Bill Demong: The Interview

Billy-DemongLet’s face it: at best, nordic combined — where athletes race cross-country after jumping — is not on most Americans’ radar.  When Johnny Spillane won the U.S.’s first World Championship gold in 2003, it didn’t elicit a yawn outside the nordic ski community.  But when the U.S. broke through for four nordic combined medals in the 2010 Winter Olympics, it got people’s attention.

In Vancouver, Vermontville NY native Bill Demong skied to gold in the large hill/10 km event and anchored the U.S. to silver in the team event.  Johnny Spillane, now retired, had two individual silver medals in that Olympics and shared team event silver.

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Dewey Mtn: A Friendly Neighborhood Ski Center

The driveway is unassuming. On one side of the lodge is a small garden apartment complex, where little kids sledded while big kids warmed up for a ski race. On the other side of the lodge is a public school. A short connector links a field to one side of the school with the ski trails. Presto, instant after-school ski training!

Skiing-Is-Excellent

Welcome to Dewey Mountain, just west of Saranac Lake town center. With 13 km of ski trails shoehorned into 30 acres, Dewey may not look big, but it packs a lot into a small ski area. And if you live nearby and don’t want to drive the 20 miles to Mount van Hoevenberg, it’s a great resource. Imagine being able to ski for an hour after work, during lunch hour, or after running errands on Saturday, right in your neighborhood.

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A Tribal Gathering: The Lake Placid Loppet

Friday morning at Mount van Hoevenberg, it was quiet. Only the squeak of our skis on wicked cold snow broke the silence. My friend Colin and I had van Ho to ourselves for the ritual pre-race warmup. The Lake Placid Loppet loomed.

Adored and cursed, the Loppet has been my muse for over 20 years. The hardest race in the northeast, it’s the standard by which I judge the difficulty of any other race. Although I’ve had some good finishes, I’ve not yet made my coveted goal of a three-hour finish, and time’s running out for that.

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