Tuesday June 18, 2013

BRATTLEBORO -- Bill Jahn has a favorite Norwegian saying he takes to heart that goes something like: Nordic skiers are made in the off-season.

Though he departs this year from his role as both educator and head coach of the BUHS Nordic ski team, Jahn’s summers beyond retirement should still keep him plenty active.

"I’ll still be around, but not in any official capacity," said Jahn, as he prepared for his daughter Linnea’s graduation from Brattleboro, Friday evening. "There’s a part of me that will find it hard to not be involved in the day-to-day work. Mostly, I’m looking forward to taking care of myself."

Jahn will continue to help guide future BUHS athletes through his summer strength-training program, which begins today and continues every Tuesday and Thursday morning.

Jahn said he’ll also still be attending Colonel ski meets and tournaments, while providing technical assistance with trail grooming and maintenance.

"I was just going to ease out slowly with coaching," said Jahn. "But as the year unfolded, I thought that maybe it was a good time to take a break from everything."

Jahn started coaching the Nordic team in 2003, and he and Jake McDermott helped to revive the program after students had lost interest.

Jahn was instrumental in creating a course on the Vermont Business Agricultural Education Center (VABEC) farmland while getting the necessary equipment to help groom the course.


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He was also responsible for acquiring headlamps for athletes during practices that went past dusk.

"Black Diamond (headlamp company) and the support of the Brattleboro Outing Club was a wonderful working relationship that cannot be under- estimated in contributing to the team’s success."

"Jahn is a tremendous professional who willed our Nordic program into being one of the state’s best," said Brattleboro athletic director Chris Sawyer. "He just went above and beyond, and he really rekindled interest in Nordic skiing at BUHS."

Jahn is handing the reigns over to Charlie LaRosa, who also works at the school. "LaRosa is no stranger to cross country skiing," said Jahn.

No kidding.

LaRosa served as captain of the BUHS team in 1969, and two years later Brattleboro went on a four-year winning streak taking state titles in 1971, 1972, 1973, and 1974.

Jahn took the team to a state championship win in 2011.

LaRosa has also competed as a Nordic skier at Division 1 at University of Maine and has coached a state championship team at Mount Greylock in Massachusetts.

"I have told him about the great group of people he will be working with and he is eager to get started," said Jahn.

And Jahn is eager to begin his "semi-retirement", as he described it.

"When you coach, you don’t get to ski that much," said Jahn, who said he plans on hitting the slopes next year with his wife, Lena. "I’ve spent 25 years as a (student) counselor and nine as a coach."

Other plans for Jahn include following his son Kalle’s progress as a senior captain at Williams College through the Eastern Intercollegiate Ski Association.

Linnea will be attending UVM next semester. "It will be nice to periodically visit her as well," said Jahn.

So Jahn not only watched his own children grow up at BUHS, but also the many students he coached through the years.

"While it was wonderful to win the state championship in 2011, in the long run it is not what I am most proud of," said Jahn. "What has provided me with the most satisfaction over the years, is watching my passion for the sport appear in first-year beginner skiers, then watching them develop into competent and confident Nordic ski racers."

David Aquino can be reached at daquino@reformer.com, or by calling 802-254-2311, ext. 163.