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waves, camps, and intervals: Stratton Update

Upon returning from Norway I didn’t waste any time enjoying a little break from serious training and relaxing with Erika. Since I left for Norway just after our recent engagement we planned on taking a few days away from Stratton to go up to the beach up in Maine. It’s a little bit of a drive to get up to the Portland area, but we enjoy the laid back scene of surfing small waves at Higgins Beach, and we were lucky enough to have some friends let us stay at their house up on Orr’s Island. I’ve never spent much time out on those small lobster town islands of Maine and it was a cool scene to paddle out among the islands and do some sight seeing.

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Surfing some big foamies is the best way to enjoy 2 foot waves!

IMG_3281Erika checking out a mini island we decided to paddle out to and explore

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After a few down days and some ‘beach cross training’ we headed back to Stratton for a busy week of training and helping with the SMS BKL and junior camps. It’s really incredible to see how much the SMS camps have progressed over the years and it’s pretty special for me to help with them since they are one of the biggest reasons I started training for skiing as a kid. I can remember coming up from Shaftsbury to SMS for the training camps in the summer as a 12 and 13 year old. I learned how to train for skiing, how to rollerski, and was inspired to then attend SMS for skiing.

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Working with the ‘older’ BKL kids on some cornering technique. It was another great year for the SMS camps with nearly 50 youngsters and over 50 juniors attending the camps.. along with a Swedish Junior group. We spent a few days working on technique, talking training, and hanging out with the kids.

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Just because it was junior camp didn’t mean it wasn’t a big week of training either! I decided to jump in the uphill running time trial for the week along with Paddy Caldwell. It was a fun, super hot, super humid, sweat fest of a hard effort… but a good chance for Paddy and I to push each other to the finish. Paddy got the victory by 2 seconds:)

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Thanks to PodiumWear for our kick ass new uniforms!

Along with some of the camp workouts I was adding in a lot of my own training, especially my own intensity. Since the few weeks in Norway had a big volume and distance training focus the past two weeks here in Stratton I have been trying to work more in intervals before heading to New Zealand. The week has consisted of 5 intensity sessions including the uphill run, L4 Classic, L3 Skating, and L4 double poling. It has been a cool learning experience figuring out how to do 5 interval session in a week and finding the balance between the right combination of threshold, controlled L4, and all out L4 pacing.

IMG_3847After a hard week of training it was time for another BBQ night at the cabin in Weston. Erika enjoying the view of Stratton from the newly cleared land next to the cabin.

Although the camps are over the Swedish junior group is still in town so they have been joining the SMS team for a lot of workouts. Today we headed out for a rainy long distance ski down in Manchester and tomorrow we will all be bounding up the mountain with our typical L3 ski walking interval day. Going to be a solid finish to a tough week of training with more L4 intervals scheduled on Saturday. The good news is there is no lack of motivation around here especially with all the kick ass performances by team USA so far in Rio. So you know what I’ll be doing in between interval sessions! GO USA!

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Lillehammer Update

It has been many years since I’ve missed any US Ski Team training camps, but this July it was time for me to do something a little different. Last Wednesday when the rest of the US Ski Team flew out to Alaska, I took off in the other direction to Oslo Norway. I always look forward to our team training camps and the feeling of waking up every day for 2 weeks with the single goal of getting fitter and pushing one another. It was a shame to miss out on Alaska dry land training and Eagle glacier but if my personal goal is to become one of the best double-polers in the world, I needed to learn from the best.

My Scandinavian training camp was almost over before it began. I was hoping to join the National Team for some training but through talking with a lot of my World Cup Norwegian friends in the weeks leading up to my trip I learned there weren’t going to be any National team training blocks during July. With a formal training camp off the table I set about creating my own, by emailing friends and connecting with skiers on Facebook to set up training partners. In Norway there are basically 3 big locations for skiers: Oslo, Lillehammer, and Trondheim. In the end I settled on Lillehammer because of its accessibility to great roads and training and lots of professional skiers in the area.

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My little ride…… what more do you need

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When in Norway, eat like this

Having arrived on Wednesday I’ve been in town for just over a week and I’m super stoked with the training we’ve done so far, it feels like one of the most productive training camps I’ve ever had with lots of rollerskiing on awesome roads, bog running, and lifting at Hakons Hal Olympic complex. There are two rollerski tracks here, one up at the 94’ Olympic stadium and one up closer to Sjusjoen. Most of the terrain is new and exciting for me and especially some of the downhills which can consist of switchbacks, roundabouts, and all kinds of exciting hazards we don’t face in Vermont.

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Swix headquarters just down the road from where I am staying.

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I have to admit that going to a training camp without an official training schedule was a little strange. Basically all I knew was that I would be joining some local skiers my first week in town before jumping into a week of training with Oeystein Pettersen. I came up with a general outline of how many hours and intensity sessions I would like to do, but other than that I was going to embrace the local training culture. So far things have been perfect!

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I was lucky enough to score a free place to stay with Peter Skinstad (athlete and son of the previous head of the Norwegian Ski Federation Age Skinstad) at an awesome apartment in town. On any given day there are 1 or2 different groups of skiers who will meet for different workouts, often times leaving from the Hakons Hal complex. It’s amazing how many professional skiers I see out rollerskiing and I’m told ‘this is a quiet time of year’. So far Andrew Young, Marius Caspersen Falla, Heikki Korpela have joined me, among others this week. There are so many skiers in town that there is even a Facebook page where athletes can post what their training plan is so others can join… which has connected me to some other ski friends I didn’t know were in the area like Erik Stange and Rune Odegard.

So far some highlight workouts have been uphill intervals from the Swix Factory to Nordsetter which is over 2,000 feet of elevation gain on perfect pavement that we actually skied down! DP intervals and some epic long rollerskis, so far I’ve been out on two different 3.5 hour+ loops and I’m told there are many more where that came from. Today is finally a rest day for me, and a much needed one before we jump into a week of training with one of the all-time double pole beasts Oyestein Polsa Pettersen. Looking forward to it!

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One last shot of that blacktop butter…. rollerski perfection on the roads.

Bringing The Intensity

With a few weeks of longer distance training in the books last week was my first hit of some harder intensity training. This year I’m not training any more intensity necessarily, but a lot of the intervals I do will come in the form of intensity weeks. Call it an interval block, call it whatever you like but it’s basically just trying to fit in many different varieties of intervals and hard efforts into one week and keep it completely separate from all the longer distance training and volume. The goal is to feel good for all the sessions and allow your body to absorb the interval sessions well instead of jamming them in between lots of other distance workouts.

It’s still the summertime however so it’s important to keep things fun. In an effort to push myself and try something completely different I jumped in my first triathlon at Lake Dunmore and it turned out to be much more fun than I anticipated.

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Although I was a very competitive swimmer when I was young. (and I’m talking young… like 12 years old) these days it feels like I have one pace in the water, slow and strenuous. I was able to get in the water for a swim workout once before jumping in the race but it was still a bit of a shocker once the race started. Luckily it was a sprint triathlon so the swim portion for me was only 600 meters. Once on the bike I hammered out 14 miles on my rickety old Cannondale road bike… which was much more fun than the swim. I don’t get the opportunity to go fast on road bikes very often so it was a fun change ripping up and down hills and around corners. Once onto the run things felt a little more familiar and I was stoked to feel good on the 5k rolling road run and was able to hammer to the finish with the fastest run time, finishing 7th overall. It was a cool way to jump into the intensity and get back into the feel of racing. A slight side note…. my mom did beat me in the swim by at least 30 seconds!

