by Mary Heller Osgood
[We were so lucky to have Chris & Mary Heller Osgood, Putney Ski Club, as coaches on the Norway trip!! Mary shares her perspective here; Chris’s reflections will be the next post]
Skiing in the Birkie on a spectacular day with perfect wax was the culmination of a wonderful week of skiing and anticipation with the Ford Sayre skiers and coaches. Before arriving in Lillehammer, I didn’t know any of the skiers and I didn’t have a clear idea of what was in store for them (or me). By the second day, I had most of their names down (though I still made plenty of mistakes!) and I was just beginning to know them as individuals. The rest of the week was rewarding on so many levels as we skied and ate and talked and laughed and got physically tired together.
When we made our way to the starting line of the Birkie, I was impressed with the confidence of all the Ford Sayre skiers. Sara and Keelan were poised and cheerful as they were interviewed just minutes before the gun went off, and that composure was maintained by all our skiers whom I saw during the first few Ks (after that, they were far enough ahead that I rarely caught any glimpses of those snowflake covered ski suits…). It was really nice to see how universally happy all the skiers and coaches were after the race – I heard no excuses or complaints from anyone – only positive, happy comments.
The final tour up to Snørvillen really pulled the entire trip together for me. Everyone was relaxed and just happy to be out on the freshly groomed trails with beautiful views. Even though I heard several comments about legs (including my own) being tired, those were followed by, “I’m not quite ready to leave Norway!” I felt the same way. Thanks.