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Surrounded by children in the Dewey Mountain Recreation Center youth ski program, biathlete Annelies Cook of Saranac Lake holds a sign for a trail at the ski center named for her Thursday. Cook was nominated this month to the U.S. Olympic Team for February's winter games in Sochi, Russia.  Photo: Chris Knight, courtesy of <em>Adirondack Daily Enterprise</em>
Surrounded by children in the Dewey Mountain Recreation Center youth ski program, biathlete Annelies Cook of Saranac Lake holds a sign for a trail at the ski center named for her Thursday. Cook was nominated this month to the U.S. Olympic Team for February's winter games in Sochi, Russia. Photo: Chris Knight, courtesy of Adirondack Daily Enterprise

Adirondack x-country ski area launches Olympians

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A small cross-country ski center in Saranac Lake is now home to three trails named for local Olympians who grew up skiing its woods and slopes.

Dewey Mountain Recreation Center christened its newest trail last week for Annelies Cook.

The 29-year-old biathlete from Saranac Lake was recently nominated to the U.S. Olympic Team that will compete in February at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

As Chris Knight reports, Cook says the small Nordic ski area played a big role in her development as a skier.

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Reported by

Chris Knight
Adirondack Correspondent

Surrounded by a couple dozen young cross-country skiers, Annelies Cook was presented with the sign for a 1.3 kilometer easy trail at the ski center that’s been dubbed "Cookie Monster.”

"It's awesome. I'm really psyched," she said later. "We skied here all the time. Every Tuesday we'd do the races, and anytime I just wanted to go for a quick ski. I still do that."

This will be the first Olympics for the 29-year-old, who's in her third season on the World Cup biathlon circuit.

“Cookie Monster” is the third trail at Dewey Mountain to be named after a local Olympian.

The other two are "Timinator," which honors Tim Burke, a Paul Smiths native and two-time Olympian in biathlon, and "Iron Bill," named for Vermontville native Bill Demong, a four-time Olympian in nordic combined who won gold and silver medals at the 2010 games.

Burke has already been named to next year's Olympic team. Demong is also expected to win a nomination.

The fact that such a small ski area has produced three Olympic-caliber skiers is significant, said Jack Burke, Tim Burke's father.

"I dare say there's no other ski area in the United States that could make that claim. There’s just a great core of people, very enthusiastic, and they come here and they have fun, and that’s first and foremost."

Cook said it takes more than just challenging ski trails to cultivate Olympic-caliber talent.

"I think it really speaks for the community," Cook said. "Everyone here believes what people are capable of and they encourage big dreams."

Special thanks to the Adirondack Daily Enterprise for help with this morning's Winter Olympics coverage. Thanks in particular to Enterprise reporter Chris Knight.  

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