On December 4, a group of South High cross-country skiers braved the snow and frigid temperatures to venture to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan for a training trip.
The team drove for about five hours to the town of Ironwood, Michigan, near the border of Michigan and Wisconsin, according to senior captain Alex DeParde. Captain Rachel Kranz, a junior, said that the purpose of the trip was to get “back in the swing of things,” and have an opportunity to do cross-country skiing, rather than dry-land training, which is what the team has been doing back home in Minnesota. Junior Jack Grover, another cross-country skier, mentioned that it was “fun for the team to train on good trails.”
Kranz added that, this year, there are almost ninety people on the team, a good portion of which are new to the team. One of the new skiers this year, sophomore Lake Dolan, went on the Michigan trip as well. “I thought it would be fun to be with skiers I haven’t met yet,” he said. So far, he seems to have a favorable view of the sport. “I love it actually,” he raved. “It’s a lot of fun.”
Last year, the team was unable to go on a similar trip due to a rule that prevented Minnesota state high school sports teams from travelling six-hundred miles or more for a competition, according to athletic director Mark Sanders. Sanders said that the rule was originally enacted to level the playing field between schools, because some teams with more money were “skirting the rules” by travelling for out-of-state competition.
Especially in sports such as baseball and softball, teams would travel south to train in a warmer climate and play in scrimmages. However, the lines between games versus scrimmages became blurred.
This year, the rule was revised for skiing so that teams could take a training trip, because “sometimes, they have to travel to find snow,” as Sanders mentioned. Sanders added that not only does the trip give students the opportunity to train, “it provides an opportunity for kids to bond as a team and see another part of the country.”
DeParde said that the team skied for about six hours on both Saturday and Sunday, and mentioned that, for him, “skiing was the highlight.” While the whole trip was fun for Kranz, she enjoyed being in nature and, of course, the snowball fights. Overall, the trip seemed to provide a bonding and beneficial training experience for the ski team.