Domestic Clubs Preview: Bridger Ski Foundation


This year’s Bridger Ski Foundation pro team. (photo: courtesy BSF)

What’s the official name of this ski team? Bridger Ski Foundation Nordic Pro Team, or BSF

Where is it located? Bozeman, Montana

Who’s the coach? Andy Newell (Nordic Pro Team), Hannah Cole (Post Grad Team)

Who’s on the roster this season? Finn O’Connell, Graham Houtsma, Hannah Rudd, Logan Diekmann, Mariah Bredal, Reid Goble, Sarah Goble, and Simon Zink

What’s different from last year? Sarah Goble (yes, she’s Reid’s sister; the pair are the pride of Petoskey High School) joins the team from relative neighbor Sun Valley Gold Team. Lauren Jortberg and Leah Lange have moved on, the former to SMS. Erika Flowers Newell is no longer listed on the ski team roster, but given that she was most recently seen reaching the overall podium in the Transalpine Run and is now a professional trail runner for The North Face, she is not exactly pursuing a life of sedentary retirement, either.

What were some highlights of last season? Logan Diekmann made his first-ever World Cup starts, finishing an ohsoclose 34th and 38th in skate sprint qualifying in Lahti and classic sprint qualifying in Drammen, respectively. Finn O’Connell was named to the U.S. Ski Team B-Team after a strong domestic season.

In domestic racing, the team logged three podium finishes at U.S. Nationals, including Diekmann’s second in the skate sprint, Bredal’s third in the 10km classic, and Rudd’s third in the classic sprint. Other highlights from Soldier Hollow in January included Flowers finishing 4th in the 10km classic, and Rudd 8th; Rudd, Bredal, and Flowers finishing 6th, 8th, and 9th in the 20km skate; Rudd finishing 9th in the skate sprint; and O’Connell finishing 7th in the 15km classic. Notably, Rudd was in the top-10 in all four races. Strong finishes at Spring Series in Whistler included top-10 results from O’Connell in all three distance races, and Bredal’s 10th in the 42km skate.

On the SuperTour, BSF athletes notched four podium finishes, one each from Diekmann, O’Connell, Rudd, and Bredal.

In more recent racing, Bredal won the Bozeman Marathon earlier this month in 2:59:07 on the road course, writing in a subsequent blog post, “It was surreal to me to run a sub-3 as I had initially been worried I wasn’t in enough running shape to possibly run under 3:30,” her qualifying time for Boston. “It just shows that the the training I have been doing with the BSF team is really doing good for me right now, and I hope that I can now bring this type of energy onto the ski trails as well :)”

What does the coach have to say? 

Hear from Newell here: “What does it take to build an Elite nordic ski team? Head coach Andy Newell discusses the challenges faced by a new team and the goals of BSF Pro.”

Andy Newell writes:

“So far summer training has been really productive for the BSF team. We started things off with an on-snow and dryland training camp in Norway in June. The team was able to connect with some fast skiers in the region and spend 5 days on Sognefjellet skiing with the BSF Junior team. I really like to prioritize training camps like this where the team can learn from the best in the world and have valuable team bonding with the youth skiers. For the month of July we trained in Bozeman alongside the BSF collegiate team. This year we had a strong collegiate group for our 6-week program. These athletes are really talented and they push the pro team on a daily basis which is ideal. We train together as a team 5 days per week year round so this group is a really tight team and I’m so happy we have such a strong team culture.

“In August we traveled to Marquette for a low altitude training camp filled with fun times swimming and high intensity team workouts. For the month of September we will train primarily in Bozeman and travel to Park City, Utah, for the National team camp in October. 

“We have big goals for this team in 2023. Logan Diekmann will start the first period of World Cup and shoot for a spot on the World Championships team. Additionally we have strong distance skiers so Mariah Bredal and Finn O’Connell will also be potential US Team contenders. That’s our ultimate goal, to put skiers into big international races.  To do this we really need to bring our A game to all SuperTour and US National competitions so our training and preparation is focused on the domestic calendar.”

Newell also mentioned the team’s new vlog (video blog); the first episode is embedded above, and the YouTube channel is linked below.

How can you get more information or follow the team? website | Instagram | blog | Newsvlogget (vlog/newsletter)

Elsewhere in this series: Stratton | Sun Valley | Team Birkie

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