West High XC Skiing

Solomon Shepherd, Reporter

As another successful year of cross-country skiing, a popular winter sport at West High School, comes to a close, skiers and coaches offer their thoughts about the sport.

Aaron Maves, a varsity skier at West, can attest to the team’s ability to bring out his competitive side. Maves has been a part of the team for two years, and he credits the, “atmosphere, all the wonderful people” as a factor that helps enhance his skiing experience.

Maves provided commentary on the most important competition of all, the State Championship course. In the end, the girls team won and the boys held a 0.4 second lead coming into the second day of races, but ultimately ended up losing by around 10 minutes. According to Maves, the course had, “huge hills. Monster hills. And it’s like negative 40 [degrees] out, so it was hard to breathe.”

Jack Baker is a sophomore who skis on the open team for the Eagles. Baker joined the multitude of participants who had never previously skied before joining the West team. He would not have it any other way. Despite being new to skiing, Baker quickly fell in love with the sport. He really enjoys being able to get outside in the winter, saying, “whenever it’s nice and quiet on a trail, and everything is real beautiful outside, you can see the snow on the trees… sometimes we’d be out there whenever the sun sets so you’d be able to see that too.”

As far as West’s involvement goes, Baker loves the comradery that is built by practicing with the team. The dynamic created by practicing with peers of a similar skill level, in his opinion, helps to keep frustration levels low, and people are always helping each other out. Although cross country skiing is a difficult sport to pick up, Baker loved the experience and is planning on joining the ski team again next year.

It should come as no surprise that West skiing is so accessible, because Eagles head coach Anson Moxness works hard to maintain that image of the sport. Moxness has been coaching for seven years, and he says that his favorite part about leading the team is, “introducing people to skiing is pretty fun. We have a lot of fast skiers, but it’s also cool to see people who are new learn how to ski and sort of actually get it by the end of the year.”

But just because he caters to the newcomers does not mean that Moxness ignores the more competitive skiers, such as Maves, on the team. He references how some of the skiers that have passed through the West program have gone on to do great things in skiing. For example, Luke Jager, a skier who graduated in 2018, won a gold medal at Junior World Championships this year.

Regardless of skill level, Moxness places a premium on making cross country skiing as fun as possible. He claims that his coaching philosophy is, “if you’re not having fun, going out and doing it, what’s the point?” This helps to keep skiers of all skill levels returning every single season.