July 17th, 2014
For the past 4 days the USST has been training along side the APU team here in Anchorage. This is the beginning of a 2 week camp in which the second half will be spent skiing on snow up on the Eagle Glacier. I haven’t been in Alaska in the summer since 2001 when I did my first US Ski team camp as a 17 year old…. so it’s been while. Although traveling out here is a bit of a process from Vermont, the training is pretty rad and the long cool days provide a perfect climate to escape the New England heat and get in some harder training.
The next two weeks will have a pretty high volume of hours but also we will try to hammer on one another a bit doing hard intervals and some speed workouts. the big pack roller skiing of some of our distance workouts is also a good change of pace. literally…the pace tends to be a little high when you put 15 -20 fast dudes in a group and tell them to ski distance for 2.5 hours.
So far we have had two really cool distance skis. one from just outside of town in Anchorage where we skied through a log of different developments finishing with a great view of the city. And another with even more vertical yesterday when we skied up Hatcher Pass. Although it was a little cold and cloudy it was still a pretty scenic training session, as you came around the corner to the top of hatcher pass it definitely looks like you’re somewhere in Europe or something winding up into the big mountains. A little bit of a change from our typical VT skies.
Ben and I climbing up
At the top!
Erik B trains out of Anchorage for most of the summer to he’s been stoked having both of his teams in town working together. here he is at the top of Hatcher pass.
We have a few more rollerski workouts planned over the next 2 days including some L3 skating intervals tomorrow at Kinkaid park and hopefully a ling OD on sunday before we wrap up the dry land portion of our camp and swap with the girls who are up on Eagle Glacier right now. I’m looking forward to getting back up to the glacier having not been back in 13 years. the views up there are amazing and flying in on the helicopter is always a fun opportunity. hopefully weather cooperates.
All in all life has been pretty good up here in AK… as long as you are aren’t a picky sleeper.
closing my shades at 10pm to get ready for bed and the sun is still shining!
July 12th, 2014
Big news coming out of southern Vermont here…. I’m officially a fisherman. After going fly fishing for the first time last year and being skunked each time I finally caught my first fish the other day. I have to admit I’ve realistically only gone a few times but it was starting to be an ongoing joke between Erika and I that I could never catch one, but the loosing streak is finally over.
It’s not the most spectacular looking fish but it was still a solid catch, haha … reeled in with my own tied flies! I think they’re only getting bigger from here on out.
The second week of this ‘big month’ has been had a great mix of everything here in VT. This week of training was slightly smaller than last but still packed with some quality workouts including some of the first L4 rollerskiing intervals of the summer. This is the time of year when we start to add in a little harder faster ski specific workouts so on Tuesday I started out the week with a 5×4 minutes sprint specific workout. it was a lung burner but it felt good to go fast.
Since this big week is still supposed to have a lot of volume we’ve been putting in the long workouts too. These are the weeks when you can be doing a bit of thunder storm dodging but when it’s clear it’s absolutely beautiful training around here at Stratton
A few of our staple workouts like bounding up Stratton and a lot of our OD’s end at the top of the mountain so when the gondola is running it’s a good way to save the legs from getting completely blown out.
With the kick ass wether going on I was really stoked to finally get my Triumph back from the shop. I dropped it off to my mechanic last year and it sat there all winter. There weren’t any serious modifications to be done but with such busy schedules I wasn’t able to get it until just a few days ago. It was awesome to get back out on the bonneville and I’m really looking forward to riding it a lot once we’re back from Alaska. With new tires and a fresh tune up it really fires off the line now putting those drag bars to good use.
we finished off the week today with some double pole intervals and strength . despite a few hard workouts all in all its been a more relaxed week as we get ready to head to a big two week training camp in Anchorage and up on Eagle glacier. It will be pretty easy to get the massive hours needed for this ‘big month’ with the next two weeks in training camp with the USST. I haven’t been up on the glacier since my first ever training camp with the US Team back in 2002, so it will be cool to get back to Alaska in the summer time and get some hard training in.
