Guest editorial: Nordic Ski Team needs Park City’s support | ParkRecord.com

Guest editorial: Nordic Ski Team needs Park City’s support

Melissa Marsted
Park City

I moved to Park City in May, 2013 as a trail runner and downhill skier. I had never heard of nordic skiing. I had grown up in Connecticut skiing with Buddy Werner and Tri-State leagues, teaching at Ski Sundown and some cross-country skiing.

A new friend of mine suggested we take a lesson together. So we rented skis and had a semi-private lesson at White Pine Touring. I was not immediately hooked, but I decided to buy my own equipment. In 2015, I skied three times; in 2016 I skied six times and this past winter I bought a membership to Jeremy Ranch. I actually lost track of how many times I skied after an amazing opportunity for me to have a lesson with Olympic skier, cancer survivor, husband, and father, Bryan Fletcher!

The morning of my lesson came, and we had a fairly heavy snowfall overnight in Park City. I was shoveling my driveway to get to Jeremy Ranch on time. I was hoping that a lesson with an Olympic skier might take me to the next level of my ability. I was starting to feel the rhythm, but I needed more guidance and encouragement.

I walked into the Pro Shop; the staff looked at me and said, "I was the lucky one." I was the only one to sign up for the first lesson of the morning. I was stunned and immediately intimidated. As a competitive athlete most of my life, I was not used to being a beginner. I was introduced to Bryan and we set off for the perfectly groomed trails.

My first few strides were completely off balance, and my knees were shaking. Just breathe, I told myself, just breathe. The morning was crisp and fresh. Bryan started to give me some advice about aligning my nose, knees and toes. Just glide, I was telling myself under my breath. Then my skis started to follow his movements, and I was working on my V2 pole planting. Slowly, I was picking up momentum and was feeling good. Sometimes I followed him, and sometimes he gave me advice from behind — an entire hour with an Olympic athlete. I was soaring!

We chatted, and I learned about his upcoming World Championships in Finland, Germany and Italy, travels to competitions that would take him away from his wife and five month old baby girl. I also learned about his graduate program in epidemiology and the financial impacts as an American Olympic athlete with no government funding, like other countries. Bryan is incredibly inspirational and his energy and aura helped me let go of my fears.

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I write this story for the Park Record in the hopes that readers might consider making a donation to the US Ski Team, Nordic Combined (USA Nordic P.O. BOX 683757, Park City, UT 84068) and the team's journey to the upcoming 2018 Olympics in South Korea.

Anything you can do to help, I know will be greatly appreciated by all four team members: Bryan Fletcher, his brother Taylor Fletcher, Todd Lodwick and Billy Demong.