LET THE KIDS SKI
HELP US GAIN EQUAL AND REASONABLE ACCESS.
To: Friends of Bend Endurance Academy and Nordic Ski Fans
From: The Bend Endurance Academy Board of Directors
December 11, 2015
Since its founding in 2009, the Bend Endurance Academy (BEA) has been prohibited by the Mt. Bachelor resort from operating its programs on public lands at the Mt. Bachelor Nordic Center.
In response, BEA has historically operated its programs at the community-run Meissner Nordic trails instead. As many of you know, tenuous snow conditions at lower-elevation Meissner trails the past several years have begun to impact our BEA Nordic programs. This December, the number of kids enrolled in our Nordic youth program, notably among the youngest school-age groups, is down significantly compared with last year at this time. Some parents have let us know that the uncertainty about snow conditions has discouraged them from enrolling their kids. Some have signed up with MBSEF, the local ski club that enjoys full access to the Mt. Bachelor-managed trails. Sadly, others are simply not going to ski.
Without access to the public lands at the Mt. Bachelor Nordic Center, BEA’s Nordic programs will reach fewer and fewer kids with each passing year. We believe this would be a wasted opportunity to support local families and BEA’s mission to get kids outside, active, and engaged in our community.
The urgent necessity of moving to higher elevations with snow has prompted the BEA Board of Directors into action. During the last year, the Board has been working to negotiate reasonable and equal access to the public lands at the Mt. Bachelor Nordic Center so that BEA, and the kids we serve, can continue to thrive. To learn more about BEA’s efforts on this front see our Let the Kids Ski Background document. While some progress has been made, it has not been enough.
And now we need your help:
Executive Director Report
Dear BEA Supporters,
Thank you very much for taking the time to read the important message from Cris Himes, BEA Board Chair. It has been a privilege to work with such an engaged and passionate board over the past few weeks to develop a comprehensive message about the importance of equal access. I can assure you that our Let The Kids Ski Campaign is a team effort, executed with a positive, systematic and collective spirit. I am confident that the kids and staff of our organization will inevitably be welcomed by Mt. Bachelor and its staff. Please help us out, do what you can; click, sign, write, talk, “like,” “share,” and thank… Just a few minutes of your time will add up to hours of compelling arguments as to why equality is good for children.
Mount Bachelor is not the only important venue for the growth of our organization. We currently have strong relationships for access with the Bend Rock Gym, the Athletic Club of Bend, Whitefish Cascade Forest Resource (Skyline Forest), Camp Tamarack and Meissner Nordic. These groups are all forward-thinking entities who appreciate BEA for what we provide; a safe place for children to learn, explore and grow. We advocate for less screen time, more girls participating for more years and encouraging more of our local kids to spend more time OUTSIDE!
Building these relationships involves organization, passion and generosity. The owners/stakeholders of these groups want to see us succeed. We work hard to secure access for our charges and their families. But we can’t do it without you. As we have grown, so have our needs. The community is asking us to expand and over the next few months we will have some specific needs that must be met: Money for trail passes, donations for higher elevation grooming as we wait for the invitation for fair access to Mt. Bachelor, contributions for a new van rack for the bicycles from kids that WANT to be a part of our springtime afterschool programs, as well as climbing holds and supplies so we can keep up with the demand for wall space. We have the coaches and staff, we have the participants, we have the need and we want to count on you to help make these reasonable asks happen. This is the perfect time of year to make a meaningful donation to an organization that serves 5% of the 5-18 year old demographic in Bend.
Thank you, I appreciate your support!
The nordic season is underway.
Snow is here, the Competition and Development teams are in full swing, Youth Club starts next weekend, and the race season kicked off last Saturday with the Mt. Bachelor Double Prologue. It is a long off-season and after much anticipation and planning it feels good to be back on snow skiing and coaching our different programs.
Speaking of being back on snow, the Comp team and I recently returned from a perfect week of skiing over Thanksgiving Break at our training camp West Yellowstone, MT. While we had “skied” a couple times at Todd Lake and Dutchman Flat before leaving, this was the first chance for all of us to ski on groomed trails where we could focus on training. It was a productive camp with two training sessions per day, ample time for team bonding, and a fantastic Thanksgiving feast with several families who made the long trek over to join us for the week. In fact, we were treated to great food all week by the cooking duo of Erin and Paul Biskup. Thanks Erin and Paul!
It was a slight shock to be greeted by single-digit temperatures in Montana but it was one that we welcomed. No one can complain when the snow and grooming are as good as they were. We simply dressed accordingly and got to work. The first few days on skis always feel a bit funny but by the end everyone seemed to have their ski legs back. Dakota, Sam, and Bill even got to test out their fitness at the end of the week in the opening Super Tour Races of the season – a classic sprint, and 15k classic. It was a great first effort by all three and they each took valuable lessons away from the races.
As much fun as the week was it is always nice to return home – especially when you’re greeted by 15 inches of snow! Development team practices have been tons of fun and it’s great to see so much motivation and excitement from the group. As usual there is a pretty even mix of new and experienced skiers. The beginners are picking it up quickly, in part due to the leadership of their more experienced teammates. Last Saturday gave several members a chance to race for the first time this season or in some cases the first time ever! We brought 10 Devo team members in addition to the Comp team to the Double Prologue; I was thrilled to see such a strong BEA presence and smiles on everyone’s faces. They did darn-well too!