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mamma Newell finishing up her triathlon at the VT Sun. She’s pretty hard core

With the Tri out of the way it was time to get back into some more ski specific intervals to finish out the intensity block. My coaches and I basically set up the week so that I was doing intervals every other day starting with some L4 double pole. After a distance day Thursday was a double interval day with L3 ski bounding in the morning and L4 skate intervals in the afternoon. For those who have done double interval days before you know… it can be tough to rally and motivate for that afternoon session especially in this summer heat. It was a sweaty day to say the least.

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Sophie and I nearing the top of Stratton on a perfect summer day in VT!

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Birds eye view from the water tower. nordies being nordies on top of stratton.

After the double interval day I had one more day of easy distance training before having the final hard session of the week.. L4 building to max striding. It was definitely the hardest workout of the week doing 5×4 minutes up some of the steepest terrain I could find on the roads around here. By the end I was posting lactates over 14 and definitely feeling the burn and breathing as hard as I could.

With the intervals over Erika and I jumped in the truck and drove up to GMVS to join Fish and the rest of the REG at the New England US Ski Team junior camp. I really like to make an appearance at the REG camps whenever possible because it’s a great way to meet some of the younger skiers in the country and see who is on the up and up. Without racing too much domestically I don’t get much face time with the new talent. It just so happened to be my personal favorite (the agility course) on Sunday morning so it worked out perfectly.

IMG_3498It was about a 2 minute course full of slalom, jumping obstacles, backwards skiing, barrel turning, one ski balancing, curb hopping fun. And it’s actually a pretty tough workout to rip it as fast as you can a few times.

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After a morning of roller skiing Erika and I weren’t afraid of the 80+ degree temps and continued training by going for a long run hike up Camels Hump. It had been a while since I’ve been up there and it was a rad way to finish a tough training week with a summit and a cold swim in the river afterward!

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Back on the Blog

Yeah I know it’s been while but the beginning of the training year is a busy time. So here’s a quick catch up:

Bend was awesome as usual! This year the snow base was deep enough for us to hold our training camp at the usual time and we spent a full 2 weeks getting in some quality early season ski training. I tried to keep the first two weeks of the training year super chill with low hours so that by the time I got to Bend I could really capitalize on some bigger hours. It’s really easy to settle into a great training routine there, waking up early to get on snow in the morning and going for long bike rides and runs in the afternoon. Racking up the big training hours is usually no problem at all.

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We even got a crust ski this year! As a mens team we summited Broken Top which required a lot of up hill skiing, which turned into steep herringbone, which turned into complete side stepping by the top. But the way down was definitely worth it.

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we saw a little bit of everything for training conditions. On the best days we would show up at 8am and the snow would be super fast for the first hour or so. On some days it would get warm enough that the tracks would slow down considerably but the snow stayed pretty clean. We even saw a little bit of snow. Most days on snow consisted of long easy skiing while working on technique and soaking up the sun.

After two weeks and logging more than 45 hours of training I started to get a little tired but most of all it felt good to get back into training after a long spring break. On the way home we few into Boston and spent the night with Natalie Flowers on Beacon Hill. I’m not the biggest fan of the cities usually…. just too many people. But as it turns out on Memorial day weekend most of the city peeps drive up into the country so Boston was pretty deserted and there was no traffic or crowds! We had a great dinner up on the rooftops.

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Erika, Jessie, and I drove back to Stratton the next day after a morning run along the Charles. Since we had just wrapped up a long training camp we got to relax a little bit on Memorial day weekend and then settled back into Vermont life. It ended up being a pretty busy week, despite the low training hours I was running around enjoying the start of summer, fishing, and getting out on a few rollerskis.

Friday night I was lucky enough to get the amazing opportunity and honor of being the opening ceremonies speaker at the Special Olympics of Vermont! Union Mutual of Vermont is a partner of mine and we saw this as a great opportunity to support the Special Olympics. Union Mutual was the main sponsor of the event and I got the opportunity to meet some inspiring athletes and people.

I knew I had to give an 8-10 minute speech but what I didn’t know was that joining me on stage were some tough acts to follow including Senator Leahy, who was in charge of lighting the torch and officially announcing the start of the Games. It was a bit nerve racking but I thin the speech went well.

Andy Newell with Leahy

This was my first time attending a Special Olympics and I was blown away by the energy and sportsmanship but also at the ability of some of the athletes. Erika and I were based at the Athlete village hang out but we took a trip out to the track to watch some of the events. The sprinting events on the track were super fun to watch and extremely fast and competitive.

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Now that the easy week is over the whole SMS crew is back together here at Stratton and our summer training schedule has officially begun. Today we had out first true team workout and I went out to ski some L3 intervals with Ben and Simi. As usual there is going to be a strong group for training here at SMS throughout the summer and I’m looking forward to the next month. Erika and I just moved into our apartment here in the Stratton village so it feels like summer is really here.

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Back to Scando

My quick weekend break from the World Cup was a great opportunity to get in some unique races and build up some fitness before making the trip back to Oslo and joining up with the rest of the team. The Dolomitenlauf in Austria was an all around great experience with two non typical races, first a city sprint, and a 42k marathon race.

The DolomitenSprint is (apparently) one of the oldest recorded sprints, taking place on the eve of the marathon race in down town Lienz. Over the years it has evolved into a true show sprint with the spectators enjoyment in mind. The course consists of a super short 2 lap race in the downtown square complete with downhill starting gates, a super sketchy spiral downhill, and a jump.

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To add to the atmosphere there are two guys wearing lederhosen who fire a cannon to start each heat! In true city sprint fashion there is no seeding, no qualification, just show up and rip some heats. It turned out to be a super fun night. Reese was there racing as well as Lenny from Canada, and a handful of speedy Italians, Germans, and Austrians. I made my way to the final without too much carnage but my luck ended in the Final with a great face plant out of the starting gate and two broken poles.  It was too bad to miss out on a good pay day for the win but it was a great experience. The heats didn’t wrap up until 8:30 at night which made for a quick turnaround and a quick recovery for the next morning.

Although the sprint was fun my main focus for the weekend was the 42k marathon. I haven’t done too many races like this and I was looking forward to testing out my double pole in a long distance race. The course was a 4 lap loop with a lot of gradual climbs, a few steep ones in the stadium, but definitely a double- pole course. My big unknown was if my upper body would hold up for that long and I was happy with the way the race played out. I tried to stay near the front out of trouble since the course was narrow and windy in places. Maybe it was the excitement of the video crew snowmobile right at the front of the pack the whole time, but I did my fair share to leading and pushing the pace. I’m not sure why it just felt good.

In the end our main pack came down to three and it turned out to be a long hard push to the finish. Stanislav Rezac had a hard push with about a half K to go which strung us out. It was a great learning experience to do a race like this with some real double poolers and also perfect training to get ready for the rest of the season and all the DP heavy sprints coming up.

