In hopes of conjuring up some good skiing karma around these parts (i.e., snow, preferably in copious quantities), I’m going to tell you about two exciting developments in the Nordic world.
The first is that 15-year-old Dashe McCabe holds the distinction of being one of the top two fundraisers for the National Nordic Foundation (NNF). The NNF exists to support the U.S. Ski Team, to “ensure today’s up and coming skiers have the high-quality racing and training opportunities required to be successful” in Nordic sports. For years, the U.S. Nordic Teams have been operating on reduced budgets, while competitor powerhouse Nordic nations fund skiing development and competition expenses of their athletes.
Earlier this fall, Dashe got an email from one of the U.S. Ski Team coaches, inviting her to participate in fundraising for the NNF. Dashe became an ambassador for the “DD25: Double the Drive for 25” campaign, which aimed to double 2020’s donor count above 1,000 individual donations and to reach fundraising targets that unlocked challenge grants. These goals were achieved in no small part thanks to Dashe, who raised more funds than anyone else in the nation other than the U.S. Ski Team head coach, Matt Whitcomb.
“The money we raised goes into a pool for the whole group of athletes,” says Dashe, who is a sophomore at Liberty Bell High School and a member of the Methow Valley Nordic Team. “It helps support coaching, racing expenses, training camps — anything related to preparing for international competition.”
The other bit of Nordic news is that that 2020 Liberty Bell High School graduate Novie McCabe, Dashe’s older sister, made her Nordic World Cup debut over the weekend, at the season opener in Ruka, Finland. Racing in the classic sprint, the 10K classic and the 10K freestyle pursuit, Novie delivered solid results, maintaining her signature strength, poise and sportsmanship throughout the events.
Novie grew up watching other Methow Valley elite racers like Brian Gregg and Sadie and Erik Bjornsen compete on the world Nordic stage, and now she’s sharing starting lines with Nordic luminaries like Norway’s Therese Johaug, as well as Minnesota’s Jessie Diggins, whose historic gold medal finish in the team sprint in the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, along with teammate Kikkan Randall, kindled mainstream America’s interest in cross country skiing.
After Ruka, Novie and her teammates made their way to Lillehammer, Norway, for sprint, skiathlon and relay events taking place this week. Coincidentally, Novie’s mother, Laura, made her Olympic debut at the 1994 Winter Games in Lillehammer, finishing as the top American woman in the 15K, just a few seconds ahead of fellow valley resident skier Leslie Hall.
After Norway, Novie, who is in her sophomore year at University of Utah, will continue on the World Cup circuit, traveling all over Europe for the next few months, racing by day, completing online school by night.
Nice work, McCabe girls.