Pat talks DP technique with the girls
July 5th, 2014
This is a great time of year to be in VT and as always the week of the 4th is one of the biggest training weeks of the year, actually July is one of the biggest months of training for me hopefully logging around 85 hours for the month. So before I jumped into this missive month it was time to relax a bit and head out to Bozeman with Erika for a wedding. This was my first time in Bozeman during the summer months and it was awesome! great training in the mountains and beautiful wide open spaces that are so different that what Im used to here in VT I felt like a tourist most of the time snapping all kinds of photos. There were big thunderstorm rolling through each day but it kept the days cool and the scenery super green so I wasn’t complaining.
there was sill snow in the mountains especially on some of the big peaks. Anya, Howie, Erika and I did a run/hike up a 10,000+ foot peek which was a cool adventure for a sea level guy like myself.
The sun came out and it got really beautiful out for the ‘slide’ down. instead of following the trail we hit the snow and did some high speed glissading, it was a lot faster and a whole lot more fun and a bit of an off piste adventure.
The weather ended up being perfect for Saturdays wedding and it was a great time and a cool chance to meet a lot of Erika’s family and have a good ol party. The Little Smokies are a local blue grass band that played during the ceremony and reception which was rad. always but to stomp it out on the dance floor to some Montana blue grass.
It was hard to leave this scenery but on Monday I had to fly back to Albany and get ready for the ‘big’ month of training. For the last 5 days it’s been brutally hot here in VT with the usual sweat fest humid workouts we tend to get here in July and August. My flights ended up being delayed heading home so to make up hours I’ve been putting in 4-5 hour days for the remainder of the week but everything has been going well. For our saturday workout today we had a massive group bounding up stratton for L3 intervals and roller skiing this aft.
Ben and our new training partner ‘the Torch’ sweat it out during an uphill running test.
June 24th, 2014
I started off the week with a visit to a local elementary school in Bennington to celebrate their ‘get moving’ week. I usually do several school visits in the Fall to get kids fired up about xc skiing but hadn’t made it to Monument Elementary yet so I stopped in and talked with the kids and ran them through some exercises. they were an energetic group of kids who were stoked to get outside and let loose. I have a feeling since it was the last week of school these guys were itching for summer vacation…. hopefully after our talk they will be thinking about staying even more active throughout vacation.
it was beautiful outside and not a bid way to spend an off afternoon.
This weeks training schedule was another big volume week that started off less than ideal. After some great bounding intervals up Stratton we had an agility and strength session planned for the afternoon. One of our goals of he SMS T2 team is summer is to train as much as possible with the club and development kids and one of the ways we are doing this is through agility training on and off the skis.
Jessie runs through some mobility drills with some of the SMS club kids on campus.
unfortunately even after a good warm up I ended up throwing out my back in the gym doing power cleans. I wasn’t even lifting partially heavy but I think my legs were just a little tired from bounding intervals in the morning which resulted in a bad strength session with a blown back.
so for the remainder of the week I’ve been trying to still get in the big hours but without hurting my back any further. right now running is by far the most painful but I can still rollerski and bike pretty well. 2 times this week I swam in the Stratton snowmaking pond for an afternoon workout.
For the remainder of the week the team had some great group workouts including some L3 skate intervals and distance roller skiing. I finished off the week with a 4 hour classic/ skate ski combo workout down in Manchester on some sweet roads that we don’t get to ski too often. It was a bummer to miss out on the run/swim portion of the workout with the rest of the team but one of the sacrifices of being injured. Erika and I finished off the sunday fun day by tubing and swimming (and walking down the river since there wasn’t very much water flowing) which is always a super fun VT activity.
I drove by the Annies the other day when they were roller skiing and I was able to snap this picture from the car as I drove by. odd bunch
anyway… with the back still busted up i should have taken my monday off day to heart and really laid low but instead I finished up the last of my big renovations at the cabin including finishing off some exterior painting, staining some furniture, assembling some epic rocking chairs that my USST teammates got for me, and a lot of other odd jobs. by the end of the day the cabin was ready for relaxation/ party season…. whatever the weekends bring.
