May 6th, 2013
Well its the first week of the training year and that means it’s back to being a skier for me. Over the past few weeks I’ve been taking a break from training but have definitely not been taking it easy. It was a little different this spring because the race season went all the way through the first 10 days of April, which I thought was going to suck but the races in Truckee turned out to be a great time.
Usually after finishing the season I like to take a week or so to do some alpine and backcountry skiing. Because of the late spring series mostly all of the resorts around were closed and there wasn’t a ton of snow left but we got lucky with a few powdery days. I had the chance to visit some friends and ski for a day in Jackson and even got one more powder day skinning up and skiing down Bridger Bowl in Montana.
sun and snow on Teton pass in Jackson
this was the day before flying to Costa Rica. I’m someone who really doesn’t like shoulder seasons… I prefer to go straight from winter to warm weather as quickly as possible and it’s always a goal to try to ski and then surf in back to back days…. which we almost did this year if it wasn’t for out late flights into Costa.
we were able to spend a week in Playa Hermoa, which is on the Pacific side of Costa rica just south of Jaco. this is a plce I started going to when I was in high school and continue to go back because the weather is amazing, the water is warm, and the waves are consistently head high and really fun to surf. This trip was no different and when we got hit with a little bit of swell the waves were powerful big enough to be a shock to my skier shape. Even in good fitness after a few days of surfing I was super sore and tired, but relaxing isn’t usually something I do on spring breaks. When we only have 7 days to surf I’m going to be in the water as much as possible until I’m sun burned and can barely lift my arms they’re so tired.
After a great vacation one of the first things I did to jump back into reality to fly to LA for the USOC and NBC promo shoots. This is something I did before the last Olympics and its a pretty unique opportunity to be able to do a ton of photo shoots and interviews all in one day. The idea is to get a lot of the background work done with some winter olympians before the madness of the season begins. It was a very hectic day filled with lots of different themed still shoots and a lot of video snippets filled by NBC and their officiate stations.
this was the log cabin shoot which I thought was pretty funny. The Photo’s actually came out really cool though… the guy above is some big time ice skater but I had no idea who he was. On the day I went in Kikkan and Ted were also there for skiers along with a ton of snowboarders. It was good to see a lot of my shredder friends and old schoolmates from Stratton. One of the cool part about doing a promotional day with NBC was doing all the interviews and hearing about how the general media is way more hyped on xc skiing now than they were 4 years ago. When I did this before the Vancouver games most of the interview questions were very simple and very generic, but this time around you could tell that the media was looking forward to covering xc skiing in Sochi. I got a ton of questions asking about how the level of skiing in the US has grown so much and how we are no longer under dogs but medal contenders. If that doesn’t get you excited to train I don’t know what will. So in a way the LA trip was a very cool way to jump into the training season because it got us to stoked and fired up for preparing for the Olympics.
Many of the shoots were “lifestyle” photos where athletes were encouraged to bring their own clothing and styles. Here kikkan rocks it out.
As many of you know the training year starts on May first so for the past 6 days I’ve been back at home and easing into a training routine. One thing I find during the first week back at the job is that it becomes very easy to get sore. even after just an hour run the other day my legs were hurting… and the first time back in the gym is always a painful one. But for the next week I will get the legs back into running shape and maybe even take the rollerskis out for a few distance sessions. This is the time of year when I usually hit the gym pretty hard to getting used to lifting heavy weight will be a big goal for the next week. Now that we’re back into the training scene there will be much more regular updates up here on the blog as myself and the SMS team get rolling.
the next generation Nora and Elliot Newell. My brother and his family were visiting my house this weekend and running in the Benninton Road race. It’s great to be back in VT surrounded by my friends and familyNo comments
March 15th, 2013
The Drammen city sprint is always one of my favorite world cups of the year so it was a real bummer to have crashed out on Wednesday. Sometimes there’s not a whole lot you can do with a crash like that, I could waste my time getting angry at the Swedish dude who put a pole through my ski, but it’s usually better to just move on and looked toward the next sprint in Stockholm. Drammen and Stockholm are some of the most exciting sprints of the year so I’m pretty stoked to get back into the good times of the spring world cup tour. This time of year is a lot of fun for me and team because all the venues are epic and with all the racing going on in the next two weeks there’s non stop action.
