The journey to Team USA

Published: May. 21, 2020 at 4:28 PM EDT
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Katharine and Ben Ogden grew up on skis and now they have both been nominated for the U.S Cross Country national team.

Katharine and Ben Ogden were raised on the snow.

"My dad took me, Ben and our sister Charlotte out skiing pretty much every day in the winter growing up," says Katharine.

The Landgrove, Vermont, natives have been cross country skiing all their lives and racing almost as long. Both Katharine, a junior at Dartmouth, and Ben, a sophomore at UVM, have won individual NCAA titles, medaled at the Junior World Championships, and this

year, they were two of the 23 athletes nominated to the U.S. Nordic team for the upcoming season.

"I think it is really cool, even across both genders, to be a part of that," says Katharine.

"When I was younger she went to Romania for skiing and Kazakhstan and then she was in Utah and got a medal at the Jr. World Championships," added Ben. "It's totally inspiring. She got to do all these crazy things and I said, 'I've got to do this.'"

Katharine and Ben's younger sister, Charlotte, is a freshman at Middlebury and raced for the Panthers this season as well. The Ogdens say having that built in 'team' has helped them all grow as competitive skiers.

"One of the hardest parts about skiing is that it requires so much training for the entire year," says Ben. "It's just having the motivation and excitement about it every single day. But when you have three siblings, it's guaranteed that one of them is going to be stoked on that day."

"No matter where I am, what's going on in my life or my results, to be able to watch those two out there crushing it in every race they're in is really cool," says Katharine.

What the near future holds for the Ogdens is unknown. Normally, the U.S. Nordic team would head to Utah to train this summer, but the pandemic has put those plans on hold. And no one knows if the World Cup season will start as planned later this year.

Fortunately for the Odgens, they are part of the Stratton Mountain School's Elite Team, it's top level pro team, which also counts among it's members fellow Vermonter and two-time World Cup winner Sophie Caldwell and 2018 Olympic gold medalist Jesse Diggins. With training partners like that close by, Katharine and Ben are excited about whatever the future holds.

"That's a really great resource for us we can still get access to some really high level coaching and extremely high level competitive training group," says Katharine.

"It's really inspiring to go out and train with these really high level athletes and everyone feeds off of each other, so I'm really excited for that," adds Ben.