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finally made it back to good old Vermont on monday after spending  5 months on the road. It’s always an odd feeling to come back… maybe it’s the culture shock of landing in a bug US airport … maybe it’s the fact that everyone speaks english .. but it takes a day or two to adjust. One thing is for sure though getting back to see friends and family int he community is the best especially on these big Olympic year.

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Finn and Phoebe are always happy to see my but never very impressed

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The stare down from Phoebe is intense

I only had two days at home and tuesday was amazingly sunny and perfect wintery conditions outside. So even though I was definitely jet lagged and tired I had to get up to Prospect for some skiing. the trails were in perfect shape and it was a chance for me to ski around with the BKYL kids and have a get-together in the lodge.

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I have to say it was great to see the kids skiing so well and it fun to get out skiing. these were probably the best skiing connotations I’ve had since before the Olympics…. it’s been a sloppy spring for skiing in Euro

Flying to AK right now with Sophie and Sverre… I can’t say I’m too excited to jump into some ski races but it will be awesome to see everyone in the US xc skiing world

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well it’s been a real long time since my last post so it’s always hard to know what to write about … but a lot of cool stuff has happened so I’ll just post a bunch of pictures instead. After getting sick in Sochi I flew to Munich to recover and hang out with Erika in Beautiful Ramsau. I was an awesome 4 days of getting in some perfect skiing in the sun.

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After a fun break from the world cup it was time to head back to Munich to meet the team and Erika went on to OPA cup races. But on the way we had a stop in Salzburg to be tourists for a day

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Lahti was the next stop on the WC and its always one of my favorites. Our team has had some great results here over the years and this time Sophie got her first podium by out- lunging the Italian girl! here’s a sweet picture capturing the emotions at the finish line.

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After Lahti we made our way to Oslo.. the spring world cup is definitely one of the best times of year with great venues and hotels.  The Park Rica next to the ski jumps here in Holmenkollen is one of the favorites.

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The excitement here at Holmenkollen is one of a kind. With ski jumping and nordic combined going on along with xc all weekend the there are always tons of fun people to hang out with and a missive amount of spectators trailside.

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from here we will be driving to Falun tomorrow for the start of World Cup finals on Friday. starting to feel better and better after getting over the ‘sochi sickness’ and looking forward to doing a lot of ski racing next weekend.

 

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We are have been in Soich now for 3 days and things are starting to settle into rhythm at the Olympic village. It wasn’t too tough of a travel day to get here since we had a USOC charter flight direct from Munich, but the team processing always takes a lot of time and energy… although it is a hell of a time.
IMG_0317here Brian Gregg gets fitted for his closing ceremonies outfit. We spend about 3 hours going from station to stating picking up gear with everything from watches, boots, and everyday training clothing from BJ and Nike.

IMG_0316Sophie gets suited up.

It didn’t take us long to get from sochi to the endurance village although hauling bags was a bit of a hassle. It’s not typical for us to have to fly with all of our skis and wax supplies to one race venue so we definitely has a lot of gear. There are still a few bags that haven’t made their way to us up here in the mountain villages but nothing too important.

For the past three days we have been settling in to our apartment style diggs. Hoff, EBJ, Simi, and I are in a condo style until that is not too far of a walk to the dinning hall. In general the villages are a lot bigger than you might expect and it can take a long time to walk from one place to another. there are primarily biathlon and nordic skiers in this village so it’s great to see a lot of familiar faces.

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The sun has been out every day and the skiing conditions have been epic. It’s actually making everyone a little bit nurvous since it’s been so nice without any races happening. The snow and fog is bound to come but we’ve been enjoying the amazing skiing while it lasts.

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The xc and biathlon venues are separate here in Sochi and they are both massive with their own networks of cool trails. We got to experience these trails for the first time last year and they are tough and technical just as they should be for the Games. The sprint hill, which I’ve been training on a lot, is still a big climb but the grade is perfect and it’s been feeling great in training.

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one thing thats always a sure bet at the Olympics is that it takes a long time to get anywhere. lots of shuttles and riding in buses, so it helps to be patient and just have a good time. Going to need some of that this evening when we go down to the opening ceremonies. lets get this party started

 

 

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The past 5 days has in many ways felt like the calm before the storm. the Olympic storm which is definitely the most exciting two weeks of your life but require you to be prepared both physically and mentally for the roller coaster ride that Sochi will bring.

We have been pretty isolated here the past 5 days which is something the coaches were planning on when we organized our training camp here. There have been very few distractions from training and resting, trying to soak up all the sun and altitude we can.