June 12th, 2014
sorry for the lack of a blog post last week but it was a busy transition from Bend with our usual PC testing stop before returning to VT. This year most of the team is doing slightly less testing but I still chose to stop by the COE for 3 days on my way to Vermont to do some strength testing and also get in a few sessions with Tschana, our new strength coach. T, as we call her, is in the process of having her first baby but we were still able to get in some strength testing at the COE testing vertical and power, and also hammer out a few sessions.
The best part about being in PC was getting so see friends and take it easy for a few days after a hard training camp. one of the highlights was meeting Loki and Bartleby Jess’s new kittens.
The weather was beautiful as usual while in Park City so we got a few good runs and rolls in during my short stay as well. It was awesome to catch up with Vordy and family and have a BBQ down at Cory and Alex’s sweet new house in Heber. it’s great to be in the season of backyard BBQs.
The girls have some baby time with Pete and his kids…..
After just 3 days in Park City it was time for me to head back to Vermont and start another big block of training. My first few days back were pretty easy which I took advantage of by getting organized and finally doing a but of work on the cabin. Cabin maintenance is hard to keep up on and even after just two years I needed to touch up some paint which means a lot of sanding and sweating.
It was in the high 70′s this day and on the deck with now wind or protection from the sun it felt 90. It was a tough afternoon of work. because of some bad deck design (which I’m trying to fix) snow builds up against the side of the cabin which has caused my paint to peal… here’s a before pic after a bunch of sanding. it will look brand new in a day or so though.
It feels good to get back into a rhythm here in VT and settle into some training. The next two weeks for me will have a lot of volume. for the most part conditions have been awesome for roller skiing although we’ve been getting rained on a bit. Now that the whole SMST2 team is around we will be training together as a group as much as possible. During our first official workout we were lucky enough to come together for a running day in Hanover and have Ben True take us through some running drills to dial in our technique.
Not sure why Paddy is talking on the phone and not paying attention. But Gus has some great flow going.
Yesterday we had our spring running tests which are an uphill 3,000 meter run so we were all able to feel out our new running techniques. I have an old test I have been running up Mt. Anthony in Bennington for a long time and recently Stratton as adopted a similar test up near school. it’s a good way to hammer and work on maxing out your heart rate and since the tests don’t take very long (around 12 minute) it can be a good gauge on how your L4 is progressing throughout the training season.
For the next two weeks the training will be tough which doesn’t leave too much free time but it’s still great to be back in southern VT during the summer
May 25th, 2014
We are a little over half way through our Bend training camp and so far this year has been better than ever. It’s pretty easy to get stoked to wake up and ski at 6:30 every morning when the sun is out and the tracks are setting up nicely at Mt. Bachelor. Sometimes the skiing can be hit or miss up there this time of year and we have definitely had our share of rainy days up there in the past but this year has been epic.
As usual there are a lot of skiers in town taking advantage of the late spring skiing here. Although we aren’t linking up for any specific workouts the US biathlon team is also training here and its good to see the familiar faces on the trails.
the goal for our 10 day camp here in Bend is to work on easy distance training but this year we have a very big focus on technique. this time of year is a great opportunity to try to make some big technique changes before hammering in the specific movements during all the summer training hours. So far I have been alternating 2 days of classic followed by 2 days of skating with lots of video from the coached to try to dial in the needed changes. As a team we have also been doing technique drills almost every day.
A lot of people are testing equipment this time of year which makes it tough to get too many picture while on snow… but take my word for it that the skiing has been perfect this year. lots of k’s in the sunshine so far.
it’s still Bend camp so even with a lot of training there is always time for a lot of other things too. Mountain biking and running have been awesome in the afternoons and all the outdoor action keeps us pretty busy and active. I feel like Ive been pushing non stop for the past 5 days with all the action.
We even had time to do a little rock climbing with Grover and Cork today who showed great ‘coaches’ strength
I couldn’t find any climbing shoes that fit so I just kind of hauled myself up everything with running shoes on but it seemed to work out ok and definitely got my arms pumping a little bit.
After a long day of skiing in the sun, living, biking, swimming, there’s really no other way to finish it off than with a classic Bend meal. there is a lot of good eating around here.
