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Wild Rumpus Sports
 

Far North Update

We have been in Muonio Finland for the past 4 days and going through the usual adjusting to the Euro time zone and the dark coldness of the far North. As usual it look the typical 27 hours + to travel all the way from Vermont to Northern Finland but with everyone here in one piece and all of our baggage intact you can’t really ask for much more. Muonio is about a 3 hour drive North of Roveneimi (the official airport of Santa Clause!)
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Getting ready for the 7+ hour flight across the pond. In order to get to Muonio we had to fly to Amsterdam- Helsinki – Roveneimi

IMG_1520This shot of the map in the airport gives you an idea of how far North we really are…. about a 3 hour drive above the arctic circle.

For the past 4 days we have been getting some great on snow training in and adjusting to the sleep schedule. It can always be a little tricky when the sun rises at 10 in the morning and sets again at 3 but of me I think I’ve been adjusting to Euro time pretty well.  One of the best ways to do that is just by training twice a day. It can get damn cold up here but we have been fortunate enough to have had some amazing training conditions with temps just in the mid teens – 20′s.  We’ve had some clear days but also the ‘ice fog’ that tends to roll in here.. it makes it feel much colder than it really is but also makes the trees really beautiful and white.

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The sun never really hits the area where we are staying but sometimes you can see it shining in the sky which can make for some really cool colors.

While we are here we stay in some epic cabins right on the ski trails complete with wood stoves and sauna. It really is Northern Scando living at it’s best with great training right out the door. They also do a ‘frozen thunder’ type thing here in Muonio so they guarantee snow by mid October. So right now there is a 5k loop here made up of mostly man made snow and natural snow mixed in. So far the track as been rock hard, fast, and great hard wax skiing.

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Cold snow classic skiing at it’s best!

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Peter J drove over from his home in Sweden to be here for a few days so we’ve been running through some of the new skis he’s picked over at the Fischer factory. What we typically do is test some of the newer boards against some of the older race skis and try to eliminate some early on in the season. We try to keep the race fleet to about 30-35 skis

Through the weekend we will be training here and getting ready for the first World Cups in Kuusamo. I have already jumped into my first interval session since being over and will try to get in a practice time trial on the weekend. It’s been great having the whole world cup crew back together.

IMG_1519All smiled in the North Land. It’s been cool having Reese and Caitlin over here for the CC spots and we’re all really excited to get back to the craziness of the world cup. This picture below is a great example of what it looks like outside most of the time up here.. dark and icy, but we are all still stoked to be here skiing on real snow!

20141120_193738the crew walking up the hill after a hot dinner of potatoes, meet, and wasa crackers

 

 

 

Last week Home

yes it is. Actually it’s the last week in the US for a while so here’s a little recap of whats been going on.

After returning from Canmore Erika, Simi, Sophie, Ben and I hit up the big city for two days. Now most people know I’m not much of a city guy but NYC has been growning on me the last few times I’ve been there. It’s just so different, I feel like it’s kind of it’s own country. Very overwhelming, but a pretty cool place to see in small doses. We spent a day checking out some different parts of town including the MET and central park before we had our NYC Gold Medal Gala US Ski team fundraiser that evening. It was a great turn out and a as always it was a cool opportunity to catch up with USSA supporters, trustees, and ski fans from NY. It’s always a super fun night that turns in to a long night… with an even longer story thanks to taking Jonny Mosley’s invite to a NYC club. But I won’t get into that. Basically I was ‘citied’ out by the next day and happy to get on the train with Erika and head back to VT.

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A look at all the athletes with us at the NYC ski ball. a good handful of medalists from all disciplines.

It was great to get back to VT after what had been a really long 3 week training camp. I always spend the first day back just trying to hammer out some laundry and get organized. After doing so much training and racing in Canmore it felt good to kick back for a few days. After a few days at home I felt like I could have been coming down with a cold so I took a Zicam type medicine which turned out to be a bad idea. I’m incredibly allergic to a lot of medicines including Aspirin and since a lot of medicines are chemically closely related I basically have no idea what kind of reaction I’m going to have. In the end I ended up not getting a cold but I did get an epic case of hives for a few days. I’m not sure if you’ve ever had hives on the palms of your hands but its a very itchy uncomfortable situation. I actually had to fill up water bottles with ice water and hold them in order to sleep at night.

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It took a few days to work the itches out and I was very relieved once they were gone. It felt great to get back into some easy distance training around VT. It can be pretty hit or miss training in VT in November but so far I’ve had no complaints. We had a few super cold early morning roller skis where your wheels just inch along and your ski poles never seem to stick in the pavement but that just gets me more fired up to ski on real snow.

