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Coach, Athlete, Strider Glider Alum: Julien Bordes

Julien Bordes

In the Beginning

Current Tahoe XC Devo coach Julian Bordes grew up in Tahoe. He participated in Strider Gliders but wasn’t too excited about cross-country skiing until he joined the North Tahoe Middle School team. There coach Mike McElravey made skiing fun by “giving us a shovel and telling us to go ski out to where we could make jumps,” said Bordes. While they were playing in the snow, they also got in great ski shape. He follows the same philosophy with the current crop of Devo members: Have fun while training.

Once he fell in love with cross country skiing Bordes picked up the sport quickly. In 6th grade he took 3rd place in the 2010 Great Ski Race amongst all junior skiers. Since his father Alain didn’t expect him to ski anywhere near that fast, “I ended up waiting an hour or two for Dad to meet me at the finish line,” said Bordes.

Julian spent his middle school days learning to become a better skier on the Tahoe XC Devo and Comp Teams with coaches Kara LaPoint and now Tahoe XC Executive Director, Ben Grasseschi. In high school Bordes began five years of training with August Teague’s Team Unleashed, as well as high school coaches Lapoint and Craig Smith.

High School Success

It was in high school that all that hard work with great coaches came to fruition. “My first year was my best year ever, I medaled in every junior national race I was in,” said Bordes. He raced well throughout his high school years, graduating in 2016 from North Tahoe High School.

After graduation Bordes decided to take a gap year before college in La Tlusaz in his father’s homeland of France. It was an awesome opportunity for Bordes to spend time with some of his relatives in France, while skiing. Unfortunately, his year ended in tragedy when his father died on a mountain bike ride in June 2017.

Some Health Concerns Come on in College

Bordes returned to America and began college at Northern Michigan University before transferring to Alaska Pacific University: home to one of the primary cross-country ski programs in the United States. He has trained for racing at the top level, but for the past few years has faced a new challenge: hypothyroidism, which makes it difficult for his body to pull energy from food.

During bouts of the illness he feels very tired, requiring long periods of sleep. It often flares up because of stress, so the process of training and racing at a high level can often trigger the symptoms. In addition to medication, he is having to learn what works for him in the way of diet and exercise to keep his body in prime condition for racing.

Julien's Coaching Joys

While life has dished out some major difficulties for Bordes the last few years, he has found coaching the Tahoe XC Devo team a welcome respite. “I absolutely love working with the kids,” said Julian. “The goal is to get them out and playing in the mountains, we do things they don’t normally do,” said Bordes. In the summer and fall, this includes jumping and playing in a boulder field, track relays, bike riding and eventually roller skiing, which is challenging for the kids to learn at first, but the most similar to cross country skiing.

In the winter, the Devo kids put in the Ks skiing at Tahoe XC and other resorts around the area with an emphasis on having fun and learning. Bordes says what helps the kids the most is watching the coaches. In addition to Bordes, coaches include JC Schoonmaker and Quinn Lehmkuhl former Strider Glider kids that have developed into world class cross-country skiers.

Julien Jumping

Interested in Coaching

If you are interested in coaching, we are currently looking for Strider Glider coaches. Coaching is a vital part of our youth programs. If you’re feeling the nudge, and would like to become more involved, please reach out by email.