“Don’t Let Up:” Biesemeyer Encourages at School Meeting Talk 

Director of Alpine Skiing Tommy Biesemeyer (Photo: World Cup Dreams Foundation)

There may be no person who better understands our school’s 2021-22 theme of Resilience than Tommy Biesemeyer, Director of Alpine Skiing. Biesemeyer shared the adversity he faced how he persevered at school meeting on Monday, November 1.

“Don’t let up,” shared the 12-year veteran of the U.S. Ski team, who came back from numerous “career-ending” injuries. Biesemeyer’s list of injuries include, 3 broken hands, a broken jaw, herniated disc, torn lateral and medial meniscus, ACL and MCL (in his left knee), torn ACL and medial meniscus as well as a patella tendon rupture (in his right knee), Achilles’ tendon rupture, post-surgical Achilles’ tendon staph infection, and a broken shoulder. 

Some of his injuries had the worst possible timing. His Achilles’ tendon rupture occurred during the downhill training run, just days before he was supposed to compete in the Olympics. His motto of “don’t let up” helped him persevere through these setbacks.

Biesemeyer announced his retirement from the World Cup during the fall of 2020. Retirement doesn’t mean he’s lost his competitiveness, though. Several months after announcing his retirement Biesemeyer competed in US Nationals, and won his first U.S. National Downhill title. “Don’t take life too seriously,” he said in an Instagram post after his win. 

“As time goes on, it’s easier to reflect on my ski career because it is my own story, and I think kids deserve to know the importance that there’s no one way to be successful.” 

Humans of Northwood: Ms. Katie MacCuaig 

I’ve played hockey my whole life. When I was 15 I moved away from home in Massena NY to play on a travel team in New Hampshire. I was there for my sophomore, junior, and senior years. From there I got recruited, and I played hockey there at Holy Cross for four years. I was a political science major. I didn’t really know what to do after graduating college. All I had done my whole life was play hockey. I had never thought about what I wanted to do after. I was looking for jobs throughout the summer, and nothing was really clicking with me. I didn’t really want a 9-5 job because I had been an athlete my whole life. I was used to being busy all the time. At the end of the summer, [Northwood Athletic Director] Trevor Gilligan reached out to me about an opportunity to coach at Northwood. I also teach now too. It’s really nice to coach kids who have the same goals and aspirations that I did. It’s nice to be able to connect with them because I recently went through what they’re going through. We relate on the same topics. Even with other sports like skiing and soccer, it’s cool to be around kids who have similar goals.

As told to Leah DeFilippo ’22 (Photo provided) 

Humans of Northwood: Cilla Nee ’22 

When I was a second year U16 we had a speed [Super G] series at Burke. Pretty much every U16 girl went to this series, and Burke was hosting a training camp on the track that we would be skiing a few days before the races. The U16 girls decided not to do the training camp. This was a bit of a mistake. We weren’t sure what we were getting into. 

There’s this one jump at Burke. It’s called pavilion. Pavilion is fine-if you prepare for the jump correctly. But if you don’t prepare for pavilion correctly, then you’re either getting sent into the B-Net to the right, or getting tons of air right onto the pitch. We had like a 50% chance of us doing this jump right. I love the 04s/05s, but we were screwed. 

Race day came and there was a foot of snow on the ground, the wind was shaking the chairlift, and the race was put on hold. We were all a bit anxious, as extra snow for speed events can make things more dangerous. It was also really hard to see, the light was flat and dark. Somehow, the course was set, and we went up to slip. Course maintenance had us to tip to tail slips, but the snow was just not going anywhere. We did around three slip runs before we were told to head inside. 

I can’t remember who, but someone had an Uno deck in their boot bag. The NYSEF girls started playing and slowly more and more Vermont girls joined in on our game. Eventually we had pretty much everyone racing that day playing a huge game of Uno. I’m pretty sure US Ski Team Member Zoey Zimmerman, who was at the race, even played.

Eventually our coach came in, sat down, and started talking to us. We asked him if the race was canceled and he was like “I don’t know. It could be.” Five minutes later the race director came into the lodge and said the race was cancelled. 

The next day is just as hectic, it was -18 degrees. You couldn’t have any skin exposed or you would get frost bite within a matter of seconds. We put tape on our faces to try to protect out skin, but it wasn’t working. 