23.01.2016, Loipe Obertilliach, AUT, 42. Dolomitenlauf, Classicrace, im Bild v.l.t.r. Andy Newell (USA, 2. Platz), Stanislav Rezac (CZK, 1. Platz) und Mauro Brigadoi (ITA, 3. Platz) // during the 42nd Dolomitenlauf Classicrace at Obertilliach, Austria on 2015/01/23, EXPA Pictures © 2016 PhotoCredit: EXPA/ Michael Gruber

23.01.2016, Loipe Obertilliach, AUT, 42. Dolomitenlauf, Classicrace, im Bild v.l.t.r. Andy Newell (USA, 2. Platz), Stanislav Rezac (CZK, 1. Platz) und Mauro Brigadoi (ITA, 3. Platz) // during the 42nd Dolomitenlauf Classicrace at Obertilliach, Austria on 2015/01/23, EXPA Pictures © 2016 PhotoCredit: EXPA/ Michael Gruber

On Monday we met up with the team in Munich and flew to Oslo. This weekend was a week off from the World Cup which meant we had to find some place to get in a little bit of training before the Olso and Drammen World Cups. We had heard that the skiing in Sjusjøen was epic so we rented some cabins and have been training here for the past few days.

Aside from a little bit of fog and wind the conditions have been perfect for training. It’s actually hard not to train too much when you are up here since there are so many unbelievable trails.

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Cabin life!

For the past few days I have been getting in some re building intervals and some easy distance skiing. Drammen and Stockholm sprints are right around the corner which have always been some of my favorites and a highlight of the season. We will drive back down to Oslo on Monday to prepare for the epic city sprint in Drammen which will take place on Wednesday. I’m looking forward to putting my double pole to the test again in those two sprints.

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Scott having the joy of a birthday on the road last night! It’s always great to have the girls around to bake an awesome cake!

 

 

Central Europe update!

Since the end of the Tour de Ski things haven’t slowed down a bit here on the road. Ok, maybe they slowed down for a few days… (post tour I took a few super easy days off from training), but then jumping back into hard workouts again in order to prepare for the next World cup races. I wrapped up the Tour de Ski in Toblach and spent those two days relaxing and hanging out at the Hotel Dolomiten. Taking easy days on the road in Europe can always be a little boring but those few days in Toblach were especially restless since I was awaiting the arrival of Erika!

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But she finally got here and it was worth the wait. It can be pretty difficult to coordinate travel schedules since we are both spending the winter racing, but it worked out for Erika to come over to a week meeting me here in Toblach. Although it was only a week, we made the most of it.

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There were several other US Ski teamers staying in Toblach for those few days so it was a fun chance to do some skiing together, and get the body feeling sharp again after so much back to back racing during the Tour de Ski. Erika and I headed out on a long DP workout and enjoyed the Italian sunshine. Considering how slim the snow is in most of Central Europe Toblach is a pretty good place to be since they have the normal 5k race trails groomed and tons of other more rolling trails groomed for their many marathon races in the area. The amount of man made snow they can spread out is pretty impressive.

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It’s funny how being on the road with the same people all the time can make you fall into the typical routines, but when you throw in some new faces it can help everyone branch out and explore the area more. We did our best to embrace the Italian lifestyle eating great food, hanging out in the sun, and having afternoon cappuccinos while checking out some new scenery around Tobalch. With all the workouts we were doing it still felt like a training camp but we were having a lot of fun which was a perfect break from the typical Word Cup week.

The racing doesn’t stop for very long after the Tour de Ski, in fact that next Thursday we departed Italy and had a pretty short 2.5 hour drive over to Slovenia where the sprint only weekend would take place with a skate sprint and a sprint relay. IMG_2807

The courses there were super fast and twisty and fun and although my results still weren’t up to where I would like them to be, I felt better skate sprinting than I have in the previous 2 skate sprints. I’m still trying to play around with some technical changes which will help me ski with a little bit more power and help me accelerate more toward the end of a sprint. I’m excited to keep working on these changes and see how things progress. The sprint relay day went a little bit better for Simi and I than the individual day and it was as always a wind, crazy, and fun event.

The course was super narrow and fast in places which made it hectic for the sprint relay but we tend to like action packed races like that. In our semi final I think we both felt really good and were able to qualify easy enough for the final. In the final our tags got a little sloppy which made us fight a little more at the back, (and in the end a DSQ) but it was still a fun day. It was especially awesome having Erika there for a Word Cup weekend in a sweet new venue that we hadn’t raced at before

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off the race trails there was very little snow so the day after the race we all decided to take a break from skate skiing and take off on an adventure run! And of course since Erika was there it made it way more fun to get out of the hotel and explore the area some more. Planica had some of the coolest mountains we had ever seen.

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Unfortunately Erika’s stay went by too quickly and it was time to go our separate ways again on Tuesday. In fact a lot of the US skiers that are over here headed out in some different directions. Erika had to get home to race some super tours, most of the Planica crew made the big drive to Czech, but Reese and I had planned on skipping the Nove Mesto World Cup distance weekend in order to ski the Dolomiten sprint and the Dolomotenlauf 42k! So we loaded up a car and made the quick drive to Obertiliach Austria where we will be through the weekend.

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Obertiliach is a small town with great skiing. The first race will be on Friday night downtown in the bigger city of Lienz which is a little bit of a drive from here. Then on Saturday morning I will be racing the 42k world loppet Dolomiten classic. I’ve never done a race like this so I don’t really know what to expect but I’m excited for the opportunity and the great double pole training it will be! This will for sure be the race with the most competitors I have ever raced in. It will be cool to race with thousands of other people. It’s hard not to really enjoy life here in Central Europe with some of the epic places we have been skiing the past few weeks.

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Christmas Blog

When we are so wrapped up in the racing here in Europe I think it’s pretty easy for Christmas to sneak up on you. Some people think that’s strange but a lot of us have been traveling the World Cup for a long that time so spending Christmas with the team over in Europe is just a normal gig by now.

Usually Christmas week involves a little bit of road tripping. This year we ended our last period 1 World Cup race in Toblach Italy and planned to drive back to Davos for the 10 days before the start of the Tour De Ski. Luckily it’s not too far… at least on a map… but often those small Italian and Swiss roads can be deceivingly slow.

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Leaving the Toblach World Cup venue back to Davos.

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Driving over some of the passes you would think there is a lot of snow… .unfortunately it’s all up in the mountains and not down on the xc trails.

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I THINK we’ll fit?? sometimes driving in parts of Central Europe can be stressful. Instead of taking the twisty roads over the mountain passes on our way back to Switzerland we opted for the autobahn rout. Which took al least an extra hour but it saved a lot of our happy Christmas crew from getting car sick. We took turns driving back to Switzerland, stopping in Innsbruck Austria for a big grocery run. We are on our own dime for our ‘Christmas training camps’ so we decided to take advantage of our road trip and save on some food prices.

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Picking up a weeks worth of food at the InterSpar. Prices are pretty steep in Davos so we try to buy as little as possible in town.

Although the Kulm Hotel is our home here in Davos as a group we decided it would be more fun to spend christmas outside of a Hotel. Finding an affordable apartment in town can be tough especially during the Christmas and New Year time but Jessie nailed down a sweet 3 bedroom place right near town, which ended up being cheaper than staying in a hotel for the week.

