Camaraderie and closeness on community day

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BETHEL — The Bethel Outing Club partnered with Telstar Middle and High schools to host a community day Sunday on the Telstar trails, where residents of SAD 44 communities could ski, snowshoe and enjoy sunshine and good company.

“We just want to get more people out on the trails,” said BOC member Suzanne Newsom Pierce. “A lot of people don’t know they’re here to be used.”

All the necessary equipment was available to rent, free of charge, so folks could get out and enjoy the 3.1 kilometers of existing trails. and explore the 2.5 kilometers of new trails.

SAD 44 bought the 36.9 acres of land behind the athletic fields of the school in 2016 from Conifer Corp. for $76,000. With funding from a grant from the Bethel Rotary Club, the new trails were added and the old ones improved this past fall.

Members from the high school cross-country ski team were on hand Sunday to give lessons and ski with members of the community, and their love for the sport — and one another  — was obvious.

“I love the camaraderie of this team,” said junior Koley True. “We’re the closest of the close.”

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Junior Ricco Call said cross-country skiing is a more “engaging” sport than downhill skiing because it gets you more active.

“It’s almost like running,” said junior Emily Hanscom.

The club’s coach, science teacher Sarah Southam, said the team has “really good agility” due to the exercises done at practices, such as playing ultimate Frisbee — in full gear, of course.

“It’s so fun, you forget you’re wearing your skis,” Hanscom said. “We’ve also played capture the flag and soccer.”

Janet Stephenson of Bethel showed up to cross-country ski for only the second time in her l;ife.

“I wanted to learn a new sport,” said Stephenson, who usually snowboards. “I crashed twice my first time.”

She was in good hands, though. Soon as she finished putting on her gear, she was whisked away by the eager students, excited to show her the joys of the chilly winter air and crusty trails.

“It’s worth it to be out in the cold, it can actually give you an adrenaline rush,” said True. “You know you need to work harder to stay warmer.”

Her team members echoed the sentiment.

“We’re freezing together, so it’s okay,” Hanscom said.

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Martha Siegel, Bethel Outing Club member, enjoys some fast moving skiing at the Telstar trails on Nordic Community Day, hosted by the Bethel Outing Club.  (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)

Gaelan Boyle-Wright skate skis past his friends in the woodsy portion of the Telstar ski trails on Sunday afternoon.  (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)

Koley True and Ricco Call chat on the trail of the Telstar ski trails. The two are on the nordic ski team at Telstar Regional High School.  (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)

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