Elite Training Helps Caldwell
Former Dartmouth College skier Sophie Caldwell (21) waits for a handoff during her World Cup team sprint race in Quebec City on Dec. 12.(Peggy Shinn photograph)
Former Dartmouth skier Sophie Caldwell, center, competes in the World Cup women’s team sprint in Quebec City on Dec. 12. Caldwell has joined an elite program out of Stratton Mountain School to help with her skiing career.(Peggy Shinn photograph)
Sophie Caldwell made her World Cup debut in Quebec City last weekend, and in front of friends, former teammates, coaches, her parents and her grandmother, she made the most of the opportunity. The former Dartmouth All-American skied away with valuable World Cup points after finishing 14th in the team sprint (with U.S. Ski Teamer Sadie Bjornsen). Team Sodie, as they called themselves, just missed advancing from the semis to the finals. But Caldwell was all smiles after the race.
“I just tried to hang on for dear life,” she said, confessing that her legs were tired after her three turns in the team sprint.
The next day, in the individual sprint, Caldwell just missed advancing out of her quarterfinal heat. But her time in the heat would put her in 14th overall.
Though she is not officially on the U.S. Ski Team, Caldwell, 22, earned the World Cup starts after winning her first SuperTour sprint in Bozeman, Montana, in late November. Her results so far are helping validate her decision to put her psychology degree on hold and pursue her skiing dreams.
It was a decision she made last fall during her senior year at Dartmouth. She wanted to keep skiing after graduation. So in June, she moved home to Peru, Vt., and joined Stratton Mountain School’s new T2 elite team. Coached by former top NCAA skier Gus Kaeding, SMS T2 includes Caldwell, Jessie Diggins (winner of the Quebec City team sprint with Kikkan Randall), World Cup medalist Andy Newell, Skyler Davis and Caldwell’s former Dartmouth teammates, Erika Flowers and Eric Packer.
From Quebec City, Caldwell packed up her U.S. Ski Team race suit and flew to Canmore, Alberta, for another World Cup. (She finished 40th in yesterday’s skiathlon, a combination of a 5K classic with a 7.5K freestyle.” And from there?
“We’ll see where the season goes from there,” she said. “It’s up in the air right now.”
For now, she plans to ski for at least a couple of years: “As long as I’m still having fun with it.”