It’s time for the U16 girls to go, and we’re terrified. We all make it down ok, but everyone did pretty bad. Our usual speed queens were around six seconds out, and the rest of us are close to last, or just last. But at the end of the day it was a good experience.

Photos from that race:






As told to Leah DeFilippo ’22. Photo of Cilla by Mr. Michael Aldridge. Race photos provided.

New Equipment a Major Upgrade for Ski Team

The Wintersteiger Jupiter is a fully automated tuning and service system for skis and snowboards (Photo: Wintersteiger Company)

The Northwood Ski team will soon get a massive upgrade: a Wintersteiger Jupiter, a fully automated tuning and service system for skis and snowboards.

“The Wintersteiger will grind the base of the ski, put a pattern on creating a fresh layer, take side and base edges down, and will allow taper beveling,” U19 Head Alpine Men’s FIS Coach Mr. Thomas Vonn ’94 said. 

“We will no longer have to outsource to other ski shops who aren’t as high tech as we’re looking for,” Vonn added. “Having the Wintersteiger will show up in the team’s results. Everyone’s skis will feel more consistent, so athletes will be able to push more. It’s like having a car that you know you trust and know you can push to the limit. ”

This is good news to Kieran Delay ’23 is a ski racer known for extreme attention to his equipment. “I’m super excited that we now have the opportunity to keep everything in-house and not have to outsource,” Delay said. “This makes the turn around almost instant.”

Mr. Tommy Bisesmeyer, Director of Alpine Skiing thinks the new equipment will be a competitive advantage for Northwood’s ski program. “In the current state of ski academies, there’s an arms race to see who has the best equipment. The Wintersteiger Jupiter puts us in the lead,” Biesemeyer said.  

Neil Lande, Northwood’s new Ski Technician. (Photo provided)

Mr. Neil Lande, Northwood’s Ski Technician, will be responsible for operating the new equipment. Lande is excited to be running the Wintersteiger. “With the addition of the Wintersteiger Jupiter, we will be able to precisely discuss plans in every variable of our athlete’s skis, allowing them to take their skiing to the next level,” Lande said.

The Wintersteiger will be located in the former girls’ hockey storage building, and is set to arrive early November. The Girls’ Hockey team is now using the former art studio the basement of Bergamini to store their equipment.

More Dispatches from the Hintertux Glacier [with Playlist]

Be sure to check out Leah’s other dispatch from Hintertux.

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Wednesday, October 6th, 2021. Yet another weather day. Major bummer, but we made the best of it. After study hall, I did an “Insanity Workout” with Hillary, Norah, and some of the FIS boys. We’re all big Shaun T fans. Then I went to an indoor climbing gym about 20 minutes down the road with Coach Patrick Purcell, Cara Dempsey ‘25, and Bodhi Boeschen ‘24. It was cool to see how different climbing is compared to the US. When you go indoor climbing in the US, there’s mats everywhere on the floor, someone is putting you on the auto-belay, and there’s typically an age limit. In Austria, there are no mats, you put yourself on the auto-belay, and there are six-year-olds going up the same climbing wall as you. It was a fun change of pace climbing. Shoutout Northwood Outing Club. 

Song of the day: “My Tears Ricochet,” by Taylor Swift 


Thursday, October 7th, 2021. I would count today as half a weather day. We headed up the glacier, took one look around, saw nothing but white, and left. It was one of the weirdest conditions I’ve ever skied. When it’s snowing in the US, there are trees, so there is never a complete whiteout. But this was just white. Nothing but snow and fog. I had clear lenses on, and the white was so bright that it was burning my eyes, so I closed them on the t-bar. We got back from the mountain around 2:30 pm. The FIS girls went to a pool 30 minutes from our hotel and hit the water slides and whirlpool. The FIS boys did yet another Insanity workout. I haven’t had to tune my skis since Monday, I definitely miss that part of my day. 

Song of the day: “pride . is . the . devil,” by J. Cole & Lil Baby (been on repeat all day) 


Friday, October 8th, 2021. Finally, we got to go skiing again today. The weather was perfect, it was sunny and just the right amount of cold. The snow was a bit soft, but that’s good for us because we typically ski on hard snow. We got around six runs in on the course and hit the free ski lane for some soul shredding. There were literally dead birds just in the middle of the trail and along the T-bar. Just straight up dead birds. Deceased. No longer living. To the birds: “You clearly haven’t adapted to living at this elevation if there are this many of you dying all at once, so why are you up here? Just go down lower.” On our way back, we made a quick stop at the grocery store. Grocery stores in Europe are so much smaller than grocery stores in the US. They still have the variety that the US has, but the shelves are higher so more items can fit. There also seems to be no store brand products (Great Value, Walmart Wegmans, etc.). I got to tune my skis today, I missed the sound of my machine tuner. 