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since this is one of the highest places to ski in central Europe there are a lot of other national teams around on the trails. Our hotel is located on an alpine hill which makes is very peaceful and secluded at night but it makes going into town or getting off the mountain a bit tough. I think it’s pretty rad though because in order to get to where our cars and vans are parked we get to ski down half the alpine slope. in the morning when there are fresh couderoy tracks it’s epic.

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the girls and Eric Flora head down the mountain to go do strength at the gym in the closest town.

For me the training has been going great the past 6 days trying to get in some easy skiing at this high altitude but also traveling down lower to the ski stadium to do intervals. The guys and I hammered out some level4 4 minute intervals the other day focusing on hard V1 skiing which is exactly what I’ll need during the sprint in Sochi. Basically everything we’ve been doing the past weeks has been preparing for one or two races in Russia.

IMG_0273standing in the sun outside our Hotel Panarama

Now that the training is basically over it’s time to cut everything back and get ready to race in Sochi. We call this a taper, but basically from here on out we will only be doing short workouts, lot’s of speed, and a few intervals to make sure the body is feeling 100 percent. We will travel to Toblach on wednesday and race the last world cup races before driving to Munich for team processing. I will just be racing the sprint this weekend and it’s going to be a fast one. A little bit different than what to expect in Sochi but still great practice and training for the weeks to come.

IMG_0283even the coaches are getting dialed in for the next few weeks . it’s great to have Gus in the house

 

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The reports of awful snow in Poland had our expectations pretty low going into the World Cup weekend but the races actually ended up being pretty sweet and as always the Polish fans were rowdy and energetic. There was very little natural snow there and a very small snow making operation so organizers were forced to hand shovel snow from the woods and lay it down on the track. It wasn’t great for testing the day before the races but once Saturday came the grooming had packed the dirty snow down into a great course. a little bit narrow yeah… but still perfect for some fun racing.

Saturday’s sprint was the same course I raced here in Poland back in 2001 when I did my first Word Junior trip. Back then it was my first time representing the US in a ski race and I remember being super nervous for the first sprint. Literally 14 years later it’s really funny to come back and race the same sprint in the same town, not a whole lot has change. In fact I finished 6th in the sprint back in 2001 and unfortunately due to a solid crash, finished 6th again this year in the World Cup.  That was a super frustrating crash for me because I felt like I had a podium in the bag, but as usual I was being a little bit too crazy trying to pass on the corners.

On top of all this history for me here in Poland Sunday’s distance race was my 100th world cup start! so it was really fun to have my parents here and be able to score points in the distance race. after the 15k I was able to watch the women’s race with them which was fun. here are a few pics…

 

 

 

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liz had an awesome race finishing 6th

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most hotels in Poland have a disco. why? because polish people like to party. We were one of the only teams that stayed sunday night after the race so we basically had the hotel to ourselves. We set up the projector so we could watch the Patriots game.

it was a long 9 hour drive to Italy yesterday but for sure worth it when you get to experience this for the next 9 days.

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the view from our room

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great Italian eats… we get the classic 4 course 1 hour dinner here. not my favorite but ok every once and a while

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Bomber skiing in the sunshine

 

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We were supposed to be driving to Poland this morning but instead the team and I have decided to stay here and continue to train in Nove Mesto. Although conditions aren’t great here there is still snow making with a 2.2k loop which is good enough for getting it done for the next few days. We are staying right next to the stadium which means we can just walk out to skiing which was great during the races as long as you don’t mind the sounds and lights from the stadium blasting through your window.

IMG_0225the view from our hotel room.

they held biathlon world champs here last year so the stadium was rebuild and the atmosphere here is pretty kick ass. During the races on the weekend the stands were almost full and we were racing underneath the lights which is always fun.

I was feeling fast on Saturday for the individual sprint didn’t make it happen going over the bridge into the stadium which was a bummer. It’s always frustrating when you can qualify fast and are feeling strong but don’t advance through the quarter finals which is what happened on saturday.

I felt good again on Sunday for the sprint relay and Simi and I were able to make it to the finals placing 5th, our best team sprint result of the season so far. Sprint relays are a really exciting event for us and is one that the US had done really well in.  The action never stops in a sprint relay so for an athlete you always need to be focused and ready to react to the pack. I love that kind of racing and although they are really painful, team sprints are a lot of fun.

