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XC Putney

Putney School

Putney School, a college preparatory school located in Putney, VT has a rich history of nordic skiing dating back to the mid 1950’s. In 1955 John Caldwell took over as coach after graduating from the Putney School in 1946. As a an athlete in the 1952 Olympics and a coach in 1968, 1972, 1980, and 1984, Caldwell brought a wealth of knowledge and an abundance of enthusiasm to this small private school in southern VT. At the time, the Putney School had both a traditional prep school team, which competed on both the high school and prep school circuit. Even though some very notable nordic skiers attended the school including Caldwell’s son Tim, (competed in four Olympics and three World Cups in the 1970s and 1980s) and Bill Koch, (3rd in 1974 Jr. World Championships, Silver medal in 1976 Olympics, Bronze medal in 1982 World Championships, and 1982 Overall World Cup Champion) the most important contribution to nordic skiing was the formation of the Putney Ski Club by John Caldwell. 

Based on the traditional philosophy of the Scandinavian ski club, the Putney ski club afforded skiers the opportunity to train under knowledgeable coaches and with like-minded athletes while representing one cohesive alliance. Skiers flocked to this program to train and learn from some of the best in the country. Notable Vermont Olympic cross-country skiers who skied for the Putney Ski Club included Stan Dunklee, Jim Galanes, Bob Gray, and Martha Rockwell. 

The Putney School took great pride in hosting cross-country races ranging from high school to National Championship events. The annual Putney Relays was a must attend event, attracting almost all the east’s top collegiate and club teams while many other Eastern Ski Association sanctioned events were always a good gauge to determine how one ranked within the East’s competitive field of cross-country athletes. 

Following the late 60’s and 70’s the Putney saw a big change in the climate, going through very sporadic winters with unreliable snow conditions. The Putney Ski Club eventually dropped most of it’s competitive skiing program including the many-hosted races by the Club. The Putney Ski Club currently exists as a BKL (Bill Koch League) club and the Putney School incorporates the non-competitive cross-country skiing into curriculum during the winter months. 

John Caldwell retired in 1989 and still takes great pride in watching his grand children transition into some of the country’s most elite skiers.