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We were pleasantly surprised when we arrived at the apartment on Monday night to find it had a very ‘Homey’ feel and was already decked out in Christmas decorations. A perfect break from the hotel life. We have spent the last few days cooking great meals for dinner and trying to relax from the stress of the World Cup. Our place is right on the ski trails directly in town which makes getting around easy. Unfortunately there is not enough snow to ski from our door, since there is virtually no natural snow here, just the mane made race loops.

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For the next 6 days we will get a decent amount of training in. Although Christmas is a break from racing it’s also one of the few times of year we have the luxury of being able to get in a little training. We always like to go out for some nice group cruises. Getting together with a lot of the other homeless World Cup skiers has become another part of our Christmas traditions. We will have some Canadian and Norwegian friends in town to celebrate with and it has become customs to go to Jurg Capols house for Christmas Eve dinner. Jurg is the Nordic director for FIS and lives just 45 minutes from Davos… It’s incredibly generous for him and his family to invite the team over every year.

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Of course we are missing our own friends and family back home but we will be just fine as a team here in Davos. Our break is short lived since we will start the Tour De Ski on the 1st of January. Great way to ring in the New Year!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kuusamo to Lillehammer

It’s been a busy week so it wasn’t easy to get a blog update in but here is a quick recap of what the US crew has been up to here on the World Cup.

IMG_2687EBJ getting in some training in Finland before the Ruka Tripple.

Ruka was pretty epic this year. The past two seasons I really struggled in the sprint there for whatever reason. Could have been because we were coming into the season too flat, maybe it wasn’t enough of on snow time, but after a few years in a row of struggling to break the top 25 I nearly swore off Kuusamo last season hoping I would never have to come back again.  Of course that bitterness tends to fade and of course 12 months later I found myself at the start line of one of the toughest sprints of the season in Ruka.

This year was different though and I tried to plan ahead as best I could. I spent the last few weeks training more intensity and working more on steep striding so I could be in a better position to compete against all the best sprinters in the World. More than any specific result it really feels good when your training pays off, when you put your mind to something and it works out. So I was stoked to feel strong on that terrain and give a good shot at the podium.

As you guys might know this isn’t the blog to tune into for a full race recap of the weekend. I’d just rather not bore everyone with a play by play of race day… In fact I can’t even remember it on occasion, which I think is a good thing. Something I have discovered over the years is that my best results are the ones I think back on the day after and wonder “what the hell happened out there” you can’t remember the tactics, you can’t remember who was in your heats, and you almost can’t remember the pain of racing up the final hill. Thats a good thing.. It means I was 100 percent in the race zone, which is a place I plan of being in a lot more this season. Just 100 percent focused on getting across the finish line first and nothing else.

12308423_920004474753417_7370593600577147712_nBeing in that kind of mindset is a really fun way to race. So I will say for sure that Ruka was fun! and I was happy to get back into the finals and post a better result than in any race last season.

On Monday we loaded up the big World Cup transportation bus at 5:30 in the morning and had a 3 hour drive to the Rovaniemi airport. Kuusamo airport is a little bit closer but since we had flown into Rovaniemi initially on our way to Sweden, we had to back track a little bit. In general the travel day was long but relaxing and we were in Lillehammer in time for a jog and dinner.

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Looking down on the city of Lillehammer

Monday also happened to be my Birthday, which can sound kind of depressing to be stuck traveling on your B day but every year my teammates make November 30th a pretty fun day for me no matter where we are! I feel pretty lucky to have so many friends/teammates around so its actually a pretty sweet gig to have a B day while on the road. The day was highlighted with the arrival at the Hotel Raddison here in Lillehammer which is possibly one of the best food stops on Tour! It’s a serious buffet situation here with salmon, crab, all kinds of different fish and fresh veggies. The massive dessert buffet is something we always look forward to here and was only sweetened by the birthday candles Liz scrounged up and the usual barrage of ‘old man’ jokes that can be expected when you turn 32.

A lot of our fellow World Cup athletes were able to go home for a few days after Ruka but for those of us who were in Lillehammer 5 days early we got in some really fun skiing. Our first morning here a big bus picked us up along with the German team for a day of skiing up in Sjusjøen. It was the first time we had seen direct sun light in a while and it’s always an inviting break to be able to ski on something other than super steep and difficult race trails. Up in Sjusjøen we toured around for a few hours, many of us double-poling out on the Birkenbiner trail.

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sunny days and festive walks down main street here in Lillehammer

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First Sadie, me, then it was Rosie’s turn to experience a B day on the road. The girls actually came up with a really fun idea though,  to have a water color painting class here at the hotel. Caitlyn rounded up some waiting supplies in town and arranged for the hotel to open up one of their conference rooms downstairs. Some people were better at following instructions than others but it was a pretty hilarious time. One of the things that I think is amazing about this team is that when we do something like this everyone jumps in… athletes, coaches, and techs all experienced paint class together.

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Who’s is best?? of course it turned slightly competitive.

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Once the races drew closer we started having a lot more training sessions at the venue up at the Lillehammer Olympic stadium. The trails here have been re-done in the last few years and they are pretty exciting but also incredibly tough. The big climb on the main race loop is a serious one… it’s over 4 minutes of straight uphill at a fast race pace which is pretty unusual even on the toughest courses. It will make the 30 kilometer skiathon a pretty epic race for the dudes this weekend. I’ve spent the last few days preparing for a relay spot on Sunday. I was able to get in some tough skating intervals on Thursday in preparation for next weeks important sprint races in Switzerland, but also some good classic practice and some pre race intervals this afternoon in the dark.

I will suit up tomorrow morning for the first leg of the 4×7.5K relay. Lets do this!

 

 

 

 

 

On Snow in Sweden

Well we’ve made the yearly voyage to the far North in oder to find early season snow and racing and have arrived here in Gallivare Sweden.   On Friday I said goodbye to the US for what will be about a 4 month trip on the World Cup, which is always extremely tough to do but exciting at the same time. Being on the road away from girlfriend, friends,  and family isn’t easy but this year I’m more fired up than ever to start racing and want to get back to showing everyone what I can do on the World Cup. Because of this long time on the road it can make the last few days at home a little stressful trying to say goodbye to everyone and also making sure you’re not forgetting anything important. I was lucky that this year Erika, my fam, and all my teammates made it a fun week.

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The week was also greatly improved by the awesome training weather we had making the last few long roller skis of the year that much more tolerable. I spent most of the week up at Stratton training with the crew but also taking several trips down to Shaftsbury in order to organize US Ski team gear, pack skis, and keep the cats from living in my suitcase.

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I had a few hard interval days mixed into the week as did a lot of the SMS kids. Last week was their ‘Nationals’ week when they compete in sprint and distance rollerski time trials. The pic above is from the sprint day at BMD. Guys and girl racing heats together sometimes starting with a staggered start. Sverre does a good job of keeping the races exciting for the kids at all levels. Ben and Sophie both jumped in the race and had a hard fast final together.

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Ben sprinting to the finish

Instead of jumping in a time trial a few days before flying to Europe I opted for some long easy distance days. We had a few beautiful training mornings. November in Vermont can defiantly be hit or miss but it turned out to be perfect conditions to enjoy the last bit of dry land training. All the leaves are down but it makes for some interesting running. Always fun to get in a few long runs before the full transition to skiing.

