December 2nd, 2013
It’s always dark and always cold… and this year it was no different. Despite having another less than stellar opening world cup weekend for some reason I still love Finland and will always like skiing in Kuusamo even after the frost bite heals up. In the past this has been my worst world cup weekend of the year so I’m not discouraged after the first weekend, if anything fired up for whats to come.
This year the snow was falling heavily the first few days we were in town and as we got closer to race weekend the temp really dropped. It made for some really epic skiing conditions with clod hard tracks and straight forward waxing for the races.
It’s a kuusamo tradition to hit up one of the only attractions in town, the disco blowing. The resort of Ruka is pretty isolated but there are still a few happening spots. In the past we have gone toe to toe with the Canadians in a bowling comp. this year we split up into two American teams, I was by far the worst bowler scoring just a few more points than Diggins through the legs rolling technique.
my feeling i that if you are really good at bowling… you were probably a nerdy kid growing up.
it was interesting starting the year off with a mini tour. In the past there has been one world cup weekend before the Ruka Tripple but this year the first race of the season was the classic sprinting hammer fest. The course here is very straight forward with not too many tactics involved other that hammering the straight steep hill into the stadium. On race day I felt pretty decent on the uphill but didn’t have it all together on the other parts of the course. I think I left just a little too much ground to make up on the big climb and couldn’t close the gape in time, missing out on lucky loser.
For me the highlight of the weekend was watching a few of my teammates have breakthrough performances. First being Sadie who blazed to a 3rd place qualification in the sprint and a top 10 finish in the 5k classic. The other was the Hoff rocking the fastest time of the day on the ski pursuit and finishing the tour in an immersive 9th position. Throughout the weekend we had an awesome time hanging out with one another and enjoying time back on the road. We tend to have a lot of birthdays on the road this time of year and mine always falls during the Kuusamo weekend. My teammates made it a great day
We left Kuusamo this morning in the cold darkness and jumped on a plane with a bunch of other ski teams and headed for Oslo. From there we drove a few hours to a very historical place for cross country skiing, Lillehammer! I’ve only even been here once before and have never races in town on the Olympic trails so I’m really looking forward to this week. It also doesn’t hurt that we are staying in an epic hotel with amazing food. After racing two distance races this past weekend my plan for the week will be to get in some sprint training and skip the first race of the weekend, the 15k classic, and prepare for the relay on sunday. Stoked to race in front of all these fans.
November 19th, 2013
Most of the team had a very smooth travel over to Oslo on Friday and most of the bag arrived, which can be very race considering how many we have. The last few days at home are always interesting trying to figure out how to fit everything I’m going to need for the next 5 month in one duffle bag. I did have to fly with 2 ski backs back over to Euro and as it turns out so did most of the other members of the team. It’s pretty discouraging when we show up in Norway on the first day of the winter and we can barely fit all of our gear in the cargo van…. I mean we are literally maxed out, and considering we tend to accumulate junk throughout the winter we might need to get reactive.
Here Oleg tries to fit every last ski into the cargo van. He was super proud of the ski rack he custom built for the van this year but it ended up breaking on the way to Beito. maybe too many skis?
For the past 3 days we have been training here in Beito and getting used to the time change. There are 5k’s of trails groomed here and the conditions are great despite a few rocks here and there. We’ve been lucky to have sun most days which makes adjusting to the time zone a little bit easier, and it’s also been great that it hasn’t been too cold.
Early morning walk to the ski stadium. We are staying in apartments that are just a 5-10 min walk to the ski trails.
since this is basically the only skiing available in Norway right now there are a ton of skiers on the track… especially on the weekend when we had to ski around the track battling with several hounded junior skiers who make the drive from the surrounding towns. But now that the weekend is over the trail are much better with just us the Norwegian national team and a few other nations getting in some training before the weekend races.
today the skiing was the best it’s been with super hard packed fast skiing. a lot of us were doing our first intervals of the trip. Sophie all smiles as usual
November 9th, 2013
Ski balls and getting organized has been the name of the game the past 10 days here in VT. After an early morning flight home from Canmore I was able to relax at home for 1 days before having to make my way down to NYC for the annual Gold Medal Gala with USSA.
Getting down to NYC is pretty easy if you don’t want to drive so I just jump a train in Albany and 2.5 hour later I can me walking around down town Manhattan. So this time I wanted to make it a quick trip so I rode down getting there just a few hours before the start of what is the US Ski teams biggest fundraiser of the year.
this year the Gala was held at the museum of natural history which was a pretty unique venue. For those of you have seen the movie Night at the Museum, we had the cocktail hour in underneath two huge dinosaur fossils… the same two that battle each other in the movie. At first i thought this was an odd place to have a fund raiser but it turned out to be really cool.
