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What Do Vermont Lakes and The Olympics Have in Common?

Three Nordic skiers! Vermont sent 13 athletes, the highest number per resident than any other state, to compete in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. And, three of the Vermont athletes trained on a Vermont lake! When Great Hosmer and Little Hosmer Ponds in Craftsbury freeze over, January through April, they add 15 kilometers to the 98 kilometers of Nordic trails in around the watershed.

The Craftsbury Outdoor Center has taken advantage of winter Nordic skiing on Great Hosmer and Little Hosmer Ponds since 1976 when the first owners, Russell Spring and his family, established the all seasonal recreational camp. John Brodhead, Director of the Center’s Nordic Skiing Program, and 30 year veteran Lake Lay Monitor for Great Hosmer Pond, says he plans on watching the Olympics at home, cheering on the three local Olympian Nordic Skiers over in Sochi. Ida Sargent, Susan Dunklee and Hannah Dreissigacker probably have spent many cold evenings racing home across Great Hosmer and Little Hosmer Ponds. But, they are lucky young racers, starting their Olympic quest for gold, having inherited a well stewarded recreational landscape from former racing and conservationist champions.

Hannah’s parents, Dick Dreissignacker and Olympic rower, Judy Geer, took over the CraftsburyCenter in 2008 from the Springs, and have made it their practice to promote participation and excellence in lifelong sports, while teaching and living sustainably to protect the surrounding land, lake, and trails. Their commitment to their sustainable values extends to their new racing team, called the Green Racing Project. The Center serves a diet grown from their own greenhouses and gardens, and harvests locally grown timber for any renovations or additions to the Center. And, they train their skiers to help with these chores. And, for the last two summers, Susan Dunklee collected weekly lake samples to measure the level of nutrient enrichment in Great Hosmer Pond, assisting John Brodhead with the Lay Monitoring Program.

Sending three Olympians to Sochi this winter from The Craftsbury Outdoor Center shows the world what good training can produce and what being kind to the lake and watershed can yield. Healthy ecosystems pay off for all, and for the Craftsbury Community, let’s hope it brings in the Gold.

Fun Fact

Why Does Ice Float? Unlike other substances, water reaches its greatest density as a liquid at 39 degrees Fahrenheit. When water cools below this temperature, it remains on the surface.  As ice forms, it floats on the surface because it is less dense than water. This unique property of water, gives us many winter recreational activities from ice-fishing, skating, to Nordic skiing on Vermont lakes. 

Skiing across Great Hosmer Pond in Craftsbury

Skiing across Great Hosmer Pond in Craftsbury