Song of the day: “Lord I Know,” by Kid Cudi 


Saturday, October 9th, 2021. We went back to slap some plastic today. It was sunny and hot. I got around six runs in on the course, and around 7 free ski runs. The free skiing was really good; the snow was perfect. We headed back to the hotel, ate dinner and tuned our skis. Overall, a pretty mellow day. But “Praise God” and “Off the Grid,” by Kanye West made my day. (To be completely honest I write my diary entries the day after so I can reflect better, and I hit my head on Sunday, so I didn’t go to study hall, and I forgot a bit of my day.) 

Song of the day: “Praise God” and “Off the Grid,” by Kanye West 


Sunday, October 10th, 2021. Today started out strong. We had team photos on the overlook of the glacier. Then we set a slalom course and started training. I got in two runs, but on my second run I fell and hit my head, so my day consisted of sitting at the bottom of the course figuring out if I hit my head hard enough to call it a day. I did, so I headed back down to the van and chilled. Coach Worm told some stories on the van ride back, and once we got back it was sitting in a dark room for me. I took a nap, woke up and wasn’t sure where I was. But I eventually figured it out. Coach Jeremy “Worm” Transure said I had a minor concussion. Then I talked to my coaches, and we decided that I would be off snow for the rest of the camp. 

Song of the day: “everything i wanted,” by Billie Eilish (pre-fall) 


Monday October 11th, 2021. No skiing for me today, just whiplash and naps. When I fell yesterday, I hit the back of my head on the snow, then flung it forward. Let’s go live laugh love whiplash. I just have a tension headache and some pain in the front of my next. Maris VanSlyke ‘15 also got a concussion a couple days before me, so we both walked into town for lunch and a grocery store run. That’s really all that happened today. 

Song of the day: I didn’t really listen to music today. 


Tuesday October 12th, 2021. Let’s go another day of pretty much nothing. The other girls are skiing on a Europa Cup lane this morning. If you don’t know what a Europa Cup lane is, it’s just a really good lane. I’m just chilling in study hall. My neck still hurts, but not as bad as it did yesterday. I’ve been having trouble falling asleep before 1:30 am but it’s fine because I don’t really have anywhere to be. Today everyone’s packing up their skis and duffels. We hit the road tomorrow at 4:00 am. 

Song of the day: “High Today (feat, Logic),” by Wiz Khalifa 


Wednesday, October 13th, 2021. I woke up at 3:30 am and was on the road by 4:00 am. We made it to Munich, checked our bags and boarded our flight to Newark. When we landed in Newark, one of our international students got stuck in customs, but he made it through. When I was going through customs, I had around 40 pounds of bindings in a little duffle, my school bag, and my ski boots. Obviously, I look like I’m struggling, but trust me, I got it. This man that was behind me just insisted upon carrying my boots, but I kept telling him “No thank you I got it.”  

Eventually he took the boots out of my hand and in my head, I was like “Dude, lay off. I got this.”  

I get to the customs agent and this man literally comes up to the agent with me and hands the agent his passport as I’m handing the agent mine. The agent asks, “What’s the relation?”  

I say, “I don’t know this guy.”  

The agent is obviously suspicious and tells the man to go back behind the yellow line.  

I answer the typical questions and then the border agent asks me, “Are you ok?”  

“Yes,” I say. 

“Are you sure you’re ok? You can tell me if you’re not ok.”  

I say “Oh, that guy was just really insistent on helping me carry my boots.”  

In conclusion, if a random man offers to carry your ski boots in the customs line, be more assertive about your answer: no.  

All our ski bags made it to Newark, and we started our drive back to Lake Placid. It was really cool to see the foliage.  

Song of the day: “Fine Whine (feat. Joe Fox x Future x M.I.A)” 


Here is the playlist of Songs of the Day from both of Leah’s dispatches:

Dispatches from the Hintertux Glacier [With Slideshow]

Leah DeFilippo ‘22 (Photo: Mr. Michael Aldridge)

Be sure to check out Leah’s other dispatch from Hintertux.