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I really like going for runs when the snow starts flying especially here in VT. It helps when it gets a little colder because the mud and water freeze up and it makes the back woods running a little more enjoyable.  Hadn’t been out to the sun bowl trails at Stratton in a while so I headed out there for some pole running. The trails were in great shape and it was sweet to run around on a lot of the trails we trained on as little SMS skiers.

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now I’m not sure when Newell’s Knoll is a blue square and Caldwells Cascade is a black diamond…. who do I need to talk to about this?

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Since the hives have cleared up I’ve been getting in a lot more quality intervals to get ready for the start of the season. It’s easy to get super fired up for the first races of the year especially when they are only a few weeks away. During these two weeks at home I’ve been doing some intervals specific to the first races in Kuusamo Finland to get ready for the demands of those courses. The sprint there is one of my favorites with a massive steep classic climb and the distance races have some gnarly walls on them too. I think bounding intervals up the mountain is the best way to get ready for those races… even better when there is some snow in the air!

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a view from the top of stratton after some L4 bounding intervals on Sunday

With just a few more day’s left at home I’ve definitely already started getting packed and ready to roll for Europe. I think this time of year we all look forward to the simple but exiting lifestyle of traveling around the world to ski races. to get ready for these several month-long trips however can make for some not so simple and extremely busy days at home. I’ve spent the past few days closing up the cabin for winter, making sure I have all the gear I need for Europe, and hanging out with the VT buddies.

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We were able to spend one more night at the cabin before closing it up. and spent the morning cleaning and raking leaves.

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with the nights getting well into freezing we’ve had some beautiful cold evenings for Sauna’s over at Fosters.

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Needless to say I’m pretty excited and ready for this training season to be over and looking forward to heading to Europe on Sunday. We’re going to miss any pre world cup races this year so our first real on snow races will be the World Cup openers in Kuusamo. Despite not arriving in time for the races we will spend a week or so training in Mounio Finland dialing in the on snow feeling and hopefully keeping warm above the arctic circle. ready to get this year rollin!

 

 

Canmore update

Frozen Thunder in Canmore never seems to disappoint.  We’ve been training here for the past week getting used to the feel of skiing on real snow and extending our mega camp into it’s third week.  The thought of skiing on a 2 k loop for a week can make some skiers cringe but something about being here in Canmore on the ‘Thunder” isn’t bad at all. I’ve been in plenty of ski tunnels over the years and although the skiing is just as crowded and often times just as sugary here on the “Thunder” the fact that we’re outside surrounded by beautiful mountains makes it that much better.

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We have been spending the past week adjusting to the roller ski – snow transition which means working on a lot of technique. Here Liz, Jessie, and Matt work on some skating without poles.  Our first few days in town we worked on easy distance skiing and speeds… Doing speeds on snow is one of the best ways to get your balance back so we have been throwing in accelerations in almost every workout. In addition to skiing in the morning we have had some strength sessions, running, and even some L4 double pole intervals in the afternoons.

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With two races scheduled we didn’t have much intensity planned and used the season openers as a chance to go hard.  The Frozen Thunder sprint is always a a really fun event and this year took it to another level with Justin Wadsworth’s king’s court format. I have to admit we were all a little worried that trying to race that many skiers through heats wouldn’t work out but it flowed really smoothly. Each skier got to qualify and race 3 heats either advancing up or moving down depending on if you finished in the top 2. For me it made for a really productive and hard racing day. It almost felt like each heat was a final and we had to hammer all out just to advance. Great practice for the world cup.  In the finals it was a show down with Dakota and it was awesome to get the win! Regardless of where you finish it’s always fun to race the first sprint of the year and have a good feeling of fitness. I was extremely sore after Friday’s classic sprint but thats always typical with the season’s first events.

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happy team!

After a few hard efforts on the snow I think everyone is starting to feel a little tired from our 3 week camp so eating, sleeping, and training tend to take up most of they day. We are staying at the Rocky Mountain Ski Lodge here in town and doing our typical team dinner cooking to save money. The kitchens here are super small and not ideal for cooking for 12 people but we make it happen. So far we have had some pretty amazing meals including last nights feast prepared by the girls.

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Chicken with stuffing and veggies!

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For both of the races here we were on training wax but we still always have plenty of work to do in the wax room. Our coaches are pretty great when it comes to putting in the time in the wax room and preparing skis for us every day. Having traveled around the world enough I can tell you thats it’s pretty rare for national team xc ski coaches to also be the ones waxing the skis but these dudes work hard here on team USA.

