PUTNEY -- The Putney Ski Club hosted a Bill Koch League XC ski race for elementary school students on Sunday, Jan. 19, at The Grammar School. Though many local ski trails lacked snow, The Grammar School had good coverage on its lower trails. The club was fortunate to have Zach Caldwell (owner of Caldwell Sport, who is heading to the Olympics as a wax technician and is an alumnus of the school) lay out the course and organize students, parents, coaches, and friends to put on the race.

The event was a great success for 79 skiers from nine ski clubs, including West River Nordic, Stratton Mountain School, Prospect Mountain, and Putney from southern Vermont, Ford Sayre from Norwich, and Hanover, Dublin, Plainfield, and Fall Mountain from New Hampshire, and Berkshire Trails from Massachusetts.

Children 5 and under skied an untimed Lollipop course, where they were rewarded with lollipops stuck in the snow at the finish line. There were separate races for boys and girls in 1st-2nd, 3rd-4th, 5th-6th, and 7th-8th grades, who skied 1, 2, 3, or 4 laps on a 1.2 kilometer course around the hilly field. The snow conditions were excellent, and the children were excited to have a chance to race with so many of their peers.

The racers also were motivated by a good luck video sent by US Ski Team Olympians Noah Hoffman of Colorado, and Vermonters Andy Newell of Shaftsbury, Ida Sargent of Orleans, and Liz Stephen of East Montpelier. At the end of the race, all the skiers gathered to send their own "Good luck in Sochi" video to those Olympians.

XC skiing has been an integral part of the school since its founding in 1960. Several Olympians got their start in XC ski racing at The Grammar School, and the school’s extensive trail system provides opportunities for all students to learn to ski and improve their skills.

Founded in 1960, The Grammar School is an independent school located in Putney, Vermont, serving preschool through eighth grade.