Staff writer Leah DeFilippo ‘22 is an alpine ski racer who is currently at a training camp in Hintertux, Austria organized by NYSEF. Each day she logs a diary entry that she shares occasionally with the readers of The Mirror. 

Monday, September 27th, 2021. It is currently 11:56 pm EST. time, I am currently flying over the Atlantic Ocean. It’s been a long day, but a good travel day. We efficiently loaded our ski bags, boots bags, and duffels into two Northwood buses and two NYSEF vans. Obviously Ikuo Toishi’s van took the dub [win], Jimbo Johnson’s van in second, Tommy Biesemeyer’s bus in third, and Thomas Vonn’s bus in dead last on the NYSEF/Northwood race to the Newark airport. I personally hit a record low for baggage fees, and everyone else did fairly well too. I had around 40 pounds of bindings in my carryon bag, and the TSA agent was suspicious of them to say the least. Let’s pray all of our ski bags made it to Munich, Germany. 

Song of the day: HIGHEST IN THE ROM by Travis Scott 


Tuesday, September 28th, 2021. I’m tired today because I didn’t sleep at all on the plane. But all our baggage arrived on time and in one piece which was a win. We drove from Munich, Germany to Finkenburg, Austria after our flight. Then we unpacked our gear, and I took a trip to the grocery store with Liz Creigton ‘24, Hillary Larsen ‘22, Dominick Deguardia ‘24, Norah Dempsey ‘21, and Joey Galperin. Fun fact: gummy bears are better in Europe. They’re simply built differently. 

Song of the day: Horizon by Malz Monday 


Wednesday, September 29th, 2021. Today was our first day on snow! It was raining down by our hotel, but on the glacier it was snowing lightly. There was a bit of discontent with the conditions, but I thought it was fine. Any skiing (that is not flat out dangerous) is better than no skiing. A lot of people’s ski boots were causing them foot pain, so shells were taken off on the glacier. We are all currently grinding our homework at study hall. 

Song of the day: Life Goes On by Lil Baby (feat. Gunna & Lil Uzi Vert) 


Thursday, September 30th, 2021. We had a flip day today. There was study hall from 8 am-10 am, and we skied from 11:30 am to 4:30 pm. Today I hit a rock on my skis and got a gauge right along the edge. Rest In Peace to the 773 SL skis. They were on their last legs anyway, but they were my favorite pair of skis. Besides that, it was a good day. It was sunny and bluebird skies on the glacier today. I am excited for the weekend so that I can catch up on my schoolwork. Peace. 

Song of the day: Moonwalking in Calabasas (feat. Blueface) [Remix] 


Friday, October 1st, 2021. On our way to the glacier this morning, we had to stop because there were cows that needed to get across the road. It was the FIS girls’ first day on GS skis today and we spent the day free skiing. The FIS boys slapped some plastic and ripped some slalom turns. I went on a run after skiing and met some friendly goats and sheep, I did not touch them because you must declare that when you go through customs. There is a dog at the hotel we are staying at, but it does not like people. I put my hand out so that it could smell and it snapped at me. It also snapped at Dominick, and Lincoln, so it’s just not a “people person”. 

Song of the day: People Watching by Conan Gray 


Saturday, October 2nd, 2021. Today was a long day. I got around 10-13 runs in our GS course, and 6 free runs. Coach Jeremy “Worm” Transue’s van got stuck in some mud and had to get pulled out by an Austrian homie. My van stopped at a ski shop and got back to the hotel around 5:20 pm. After dinner I hit the tuning room and waxed some skis. 

Song of the day: Hurricane by Kanye West 


Sunday, October 3rd, 2021. Today is our fifth consecutive day skiing (day five in the trenches), which isn’t a lot back home, but at the elevation we’re at it’s a lot. I am definitely feeling it this morning. The FIS boys took today off, but the U16s and FIS girls chose to go the extra day because we’re supposed to get three feet of snow tomorrow. I know what someone ready this maybe be thinking, “Three feet of snow? That sounds awesome!” Wrong. When it snows three feet, trams, gondolas, and lifts do not run. But our training day was pretty good! Clouds would go in and out making it hard to see, but still a productive day. Because of the fog, I got a bit lost with Jeremy “Worm” Transue coming down to the gondola. Pro tip: if you’re ever by a bunch of parked snow cats on a mountain, you’re lost. Go back the way you came. 