After the sprint day in Drammen we moved hotel up the hill to Holmenkollen. Even though Olso is a venue we hit year after year its always exciting to get back to the home of xc skiing and ski around all the sweet trails around here.
Here’s a view of the fjords near our hotel in Fornabu. Norway in March is a great place to spend the last few weeks of the world cup season.
For the last few days we have been training around the Holmenkollen trails while people get ready for the 30′s and 50′s of the weekend. Yesterday Dakota and I went for a kick ass ski around the old Holmenkollen course which is a winding 16k loop that overlooks Oslo. The old course is too narrow to hold the mass start races of today but it really is one of the coolest skis we do. Perfectly groomed tracks with a lot of tough uphills. Out on course you always run into big groups of school groups and kids who are out skiing and you realize why Norway is so good at developing skiers.
Here a group of 7-8 year olds stop for a snack after skiing out on the Holmenkollen trails.
Already out on the race loop for the 30 and 50ks there are people setting up tents for the weekend. Every year the course is packed 5 deep even on the farthest points of the loop. Apparently this year they have cut the cost of stadium seating tickets in half so they are expecting some of the biggest crowds ever.
Skiing is obviously big in a country where you see this. The king of Norway watches all the races here at Holmenkollen and personally greets all the winners at the finish line.
Yesterday we had the opportunity to ski with some of the best juniors from the Oslo area. They were all preparing for a club relay race that takes place before the world cups here every year. We were hooked up with this team because a few of the skiers from this club flew to the US to compete at junior nationals and the coach also helps a few US juniors come over to ski at Norwegian nationals every year. We skied around the trails and did a few sprints together in the stadium
Some of these 15-16 year olds were getting ready to race the birkebiner this weekend… a 50k+ race for the first time. I think it would be cool to see some US juniors take on some big races like that at a young age.
After the weekend here Kikkan and I are staying over to race a stadium sprint in Oslo. It’s a really sweet 100 and 500 meter event that they put on each year in the Bislett track stadium. It’s usually packed with spectators and is aired on live TV here and it’s going to be cool to battle it out in some short sprints. From here we will fly to Stockholm on wednesday and get ready for the start of the world cup final mini tour!
March 4th, 2013
well it’s been a pretty busy two weeks of racing here in Italy and because of that it’s been hard to get any blog updates in, but yesterday the team finally wrapped up what was a very successful World Champs. For me the Sprint day was a little bit of a waxing disaster, but despite not having the best day these world champs in Val De Fiemme were a memorable one. here are a few pics that capture the highlights from the past 2 weeks.
The first Championships that I ever competed in were here in 2003. At that time I was a junior and it was my first year on the US development team, but coming back here to compete at Worlds 10 years later was a sweet experience. Since then I’ve made tons of friends on the team and among the different nordic sports which is always one of the coolest things about competing at the Major Championships. In 2003 I new almost nobody on the team… but this time around it felt like one big family. it’s all about cheering on your teammates in Jumping, and Noco, and coming together as one big team.
Sarah and the ski jumper girls kicked things off in a big way by winning gold on the second day of the Championships. Paulo, the womens ski jumping coach, is from Pradazzo which is the town we are staying in and the town where the ski jumps are located. Paulo and the ski jumper girls have become big celebrities here in town and it has been cool to see so much support for the US in a foreign country.
Jessie and Kikkan kept the momentum rolling just a few days later winning the team sprint. They were considered one of the favorites going into the event and they both skied amazingly well and handled the pressure perfectly to win in a big way. That same afternoon the Nordic combined relay won a Bronze medal proving that it’s all about teammates pushing each other. It’s pretty cool looking at the level of the US Ski team now compared to where we were 10 years ago.