We were all a little bit tired after two days of hard sprint racing so it has been nice to relax here in CZE for the past tow days. Yesterday was sunny so I got in a longer classic ski on the 2.2k… tried not to get too bored over two hours. Today is a rest day for me before starting up with some intensity tomorrow to get ready for the next world cups in Poland this weekend.

it’s not super exciting here at Hotel Ski.. but at least they have a cat.

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the town here is not very big but there are some cool old buildings…

IMG_0221The girls in the town square in Nove Mesto

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The 2.2k look is actually really good skiing, but I would definitely like to see more snow on the ground

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Since the World Champs for biathlon were here last season they have some of the most epic wax rooms on tour here. Great ventilation for the techs and lots of space in this 2 room unit. Our waxers were pretty stoked to say the least .

On thursday we will jump in the van and make the short drive over to Poland. My parents are here from VT visiting for these two weekend and watching the races which is awesome, and coach Gus is going to be in the house so it’s looking to be a fun weekend.

 

 

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today is our last mooring in switzerland and I realized I hadn’t put up a blog in a while. For the past 5 days we have been training back here in Davos at our home base Hotel Kulm. It definitely feels like I’ve been putting in a lot of time here this year which has been nice but it’s not all for relaxation. One of the reasons we keep returning to Davos so much this year is to get in those valuable days at altitude leading up to preparing for the Games.

After returning here from the 4 races at the Tour I’ve been putting in a little bit more training than normal, starting to look ahead to the Olympics. With the start of the games only about a month away this is a great time to start boosting the fitness. So this week in Davos I was able to put in a few longer workouts along with the normal intervals.

IMG_0213we have had one day of rain and wet snow but since then the skiing has been amazing and perfect for getting in some training. Grover and Patrick are here with sophie, Ida, simi, and I so it’s been fun to head out with them for some skis and get away from the competition zone for a week.

yesterday we drove down to Klosters and skied on some new trails down there that I hadn’t been on. it started off as a long gradual clim in the shadows next to a river. but after about a half hour it opened up into some big fields with sun and sweet views.

IMG_0206 IMG_0208snowy trees and bomber tracks make for a good time. the Davos sun doesn’t hurt either. For the past two days we’ve been sitting out on the deck a little bit after lunch to soak it up. Today we are leaving for a week and a half in eastern Europe with races in Czech republic and Poland. I’m pretty stoked to get two back to back sprint weekends on the world cup and get back to battling all the real sprinters since we haven’t seen them since before the tour. But expectations are not high for the weather.

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Sophie checks the Pow….

This week is also going to be pretty fun because my parents are heading over to watch the races both in Czech and Poland. I haven’t seen them since November so it will be cool to have them around for back to back sprint weekends.

now it’s time to load up the van and start a fish hour drive to Nove Mesto. … hopefully everything goes smoothly!

 

 

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Although we were only in Italy for the past 3 days i have to say it felt a lot longer than that. We make our travel plans very early on in the year before we have any idea of snow conditions here in the World Cup.  Here are on the US team we try to save money whenever we can but unfortunately that means leaving and arriving at venues at less than ideal times. So instead of staying in Davos for an extra day we loaded up the vans and drove to a snowless Asiago.

IMG_0133it’s about a 5 hour drive over 3 mountain passes from Switzerland to Asiago on some very curvy roads. Once you drive off the mountains on the Swiss side we are greeted with the classic sights of Italy.

We weren’t too stoked to drive to Asiago on Wednesday because it meant a full day of being stuck in the hotel with no skiing. Lack of snow made it impossible to ski while they got the race course ready for the weekend which can make for some boring days around the hotel.

IMG_0140when your room looks like this sometimes you just gotta get outside. It’s a good thing Asiago was a pretty cool town which made our thursday bit more exciting. We walked around the shops in town and checked out a WW1 war memorial that was just down the road from our hotel. It was a massive structure to remember to 50,000 soldiers that had died here.

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to say the least I was pretty stoked to get racing on friday and was really looking forward to a fast, curvy, double pole sprint. Some of my best world cups have come on double pole sprints and I always have a lot of fun racing in conditions like that. On race day the tracks were soft which made the poling tough but there was still a big mix of doublepolers and striders throughout the morning.

