Buc freshman Nick Lein and junior Laura Soerensen, an exchange student from Denmark, are members of the Lake Crystal Valley team.
The ski team is composed of 11 high school students from BEA, Maple River, Waseca and Lake Crystal.
United South Central in Wells participated last year with one student, but that participant graduated last year.
“This is our third full week of practice,” LCV coach Scott Carlson says. “We started on Nov. 14.”
Right now the team has been practicing in the Lake Crystal Welcome Memorial High School gym.
“We are doing conditioning drills, working on techniques, running,” Carlson says. “We are waiting for snow.”
The team practices at Mt. Kato near Mankato and the ski resort has been trying to make snow.
Carlson says they were open for a bit over Thanksgiving, and hope to be open for good starting in December.
“They can make snow if the temperature is low enough and the humidity is high enough,” Carlson explains.
This will be the ninth year the team has been in existence and the coach is looking forward to it.
“Last year both the boys and the girls teams wound up 13th (out of 22 teams) in the Section,” Carlson says. “That was our highest finish ever. And this season I think we can crack the top 10 – for girls and boys.”
Carlson adds that the boys could make it as high as eighth, the girls ninth.
“I feel that is a realistic goal,” he adds. Looking at the points each team had last year, we can attain that move up three spots.”
The coach says he has four solid boy skiers and a fifth is still debating returning to the team.
“We can go with four, but if one has a bad run, it is nice to have a fifth racer to back him up,” Carlson says.
He adds that he sees all of the kids making steady improvement each season.
One advantage he sees with only 11 team members is that he can give each of them some one-on-one individualized help.
“Some of the Twin Cities teams, and even Mankato, will have 60 kids on the team,” he says. “Even with three coaches they can’t work closely with every kid.”
The coach says that BEA’s Lein should be making big strides for the team this year.
“He is taller and stronger than last year,” the skiing mentor says. “He will really move into a leadership role for the team.”
As for Soerensen, the coach says he hasn’t seen her ski yet, but has high hopes, since she has done some skiing in Europe.
“We have had exchange students on the team in the past,” he says. “And they always have improved a lot by the end of the season.”
Soerensen, the coach says, seems very athletic and is very coachable.
“She should do well by the end of the year,” he adds. “She can ski, this just will be her first time on a race course. It is not quite the same as being with the family on a ski holiday.”
The team will have their first competition on Dec. 13 at Powder Ridge near Kimball.
Their home meets are held at Mt. Kato.
Nick Lein and Laura Soerensen