Nordic Devo Team Shines at ski festival

Podiums abound

By Murray Banks, Nordic coach 

The Crested Butte Nordic Team (CBNT) is shining in the bright March sun as four Comp Team skiers head to Junior Nationals this week and the Devo Team had an impressive showing at the Rocky Mountain Nordic Festival last weekend. While the Devo Team has traditionally been for skiers in middle school, this year it was opened up to skiers of all ages who have a desire to ski better and go faster. And those younger skiers brought a high level of energy and fun to the team.

The festival is a gathering of U14 skiers from Colorado and New Mexico for two days of racing and camaraderie. The CBNT, although one of the smallest clubs in the Rocky Mountain Division, brought one of the largest teams and certainly the team with the most spirit and loudest cheering. And they hauled away eleven medals over the two days of racing.

Leading Team CB were Ben and Simi Larson, Tazzy Pozner and Rori Dyar with two medals each, Shyla and Sierra Field with a bronze and silver and Gabe Larson with a gold. 

While these skiers were the class of the field, the future of CB Nordic shimmers with promise as Robert Spencer and Micah Hansen surprised the always tough U14 boys field with 8th and 5th place finishes respectively. Dari Spedden and Ali Johnson made their racing debuts going up against a U14 field that included girls that have been racing for several years sprinting in side by side to the finish of the skate race. The U12 boys had the tightest pack of any team with Ruke Dyar, Calvin Stangl, Eli Hansen and Wyeth Oldread all cracking the top 10. Shea and River Durgan cruised the hilly course with a mix of smiles and determination in their racing debuts while Fritz Grimes and Curtis Stangl showed the future is bright for CB Nordic with 6th and 4th place finishes in the younger age categories. Addy Caddenhead, at only age eight, had such an impressive double pole finish that spectators from all teams cheered her sprint to the line. In the challenging U14 boys category, Larkin Lockard and Riley Thomson made their first ever starts in big time racing despite missing several late season training sessions and showed grit and drive from the starting gun to the finishing sprint.

The Devo coaching team has been a blend of paid and volunteer coaches and parent volunteers all season but for the festival, the entire parent contingent stepped up for important roles including feeding the hordes, applying ever changing kick wax, getting the right bibs on the right bodies, making sure skiers were at the right places at the right time and assisting coaches by wrangling skiers through warmups, races, cooldowns and refueling—no easy task with 22 skiers in eight racing categories over two days!

CB Nordic Team head coach Ben Theyerl made the trip north and was instrumental in the team’s success as the head wax tech; his knowledge of kick waxing in difficult conditions enabled Team CB to have fast skis and good results.

While the race results are impressive, the highlight for parents and coaches was the humor, cheerfulness and boundless energy the Crested Butte skiers exuded all weekend long. Laughter was plentiful, cheering on teammates was a priority and pushing themselves to the limit were the order of each day. While Tazzy, Benaiah, Gabe, Simi, Rori, Sierra and Shyla stood atop the podium, each CB skier shined in Saturday’s bright sun and Sunday’s howling blizzard. The future is as bright as the March sun for Crested Butte’s Nordic Team.

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