The massive disappointment for the day was in the QF heat when the front of my binding came up somewhere in the first half of the lap. As we came down around a corner the snow was a lot deeper causing my ski pull off and actually fly off course. I couldn’t believe it when it was happening…. I was so stoked to start hammering and make it to the final it was a very frustrating moment. Skis can fly off if the binding isn’t pressed down all the way at the start of the race, which can sometimes happen in slushy conditions. Another skier could have also bumped my binding lifting it up somewhere during the race as well. It’s hard not to dwell on frustrating days like that but as a sprinting moving on is very important. There are always going to be crashes and mistakes out there, but in an event like sprinting they happen much more often unfortunately.  I really wanted to score some much needed points on Saturday and take a shot at the podium but couldn’t, so I’m very frustrated but I’m just more fired up for the next races.

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Ida had some great results during the weekend posting a top 10 in the individual and both teams skiing well in the women’s final. In this pic Sadie and Ida stride it out next to the Finns who went on to win the day.

On sunday afternoon once the races were over we were muddy, wet, tired and ready to get back to Davos. We made a quick stop for some Italian pizza before jumping in the vans and making the mountainous drive back to the Kulm.  With the Tour de ski scheduled to start in Germany next weekend we don’t have much of a break this Christmas. We will be training and relaxing in Davos for the next 2 days before driving to Oberhof on Thursday.

There are a few other athletes in town who are also away from home for Christmas this year. This is not such a big deal for some of the Americans and Canadians who have done this many years but a few of the Norwegians in town this was their first time being away from home. We organized a christmas party with a funny gift exchange… the kind where you steal each others presents. it was a great night to get everyone together.

IMG_0160dinner with some teammates followed by a lot of Christmas cookies.

IMG_0161Liz, Jessie, and hoff are in town staying at an appartment so we used their place Jessie has obviously been busy with decorating and baking…. it was pretty amazing.

IMG_0159Hanging out with some of out international ski buddies last night at the Christmas party.

happy holidays…. Tour de ski here we come

 

 

 

 

 

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We have been in Davos for the past two days after spending an awesome week in Lillehammer. This was my first time racing in town in Lillehammer and it was exciting to see the new courses and ski in that stadium especially after watching so many Olympic tapes from back in the day. When I was little you had to order xc ski races on VHS tape and my parents would buy them for me so we could watch guys like Bjoern Daehle race it out in Lillehammer.

The new courses are super tough but also kind of rolling…. Like a really hard roller coaster with long climbs and fast decants. For the first few days in Lillehammer we enjoyed staying at a sweet Radisson hotel with great food and skiing in the sunshine.

IMG_0069Cork and Matt chill in the fancy lobby of the Radisson Blue

IMG_0086It was pretty cool to get into the Christmas vibe here in Norway. The walking streets were all decorated really nicely an everyone had these paper starts hang in their windows.

Since the race trails were a little tough for training a lot of the world cup skiers were making trips up to the tourist trails outside of town. Bird, Hoff, and I had a great ski on the Birkenbiner trails.

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The distance races went off on saturday with another amazing performance by Sadie jumping into the top 10 again. She’s had a pretty kick ass start to the season and is classic skiing like a boss.

IMG_0075The girls do some skate training on the fresh tracks of the new Lillehammer race trails.

I was fired up to jump into the first relay of the season. Last year I had a lot of fun leading off the relay for the guys whenever possible. I’m still confident in my ability to scramble but Sunday’s race didn’t go as well for the US men. It definitely wasn’t the best weather I’ve ever raced in and for some reason I really froze myself again and couldn’t feel my hands or arms. Not a great feeling while you’re trying to hammer.

1004924_629770270397557_1578447242_nthe snow was coming down pretty hard for the first two legs of the mens race.

Even though our really didn’t go as well as planned it always a pick up to see our women race so well. They where in the hunt for the podium the entire race and held on to 3rd place scoring their second ever relay world cup podium!

Without any time to dwell on results the world cup always keeps moving. We had an early wake up at 5 in the morning on Monday for a bus ride to Oslo and a flight to Zurich. It was great to get back to Davos and stay at one of our European ‘homes’ the Hotel Kulm. It such a relief to come back to a familiar hotel with familiar faces and enjoy the good food and sunshine of Davos. Even on our first day we were hanging out on the deck in the sun and skiing on the perfect hard tracks down in town.

GOPR0112a little water break during an easy ski on Monday. There isn’t a ton of skiing groomed here but the race tracks are in great shape and although the big valleys aren’t groomed there is still a decent about on easy skiing to glide on.

IMG_0109Matt doing some tailgating and relaxing before the madness of the weekend starts. I’m stoked for the first skate sprint of the season coming up on Sunday !

 

 

 

 

 

 

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