Although in Italy we don’t always see huge crowd, I was impressed with the number of spectators that came out some days. Here is a view of the crowd on our mens relay day. I was for sure nervous having to lead off the distance relay but scramble legs are always a lot of fun and something I’ve tried to improve on over the year. Having not done a distance race in a few weeks before this relay the pressure was definitely on but I has happy to have felt strong and skied with the leaders with the 5th fastest time to tag bird. Everybody on the team pushed as hard as they could including a great leg by Tad where he caught the lead pack. Although we weren’t in the hunt for the podium it was still a very successful day for us.
The Relay days are always followed by the 30 and 50k races. With classic ski exchanges in both those races a lot of the wax staff and coaches were busy preparing skies even during the race. This means athletes like us are forced to go on course with spare poles and feeds and stuff. As you can see we were obviously working very hard. but on and 8.5K loop there’s not a ton of action.
All the courses were very tough here with some steep climbs. Once the weather turned warm and the snow slowed down a little bit it made the long distance races even harder. Here are the lead girls during the 30k striding up into the stadium.
Tomorrow the team and I are packing everything up here in Italy and driving to Munich for the night. From here on out the schedule of the world cup is very busy but it’s also one of the most fun times of year. The ‘spring scando tour’ is always filled with good times and a ton of racing which makes the last two-three weeks of the season go by very quickly. Now that I’m back on the World Cup schedule it should be a lot easier to get some updates in so check back for more updates from the road. Every World Cup points counts for a lot during this time of the season so we will be fighting hard through the final mini tour in Falun.
On wednesday we will be flying to one of my favorite venues, Lahti Finland, for a skate sprint and distance classic races on the weekend.1 comment
February 6th, 2013
The pre Olympics test events in Sochi turned out out to be a pretty successful weekend for the US squad with a handful of personal bests and great performances. When we arrived on the mountain where the xc and biathlon venues are there was already tons of snow. Most of the roofs had well over a meter stacked on them and the snow banks on the roads were massive…. and then it continued to snow for 3 days straight. It was pretty incredible and it made the already tough courses even more rugged starting with the sprint competition on Friday.
A lot of people keep on asking me what I think of the 1.8k super hilly course and honestly from a sprinters perspective it doesn’t really matter too much. At least my opinion is that there isn’t too much of a difference between a 3 minute sprint and a 4 minute sprint, it’s just that the longer the course the more it hurts when you’re done. When you’re actually racing I really notice but after crossing the finish line on Friday and hammering a long snowy course at altitude I was definitely on the pain train. Unfortunately it was also the first super hard skiing I had done in a while so I could feel a puke creeping in.
lots of snow falling made getting from the cabins to the race venue a little bit of a challenge.
Even though I was feeling a little sick on sprint day it could have gone worse. I was definitely looking to make the final, but it was still a great experience to race on what might be the Olympic course for next year. As a team we raced really well placing 5 girls in the top 30 and Kikkan brought home the win! The snow continued to hammer down for Saturdays distance races but Liz pushed through the powder like a champ and had a career best 8th place finish in the 15k.
For Sunday’s sprint relay the weather cleared and we had some of the sunniest and warmest skiing we’ve had all year. The 1.8k sprint course was for sure a battle to race 6 times around but Simi and I were able to have one of our best team sprints to date, despite a stupid crash by me on the last corner.
Tobi, Northug and I stirde it out during the finals.
There isn’t a whole lot built at the Olympic xc stadium yet… but one cool thing is that they apparently have a wild stadium cat who lives there. We saw this little guy every day running around the wax cabins, where I think he lives underneath one of them. On Sunday I even saw him running around the finish area during the race.
Leaving Russia was actually a bigger process than getting in. We had a 7pm flight out of Sochi and in oder to make the flight we had to leave our houses at 2. So after a gondola ride and a bus ride through a lot of traffic we made it to the airport in time to sort through the hundreds of bags that we try to fit on the cargo flight. One thing that you learn about traveling in Russia is that it takes a lot of patients. We ended to waiting in the airport for many hours while the sorted out ‘customs’ issues before we were able to take off almost 2 hours late. In the end we made it to Zurich and drove the 2 hour road trip to Davos making it to the Kulm by 4am Russia time. so we were all a little bit tired to day the least.
