While skiers have been hitting the slopes individually since last season, the members of the Oyster River High School (ORHS) Ski Team are excited to regain the community aspects of the sport which comes with the team.
The first race of the year will be held on January 13th, 2023, and team members have begun to build excitement while eagerly awaiting the race. While the team consists of members from all grades, there is a mutual sense of enthusiasm towards the upcoming season, along with some pre-season nerves.
Daryn Gladstone, the coach of the ski team, is excited for the new season and dynamic which will come from this year’s team. “We have a few returning skiers, as well as some new ones. It’s exciting to get them out [on the slopes] and see them having fun and enjoying the sport together.” He feels that having a connected team of skiers makes the season more exciting for everyone involved.
Holden Bell (’23), a senior at ORHS and a captain of the ski team has been on the team since being recruited for it his freshman year. He is excited for the extra responsibility and leadership role on the team he is taking on as a captain. “I’m excited to influence the younger skiers and teach some good team spirit and morale,” said Bell.
Getting to do something he loves within a team setting is really important to Bell. “I ski by myself a lot, just because it’s easiest and I know my schedule the best. Having a scheduled time when everyone is skiing and training together
, is a lot more fun.” It helps Bell to feel more connected to the community at ORHS, especially finding others who have similar interests.
This sense of community is something that Eliza Sekera (’26), is excited to experience. While she has raced for a club team before, it is her first year on the school team, which brings a new dynamic to her skiing experience. “Being a part of a team [helps it] feel more personal
, and helps you really connect with the people you’re racing with. They see you at your lowest when you crash and at your highest win. It really helps [build] community.” While skiing isn’t technically a team sport when it comes to the races, as each person scores individually, Sekera feels the team dynamic still adds to the sport.
Along with the excitement of the season, there are also some developing nerves. This is something Sekera mentioned, especially as the only freshman to join the team this year. “It’s a little nerve-wracking in general, and I’ll be racing against people on my club team, which is kind of weird. I think it’s helpful that I’ve raced before, but I don’t want to seem pretentious or anything.”
The only thing Bell feels nervous about is making States, but even then, it isn’t of huge concern for him. “If I don’t make states, I see that as an opportunity for another teammate to take my spot, which would probably make them happy.”
Ski Team hasn’t been able to start preparing for the season together yet as their first few practices were canceled due to weather. Still, many players have done work outside of practice to prepare themselves for ski season.
“I do a lot of workouts on my own time,” Sekera said. “In the offseason, you can’t really work out the same type of muscles, but it helps me to stay in shape, so I’m prepared [for ski season].”
Bell has also done personal training and workouts during the offseason. “I try to stay pretty active over the summer
, by biking and doing other [exercise]. I have also been able to do some dryland training, which has been [helpful].” While the offseason training has been good, Bell is excited to begin practices with the team to truly start retraining their bodies for the ski race season.
Overall, both Bell and Sekera are hopeful for a successful season, both within the races and the overall community of the team. Their first race will be on Friday, January 13th, 2023.
– Sarah Laliberte