The EMXC Juniors Program runs from the start of May through the end of March, with practice four to six days per week. Skiers in the program participate in practices as they choose throughout the year, and often balance skiing with other sports and commitments.
To guide athletes throughout the year, each athlete is paired with a “Point Coach” who will be their primary point of coaching contact outside of practice. Athletes work with their Point Coach to set and evaluate annual goals, review their individual adaptation of the team training plan, and determine a competition calendar that aligns with their season goals. At day-to-day practice sessions, athletes are coached by all coaches, not just their assigned point coach.
Annual Training Model
The Juniors Program follows a periodized approach to training. Over the course of the training year, we move from general aerobic training to ski-specific modalities, and from a low-intensity to high-intensity focus during training. Each phase of the training year builds on the last, and each session builds on preceding sessions.
The spring and summer, roughly May 1st - August 31st, are focused on building base aerobic fitness through distance roller skiing, running, biking, and general strength training. While we do program some intensity training during this period, our primary focus is on increasing aerobic efficiency, honing efficient technique, and developing good training habits. This low-intensity summer training is essential to providing a robust backbone for subsequent training adaptations, and allows athletes time to connect socially and improve technique.
In their first summer with Juniors, first-year athletes participate in the “Juniors Prep Program” three days per week. These small-group practices focus on developing rollerski, hillbounding, and strength proficiency and technique. In addition, first-year athletes join the rest of the Juniors Team two to three days per week for longer sessions to build baseline aerobic fitness.
Summer training also includes the Juniors Team “EMXC Camp” at the Dublin School, usually in early to mid August. This week-long camp provides the Juniors Team a chance to set team-wide goals, and gives athletes a chance to build friendships and deepen our team-first culture.
The fall season, roughly September 1st - November 31st, is focused on maintaining aerobic base while building capacity both below and above anaerobic threshold. Training for athletes who do not play a fall sport moves to more ski-specific modalities, including rollerskiing, hillbounding, and ski-specific strength. As the fall progresses, intensity training focuses increasingly on output at and above anaerobic threshold, while strength training focuses on power and speed that is translatable to skiing.
For athletes who play a fall sport, the fall’s focus on higher intensity work can fit in well with their fall sport competitions. Most focus primarily on their fall sport, supplementing those workouts with occasional strength and rollerski technique sessions. These athletes are encouraged to collaborate with their Point Coaches for guidance on how best to balance skiing and school sports.
The fall season concludes with a three-day trip to Craftsbury the weekend after Thanksgiving. This provides the Juniors Team athletes their first taste of skiing on snow, an opportunity to hone on-snow technique prior to December, and often, the chance to hop into an informal on-snow race.
The winter season runs from December 1st to roughly the third week in March, and includes a multitude of training and racing opportunities for athletes. Training focus in the winter varies week to week depending on the racing calendar, but includes a mix of low and high intensity sessions to allow athletes to carry fitness through the season.
During the winter season, the Juniors Team runs two training camps, one in Quebec, CA, and one in Craftsbury, VT. These camps overlap with public school vacation weeks, and provide skiers the opportunity to train together on world-class ski trails.
Most Juniors Team athletes participate in a combination of types of races, and race-day coaching and support is provided throughout the season. Athletes are encouraged to compete between 15 and 20+ times per season, depending on their age.
All Juniors Team athletes are encouraged to race in the two Mass Nordic Qualification races, the results of which are used to name Massachusetts’ team at Eastern High School and U16 Championships. In addition, many athletes choose to compete in NENSA’s weekend Eastern Cup races, the results of which are used to name New England’s team at Junior National Championships. In most years, a small number of Juniors Team athletes will also compete at US Senior Nationals, the qualification races for the U18 Scandinavian Cup and Junior World Championships. Outside of these three categories of races, the Juniors Team occasionally travels to NENSA Zak Cup races and USSA SuperTour races.
Some Juniors Team athletes also race for their high school ski teams in weekly competitions run by MIAA at Leo J Martin Ski Track. At these competitions, athletes represent their high school ski teams, and all race support and coaching is provided by high school programs. The MIAA calendar concludes in mid-February with the MIAA Massachusetts High School State Championship race.