Trains and mountains…. Switzerland style
We will be training here for almost the next 2 weeks preparing for World Champs. It’s a pretty kick as place to train and do all the fine tuning we need to do before the big races in the next month.
Aside from training we also like to do a few test to make sure we’re in the best shape possible. Today we all went into the local clinic and did our usual hemaglobin mass test. From these numbers we will be able to see if we are getting a positive response to all the altitude training we have been doing.
January 29th, 2013
It’s not that Russia is particularly weird, they just do things different here. On Sunday we took a FIS Charter flight from Zurich directly to Sochi. Which was sweet to have found a direct flight from central Europe, but at the same time when you get that many skiers on a place there is going to be a serious luggage situation.
Loading bags onto carts to be put on the charter flight. There’s really not anything different from a charter than a normal flight, its just that FIS booked the entire plane from a regular airline. In this case the Russian airline Aeroflot. They might have been bending the rules a little bit in order to fit more duffels on the place. Regardless of the seat luggage there were so many skis stored under the plane that nearly 90 bags that didn’t make it on the place and had to be flown through Moscow on different flights.
With that much ski equipment on a place going through customs took some time and patience but all in all it was pretty smooth. On the world cup teams usually drive their wax supplies and most of the skies from venue to venue but getting to Russia required everyone to fly with all their skis, wax tables, and boxes. And since most of that stuff looks the same it takes a little sorting in the baggage claim area.
The rumors of Sochi being a warm place is true. Although it was dark when we were flying in you could see a coastline city with lots of palm trees, hotels, and neon lights. Outside the airport after we had loaded out gear onto trucks we all piled onto busses to be drivin up to the mountains where the skiing and snowboarding events will be taking place. It was a classic Russian bus drive encountering lots of stand still traffic, a few random stops during the drive where we just sat on the bus for no reason. So the “45″ minute drive was more like 1.5 hours but we made it all good and went through some credential processing at the bottom of the gondola and tram house.
this a the gondola and tram house to get up to the venues. There are a bunch of hotels, most of which are under construction, in the valley with snowboarding and alpine resort on one side, and cross-country and biathlon on the other. the only way to get up to the venue and to where we are staying in these condos, is to take a 15 minute gondola ride that goes straight up a mountain gaining several thousand feet.
Once up on the mountain although there is still a ton of construction going on here the condo’s that we are staying in a awesome and there are epic views in every direction of some really cool mountains. without many roads up here we have to walk or take snowmobiles everywhere which makes going to meals and skiing time consuming but an adventure.
checking into the wax cabins before a ski.
the trails are pretty rad. today we did some speeds around the sprint course. for men its a tough 1.8k course with two hills, one of which is a monster. but in general the trails aren’t too tough and pretty fun to ski. Looking forward to getting the racing started on Friday with a skate sprin
January 23rd, 2013
Until this weekend I had never raced in France before but after spending the last week or so here it has definitely moved to the top of my list of kick ass places to be in Europe. The mountains here are beautiful and so far the hotels and food have been great too. So far it has either been dumping snow on us or warm and sunny which is basically a skiers dream… the hard part is being surrounded by what would be some amazing alpine touring but having to stick to the xc training plan.
La Clusaz is a preatty rad ski town with lots of xc skiing around and even more sweet alpine action. Gotta like cheese in France though thats for sure.
As a world cup racer one of the major reasons why a town or venue can jump to the top of your kick ass list has a lot to do with how you race there. Hotels, town, and food, play a major role too but putting together some good results at a venue can forever change your perception of the place. Thats kind of how I feel toward La Clusaz now after having some of my best ever distance races there this past weekend in the 15k classic and relay and I’m already stoked to spend more time in France. Since getting in lots of racing during the tour and feeling strong last weekend in Liberec I have definitely been feeling like my fitness has improved a lot since the beginning of the season so I was excited to get the chance to race a 15k classic on the world cup again. My last World Cup 15k in Canmore was a bit of a disappointment with a nasty crash my hopes for a good result were pretty shot, but in La Clusaz everything came together. Although most of my training and preparation is geared toward sprinting it’s always been my goal to be competitive in all distances of skiing so to know that I can ski with the best in the world on a 15k is encouraging to me.
the girls gear up for Relay Day… the red white and blue always comes out during team events.
