“We are deeply humbled and appreciative of this incredible honor from NENSA,” says Head of School and former Olympic Coach Phil Peck. “Nordic skiing at Holderness is a signature part of our athletic program, and it has been that way since Don Henderson ignited our ski program in 1951. I am especially excited about the direction the program is headed today: the healthy Bill Koch program, the robust middle school program, the current leadership of the high school program, and all the exciting initiatives to make our nordic trail system truly world class.”
In addition to an amazing coaching staff led by former US Nordic Team Coach Pat Casey, Olympian Kristina Joder Casey, and former Holderness School CFO Peter Hendel, the program boasts an exceptional club record and a history of placing student-athletes in competitive collegiate programs. Holderness Nordic
is more than a well-established program; it is a program with a very exciting future. Holderness School has recently made several significant investments into programmatic upgrades, most notably the decision to improve its already highly-regarded cross country trails with the development of a 5-kilometer homologated cross country skiing venue that will incorporate 2 kilometers of lighted trail and 2.5 kilometers of state-of-the-art snowmaking. The homologation process establishes an international standard that provides guidelines for course design, construction, and competition. In addition to hosting Lakes Region races, an improved, homologated trail system will allow Holderness to not only host USSA events such as the Eastern Championships but also FIS-level competitions, like college carnivals and national championship events.
And while these developments will no doubt have a tremendous impact on the Holderness program and nordic skiing in New England, NENSA aptly points out that Holderness Nordic was deserving of this award because of the culture of its program. NENSA highlights the Holderness-hosted Cheri Walsh Memorial Eastern Cup Race that features not only some of the most competitive junior racing of the season but also a broad range of Bill Koch racers – youth skiers under the age of 14 – and even some Masters racers. And no Cheri Walsh Race would be complete without music provided by student DJs, commentary from Director of College Counseling and resident-Master of Ceremonies Bruce Barton, and raffles and prizes available for all participants. The goal is to provide more than just a competitive experience, but a fun and inclusive experience as well.
“Holderness always embraces the concept of making a ski race a festival,” says NENSA Competitive Program Director Justin Beckwith. “Recent terrain park additions to [Bill Koch League] and top junior racing naturally complements the vibe of their events -- and helps guide XC skiing into the future.”
“I continue to be inspired by Holderness Nordic past, present, and future,” says Phil Peck, reflecting on the success of the program and the culture espoused by its coaches and athletes.
Read more about Holderness Nordic and NENSA’s Club of the Year at https://nensa.net/news/
Learn more about Holderness Snow Sports at our upcoming virtual event