Song of the day: DNA by Kendrick Lamar 


Monday, October 4th, 2021. Day one out the trenches, today is a rest day. We started our day off with a productive two-hour study hall. We headed into the “Main Street” of Finkenberg and had lunch. After that, we made a quick run to the grocery store to stock up on some snacks for the week. Overall an uneventful day but fun and relaxing.  

Song of the day: Kings Dead from the Black Panther Sound Track 


Tuesday, October 5th, 2021. I’m currently in study hall, and I’m having Wi-Fi issues. I can’t even load my assignments on Teams let alone do my assignments. I’m typing this in the notes app because I can’t even load Microsoft Word. Looking at the web cam of the glacier, it’s just gray. I can’t see anything. According to Mrs. Fagan, “It’s like water skiing up there.” So we will not be skiing. This will be the boys third rest day and the girls second. We went into Innsbruck and walked around the city. It was cool to see the architecture. It was hard to tell the difference between residential buildings and stores. 

Song of the day: NDA by Billie Eilish  

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Ski Racers Off to Austria for Pre-Season Camp

For the first time in two years, the Northwood Ski Team will be traveling to Europe. Seventeen Northwood ski racers will join other athletes from NYSEF for an early season camp on the Hintertux Glacier.  

The team flew out of Newark on Monday morning and landed in Munich Germany, then took a bus to Finkenburg, Austria. For two weeks they will train in the Zillertaler Alps.  

Because the delta variant has caused a spike in COVID cases across the Europe and the US, staff attending this trip have been examining COVID protocols for months. NYSEF/Northwood head U16 coach Patrick Purcell said “COVID wise, we have researched all the necessary guardrails, restrictions, and guidelines that are required for travel. We have met all the requirements. It’s been exhaustive. We have put every safety precaution for our athletes and staff possible, but there’s always that risk. We feel confident that we’ve taken every precaution to continue our athletic training.”  

The skiers are excited to resume training, “I am very excited to go to Austria, to get back on snow, and to see how much I can improve from last year,” said Lincoln Norfolk ‘24.  Senior Hillary Larsen said, “I’m really excited to be returning to Europe. I missed the early season training that’s pretty rare in the US.” 

A ski camp in September may seem excessively early to those unfamiliar with ski racing, but the pre-season training is crucial to have a successful ski season. “We can’t sit back and wait for the snow to fly. By doing competitive athletic training camps like this, we’re expanding on what we do year round. Our sport is on the snow and we need to travel,” said Purcell.  

Coach Jeremy “Worm” Transue added that “The trip to Hintertux will provide the athletes with the opportunity to strengthen their fundamental skill set through varying events and terrain while gaining valuable lessons in the European cultural experience.”  

Humans of Northwood: Raychel Germaine

“I was born in Phoenix Arizona. I moved away when I was two. I moved about thirteen times before I was the age of thirteen. I lived in Germany, the East coast, West coast, North, South, all of it.

I grew up playing soccer, and I was in competitive soccer until I was fourteen when I decided to try out for luge. My dad was on the luge team in the late 80s and early 90s. I came up to Lake Placid from Georgia to try out. I was told that I was too old and too small to make the team. I fought this decision and asked for the summer to prove myself. I  went through physical testing and made the team.

Germaine on the podium at a Luge World Cup event. (Photo provided)

I started competing internationally in 2011, I made the youth Olympic Games in 2012 in Innsbruck Austria. After that I made the Junior National Team and competed internationally on the Junior World Cup circuit from 2012-2015 and in 2015 I became the Junior National Champion. I then made the Senior National Team, raced World Cups, and got top tens in a few races. 

I tore my shoulder in 2015 and got shoulder surgery. This put me back a lot, I went from being extremely strong and happy about how I was with sliding, to not even being able to put my hair up for a few months. I ended up making the World Cup team that year and World Champs. I was really happy and proud of myself that I was able to go from my lowest times to my highest. 

In 2018 I competed for a spot on the Olympic team, but I didn’t make it, and it was one of the hardest years of my life. I thought about quitting but I decided to compete again. I had a really good year competing that year, and was proud of myself for bringing myself up from the bottom to the top. I think a lot of people experience that in their athletic career. You can’t ride the high forever.

Ms. Raychel Germaine is the Director of Ski Operations for Northwood School.

As told to Leah DeFilippo ‘22. Photos provided.



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