For the men the conditions were unbeatable for the 4×7.5 relay, completely blue skies and warm sun made for some pretty damn fun racing. For me the first leg was another one of my best distance races of the year feeling comfortable in the pack the whole time and coming in to tag the hoff in 4th 2.5 seconds from first. We haven’t done a distance relay since the first world cup weekend of the year so it was great to see some improvement on everyone’s legs.
tons of snow here.. check out the roofs of some of the cabins
on Monday we made the short drive over a pass or two to the town of Les Saisies. This is where the cross country skiing of the Alberville olympics took place and it has become one of my favorite places to ski. There are a ton of trails including some perfect rolling training trails and the Olympic trails with much harder terrain. All the trails are rolling with lots of turns and unbelievable views. We will be spending the next week training here until we drive to Zurich on Saturday for a charter light to Sochi on Sunday. this is the beginning of a training block for most of us since we will be at altitude for the next tree weeks. So for many this is a time to put in a little training in order to have a peak in fitness for the world championships just 4 weeks away.
there are some epic vies of Mt. Blanc and other kick ass mountains throughout the trails here in Les SaisiesNo comments
January 15th, 2013
Racing in Liberec has always left a bad taste in my mouth. Partly because of the shitty air quality that can creep into the valley and scratch up your lungs, but also because of the last two times racing here I’ve felt pretty bad. In 2009 I snuck through world champs with a 12 place but felt awful and the last word cup there in 2011 was also a big disappointment. So going into the weekend I didn’t have great expectations for the conditions or results but it turned out to be a great weekend in the sketchy city of Liberec. Snow was slim but the man made 800 meter loop turned out to be awesome skiing and the day of the classic sprint was fairy straight forward waxing and sweet racing conditions. The two lap course skied quite well and made for an interesting sprint with lots of hard finishes. In the end I was stoked to be in the finals but disappointed in how worked I was due to the short recovery between the heats. Three finals so far this year without any podiums is a little frustrating but I have a feeling its coming soon.
Wubbs and Randy working the bench. Classic sprints always require a lot of man power in the wax room and sprint relays are also a hectic event for the techs as they try to manage the skis between tags. Sadie and Ida had an awesome sprint relay on Sunday and were at times very close to the podium finishing the day in 7th.
After spending sunday night in an airpot hotel in Prague we flew from Praha to Geneva yesterday then caught a shuttle for the hour drive to La Cluzas. There was a lot of snow when we got here and it has continued to dump snow all last night and today. Staying in some of these small european towns is pretty cool. what you realize is that if they can host a world cup is some of these extremely small towns then there is absolutely no excuse for us not to organize a world cup in the US. we are basically skiing in a field here.
Field skiing in the snow… Come on USA we can host a world cup. make it happen
the track for the races is actually really hard with a bunch of climbs in the open field and a little bit of altitude which will makes things tough.
The French are always bragging about their food but I have to say that so far they have not disappointed us.
team lunch at the hotel. Racing will start on Saturday with a 10/15k classic mass start and relays on Sunday!No comments
January 11th, 2013
After the 5 days of intense Tour de ski racing I’ve spent the past week recovering and preparing for the next stop on the world cup, Liberec Check Republic. Having a big group of racers start the tour this year was really exciting and even though I was not planning on completing the 7 race event, it was a great experience with all the back to back racing and traveling… there is really nothing like it. You literally feel like you are going non stop for a week. Either warming up, racing, cooling down, and traveling, and re-fueling, there isn’t a whole lot of down time.