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Running along the west river with Erika

It’s important to taper the training a little bit before heading across the pond to Europe, just to make sure we can stay healthy. It was a good excuse to have some more relaxed mornings of training and eat some good food before 4 months of hotel meals. We all got together as an SMSt2 team and had a Birthday brunch… basically to celebrate everyones November birthdays all at once. What a great crew!

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Thats a lot of waffles…. I think they’ll have left overs for a little while, but it was the perfect meal before heading out.

The travel to Sweden was pretty smooth and uneventful. We actually fly into Finland and take a small plane from Helsinki to Rovaniemi. From Rovaniemi we drive North West (a couple hundred kilometers above the arctic circle) across the boarder t0 a cool town of Gallivare Sweden. We’ve spent some time here in the past since it has been a repeat World Cup venue in previous seasons and also where our wax tech amigo Peter Johansson lives. We lucked out since Scandinavia was actually off to a dry warm start to their winter but it snowed a bunch just the day we arrived.

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For the next week we will be living up at the Dundret ski hotel and training just down the road at the Hellner Stadium. Of course it’s dark and cold and all that, but it’s all very manageable and temps have actually been pretty mild for this arctic territory, we haven’t seen anything in the single digits yet. With all the icy snow falling from the sky the trees are all cakes with snow giving everything that cool snow globe feel. It’s always awesome to go from sunny dry land training one day to skiing in Sweden the next!

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Smiles on the ski course. The race tracks are almost all open here in Gallivare and there will be 2 FIS races here this weekend a spirt and distance race. There won’t be a huge field but the US team, Canada, Poland, some Russians and a handful of fast Swedes will be around to compete. It should be a great way to get that first hard effort on snow in before traveling to Ruka for the World Cup opener next weekend.

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Talking With VT Kids

With just two weeks at home in Vermont this is always a pretty busy time of year.  We are coming off a solid three week western training camp so it’s perfect to have a little down time at home before the season gets underway.  Most people know that I’m always stoked to take some time to visit with the local schools here in Vermont. Being from a rural area I think it’s so important for kids to know that no matter where they’re from they always have the opportunity to chase their dreams and do great things.

That’s why I was super excited to partner with Union Mutual of Vermont this Fall to set up some school visits in the Montpelier area. Unknown

 

We started our Monday morning with a visit to the Union High School. I don’t do a ton of High school talks but I really enjoy connecting with that age group. We usually have a lot to talk about, everything from big decisions teenagers will face to ski training and traveling the world. It’s fun because it’s more of a conversation than a lecture and we can talk about more advanced topics and the struggles kids face.

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Getting down to business with the Union High School students.

 

In the afternoon we had to step up the energy a little bit with a visit to the Union Elementary School where I got the chance to fire up an auditorium filled with 4th graders. It’s always a lot of fun to hear about some if their goals and big aspirations.

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Photos from the Times Argus

 

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image003 (1)A big thank you to Union Mutual of Vermont for making these visits possible!

here’s a link to the channel 5 news coverage:  http://www.wptz.com/news/olympian-andy-newell-visits-montpelier-schools/36219188

Introducing Sven Can See!!

With the start of the World Cup season just one month away it’s time for me to officially announce my new head-gear sponsor Sven Can See! I’m super stoked to be partnering with this new Boston based company and I’m excited to help introduce Sven Can See to the world.
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So what is Sven Can See?? They have products that can be used on all types of eyewear from ski goggles and glasses, motorcycle and snowmobile shields, to water sports gear like scuba diving and swimming masks. Pretty much anything you want to see through clearly and prevent fogging in any condition.  They make a lens cleaner and an anti fog/ice gel that can be applied to the eyewear.  Perfect for those snowing, sleeting, or raining days on the xc race course.

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So whats with the name?? The name Sven comes from the name of a mountain climbing goat (children’s story) who needs to see though the fog!

Aside from seeing the logo on my noggin this year you will start to notice Sven Can See in a lot of places. It is already catching on as a go to product in many of the top outdoor enthusiasts magazines as well as in the skiing and scuba diving worlds. Check out their website and Facebook page for all the new happenings…

http://www.svencansee.com

Where can you get it?? If it’s not at your local ski shop yet buy it right online!

 

 

Johansson Fest/ Park City

Since arriving out in Utah the past week has been incredible, filled with a lot of first time adventures and great training. Our final USST training camp of the off-season started on Tuesday but before we jumped into the hard training many of us traveled out to Utah early for a few nights of desert camping in Moab.

The main reason for the trip was to hang out with and celebrate our long time wax tech Peter Johansson. Peter is stepping down from his head wax tech position this season after a serious long haul with the team. Peter has been with the US Ski team for almost 10 years and has been a driving force behind bringing the team to where we are today.   As the results of the US skiers began to improve on the World Cup the professionalism of the staff also stepped up each year lead by our head wax tech Peter. Most simply put, all the podiums and personal bests over the years would not have been possible without the many hours and hard work Peter and the waxers have given us.

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Peter with Kikkan after winning World Champs gold in Italy:

Peter is unique because he is very much a proud Swede, but with so many hours traveling together throughout the World we have adopted him as one of our own. As a veteran wax tech he has received better job offers with higher pay, less work, and fewer days on the road from many of the other National teams on the World Cup but in the end has always returned to lead our team. Peter has waxed for kikkan and I since his first years with the US team and it’s pretty awesome the relationship you build with someone like that. He’s always the first person I come to see when arriving at the ski trails and he’s always at your side during testing and warm up for each race. We like to joke about how many kilometers we’ve spent over the years gliding down hills side by side with one another testing skis, and talking about the feel of each pair. It’s incredible to have someone so positive and composed next with you when you step into the snow at World Cups, Championships, and Olympics.

I like to think he’s stayed with us so long because we have beaten the odds together by becoming a force on World Cup circuit. We know much hard work it has taken us all to get here so it can be tough to walk away. The US Skiing world owes a lot to Peter, especially Kikkan and I since he’s been with us through all of it.

So we had a lot to celebrate in the Moab desert! Despite being from the far North of Sweden Peter is a nasty mountain biker so it seemed perfect to fly him and his wife Tina over to Utah as a going away present. We spent 3 days in the desert ripping some fun single track and camping. As an Eastern guy I’m always a little skeptical about spending a few days in a tent but when you are in the desert it’s a whole different experience.

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Dry tents and sleeping bags, no bugs, temps in the 80’s during the day and nice and cool at night. It was also super fun since  we had an awesome crew down there including a bunch of USST athletes and coached and friends of Peters. We’d spend the days biking and running and the desert and cooking and sitting over the open fire in the evenings. It really was a sweet time.

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Matt, Peter, and Simi

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Now that we are back in Park City training camp is in full swing. We had an easier first few days with some distance workouts and strength testing but now are putting in some more intensity and longer workouts. This camp will be a full two weeks giving most of us about 3 weeks at high altitude which is great just before the start of the season. So far weather has been perfect with lots of sun and group workouts.
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On a 3 hour run at 9 thousand feet the other day.

