SUN VALLEY - Idaho's iconic winter sports mecca - Sun Valley - is the birthplace of American Alpine skiing, and the home of the country's first chairlift.

But for those skiers who are more interested in covering distance than vertical, this town has earned itself another moniker: Nordic Town, USA.

On a recent morning at the Galena Nordic Center just north of Sun Valley, a couple dozen young cross-country skiers prepared for their first true test of the season - a run on a five-kilometer track.

"Just get the cobwebs out and test themselves in an environment where there’s really no pressure to go fast," explained Travis Jones, coach of the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation Nordic team.

The 5K course is short, especially when you consider there are more than 80 miles of groomed Nordic trails in the area.

"It's amazing," said Lily Brunelle, a member of the SVSEF Nordic team. "The trails are awesome, the views are awesome, it’s amazing."

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It's no wonder that every year, "Nordic Town, USA" draws hundreds of students from first grade through post-grad to the SVSEF's cross-country team.

"Just being out on the trails with my friends is what makes me want to continue doing it," team member Ella Wolter said.

It's this strong sense of community, along with the seemingly endless trail system, that has earned Sun Valley the title of the nation's only designated Nordic Olympic training site.

"I’m hard pressed to think of any other town in the country that could compete with Sun Valley for cross-country skiing," Jones said.

The designation not only entitles Sun Valley to supplemental funding from the United States Olympic Committee, but it also draws the nation's top athletes here to train.

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"Just having that relationship with the kids coming up and their heroes they actually know each others' names that’s a really powerful thing for kids," Jones said.

On the international stage, cross-country has historically been dominated by Scandinavian countries like Norway. But the Americans are on the rise, with the women earning three world championship medals and eight world cup podiums last year.

"It’s inspired me a lot," Brunelle said. "It’s so cool seeing girls from our country doing well outside of our country so that has definitely inspired me to race and try my best."

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These young skiers are watching and cheering on the Americans in PyeongChang, all while keeping their own goals in sight.