May 19th, 2014
Week number two of the training year was extremely busy for me around the Stratton area not only because of the training but also because of a lot of other extra activities going on. Training for the week was pretty basic as we ease back into the big hours of the summer getting in a few longer workouts on the bike. The one interval session of the week was a bounding L3 session that Gus and our new coach Patty O joined us for up Mt. Equinox. It was one of the first real group workouts of the year with Simi, sophie, and Erika all around to jump in.
I think the spring time is a great opportunity to work on general strength and get into the long days of working and training that feel so good. When we are training full boar during the summer we need to be a little bit more careful about recovery but this week I just kind of went for it.
the T2 team started off the week strong by volunteering at Floodbrook Elementary school to help with their playground build. This was my first playground build and the task seemed daunting at first but with about 80 volunteers per day for 4 days, this thing was going up.
This was the site of where 1/2 of the new playground was going. We were the first wave of volunteers on the first day… which i didn’t realize but apparently that means you spend the day lifting all the equipment out of the trucks. great strength workout
A lot of big boxes. We spit up into groups and started assembling different parts of the playground one small piece at a time. Some jobs were better than others. I put together a few tables while Erika and Sophie got stuck putting together a plastic bubble thing that refused to go together getting more and more frustrated with each bolt that wouldn’t fit.
I continued to stay busy in between training by making my way up to Rutland and talking with the high school about climate change. the organization I work with, Protect Our Winters, helped organize the event and supplied some really cool media for the kids to look at.
I finished off the week by getting in a few longer workouts including a 3 hour bike ride with the SMS team in some beautiful Vermont spring weather.
Packer leads a crew during the OD ride on sunday
After being on the bike for a few hours the weather was too nice to just sit inside and rest so I continued the extra curricular lifting by heading over and helping Ethan split a few cords of wood. some of the stumps were so big it required some serious power lifting, but long days of working in the sun are what I live for.
Pretty tired from all the training and lifting I was pretty worked by the time sunday night rolled around. Erika who was on her way back from the fast and female in Maine brought with her two lobster friends that rode in the car with her the whole way. Once they made it to the cabin however they became dinner. it was a good way to finish off a tiring week of training hard and lifting heavy.
May 11th, 2014
Spring has sprung here in Vermont and as my first complete training week of the year comes to an end things couldn’t be better. As promised now that the training year is underway I will have at least one or two blog posts a week to cover all the excitement of a professional nordie skier (insert sarcasm here).
Week one of training is always fun for a few reasons and is always a bit of a roller coaster ride. for the first few days I’m usually just stoked to be back at it. having just come off a big break I’m always pretty rested but most of all you forget how great your body feels when it’s getting a lot of exercise. I got in some of my first rides of the summer and enjoyed getting back on the VT and NY roads.
green grass and cows. Road biking is always a pretty fun way to get back into doing some longer distance training. Even on Stratton this past week there was still a decent amount of leftover man made snow. Yeah there are a lot of grass patches but still some snow. So many of my high school SMS spring time training memories are of hiking and skiing the mountain in nordie skis. The half pipe is pretty melted out these days but I still like to get up on the mountain as much as possible for a hike up and ski down.
Even roller skiing seems to be more exciting than normal this time of year. With a combination of intervals, distance , and some hard strength sessions this week by friday the ‘week one’ stoke had given way to a lot of soreness as I adjusted to being back on the job.
SMS is still in session at the moment so we joined the kids for a roller skis workout and finished off the week with a long OD run on Saturday. I was really impressed with some of the young SMS girls as they ran a 2 hour workout with me, most of them not carrying any water. I didn’t think I was running particularly slow either but KO and the other sophomore girls had no problem keeping up. Either I continue to suck at running or they are just in great shape…. probably a combination of the two.
Keeping the stoke high from a great week of training we headed up to Midd for a little VT barn get-together and embraced the beautiful spring weather and catching up with friends.
with the temps in the 70′s today and not a cloud in the ski Erika and I set off for a Sunday Fun-day in search of some fish. Some of you might know that last year I got into fly fishing a little bit. and by that I mean I went a few times and I’m yet to catch a fish. literally never caught one.
