NYSEF names Scanio athlete of the month

Lake Placid's Andrew Scanio took the top spot in Saturday's Harry Eldridge NYSEF U16 boys race with a time of 15:47.

LAKE PLACID — Lake Placid’s Andrew Scanio was named the New York Ski Education Foundation’s Athlete of the Month.

Scanio is a 15-year-old biathlon and cross country athlete who is currently a sophomore at Lake Placid High School.

He learned to ski age four and started training with NYSEF as an 8-year-old.

Like many local outdoor enthusiasts, Scanio had the opportunity to enjoy both alpine and nordic skiing.

“While I enjoyed both sports, I developed a stronger connection with cross country, so I decided to switch to that full-time,” he said.

Two weekends ago, Scanio ecently swept the top spots in the first two Under-16 competitions of the season, the Harry Eldridge classic and freestyle races held on Jan. 9 and 10 at Mt. Van Hoevenberg.

He acknowledges there was plenty of excitement surrounding the first races held at the brand new venue, which was built to meet World Cup standards over the past year. He felt well prepared for the challenging course as the NYSEF team has been able to train consistently on the new trails since mid-November.

“Having the new venue and its new snowmaking capabilities have been a complete game changer for our program,” said NYSEF biathlon and cross country head coach Shane MacDowell. “Andrew has taken full advantage of everything the program and venue have to offer by showing up every day ready to work hard and achieve his goals.”

When asked about his short and long term goals, Scanio noted, “my short term goal is to finish the season strong and stay healthy. In the future, I would love to ski in college.”

Although the current pandemic has introduced many challenges for competitive athletes like Scanio, he continues to stay focused on his academics and athletics.

“It can be challenging balancing school and sport, but I usually try to do as much work as I can during the study halls scattered throughout my school day, and then head over to Mt. Van Hoevenberg for ski practice,” he said. “NYSEF keeps me busy and these days I appreciate the social aspect of the program even more.”

“It has been such a pleasure to watch Andrew mature as an athlete,” said cross country assistant coach Julianne Stemp. “Andrew has taken real ownership of his skiing. He has recognized that much of an athlete’s success in nordic skiing is determined through their summer training, and his hard efforts throughout the summer have produced results which he is excited about this year.”

Scanio’s role models in the sport are Scott Schulz and Van Ledger. “They’re both excellent skiers who graduated from Lake Placid High School,” he says.

In his free time, he enjoys performing in theater, playing the trombone and spending time outdoors with his family.