Dinner was served under a massive blue whale. These events are a great opportunity to mingle with a lot of the big supporters of the US Ski Team. There were 30 athletes attending with Johnny Mosley running the show.
In and out of NYC in a night I made it back to VT in time to settle in and get ready for my annual school visits. Since The Bank on Bennington is a big sponsor during this Olympics year we thought it was a great chance to visit with more Bennington area shcools including two in downtown Benn and of course the place where I went to school Shaftsbury Elementary.
The Bank was kind enough to print out coloring books and word searches for the kids. After my Shaftsbury visit I was able to stay for gym class with Mr. Harrington who was my favorite gym teacher from my youth. He got me involved in xc running and pushed us a lot as kids… he’d probably the best gym teacher in the world.
with just about a week left to take care of business here in VT before the winter kids off things will very busy. It always feels like there are a lot of loose ends to tie up before heading to Europe for the entire winter. just yesterday I had to drive 1.5 hours away just to check on my Triumph where it will be hibernating in good company for the winter.
October 23rd, 2013
we have been here in Canmore at the Frozen Thunder for the past 5 days. this is always an exciting time to get on snow for the first time in the Fall and thanks to the THUNDER we’ve been able to do so in October. They save the snow in a big pile covered with saw dust and tarps which preserves the snow over the summer.
We flew here in Friday from Park City
First day on the frozen thunder, the snow has stayed extremely clean despite whats happening off the trail
unlike last year the temps have stayed fairly warm here getting up to almost 50 degrees during the day but still freeing most nights. Although there hasn’t been anything close to any natural snow we have enjoyed blue skies almost every day, warm sun, and the track has been holding up surprisingly well.
Great views here in Canmore.
here Digggies strides up one of the hills at Frozen Thunder. The loop is about 2.3 k long and has some pretty good terrain to doing intervals and speeds. Tomorrow we will have a sprint time trial followed by a distance time trial the next day. These very early season races are great workouts and are a good way to get used to the pacing of certain races before the season starts.
Matt and Liz talk training during today’s session. We have been skiing a decent about of volume but also focusing on a lot of speed since we are on snow for the fist time. Get ready to rock and roll for tomorrow’s thunder sprints!
October 13th, 2013
One week down since our training camp started here in Park City. Since the media summit I’ve moved down off of Deer Valley to the Promontory to stay with Gus and the SMS team. We are incredibly lucky that Erika’s family has a house here and it can save us money on housing during camps and Nationals. And it’s pretty sweet since it’s such a kick ass pad with a kick ass view.
Since our testing finished up in the COE we have been joining a bunch of other teams for a massive training camp here in PC. Ski teams from around the country have come to PC to join us for some big team workouts which for me makes the daily training even more fun. So far we’ve run some fun agility workouts, intervals, and a long point to point OD.
Agility training is always a lot of fun with a big group. here we hammer around some cones in an obstacle course in parking lot near the COE.
Erik B. and the rest of the APU team are here training. BJ and I crank out some speeds at Soho
This is basically the first time men, women, and the whole team have been together since our Bend Camp in June. So it’s great to see everyone and catch up. This is also a great opportunity to get together and take care of team business like team pictures and USST obligations. Last night we were lucky enough to hold a fund raiser at our friend Mike Engels house. Mike is a huge supporter of our team so USSA helped organize a fun Russian themed dinner to rally the Park City community behind the XC team.
Today has been our fist off day in a long time so the SMS team is putting together our 2nd annual Canadian thanksgiving. Since we are always in different places for real thanksgiving this is a fun night to get the whole team together before the craziness of the season starts.
apple pies eh? Canadian thanksgiving style
October 3rd, 2013
my last few days in Vermont were awesome but very busy preparing for a month on the road. The leaves are obviously starting to pop which means a lot of tourists around which kind of sucks but its great when they run the gondola at Stratton. On saturday I was able to do bounding intervals up the mountain and take the gondola down in between sets. Two times bounding up Stratton is a great workout.