A hungry group of skiers at breakfast. Most of the races are in the afternoon so eating a lot at dinner and breakfast is very important. This Years tour saw a new stop in Val Mustare Switzerland. Most of us had never been there before so it was cool to check out and a ton of fans showed up for the night sprint race there. The venue is right on the Italian border and the area is filled with really sweet mountains and sights including this flooded church that we swung by on our way to our hotel. I think everyone was feeling the altitude a little bit during that sprint race and it was a grinding course. Although I finished in the top 10 I was really looking to get a shot at the final, but Kikkan was really able to represent and take home a big victory.
not a bad spot to stretch the legs during one of our long travel days in the vans.
After stage 5 I spend tow days recovering in Predazzo and enjoying some sun and super warm skiing. Instead of trying to push through the last 2 days of the Tour de ski we decided it was better to recover and get ready for the next weekend of racing in Liberec and it was also a good chance to train on the WC courses. I spent the last 5 days skiing on the World Championships sprint course with Simi and some of the other skiers that few in for the return to the world cup.
On Wednesday we loaded up the van for the 8ish hour drive from Predazzo through Munich and Prague and on to Liberec. The snow has been very thin here because of warm temps and a lot of rain so the normal world cup courses have been transformed into a two lap sprint on an 800 meter loop. This morning when we woke up there were a few inched of fresh snow which whitened up the situation here but also made for some tricky testing conditions on the sprint course today. We will kick things off with a classic sprint tomorrow and a skate team sprint on Saturday. Simi, Ida and I were joined by Skyler, Bjoernson, Sadie, and Sophie who came in straight from US Nationals so we will have a full sprint team ready to rock tomorrow.
Freshies outside the hotel. Liberec is a pretty big town with a lot of cool old buildings. and the legendary night club “disco hut”
Fresh snow and high winds on the course today. It will be a two lap hammer fest tomorrow.
December 22nd, 2012
just finished up packing here at home because I’m headed back out on the road tomorrow for the remainder of the season. Sorry for the lack of blog posts but the past week has been busy traveling home from Canmore and trying to enjoy home and VT for a quick 5 days before flying back out to Germany tomorrow. Although 5 days doesn’t seem like a lot even just a little bit of time at home goes a long way and can re-charge the batteries enough to make it though the rest of the winter. So I don’t have a whole lot of typing to do… but here is the past week in pictures.
got my ears basted off at the Drake the last night in Canmore. It was fun to see a lot of World Cup skiers out and enjoying the Canadian scene. Unfortunately a few of us on the American team had a 4 AM shuttle in the morning to the Airport
Can you spot the skiers in the Airport? Jessie and Cory in Chicago trying to make it home. Pretty much everybody got delayed that morning leaving Canmore so Gus and I didn’t make it back to VT until late. And the Chi-town airport was a mad house.
It felt great to get home to VT and although there wasn’t any snow I did some dry land training. A view here from the roads near my house while out on a run. In some ways it was nice to have a little break from winter.
Christmas was in full swing around here though and I got to hang out with the family and a lot of friends in the area. Of course we had to hit up the Foster Sauna with the crew and chop through the ice for a little dunk. A shot of the Newell x mas tree.
Finn and Phoebs… at home. when there is something baking in the oven the pile on top on each other to get a warm seat.
Mom’s christmas cookies. Most of the food is pretty decent in Europe but the days of dining in hotels can drag on so hanging out at home in the kitchen is a good time.
One of the shittiest training days of the year. Went out to do some intervals at Stratton on snow on the alpine hill. 35 deg. pouring rain, windy, and i got damn cold. got the intervals done though, even if I had to stop 3 times to wring out my gloves and shake the feeling back into my hands.
Last night and today the snow was falling however and things look a lot better. even in the South lands where I live we got a few inches so the skiing up around Stratton and Prospect should be decent now. Stoked to see a little snow, just in time to say goodbye to the house and bounce out to Munich tomorrow. I’ll be meeting up with Kikkan, Jeff, Liz, and Diggs in Oberhof where we will be training for a few days until the Tour starts on the 28th.No comments