There are a lot of other elite lever skiers joining us for this last camp which I think is great. Skiers from APU, Craftsbury, Sun Valley, and Stratton are all here training together.  After another week of higher volume training we will finish off the camp with 3 time trial races!

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Erika took a spill on the mountain bike and hurt her elbow.. but she is still smiling. Unfortunately she won’t be able to use her arm for a few weeks but will be back stronger than ever in no time.

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Stay tuned for more updated from Park City camp.

Fallin’ and ski ballin’

There’s no denying it that Autumn is the best time of year to be training around New England. For the past week the Stratton team has been together getting in one last big team week of training around SMS before our next US Ski Team camp out West. For many of us this will be the last time we have the whole team training together in Vermont before the season starts, so we wanted to take advantage of this time with some epic training and fun Fall adventures.

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Although the leaves are late to change this year it still takes you by surprise how great some of the back road colors are. One of our favorite Fall workouts of the year is our annual ski-run combo at Little Rock Pond. It’s always a fun point to point workouts followed by a chili and corn bread lunch at Sverre’s house.

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Erika going to a jump into Little Rock Pond.

We started off this week in a big way with a 4 hour team OD. Each year we do a Ski-A-Thon which is a chance for skiers to do some individual fundraising to cover their out of pocket costs. This year I opted to set up the Fan Club https://ussa.rallyme.com/rallies/2159 instead of Ski-A-Thon pledges… but I still wasn’t going to miss out on a 4 hour ski! We were definitely reluctant leaving the school in the morning with wet roads and rain in the forecast but it turned out to be a really pleasant ski. We tried to pick some pretty fast rolling terrain to see how many k’s we could ski. The men’s team racked up just over 70k’s!

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Skiing with the crew up one of our bigger climbs of the 4 hour ski.

Even with a couple big workouts on the schedule it was still important to get in some intervals as well. I still tried to fit in some L4 double poling this week along with some group 30 second intervals and longer L3. Sometimes this time of year can get pretty hectic trying to fit everything in and this week was no exception. A crew of us had to drive down to Boston on Thursday for the annual USSA Snow Ball which was a lot of fun, but we also had to turn around the next morning and drive back to Stratton in time for some afternoon intervals!

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The ‘T2 Crew’ at the Boston Snow Ball

Now that the week has wrapped up everyone has started packing and organizing for what will be an extremely busy month. Many of us are headed to Utah tomorrow for a 3 week altitude training block. Luckily we get to fly out a little early and enjoy some mountain biking and running around Moab before the intense camp starts. I’ve never done any biking in Moab so Erika and I are really looking forward to it.

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Jessie finishing off the big training week by doing a 3.5 hour ski/hike of Stratton. We call it the vertical challenge. Yesterday was a beauty of a day for it.

This week kind of marks the end of our Summer training block here in Stratton. Erika and I have been living in an apartment right in the village which we are currently moving out of before jumping into the Fall travel. For me this has been the most fun summer of training I’ve had around SMS and also the most productive so I’m excited to be feeling fit and ready to take on one last month of hard training before heading to Europe!

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Cooking up the last of our local ‘Foster Cow’ with an epic Fall roast. Looking forward to some fun time with the US Ski Team in Utah.

 

Join The Club! Get the Gear!

Today is the official opening of the Andy Newell Fan club on RallyMe!

What is the Andy Newell Fan Club?
It’s a cool way for me to connect with ski fans from around the world. In my ski career I’ve always had     two goals: 1.) Win an Olympic Medal 2.) Encourage more Americans to ski by showing everyone how fun and exciting it is!

By Supporting the Andy Newell Fan Club you are helping support my journey in accomplishing these two things! Most of all think it would be super cool to see a lot of fan club gear at this season’s World Cup races in Canada!

Here’s how to join: 

go here: https://ussa.rallyme.com/rallies/2159

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To the Andy Newell Fan Club page on USSA’s RallyMe. On this page you can get more info about the club and also sign up for the Fan Club Package: For the Fan Club Package you get a T-shirt, water bottle, and signed autograph card, along with fan club newsletter updated during the season.

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Why does your donation help?

As a US Ski team member many of my winter time expenses are covered but there are other training costs this fund will help me cover like summer training/ housing expenses and additional training camp travel such as a pre Tour De Ski training camp in Europe this year. More importantly, the club is a special way for me to bring more ski enthusiasts together and fire everyone up for some North American ski racing this winter!

Thanks to everyone who contriubutes and I’m super stoked to see some club gear on the trails this winter!

 

 

From LP back to VT

Lake Placid camp can kind of have the reputation of being a bit of a ‘soggy boot fest’ so to speak. Rows upon rows of stanky nordie boots lining the hallways of the Olympic Training Center. However this year we saw none of that and really lucked out with some great training conditions for our 1 week intensity camp.

We started things off on the right foot with a double intensity day and back to back L3 and L4 intervals. We tried to do the L3 skiing on more flat terrain to practice a high speed distance pace which made for some fun drafting and fun pace-line style intervals. With just a few hours to recover in-between we headed out that afternoon to do some L4 all double pole gradual uphill intervals. 3 minute double pole intervals are becoming one of my favorite workouts and this summer especially I’ve been trying to play around with a new style of double pole that we learned in Norway. It was awesome having a big group of guys around to help push the pace in those maximal DP intervals.

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Erika leading a pack of ladies on some face paced L3 10 minute intervals. Photo: Reese Brown

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Warming up for some max L4 double pole intervals. Tis the season for some hammering! Photo: Reese Brown

In addition to the US Ski team group in lake placid we also had the Sun Valley team in town training with us and also a big group of NTG skiers. It’s awesome to get the best U-23 skiers in the country out to at least one camp with the National team per year, it’s one of the best ways to improve as a county and it’ also a great way for me to meet some of the new up and coming skiers. Since I spend most of the winter outside of the US a lot of the younger skiers are new faces to me and it was a highlight of the camp to be able to meet them and train together.  There are definitely some fast development skiers on there way up here in the US.

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Not all workouts were intervals. Taking it easy on a sunny run around Mt. Van Hovenberg trails.

It’s really important that on the easy days of an intensity camp we take the distance training nice and slow. This gave us the opportunity to go on some chill group runs to get ready or the next days hard workouts. In addition to intervals we had some extremely heavy lifting on the schedule and also some solid speed work. Unfortunately this turned out to be a little but too much for my back and I pulled a muscle in my lower back on a skate speed day.

Pulling a muscle is a total bummer but I guess if you are going to do it anywhere it makes sense to be injured in lake Placid. After our speed day I spent the next 24 hours getting worked on my the pro PT squad at the Olympic Training Center and had an epic turn around, even feeling good enough to ski again 48 hours later.

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Even with a quickly healing back I spend the majority of the remaining camp days focusing on distance training instead of explosive training. It sucked to have to miss out on the final day TT but I think it was definitely good for my fitness this time of year to get a few days of easy distance training in.

With a quick turn around after our morning session on Saturday Erika and I loaded up the truck as quickly as possible to make it down to Weston VT in time for a good friends wedding. It turned out to be any awesome night!

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Classic VT style wedding. Way to go Jill and Brent!

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Great band, great food, and lots be people having a good time in the party tent. Gotta love a VT field wedding.

