Lincoln-Sudbury Regional junior Laura Appleby, Concord-Carlisle senior captain Phoebe Meyerson, and Brookline sophomore Eva Baumann are competitors on the cross-country ski trails — from the Weston Ski Track to the Notchview Reservation in the Berkshires, and beyond.
But because of the nature of Nordic skiing, and the necessity to often train together in search of a patch of snow, their friendship continues to evolve.
“I love it,” said Baumann, who like Appleby and Meyerson, is a returning Globe All-Scholastic selection from the 2017-18 season.
“These are some of my closest friends, and I find it’s really important to have people who share your passions. They drive me to be a better person every day and a better skier and so it’s really cool seeing them here and getting to interact with them and race with them.”
Appleby, the reigning MIAA state champion, has placed first at every Massachusetts Bay West League meet this season and is eyeing a repeat in the state meet later this month.
Meyerson has finished right behind Appleby at every league meet, propelling Concord-Carlisle to a 4-1 record.
Baumann has been hampered a bit by injury, but is still eyeing the state meet, scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 26, at Notchview in Windsor, or Prospect Mountain in Woodford, Vt., depending on course conditions.
Even though they represent different high schools, they are together for practice runs, or in competition, four to five days per week at the Weston Ski Track, based at the Leo J. Martin Memorial Golf Course.
Meyerson said that being in the presence of Appleby and Baumann provides extra motivation.
“Sometimes I’ll be like ‘Oh, I don’t know if I’m going to ski today’ and then I’ll see Laura, and it just makes it so much better skiing with friends and I think Weston’s a great place to do that,” Meyerson said.
Two weekends ago, the Weston track hosted the Race for Snow, an event dedicated to addressing climate change. The Weston Sprints were scheduled to take placeon Valentine’s Day — a dress-up event in which skiers from every league come to the track dressed up and compete in sprint races.
“It’s super unofficial, the number of people who advance [to the next round of sprints based on times]. It’s not `uniform, it’s such a cool scene because it’s just wild,” Appleby said.
The events are another opportunity the three to ski together, have fun, and relish the closeness of a community.
The three are also members of the Cambridge Sports Union, which traditionally practices right after the high school teams at the Weston Ski Track.
Because of their high school obligation, Meyerson and Baumann don’t participate with the CSU during the winter, though Appleby chooses to do both.
“The community is really close, we all know each other really well,” Meyerson said. “I feel like I can ski here and just see tons of people that I know and it’s a really positive community that works together and that will always be there.”
There is nothing easy about Nordic skiing, a sport that combines talent, skill, and endurance.
“Nordic skiing is a difficult sport,” said Lincoln-Sudbury coach Rami Alwan. “It matches the endurance of a marathoner with the grace and coordination of a dancer.”
On the weekends, Appleby trains at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center in Vermont on the Eastern Cup circuit. She also participates in Ultimate (Frisbee) in the spring to maintain her conditioning.
Her key to success on skis is being “mentally strong and just put together.”
Alwan said Appleby’s ability “to metabolize and process oxygen gives her a genetic advantage. Second, I’ve never met anyone wants to lose less. Losing is not part of her vocabulary.”
For Meyerson, it’s about the hard work she puts in, day in and day out.
“Phoebe works really hard,” said Concord-Carlisle coach Jeff Parker. “The same attitude she has to academics she brings to practice. Real strong work ethic.”
Meyerson also participates in the Eastern Cup Circuit with Appleby. The four weekends in which the girls participate determine who qualifies for the junior nationals.
For Baumann, the focus is on her recovery, fitness, and toughness.
“I’m hoping to maintain my fitness through this injury process — really focus on learning mental toughness and working on the competitive side of things,” Baumann said.
On Feb. 26, at the state meet, they will be competitors.
But in the end the admiration, respect, and fun will still be there.
“We’re friends but once the race starts the friendship sort of goes aside and you race as hard as you can and then at the end of the race you’re friends again,” Baumann said. “And you respect everyone for how well they did; if someone didn’t have a good race you comfort them and then you celebrate the people who did well.”Alex Bensley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.