…in the history of forever. As a bonus, her Olympic hair was featured on national television and she rocked the team spirit like only a sparkle chipmunk can. She finished the year with a pile of World Cup points, ranking in the top 20 overall, and earning a U.S. “A” team nomination for the second year in a row. Jessie made sure the team never went hungry this summer, filling our bellies with more baked goods than produced by the King Arthur Flour bakeshop. She also organized the second annual Stratton Fast and Female Champ Camp complete with a waterslide and yoga room. In a stroke of good luck, she only made one trip to the Emergency Room and managed to shake it off Taylor Swift style.
Benjamin Saxton (not to be confused with Benjamin Button) earned himself a U.S. National Team nomination after impressive performances both at U.S. Nationals in January (2nd place!) and Spring Nationals (2nd place!) in March. He was also inspired by the #Annies to start the long road to a college diploma and now enjoys blitzing his fellow Dartmouth teammates to discuss all the latest news from FOCO, ROBO, and FROYO (college code speak). Ben, also one of our social chairs, helped welcome the Canadian Men’s Team to Stratton in August and made sure to test them on all the steepest downhill rollerski routes and destroy them in games of Settler’s of Khatan. He introduced us to his fellow Midwestern comrade and SMS summer post-grad athlete, Ian Torchia (also known as “The Torch”) and continues to enjoy all things barbeque and test out the experiments from the SMS T2 kitchen.
Sophie surprised no one (we all knew she was fast) by completely crushing the World Cup circuit during her first season as a member of the U.S. Ski Team. She nabbed the top finish for a U.S woman in cross-country in any race ever at the 2014 Sochi Olympics with a 6th place in the skate sprint. The criteria for the SMS T2 team are competitive though and in order to secure her position for the 2014-2015 season, she went on to nab her first World Cup Podium with a 3rd place in Lahti! She finished the year in 8th on the sprint list. Unfortunately Sophie used all of her coordination and balance for racing last year and left none for the summer months of training. She broke elbow #1 in May and after a full recovery was worried about some bone imbalances and decided to break elbow #2. Just kidding, both were very accidental and rather inconvenient. After lots of physical therapy and patience, Sophie did a great job of making everyone with two working elbows look pretty silly by casually cruising into the World Cup top 10 a few weeks ago.
Andy continued to impress his sprinting and skiing dominance in 2014, qualifying for his 3rd Winter Olympic Games and making the U.S. “A” Team for the 47th time (or something like that). Andy also championed the SMS T2 efforts to save our snow and marched with Protect Our Winters in the New York City climate change rally in October. Andy set a new record for days without a shirt on this summer while putting the finishing touches on his Vermont cabin and taking his girlfriend on awesome surf trips to Maine and Costa Rica. Never one to rest, Andy also joined Simi and Ben to host 2 speed camps this summer and helped build the new FloodBrook school playground with teammates Sophie and Erika. Andy closed out the year at home racing and handing out ribbons at the Eastern Cup Opener in Middlebury, VT.
Annie Pokorny completed her first full year as a member of SMS T2…and after much debate we decided to keep her. She joined Sophie, Jessie and Erika in the top 10 at Spring Nationals in Anchorage (girl power), learned how to sprint, and averaged top 30 results at U-23 Championships. Annie also fed our team for the summer, coordinating a team partnership with Earth Sky Time farm in Manchester, VT. Annie continues to work towards her philosophy degree at Middlebury and hone her writing skills both on her blog and as a freelance writer for several ski magazines (future Cosmo editor anyone?). After reaching her 100km fundraising goal, she is now dancing her way through ski season and recording her new moves in a montage-style music video. She also makes our team look good by managing our new website.
Erika Flowers snuck away this spring to record a little album called 1989, maybe you’ve heard of it? After a slow start to the season she found success across the pond racing to 1st place in the Swiss Cup in Silvaplana, Switzerland and top 5 at OPA Cup Finals in Valdidentro, Italy. She was also awarded a Women’s Sports Foundation grant to help cover travel and training costs for the year. Since they canceled the hill climb at spring series, Erika found a new way to be the King (Queen?) of the mountain and founded Summit Sisters, an all women’s hiking group that aims to tackle at least one peak every month during the summer. She and Sophie also made some new friends this spring while helping coach Girls on the Run at FloodBrook Elementary School. Between training and eating Jessie’s baked goods, Erika “go with the flow” Flowers tried her best to teach Andy how to fish and not freak out every time Annie H. gets behind the wheel.
Anne Hart, the newest member of SMS T2, raced in the Boston Marathon this spring and finished her NCAA career as a 5-time All-American before miraculously graduating from Dartmouth in June. The year looked promising with the start of her baking blog and a partnership with the Birkie Foundation but quickly took a turn for the worse as soon as she stopped updating the blog. Injury number one involved a pie crust, electric immersion blender, and the ER followed closely by injury number two which involved Ben, a medicine ball, and a lot of blood. We are hopeful that her baking updates and hence good luck will start again soon.
In 2014, we also said goodbye to our teammates Skyler Davis and Eric Packer. Skyler traded his skis for soccer cleats at the University of Vermont and Eric traded the sunshine of Vermont for the cold darkness of Anchorage (we’re not bitter we promise). We also said goodbye to our coach Gus who yearned for excel sheets and money in place of ski wax and poverty. I guess we understand. On the bright side we welcomed our new coach Pat O’Brien, SMS/Dartmouth Alum and former standout skier for the Craftsbury Green Team. We are excited for what 2015 will bring and look forward to sharing every nitty gritty detail with all of you. Happy New Year!