Beginning in the autumn of 2018, The Boulder Nordic Club organized roughly $5000 in donations from the community to Kelsey as the inaugural recipient of the Anne Gini Elite Skier Fund. Read the below from Kelsey regarding her recent and breakthrough performance on the World Cup.
Standing at the start line in Lahti, Finland for my first World Cup quarterfinal was an experience I don’t think I will ever forget. There were loud fans in the stadium bleachers to my left, our faces projected on the big screen in front of us, and the massive ski jumps looming above the race course. I took a breath and tried to let myself feel the weight and excitement of the moment. I have dreamt about skiing in World Cup heats since I started skiing. I always believed that with work, I could have what it takes. But you don’t know until you know.
And then the start gun went off.
The race simultaneously went by in slow motion and in a blur. I sprinted to the line for 4th in my heat just getting edged out by the Slovenian racer who had qualified first that day. Although our heat was fast, it wasn’t quite fast enough and sadly neither of us advanced to the semifinals. I felt disappointed that my day was over because all I wanted to do was race that course again. But I also was beaming because I had just scored my first World Cup points (which only the top 30 score points and my previous best result was 36th) and I had gotten top 20 on the day!
It was serendipitous that my first time qualifying for sprint heats happened in Lahti. Last year I raced my first World Cup race here. I was in the top five at the halfway point, but got really tired and lost a lot of time on the second half of the course, and I finished the race just a second out from qualifying.
Thanks to all of the support you provided with the fundraiser I did this fall with Boulder Nordic Club, I was able to cover all of my expenses for period 1 World Cups this year. I raced in three sprint qualifiers and two distance races. That meant that going into the Lahti skate sprint this year, I had five times more experience racing at this level than last year. I knew I liked the course and I now had the confidence to pace it in a way that I could maintain. And it worked!
I can’t wait to keep working towards qualifying for more sprints and moving through the heats. Nothing compares to experience when it comes to racing well on the World Cup, which is apparent with how well my more experienced teammates continue to race over here! Sophie Caldwell, my club team teammate, was able to fly from Vermont to Finland on Thursday and get 2nd in the skate sprint on Saturday! It is really inspiring to be over here with people like her.
Because of my result here, I am heading to Cogne, Italy to race in the skate sprint this coming Saturday! After that, I will be going to China for a week of three FIS skate sprint races to test out potential courses for the 2022 Olympic Games.
Thank you so much for being a part of this dream, I couldn’t do it without all of your support!