I thought today was going to be the day, we went up to a section in the Otter Creek near Dandy and tired our luck. at first I didn’t think there could be any fish in this area because the river seemed pretty small, but then we saw some massive trout in a hole, tried to fish them for a while without success. so my fish-less streak continues.. but at least I got some sun
May 1st, 2014
Well it’s May first and what we skiers know as ‘spring’ time is coming to an end. For the past 4 weeks I’ve been enjoying life away from serious ski training which started with a trip to Washington DC after the Super Tour Finals in Anchorage.
After every Olympic cycle the US team is invited to the white house to get a tour and meet the President and First lady. This years trip was special for me because I was there on official business with POW and the Althetes for Action campaign I’ve been working on. After shaking hands and having a short conversation with the President about climate change I went over to the State department and met with Todd Stern who is the head of Obama’s appointed Special Envoy for Climate Change. A big goal of Athletes for Action is to influence the decisions that are made by countries that might negatively effect the environment and Todd Stern is the man who negotiates on behalf of the US at all the UN climate talks. So this was a very cool meeting and a great experience.
After the white House visit it was awesome to make it back to Vermont and finally unwind after what had been a very long season. now Vermont might not be the most radical place to be in April with all the rain and mud and crappy wether but it was cool to get some time with friends, do some building, backcountry skiing, and get back to the VT lifestyle.
Back country skiing in VT is pretty unique because it consist of either hiking and skiing the alpine mountains… which we did a lot of… or striking out into the woods which can be a little think to say the least.
Beaver pond ski sesh
We got to take lots of sauna’s and help out Ryan who is building is new house in Weston. One great thing about April in VT is that it’s boiling season so there were a few boiling parties which consist of getting rowdy, feeding the fire, and making lots of maple syrup.
After a good week of red-necking it up it was time to head to Costa Rica for an annual surf trip. CR is one of my favorite places in the world and although each year I say I should try to go find a different spot for a spring surf adventure I just can’t manage to miss out on the gnarlyness of Playa Hermosa.
the streets of Hermosa Palms where we rent out houses. We definitely aren’t roughing it when we go down there but Playa hermosa is only 10 minutes away from Jaco which is a decent size town with tons of bars, restaurants, and costa rica’s biggest surf scene. People come from all over to surf in this area because of it’s consistently big swells. the first 3 days we say building waves until it really picked up… so much so that they held their local big wave competition at the break known as Roco Loco. You can see from the massive boulders at the surfer’s take off as to why the locals call it that.
it was in the 15 foot range for the two days of competition. you can’t really get an idea of how big the wave is until you spot the grown men who look like tiny specks on the wave.
There was a big crew of us down there on vacation, some surfers.. others more into the pool cervesa routine which makes for a great time. Kate Barton had been down there for a whole week before we came and met up with us to find some sweet surf. We spent a few days surfing locally and driving around to some new spots that I hadn’t surfed before. Kate who grew up in Maine is extremely good on the surf board, no joke. even having been down to this area 5 times before i’m still learning new surf spots and getting to know some of the locals in the area.
this dog didn’t belong to us but made it’s home on our porch for the week. With the swell building and the waves dumping we saw 4-5 people have their boards broken by the powerful surf… we stayed clear for the most part accept for one incident in Jaco. Erika has been getting more into surfing so it was awesome to have her out in the water some days even though the rips were super strong and it was definitely not the easiest surfing conditions.
As usual we were too busy being excited about surfing to get any decent pictures but it was a great week. One of my old surf buddies Reid came down and joined US. I came down to this area with Reid back when I was in high school and he still has friends in the area that would work surf camp with him. It always helps to know a local or two when it comes to a place like costa
So thats basically a Vaca recap. Now I’m back in VT and getting into the rhythm of training again. now that the training year is officially underway I will be updating the blog on a very regular basis with updates on the SMS team here in VT and from our many training camps during the summer. ‘Spring” time is over but the summer has just begun… Stoked!