The Skiing Judd Sisters of Litchfield.
By, JOHN TORSIELLO
While other high school girls are bouncing basketballs, swimming or competing in indoor track and field, the Judd sisters of Litchfield are hitting the slopes in earnest as members of the Gunnery School ski team.
Olivia Judd is one of two captains for the Washington school’s ski team, joining the squad as a freshman and now in her third year with the team. Last year, she won a season award as a member of the junior varsity team.
“Olivia is hard working, and she is a great role model for our team,” said Jen Hart, coach of the Gunnery Ski team. “She is also a diligent student and a great person.”
Caroline Judd is a sophomore member of the squad and in her second year with the team.
“She keeps growing and developing as a racer,” said Hart. “She is also a strong, hard working student and a great kid. Both girls are very involved with all aspects of school life and beloved members of the team.”
The sisters started skiing at very young ages.
“I have been skiing for as long as I can remember,” said Olivia. “My parents started the whole family skiing when we were really young because they knew it was something fun that we could do as a whole family, no matter how old or how experienced.”
Offered Caroline,“We started when we were really little, about four or five years old, on a little mountain in Vermont called Ridin' High Ranch. We started because our dad is absolutely addicted and obsessed with skiing. It is not that hard to pick up but once you move away from doing `pizza’with your skis you have to move to `French fries.’ It gets more difficult to get the techniques down right but when you have them it's a lot of fun.”
Both girls began competitive ski racing as freshmen at The Gunnery, a private school.
Said Olivia, “I hadnever raced prior coming to The Gunnery, but I found it was fairly easy to pick up. My biggest obstacle was having to get over the fear of crashing into the gates.
Said Caroline, “It's a ton of fun competing for The Gunnery ski team. We are like one big happy family and it is a great mix of kids. The whole league that we race for is actually really close, everyone knows mostly everyone else’s names.”
Gunnery fields both varsity and junior varsity racers. The Berkshire Hudson Ski League has five regular season races plus a League championship. Forman, Housatonic, Marvelwood and Kildonan also compete in the league. Each team can race up to eight racers on the varsity team in races and varsity racers ski two runs each. Races are either run on giant slalom or slalom courses and the top four combined times of the four fastest racers from each team create a team score and determine the standings for a race. Junior varsity racers only do one run in any given race. Individual awards are given for the top three varsity racers and the top three junior varsity racers from each race.
Olivia called racing for Gunnery “one of the best experiences I've had on a sport team.”She added, “I wasn't really sure what ski team was all about when I first started, but Miss Hart did a really good job of showing us the ropes. Mr. Gould, our parent volunteer, has taught me not only how to improve as a racer, but a skier as a whole. As corny as it sounds, we've really become like a family.”
The Gunnery team practices and races at Mohawk Mountain Ski Area in Cornwall and also races at Butternut and Bosquet in Massachusetts, Catamount in New York, and Sunapee in New Hampshire.
Said Olivia, “The coolest place I have ever skied was Smugglers Notch (Vermont) with my family. We rented a little house on the side of the mountain, so we were able to pop on our skis and start skiing right from the front door.” Caroline concurred.
The Judd’s favorite event is the giant slalom.“The gates are more spread out than in slalom,” said Olivia.
The sisters admit to being competitive with one another.
“Caroline and I are fairly competitive with each other, but it's all in good fun. When one of us does better than the other, we poke fun a bit, but we never get really worked up.”
Said Caroline, “We are defiantly competitive with each other. I mean I don't really know if Olivia knows that I am competitive with her but the second we get down the mountain I ask her for her time.”
In the fall, Olivia competes for the Gunnery cross-country team, and plays softball in the spring. Caroline plays soccer in the fall.
As the Judd sister of Litchfield prove, the family that skis together stays together, even if there is some heated competitive fire thrown in to make for interesting conversation at the dinner table.