NASTAR Roots, Team S & B
01.18.2018 | Megan Ganim
“When people used to ask me when the kids started skiing, I would always laugh and say, ‘in utero, of course’. People would get a big kick out of that.”
This is Peg Spenlinhauer, mother of four adults, Meg, Eric, Sepp, and Emmy who almost all have kids of their own now. Peg competes in the female age 75-79 category this year and to her grandkids, her name is “Ski Nanny”. According to her son Eric, she loves every bit of the name.
Last year at Liberty Mutual NASTAR Eastern Regional Championships, The Spenlinhaurs placed second in the Team Race, scoring closely behind the Blount Family. The Spenlihaur’s team name? Team S & B. The B stands for Bergendahl, Meg’s last name. The family is definitely a force to be reckoned with so if you’re heading to Okemo for the Liberty Mutual NASTAR Eastern Regional Championships next weekend, be sure to watch out for these speed demons.
The Spenlinhauer’s grew up skiing NASTAR at Cranmore Mountain in New Hampshire and both Meg and Eric went on to ski in high school at Burke Mountain Academy and Meg eventually went on to the Pro Tour for a year after racing D1 NCAA in college at University of New Hampshire.
Meg and Eric each have three kids of their own all around the same ages between eight and thirteen years old. Every weekend in the winter season, both families pack up their cars, Meg’s from Connecticut and Eric’s from Maine and they head up to their shared condo at Okemo Mountain Resort. Sometimes Ski Nanny comes too. Come Friday, it’s all ski, all the time for these families.
“It was never a goal of mine to have kids that race, but it’s such a great sport because I get to experience it with the kids. I get to ski and I don’t have to sit on the bleachers at a basketball game. To be able to do that versus being on the sidelines is incredible,” said Eric. “I would actually be okay if the kids didn’t want to race but I want them to enjoy skiing.”
Eric is a coach for the Okemo Mountain Racing Team’s Hopefuls program for ages seven to twelve. He introduces them to racing by allowing them to run NASTAR courses a couple times a week but his main goal is to make sure the little ones are having fun on skis.
Meg is also a volunteer coach for her two kids’ U14 club team.
“Instead of sending the kids off for the weekend, I get to play a bit of a role with their skiing. My daughter is super psyched on having me there and my son, well he could take it or leave it,” said Meg. “I really don’t want to step on any coaches toes so I instead try to coach alongside them rather than differently than them, it’s been really fun.”
Meg’s competitive ski racing background and her family’s dedication to the sport while living in New Hampshire growing up has in turn, given her kids the gift of skiing.
“What draws me to skiing over maybe another sport is probably the freedom. We were always free to roam the mountain as kids. Your parents don’t hover like maybe they would in another sport. It’s different now with my kids in this era of time, but my kids are always with their cousins (Eric’s kids who are the same ages) and that’s why we have a ski in ski out condo. They can leave and come back as they wish and that’s the exact freedom I loved as a kid,” Meg said.
The freedom of skiing is a term that many people who have planted roots in the sport can relate to. For the Spenlinhaurs, their roots were planted when Ski Nanny put her four children in a NASTAR course at Cranmore. Their roots expanded from there. From racing for academies, college, the Pro Tour and then eventually passing along their love of skiing to their kids.
Okemo Mountain Resort will be holding the 2018 Liberty Mutual Regional Championships January 27th through the 28th. If you haven’t registered yet, it’s not too late. Click here to register.
“The Regional Champs are a lot of fun and I know the kids are thinking they are going to at least try to beat me with a handicap this year. They’re also going to try and win their age group, they love that,” said Eric. “Two years ago it was freezing cold, the wind was blowing and I remember everyone was at the top of the course and laughing and having fun. Then there was the banquet and the kids were running around and having way too much fun. It’s a good time, for sure.”