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Even with a little wedding party break in our training week it didn’t slow Erika and I down. It was a beautiful Fall day the next morning so we did a point to point rollerski from Weston back to Stratton and then hiked up the mountain. It was a fun way to end a big training week.

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Since we’ve been back at Stratton many of us have had a few easy days to absorb the training and have already jumped back into some more quality workouts. Jason Cork is in town for a few more days keeping and eye on us and there are always a lot of teammates around for interval training. The nights are starting to cool off and it’s basically perfect training days for taking care of those tough intervals that jump up on the training plan at least once per week.  We will spend the next 10 days here in VT before heading out to Park City Utah for our final training camp of the off season. Thank goodness fall is here!!

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Bring on the Intensity

With 3 days of hard rollerski racing in Norway and now that the first week of September upon us it’s officially time to bring the intensity. For most elite level skiers the beginning of September marks the start of more interval training and a drop in hours. In a way it’s time to stop worrying about getting in the big long workouts and start thinking about how to ski fast with much more speed and short interval training on the schedule.

Here at SMS the entire team is back together for the next 2 weeks of training before we head up to Lake Placid USST camp, one of the more interval-heavy camps of the season.  In the meantime we have been using our days here at Stratton to get some hammering in, including three interval sessions this past week.

I started off the week with some hard L4 double polling intervals. I think being in Norway has motivated me to work on my double pole even more and hopefully get in a few hard DP interval sessions before getting on snow. With a 6×4 minute gradual uphill double pole it was definitely a hard workout. Although Jessie and I were doing rollerski intervals the rest of the crew was doing an uphill road running test nearby school. Even though a lot of our training plans are different we try to do a lot of our workouts in the same spot with out team. Now that there are some PG’s in town and a lot of kids will be starting SMS within the next week we have a lot of peeps around for group workouts.

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Silas of Dartmouth setting a new uphill running record here at Stratton on Tuesday

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One of the best up and coming distance skiers in the country Kyle B in the house!

One of our big goals with the SMST2 program is to create a fun atmosphere for skiers from different clubs to have the opportunity to come join us for training by providing some housing and some fast dudes around to jump in workouts. We always like having outsiders come it and it’s been cool having Kyle Bratrud in town for a few weeks and joining in on the training. With Paddy, ben, Simi, PG skiers, and often times a few other weekend guests we have a solid crew for every workout.

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Pat and Sverre record times and collect some blood.

After a day of tough L4 intervals and running we continued with some fast training this week by having a group sprint intensity on Thursday and some speed work on Friday. Here Ben, Simi and I line up for some starts.

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All the interval training this week has been made easier by the fact that we’ve had some epic weather. Lots of sun and not too sweaty since the nights have been cooling off. Perfect for getting outside and enjoying the evenings that are getting shorter by the day.

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Gale Meadows pond near Stratton. It’s a bit of a fishing hot spot although we typically don’t pull in the big ones. usually some spikey Pan fish like this.

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We finished off the interval week with some L3 longer threshold intervals this morning and will enjoy a longer Labor Day OD run tomorrow. Looking forward to next week especially since we are having a sweet team night at JJ Hapgood store, complete with live music performed by my Dad and I. Some originals songs of the set list but a lot of covers we’ve learned in the past week or so. should be a good time!

SMST2 Pizza Night

Trondheim Video

Made it back home to Vermont yesterday after spending one more hot sunny day around Trondheim getting in some training and recovering from the 3 days of racing. Toppidrettsveka was one of the most fun training camps we’ve ever had mostly because of the high paced high intensity roller skiing. If you haven’t had a chance to check out any footage from the last stage in Trondheim I believe is still available to watch online here:

 

https://tv.nrk.no/serie/toppidrettsveka/MSPO42030315/22-08-2015

For the next week I’ll be settling back into training here at Stratton, Stay tuned for updates!

 

Norway Week 1

I’ll never be the one singing the praises of Norway… just can’t bring myself to do it. Too much pride. BUT at the same time it’s been a hell of a camp so far, possibly, maybe, not going to say for sure, but perhaps even one of the best dry land camp I’ve ever attended! During this first week around Aure, 130k outside of Trondheim, we have been enjoying some perfect roller skiing roads and mountain running along some very scenic fjords and lakes.

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A lot of the roller skiing sessions so far have been right out our door on super smooth pavement. We are staying at a pretty strange place right on the fjord that is kind if half training center half oil refinery Statoil plant. So thats a little odd, but there is not a whole lot going on our here in this area of Norway. Most of the towns we ski through are extremely small without any hotels, just a lot of rolling beautiful farmland, fields, and cliffs. Without too many residence it deifying makes for some traffic free roads which we love.
IMG_2377A classic looking Norwegian cabin near our housing. Most of the houses here are the classic red or yellow colors. Some even have the grass roofs which I think is really cool.

Not all days have been sunshine and brown cheese however. In fact the second day of camp was a bit of an adventure trying to venture out on unknown roller skiing terrain in a complete downpour, including a little hail and lightning. Luckily everyone made it out unscathed despite a few tricky cattle guard crossings.

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Hoff and Simi talk to the coaches mid storm. Awesome to have some rad BMW rides to whip around in courtesy of the organizing committee.

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That’s more like it! I love training here because it reminds me a lot of Vermont but there is also an Ocean! and it smells like salt water. Despite some pretty warm temperatures we are still above the arctic circle and locals keep telling us that the weather usually isn’t this nice.. it’s been a cold summer. But the far North provides some really long beautiful days, it seems like the mornings and evening go on forever the sun setting around 10:30pm.

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After 5 days filled with two interval sessions and a lot of speed work on the roller skis we took Sunday off to do some fishing. We got a total hook up from the organizers and they arranged for some friends to take us out on the Fjords in the Nordqueen. It was a sweet big fishing boat and pretty cool to see the Norwegian style fishing.

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The biggest catch of the day! This fish was about twice as big as anything else caught… It actually didn’t even go for the bait but was snagged in the back by the huge hook. pretty cruel but still a catch. Our boat guides showed us how to kill and clean the fish but they ended up taking the haul back themselves since we had no way of cooking them up. It was a fun morning and an awesome way to meet some locals.

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There are tons of really high bridges crossing all the fjords which are perfect for jumping. So although I didn’t catch any fish personally.. I was stoked to be able to plunge into some deep cold blue salt water. Perfect way to end the off day.

The reason for coming to Norway in August was not just for the chance to experience this awesome training but also to feel good enough to perform in the toppidrettsveka festival starting on Thursday. It was one of our goals for the summer to make it over to Europe to race some of the Europeans on the rollers and this week matched up perfectly. The organizers at Toppitsdrettsveka are covering some of our costs and this is one of the biggest rollerski races of the off season and teams from Sweden, France, Germany, Norway.. and several other world cup caliber skiers will be here.  With many of the big name skiers at these races they attract a lot of spectators and are even televised.

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Practicing for the first stage mountain run.

Toppitsdrettsveka is a unique series of races because it starts with an uphill mountain run. The run takes around 30 minutes for the fastest and has some serious vertical. There’s been a lot of talk about the run since apparently last year Johaug beat every guy except for 12… and its a mass start men and women starting together. The first day is made even more interesting by the fact that just 3 hours after the uphill run we get to travel down to Aure for a city classic sprint! talk about a big day.