The last weekend in september is also Peru fair day which is one of the most epic weekends around. Its cool not only because they set up a huge farmers market style fair in Peru, but also because on of my buddies has the biggest party of the year at his house that evening. tons on bands including blue grass in the early evening turing into a few heavy metal bands during the late night.
bon fires, music, and skating.. just a great Vermont time. Photo by Ali K
on Monday I flew out to Park City for the start of our training camp but also to hit up the media summit yesterday. it was a busy day of interviews and photos and getting all hyped up for the olympics. it was pretty awesome to run through all the stations with Kikkan, Jessie, and Liz.
It was a jam packed day but it was a lot of fun. most of these interviews and pictures will be released this winter leading up to the Olympics.
Now that the media business is over we will be training here for the next two weeks starting with some testing and massive group training next week! it’s snowing outside right now but hopefully it will stay semi-nice for our last few weeks of dryland training.
September 23rd, 2013
so I guess today is technically the first day of fall but it has definitely been feeling like it here in VT. Since Placid I’ve been back home enjoying some kick ass training weather and trying to get in all the sweet VT fall activities before heading out to Park City next week.
After spending 10 days in the OTC just what I needed was to get back to Weston and spend a few days doing some Cabin livin. This is the best time of year for cabin living with cool nights and beautiful sunny days for getting work done or training.
I spent an afternoon putting in a small walkway out the back door connecting to the porch. ready for fall BBQ season! those stone steps were heavier than they look
For training the past week we have been having an easy week of training with the T2 team to recover from camp but we have also been getting in a few tests like the rollerski L3 test and a doublepole test. When we hammered out the double pole test two days ago everyone participating got a PR for the Summer. so the team is looking strong in the DP department!
New assistant coach Chase works with some of the SMS girls at the town of Stratton. Kick ass rollerskiing this week
With most of the SMS-T2 team heading out of town this week or next we needed to get in some typical Vermont fall activities like apple picking. For me this is similar to blueberry picking…. something that I think of tourist doing and not real vermonters… so I was skeptical at first but it turned out to be a fun afternoon. I didn’t realize there were so many different kinds of apples grown in the same place.
Erika’s favorite food
September 12th, 2013
We’ve been hammering out some training here in Lake Placid for the past week and yes the always boring OTC is starting to stink of damp ski boots, muddy running shoes and the usual smelly nordie gear. They must really not like having us here, but for me it’s one of the coolest camps of the year since it’s so close to home and we always get to do some pretty tough workouts here. Tough workouts means the ski season is getting closer which is always an exciting time.
and by run up some mountains this is what I’m talking about. it can be pretty hard to find some flat terrain around here but it was still a great 3.5 hour adventure.
The main goal of LP camp is typically to get a bunch of fast skiers together and do some hammering. So far we have have two L3 interval workouts and one classic team sprint time trial. We have also been working on a lot of speed training and really getting out sweat on. There are skiers from all around the country here making for some big training groups, which is perfect for pushing each other during the hard workouts.
a sweaty sophie going really fast during some skate speeds yesterday.
even with all the hard training we have still had a bit of down time. On our off day on Monday Erika and I went fly fishing once in the morning and once in the evening time. Although there were fish jumping all around us we are still 0 for 2 in our fly fishing adventures. I’m convinced we were using the wrong flies… apparently the fish are picky eaters around here.
at least it was warm and sunny out. since I’m new to the sport I’m not sure what the protocol is for shirtless fly fishing…. but seems to make a lot of sense to me on a sunny day.
August 28th, 2013
Today is our last full day of training here in NZ after what has been a pretty kick ass 16 day camp. We finished it off strong with a 4 hour ski this morning in some incredible wind. Training on top of a mountain here in NZ has it’s perks but when the wind decides to start ripping there isn’t a tree in sight to stop it. Wether can change pretty fast and as I’m writing this the first real snow we’ve seen in the past two weeks is dumping outside. So our faces are a little wind burned from this morning and our muscles tired after training what will probably be some of the biggest weeks of the off season, but I’m stoked with how the past week has gone. We were able to jump into a 15k time trial with the Canadians which was sweet, hit up a few epic runs down off the mountain, and enjoy some corduroy xc-ing up here.
As this snow is dumping outside I’m pretty excited to get one more ski in tomorrow morning before starting the long trek home… but it’s going to be great to get back to VT and have a little bit of down time before heading up to Lake placid next week for another training camp.
hoping to get back to NZ next summer because this place just doesn’t get old and the scenery continues to impress me each time I come back. here are a few pics from the past week.
there is a great trail to run on along the lake down in Wanaka which we try to hip up each year. On this day we were running with shorts on and soaking up the sun
Even off the mountain it was wicked windy down there and the waves were kicking up on the water
although until today the sn