Castleton University Nordic ski coach Marty Maher has returned to the program for the 2020-2021 season in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Maher, who will turn 70 years old in May, was in his 46th year of coaching last year when he decided to retire.
That retirement turned out to be a short hiatus.
“I think with COVID … people were unsure to take a job if you weren’t gonna have a season,” Maher said.
The school asked him to come back in November after receiving few applications for the position.
Maher and skiers have not been spared from the coronavirus-related challenges that many sports organizations have faced since last March. A number of Nordic ski recruits elected not to participate due to this virus, going to other schools or taking time off from college.
The roster only has five skiers on it this season.
Maher compared this season to some of the past seasons, citing the differences that COVID has brought about.
“The results have been fine. Normally, we want our athletes to peak in March for our national championship,” Maher said.
With no fall training and limited competitions, the team was closer to an early January fitness level for a normal season.
“The snow has been great for us … It’s too bad we don’t have a [normal] season,” he said when asked if the team was affected at all by some of the fresh powder that has plagued the alpine team.
The Nordic teams are coming off their first double of the season last weekend at Woodstock. Emily Greene led the way for the women with a 24th place finish in the overall, third for her group at the 10 kilometer classic while Antonio Mannino was 26th overall, fourth in his group.
The Nordic teams will head to Craftsbury for the Vermont Cup on Saturday, Feb. 20.