Another piece of exciting news for our Development and High School programs this year is the presence of a girls training group. The group is being led by longtime BEA athlete and coach, Darragh Hildreth, who does an outstanding job connecting with and inspiring these young ladies. The feedback I’ve received from the girls when they return from skiing has been excellent. They’re learning a lot, being challenged, and having a blast.
Things will only continue to pick up from here with the start of our Youth and Masters programs this month, and races almost every weekend for the remainder of the season. We’re looking forward to every bit of it though. It may be a lot of work but to us coaches it never feels like it; we would be out skiing anyway and we love to share our passion and knowledge for the sport with others. Lastly, we are always happy to welcome new members to our nordic programs so please pass our information on to anyone you think might be interested.
Happy Holidays and see you on the trails!
Head Nordic Coach
Rock Climbing Update
Our Youth, Development, High School, and Competition Teams are in full swing as we wind down the fall bouldering season at the end of the calendar year. This is also our Competition Team’s big season with the USA Climbing Bouldering Regional, Divisional, and National events occurring; December, January, and February. This time of year we spend more time in the vans driving to events, more time together as a team sharing meals on the road, and more time celebrating each others successes and motivating each other through our failures. Even though climbing is very much an individual endeavor this is the time of year that we function as a team.
Fall After-School Programs have wrapped up and we had another great season of teaching over 40 students the joys of rock climbing. While our coaches love the challenge of coaching and teaching our experienced climbers on the competition teams, it’s always fun and rewarding to introduce a new sport to someone.
Spring Youth, Development, and High School Programs is online. We also have more outdoor climbing opportunities for high school and middle school age participants, click the button to learn more.
Video: Snowy Cyclocross Practice
Our final regular season practice was right before Thanksgiving and we didn’t let a little snow get in the way from having tons of fun.
Cyclocross: “I Don’t Know Why You Guys Do It”
Like the bifurcated weather of a mid-November day, cyclocross is both approachable and reprehensible. We take our most powerful moves from mountain biking and apply them to bikes with skinny tires and no suspension. We wash and lube the machines only to ride through sand pits, mud holes and gravel. We don our cycling gear only to practice running with our bikes in our hands or on our shoulders up cut banks, stairs and over barriers. That’s why fellow mountain bikers and road cyclists have been remarking to us, “I don’t know why you guys do it.”
My retort is always the same: “Because the racing is too much fun.”
An outstanding example was our trip to Tacoma, WA last weekend for the Subaru Cyclo Cup, where seven of our riders were trying to score better points within the USA Cycling system to improve their rankings before the National Championship in January. With local flooding, high wind and cold temps, we drove six hours to the venue to scout the course on Friday afternoon. The course was soggy grass, thin mud and a headwall of soft dirt to run up. Satisfied with the recon, we walked to dinner in the rain and the dreariness ensured we were all asleep in bed by 8:30.
Juniors were the first race on Saturday morning. Still raining but now colder, it was hard to get motivated or excited for the miserable physical suffering that lay ahead. The cruelest moment is taking off your jacket at the start line, feeling the rain soak through to your skin, and then the race begins with an all-out explosion to the first turn, with deep cold muddy puddles splashing up to fully saturate you from beneath. For those who have prepared and made the proper clothing selections, things get better as the first lap comes to an end.
I was impressed with our riders as they held their form, charged hard up the ankle deep run-up, fought for positions with other riders, and finished the race with solid sprints to the line. As soon as they’re changed into dry clothes, they begin the regular talk of replaying the intricate events of the race with each other like seasoned pros.
It was challenging to make it all work. We raced back to the hotel to wash clothes, take showers, get warm, find lunch and go back again for more. Henry raced again with me in the Open Men race and Hannah raced with the Elite Women. We spent nine hours in a steady cold rain that made everyone walk around with their heads hung low and shoulders up at their ears, wringing their hands trying to pretend they’re warm, and the kids loved it.
Sunday was another gift, with a perfectly muddy, challenging course but sunny skies – all of our riders had good races and we kept the energy high with an exciting drive full of story telling, jokes, a Burgerville dinner, and an exciting drive through four inches of snow over Mt. Hood in the dark.
And here’s the magic: Watching our riders at dinner with kids from other teams, seeing them ride together before their races, and run around cheering other racers afterward; sharing stories, laughing all the way home over the awesomeness of the whole experience. Giving them the time and space to do this is where I see the development in “junior development.”
- Nordic Youth Club: Dec. 19th
- Masters Nordic: Dec. 29th
- REALMS & Cascades Academy Nordic: Jan. 12th
- St. Francis Nordic: Jan. 15th
- Spring High School Climbing Teams: Feb. 1st
- Spring Climbing Youth Team: Feb. 1st
- Spring Climbing Development Team: Feb. 1st
We strive to keep our program fees reasonable.
In turn, our families and friends have shown their gratitude by turning out for the myriad volunteer opportunities that we have fostered with other local events and organizations.
Your donations make a difference!
As a 501(C)3 non-profit, your donation to us may be tax-deductible.