North Salem-John Jay-Somers ski team races to victory


Image courtesy of Dan Collea

By Sienna Paldin

There are a lot of great things about living in North Salem, but one amazing thing is living near the mountains so you can ski or snowboard. I recently met with the coaches and a skier from our local high school. I was excited to learn about how their season went and get to know about the skiers. When I asked how the ski season went, Coach Paul Crivelli shared that the team crushed it. The boys were very successful this season, winning the North A league and Section 1 Championships. The boys competed at States at Gore Mountain and came in 3rd place. Meanwhile the girls are also doing awesome; they also won the North A League. While they didn't qualify for States, the girls still put up an amazing performance skiing this year.

So how did they get here? The team practices really hard, practicing at our very own Thunder Ridge Mountain in nearby Patterson, New York. The team this season has also been going to Mohawk Mountain, which is a bigger mountain than Thunder Ridge. During the team's practices, they focus on training for Slalom racing. Slalom racing is when skiers make quick turns around gates and flags that are close together. Sometimes the team also practices Giant Slalom, which is where the skiers have to make wider turns that are further apart. However, the team doesn't just put in the work when there is snow on the ground. They train two to three times a week before the winter at John Jay High School fitness center, which has a huge workout room for athletes to do strength and conditioning.

Once the winter comes, the skiers are ready to compete. They usually get on the bus from North Salem at 3:30 p.m. to head to Thunder Ridge for a ski meet. First they get their tickets and bibs. They all then usually look over the course and take a few practice runs. Then they step into action and begin the race.

It's no surprise that the team enjoyed great success this season. Coaches Crivelli and Collea said that the team is very focused on working hard and improving their technique. The coaches also shared that the team is one big family, always inspiring one another, and being inclusive.

One person who has been working incredibly hard this year is Danielle Collea, a North Salem High School junior, who suffered a torn ACL last year and has just come back this year to practice with the team. Danielle said, "I'm a very competitive person so it was challenging for me because I had to keep a positive mindset and say this is the best that I'm going to be doing for now until I slowly start getting better."

Danielle has been skiing since she was 5 years old, so I asked her if she has anyone that she looks up to. She said she looks up to fellow teammates Emilia, Paige and Ellie. "I feel like they are the glue that holds everyone together," Danielle added.

I also wanted to know why the coaches loved being part of the team. Both coaches said they loved getting to know the racers during "chairlift time" up the mountain. Coach Crvelli said, "you really get a chance to use the time to talk to the kids. We've known many of them since they were in the developmental program and now they are seniors." Coach Crvelli also said that Danielle, aka the "comeback kid,'' played a huge part in the team's success this year. " Danielle always has a smile on her face, she is the glue for me because she is always making jokes and keeping the team light."

It was so exciting learning about how the team is so committed and passionate about skiing. As the ski season comes to an end, the skiers leave off on a high note knowing they crushed it.

Sienna Paldin is a sixth grader at North Salem Middle School. She loves to play sports like soccer, skiing, lacrosse, and dance. She lives in Somers with her mom, dad and sister, Stella.
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