During this year’s cross-country ski season, Jessie Diggins of the U.S. Ski Team became the first American woman to win the Crystal Globe, the prestigious award given to the winner of the FIS Cross-Country World Cup.
By her side the whole time was Tim Baucom, of Walpole.
A 2005 graduate of Fall Mountain Regional High School, Baucom, who now lives in Bozeman, Mont., spent the season as a ski technician for the U.S. Ski Team, his sixth year filling that role.
He and the seven other ski technicians are responsible for managing the athletes’ skis and making sure they are in proper training and racing condition.
Baucom is in charge of managing the glide of each pair of skis — between 30 and 50 pairs of skis per athlete, he said.
Diggins’ achievement this year of winning the Crystal Globe will go down as a historic moment for the national ski team, Baucom said.
“As far as Jessie’s season — this season has to be one of the biggest skiing achievements in U.S. history,” Baucom said. “For her, it’s huge. And it took so much consistency. It’s just a really impressive feat and it was awesome to be a part of it.”
He and the rest of the team left for Europe in mid-November, with the ski season starting on Thanksgiving weekend.
It was roughly a four-month season, ending in mid-March. During the season, each skier is awarded a certain number of points depending on their finish in the races. The skier with the highest points total at the end of the World Cup wins the Crystal Globe.
Earning the Crystal Globe means skiing at a consistently high level throughout that entire four-month stretch. And, to add to the challenges, the races are different lengths and disciplines (distance or sprint).
“You have to really be good at everything,” Baucom said. “It’s really hard to do. [Diggins] was really consistent all year.
“If you get sick and miss some races, if you get injured and miss some races, if you’re one of those athletes that peaks during a certain time period but can’t hold that shape all season long, it’s definitely hard to do,” he added.
Diggins also became the first American — either man or woman — to win the Tour de Ski, one of the main events of the Cross-Country World Cup. The race is comparable to the Tour de France biking race, Baucom said.
Baucom attributed his love for skiing to his coaches at Fall Mountain. He also went on to ski at the University of New Hampshire after his graduation from Fall Mountain Regional.