The last two stages will be a 15k mass start skiathlon on a rollerski track a few towns away and finish up with a pursuit start on the streets of Trondheim on Saturday. So 4 races in 3 days that are scored like a mini tour, although time is not what matters most. Each stage is scored on world cup points with the winner getting 100 and 30th just 1 point. This allows for the tour to stay very tight and exciting… I think last year Northug was 72 in the uphill run and still came back to win the tour. It’s going to be super fun and exciting thats for sure!

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Loving this hard training in Norway!

 

 

VT Recovery Week

Ah yes, I remember what it’s like to come back from New Zealand now…. Last week was a good reminder that although traveling down to NZ is pretty damn easy, putting in 14 days of epic training and spending two days flying BACK to the US is really when it finally hits you. It’s kind of like a week long training camp hangover.

Fortunately we planned accordingly in our training and make sure to have a pretty easy week upon arriving back in the states. I flew directly into Boston to meet Erika. Which worked out perfectly since that travel to major city like Boston took almost a half day off my usual travel. Quick and easy. We spent tow days hanging out in Boston around the Beacon Hill area, catching up with T-swift and friends. It’s still a little bit of a blur I have to admit I must have been little sleepy most of the time.

Just as a monster of a New England heat wave was hitting us we drove back to Southern Vermont and eased back into Stratton life and some training.

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Best way to wake up from a cloud of jet lag…. cold water plunge. this one is called the twinkle toes pikes falls jump.

I spent the week training very low hours but also getting out the door every day to get my sweat on roller skiing a few days with the SMS group and getting the legs back into running form. You kind of forget that taking a 14 day ski training camp in the middle of summer can take a toll on your running legs. With a super humid heat wave upon us each session filled with lots of sweat dripping down my face but was followed immediately by some cold water swimming.

 

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As usual the waves are a little flat at Stratton pond…. Erika’s heading out for a paddle anyway

Some training sessions we were able to do as a team but a lot of last week’s workouts were on our own so it was a good opportunity to explore some new spots that we don’t normally hit. Erika and I ran out to the Hamilton falls which are usually pretty rad. With the dry hot weather the falls weren’t pumping but it was still a beautiful run.

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biker babe on the Bonneville

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Also trying our luck fining fishes in the West River. = unsuccessful

Some of the non training activities of the week besides fishing included getting out on the Triumph a few times and helping our the Foster crew at Ryan’s house. Their place is looking incredible these days and everyone is pitching in for the final week push before Mae’s wedding next weekend.

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laying fence posts and landscaping. It was such an epic summer weekend that it was actually really enjoyable to be working outside, taking plenty of breaks to swim in the pond.

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Erika, top notch graffiti artist on the famous ‘party bus’

After a pretty relaxing weekend we are now back into a full ‘work week’ of training that will include a lot more hours and interval sessions. This is a good full week of training before most of the US Ski team squad heads out for another camp, this time a roller skiing adventure in Norway. I’ve never been over to Norway in the summer so I have to say I’m looking forward to it and looking forward to jumping in some of my first big time roller ski races.

This week in VT will be made even more busy with the BKYSL and junior camps happening at SMS. These camps are hugely important to the club but also the whole New England skiing community and are great for developing the next generation of skiers. I remember going to the SMS camps when I was a youth skier and learning a little bit about what it was like to train for skiing as early as a 10 or 11 year old. Yesterday we had a full group of about 40 10-13 year olds roller skiing around so you can imagine the chaos. I was actually really impressed with the level of skiing these little guys displayed.

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Fireworks to New Zealand

The past week has been super hectic but at the same time incredibly enjoyable because this time of year has two of my favorite things. 4th of July and skiing!!

As I’ve described in my blog before the 4th of July weekend is something the southern Vermont locals take pretty seriously to say the least. Since I live in the area and have a lot of buddies who are not involved in the skiing world it’s a perfect weekend to hang with them and chill. As it turns out this was the first week in I don’t know how many years when the 4th of July weekend actually fell on an easy training week for me. Incredible! It’s like all the stars were aligned and for the first time since probably 1987 I didn’t have any training scheduled on the actual 4th of July! and was able to take the whole day off and enjoy it with friends. It was a weekend filled with lots of BBQ’s, swimming, and catching up with friends who I don’t get to see very often.

 

IMG_2188Erika and Natalie sing with the locals at the Landgrove Parade and Picnic

Erika’s sister Nat came to visit us for the weekend which definitely added to the good times. It was cool to show some outsiders all of the fun, and admittedly weird, 4th of July traditions we have. One being attending all the small town gatherings and parades in the area. Landgrove has a great town singalong and potluck dinner which we try to hit up each year. It’s almost eerie how ‘small town America’ it is but that’s what makes it charming.

This particular 4th of July Saturday marked a huge milestone in my life, which was getting the chance to be in the Londonderry parade! I signed up our SMST2 team to be part of the small town festivities and we rolled and actually skied down the street in the parade throwing candy to kids. It’s hard to compete with the tractors and the wagon filled with the old person brass band, but we tried our best.

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We might have trashed a few pairs of skis but I think it was worth it

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Enjoying the tropical waters of the Stratton Snow making pond

Even with all the fireworks and festivities we were able to fit in some training during the weekend including some bounding intervals with the SMS kids and some easy training on Sunday. In General it was a great end to an easy week of training which was meant to help us rest up for the next few weeks of USST camp training in New Zealand!

Last summer we took the year off from flying down under so this time I was super stoked and excited to get back to NZ. This is a little bit earlier than we normally travel down for skiing but it snow conditions are perfect. On Wednesday we loaded up the vans at SMS and drove to the airport to start the epic 2 days of travel it takes to get here. It actually sounds a lot worse than it is and even though it’s a massive 13 hour flight from California to the North Island of NZ it doesn’t feel much worse than traveling to Europe.

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After we arrive on the North Island in Aukland we catch another flight to the South Island and Queenstown. As you fly over the South Island the landscape is maybe the coolest I’ve ever seen. Amazing beaches with waves rolling in and green fields that lead into huge snow covered mountains.

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Taking in the drive from Queenstown up 2 mountain passes to the Snow Farm. We were a little short of space with our team rental vans but got lucky because Steve, our long time friend and manager of the Snow Farm, flew in at the same time so a few of us caught a ride with him from the airport to the Farm.

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Yo Steve, you’re driving on the wrong side of the car! It always takes a little bit to get used to that.

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For the next 14 days we will be in full on training camp mode here at the Snow Farm. Right now they have a perfect 30 plus K’s of trails groomed and hopefully even more on the way. This really is the best place to train I have ever experienced with awesome skiing right out the door, mild winter temperatures, great food and lodging, and super fun trails. We will spend the next two weeks skiing big hours, working on technique, and even getting in a few time trials.

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The first 3 days of training here we have had about the best conditions you can imagine with hard wax skiing all day long for classic and fresh cords on skate days. I think we are all a little bit sore at this point from kicking so hard the first few days. It always takes a little bit to adjust to the skiing muscles.

Even after traveling down here to train 10+ times I’m still amazed by the views, mountains, and terrain you get to experience skiing from the Snow Farm.

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It’s a lot of hard work coming to a training camp like this but it’s also a lot of fun

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Jessie getting stoked outside the UFO