The nordic ski team, based out of the Tahoe region in Northern California is comprised of six aspiring semi-professional athletes. PistenBully recognizes the potential of these athletes and the importance of monetary support to further the continuation and advancement of their ski careers.
Formerly known as the Far West Farm Team, the Elite Team has been in existence for the last four years. The team was started as a means to support nordic racers that were interested in continuing their competitive racing goals beyond Division 1 collegiate racing and has gradually grown in size and ability. Athletes are expected to play a large role in the Tahoe Nordic Community, which results in daily training at Auburn Ski Club, Tahoe Cross Country, Tahoe Donner XC and Royal Gorge XC. Additionally, Tamarack XC in Mammoth and Kirkwood XC are familiar, but less frequent training grounds.
Headlining the team are Anja Gruber and Patrick Johnson. Anja Gruber, former German National Team member and new to the team this season, graduated from The University of Vermont this spring. In her collegiate racing career, Anja Gruber collected two NCAA National Champion Titles and will be racing on the OPA Cup (Continental Cup) European Race Circuit this season.
After seeing tremendous success in his collegiate and early post-collegiate career, Patrick Johnson has taken up the sport of Biathlon and in his first year has been named to the U.S. Biathlon Development Team. Johnson has realistic Olympic aspirations in the sport.
Wyatt Fereday, Spencer Eusden, Emily Blackmer and Sabra Davison complete the Far West Elite Team's most competitive team to date. Each has seen noteworthy success at the local and national levels and should be very exciting to track throughout the season. The biggest races that the Elite Team will be attending this year include OPA Cups (Europe), IBU (Biathlon World Cup) (Canmore, Canada), Senior Nationals (Houghton, MI), the Super Tour Race Series (across the US), the American Berkiebeiner (MI), Boulder Mountain Tour (ID), The Great Ski Race (CA), USBA National Campionships (CA), Craftsbury Marathon (VT), Yellowstone Rendevous (MT).
In determining sponsorship, PistenBully recognized one characteristic that sets the Far West Elite Team apart from the rest of the semi-professional teams; its' involvement in local junior skiing development programs. The Elite Team trains, coaches and engages with junior nordic skiers on a daily basis. As team manager, Roger Chaney, puts it "Regular contact with the Elite Team athletes throughout a season gives juniors a tangible perspective of what it takes to achieve the level that these athletes have and the goals they are continuing to pursue." In addition to playing a role in increased participation and enthusiasm in the sport, the Elite Team has also increased the recognition of the high level coaching, world class facilities, grooming and training that the Tahoe Region has to offer, in turn attracting top athletes to the area to train and race.
PistenBully is excited to see what this team can do, not only on the race course, but for the Tahoe Nordic community as a whole. As a big player in the ski industry, PistenBully wants to support and further the success of developing and high level athletes in this country so that they can find success in what they love to do.