The Perfect Corduroy

Steve Sanders driving Dublin groomer.

Steve Sanders driving Dublin groomer.

Steve Sanders, Dublin’s resident groomer, grew up in Peterborough and started skiing at a young age. His ski coach at Conval was Dublin’s current alpine ski coach, Sandy Eneguess. At the time, Sandy was the owner and operator of the Temple Mountain Ski Area. Steve started working for Sandy, first part time, and then after graduation.  Working at Temple, Steve developed an expertise in snow grooming.

Like many skiers, Steve wanted to try skiing and living in the Rockies. After living and working for a couple of years locally, he moved on a seasonal basis to Telluride, Colorado, where he groomed snow for 24 years.  An avid mountain biker and skier, Steve realized early that ski instructors spent the best part of the day teaching, while groomers worked early and late, leaving them time to ski whenever conditions or the joy of skiing calls them to the mountain. At Telluride, Steve was part of a large team of groomers that operated large snow cats both in grooming and supplying the restaurants and facilities on the upper mountain.  

Courtesy of Telluride Ski Resort.  Video by Brandon Segelke

Steve’s goal every day was to lay down the perfect track of snow. Despite the size and power of the equipment, this is a fairly complicated undertaking. The snow groomers are surprisingly fragile pieces of equipment.  They are engineered to be powerful but light. This means that groomers have to be extraordinarily focused on their whereabouts, constantly adjusting the equipment to avoid obstacles and to remain safe.  Snow conditions also play a large part. The characteristics of wetter or dryer snow need to be considered in building and maintaining base. A large part of this is in getting the snow properly compacted with uniform depths.  Areas of high usage, like the end of ski runs, need to be built up with deeper base to avoid ski off.

At Dublin, Steve is responsible for a number of different areas.  During the early season, the main focus is on developing a snow base on Upper Field for Nordic training. This requires making snow and then distributing it around the field and establishing a proper base. As natural snow starts to appear, Steve shifts his focus to the Norm Wight Ski Area and Dublin School Nordic Center, which pose two different challenges. Although the basic principles are the same, Alpine and Nordic skiers are often looking for different surfaces for their sports. In addition, differences in terrain and wear patterns require careful and continuous attention to fine tuning and maintaining each area.

In Winter, Steve’s life is fairly unpredictable.  He is constantly responding to changing weather conditions, trying to harvest and maintain what falls from the sky. This often means being on the slopes and trails late into the night or early in the morning, working his way from central campus and the Norm Wight alpine area to the far end of Dublin’s property and the Nordic Center.  When the two main areas are groomed, Steve then doubles back to groom a trail around Upper Field where Special Olympic athletes from the Keene area train.

Steve gets great joy out of seeing others playfully enjoying his work. For Steve, it is a constant job to create the perfect surface for Dublin athletes. Where most New Englanders battle the cold in Winter, Steve’s largest foe is the warm sunny days that the rest of us enjoy.  Blizzards are his friend. Cold nights make for compacted, lasting base and a longer skiing season.  The toughest Winter conditions allow Steve to use his experience and skill to create the perfect corduroy.

Snowboarding at Ragged Mountain Resort - February 15, 2017

The Snowboarding team took to the lovely Ragged Mountain on Wednesday for the last slopestyle competition of the season. The course, by far the longest of the season, offered a few unique challenges to our riders: a cannon rail to start, two down flat down options--one rail and one box--and two sizable jumps. The stakes were set high after Proctor's number-one rider pulled a 360 off of the cannon rail.

Yifu Zhang (Beijing, China) and Jack Pearce (Milford, NJ) took big risks that paid off: while both have been riding boxes comfortably during the season, they each rode the cannon rail, marking the first time that either of them had ridden any kind of rail feature. Alissa Muise (Blue Hill, ME) and Imogen VonMertens (Hancock, NH) hit impressive ollies off of each knuckle, and Lucy Martin (New Canaan, CT) smoothly took down the box feature on both rides. Emil Hristache (Peterborough, NH) landed a frontside 270 off of the rail cannon and a smooth method off of the second jump. Arthur Garcia (Union City, NJ) took down the box in style, and Garret Autera (Roswell, GA) continued his characteristic frontside 180s. Alexander “AJ” Simpson's (New York, NY) classic freestyle moves were also at home in this park; he continues to work toward a frontside 540. We have faith in you, AJ! All in all, it was a mellow and fun day for all.

Canadian Ski Marathon

Canadian Ski Marathon

Eleven intrepid Dublin students, two faculty members and two parents participated in the Canadian Ski Marathon (CSM) on February 11/12, 2017. The CSM is North America’s longest and oldest Nordic ski tour. Unlike most ski events, there are no winners or losers in the Canadian Ski Marathon: it is not a race. Each skier can select his/her own level of challenge and try to achieve it. One can ski as little as 12 km or up to the maximum of 160 km over the weekend.

Girls Varsity Basketball vs. The Marvelwood School - Win (72-14) - February 18, 2017

Girls Varsity Basketball vs. The Marvelwood School - Win (72-14) - February 18, 2017

It took the team some time to pick up their energy after a long bus ride, but they drew on some of the unlimited stores of teammate Bette Imhoff (Dublin, NH) '18 and picked up their level play. Marvelwood couldn't figure out a way to stop Imhoff in the first half. She did it all, ending the half with 4 assists, 3 steals, and 16 points.  The story of the game was steals. Co-captains Sabrina Hayden (Marlborough, NH) '17 and Stella Davis (Dublin, NH) '18 combined for 14 and Shaneil Wynter (Brooklyn, NY) added 4. Dublin hopes to build on their 5 game winning streak as they close out their season and await news of the NEPSAC playoffs.  Selection for the New England Prep School Tournament will be announced Sunday 2/26. 

Boys Varsity Basketball vs. Holderness School - Loss (44-54) - February 18, 2017

Dublin played its third road game of the week on Saturday and lacked the spark of the first two, falling to a scrappy Holderness team 54-44. The Wildcats got beat badly in the rebounding department and shot poorly from the floor. Jaydon Belliveau-Ryan '20 (Peterborough, NH) and Will Campbell '19 (Milford, NH) led the team in scoring with 14 points apiece. Idriss Traore '19 (New York, NY) added 7.

Building Community & Building Self: Lucy Selby on “Getting Right into It” in her Freshman Year

Lucy Selby is a ninth grade day student from Peterborough, New Hampshire. Lucy describes herself in these terms: “I am friend-and-family oriented and I know what I want to do and I know how to get there, so I can be really confident about what I’m passionate about.”