It’s a line Clare Egan never expected to see on her resume.

Professional skier.

And yet, as a member of the Craftsbury Racing Project based in northeast Vermont, skier has been the Cape Elizabeth native’s vocation for the past six months. She’ll have a chance to put her skills on display this week in Rumford as the U.S. Cross Country Championships return to Black Mountain for the conclusion of a two-year visit.

“I definitely want to do better than I did last year,” said Egan by phone from Craftsbury, one of the few Nordic venues in New England with sustained skiing for the past month thanks to its snow-making capabilities. “I think I’ve improved a lot.”

Egan, Lucy Garrec of Freeport and the University of Vermont, Sam Tarling of Cumberland and Dartmouth College, and Welly Ramsey of New Sharon and the Maine Winter Sports Center, are among the Maine natives expected to be competitive in the national championships this week, considering all four raced in the NCAA skiing championships last March in Stowe, Vt.

Sprints on Monday and next Sunday sandwich longer races Wednesday and Friday with freestyle the first half of the week followed by classical. Organizers, who have been busy making snow to create a deep base for the trails, expect approximately 500 skiers to compete, including the adaptive sit-skiers scheduled to race Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

“There’s seven full days of exciting racing,” said Carlie Casey, chief of competition for the host Chisholm Ski Club. “We have plenty of snow on the courses. If you like ski racing, don’t look in your backyard and see grass and think there’s no skiing.”

Tarling, who won the NCAA classical 10K title in March, and Ramsey, who is taking a year off from the University of Maine at Presque Isle, are both gunning for berths on the Under-23 World Championship team, to be selected based on performances this week.

“It’s probably going to be 10 guys who are just as competitive as the next 10 all fighting for three spots,” Tarling said. “I would like to make it to the U-23’s. If not, it will definitely be just as good staying in the East and racing all the collegiate (carnivals). They will probably be the best way to prepare for the NCAAs.”

The U-23 World Champion-ships are scheduled for late February at altitude in Erzurum, Turkey. Also at stake in Rumford are berths on the Scandinavian Cup team (for athletes younger than 17) and Junior World Championships team.

“I think it’s less of a reach goal than it was last year,” said Ramsey, who, like Tarling, is 21. “I hope and pray that everything lines up and I can have some good results.”

Both Tarling, who took the fall term off from school, and Ramsey spent significant time out west to train for this season and even skied together in Yellowstone National Park.

“It was a pretty awesome fall,” said Tarling, who also trained in Colorado, Utah, Idaho and British Columbia, all the while keeping tabs on his Dartmouth Aires a cappella buddies while they competed on NBC-TV’s The Sing-Off. “I traveled around the West chasing snow and seeing different places and seeing different friends.”

Tarling also touched down in Craftsbury the weekend before Christmas for an Eastern Cup event and caught up with Egan, who seemed “chipper and fit,” he said.

A 2006 graduate of Cape Elizabeth High, Egan chose Wellesley College, which had no ski program until she created a club, and eventually reached the NCAA championship meet as a senior after spending her junior year abroad. With that year of unused eligibility, Egan enrolled in graduate school at the University of New Hampshire and competed in cross country, skiing and track.

Over the summer, when she wasn’t working at a Craftsbury summer camp or tending the Project garden, she actually trained on roller skis instead of focusing on running and spent considerable time in the gym, building up her strength.

“I used to spend all summer and fall training for 5K running races,” she said. “So this was a major change to my training.”

The entire Craftsbury team spent a month in Finland this fall so Egan enjoyed plenty of time on snow. She returned to Vermont and placed second, third and fifth in races at that Eastern Cup in Craftsbury.

“In a way, I’m not sure what to expect,” this week, Egan said. “I’m just going to race my hardest and see what happens.”

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