Today was another racing opportunity with a  10ish K skate race. I think it’s always pretty fun to do 6 lap races like that.. it’s a good opportunity to work on pacing since all the laps are pretty short and it’s easy to see where you are loosing time. 10k skates are still my weakness in skiing but I’ve been trying to slowly get better at them by working on the right pacing and technique.

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Erika, who is an awesome skate skier, had a great race today for the SMS-T2 team.

tomorrow we will finish off the mega camp with a longer OD before heading back to the US for our final weeks at home before the season. Now that things are starting to fire up for the season I will be trying to update the blog more often with pictures and insights from the road.

VT to PC and Speed Camp

The past week was a crazy one while putting in some good training in Vermont and also getting organized for our month long training camp to Park City and Canmore. Fall is one of my favorite times of year to be training in Vermont and the past week was awesome with cool night, warm days, and lots of color. We had some of our usual workouts scheduled including bounding intervals up the mountain and a long OD ski run combo with the SMS club. School is in full session now so it’s great to have a big group of young skiers along for a weekend distance workout and the gym is always crazy. On Saturday the whole group was out for a ski run around Little Rock Pond and a big BBQ at sverres house to celebrate the start of the year and the super fun Peru fair weekend.

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Fall runs are the best!

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SMS team BBQ at Sverre’s house

The T2 foundation is a big part of the SMS-T2 team and it’s a perfect partnership since we are both big on building the Nordic community in the area.  The T2 foundation is dedicated to funding developing skiers and getting more kids involved in alpine and xc so we try to reach out to different clubs whenever possible. We on Sunday we made the trip over to Hanover to run a ski dry land clinic with the Ford Sayre ski club. We had an amazing turnout with over 70 kids. We took the opportunity to run them through a workout at the local ski trails and then a Q and A slide show where the kids came up with some great questions.

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After a few easier days of training and a lot of packing we flew out to Park City on Friday for the start of a big month long training camp. It’s always a tough camp to pack for since we’ll be doing dry land training and skiing up in Canmore so we have to bring a little bit of everything. For the next two weeks we will be focusing on training some pretty big hours and taking advantage of the high altitude.  It was a fast and furious first day in town with our second annual Speed Camp Park City.

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We had a great turn out with a solid group of local shredders and we spent two hours running through specific speed and agility drills.

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I was really impressed with the level of skiing that all the kids showed. We like to set up pretty advanced obstacle courses including slaloms, curb jumps, and backwards skiing and all the speed campers were charging hard.

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Thanks to everyone who came out to this years Speed Camps Park City!

 

Last weeks of summer

We are in that strange shoulder season right now when it’s not quite Fall but the lazy summer feeling isn’t there either. As a skier it feels like the Lake Placid Training camp is a big turning point when we start hitting more intensity and all of a sudden the season is right around the corner.

We finished off our LP camp strong with the epic Climb to the Castle race which is always one of he hardest workouts we do all year long. It’f funny because distance skate skiing… especially uphill skate skiing, would have to be my worse event but each year I go into the climb thinking I’ll tear it up. I do think my skate technique has improved a ton over the summer and I’m a lot fitter when it comes to skating but damn a 40 minute uphill race is still tough. I ended up hitting a pretty big wall in the last K after trying to follow Tim Burke for most of the race.  It was a leg burner posting a lactic acid reading in the mid 15′s afterward.

Needless to say we were due a few easy days after we closed out training camp with a long OD rollerski on Sunday. Since Erika and I had gone on a little surf adventure before camp started we were actually looking forward to just getting back to Stratton and taking it easy which is exactly what we did, making some stops along the way for ice cream and fishing. It was a beautiful ‘almost Fall’ day.

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The Batenkill is a tricky river to fish. We thought we could outsmart the fishes by trying to find a spot where not many people fish from so we did a little bushwhacking to find a secret spot.

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we did see a few fish jump but it was pretty unsuccessful fishing mission. Battenkill 3 – US 0  . we’ll be back

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I’ve been spending the past week really catching up on a lot of work but also trying to get outside since we’ve been having some of those epic VT days. One of the harder workouts of the week as running my usual uphill running test down in Bennington VT and it went pretty well. It’s a seriously tough run and take about 12:15 plus or minus a few seconds when I’m running fast. I’ve been doing this test for a ling time so in order to get close to a PR time I have to get pretty jacked up, get in the zone, and really put the hammer down from the start. I’m also usually doing this test by myself which makes in tough and also pretty funny for anyone who might see me spiriting as fast as I can up the Mt. Anthony access road.

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Erika has been out in Montana so for the weekend I’ve been able to hang out at home in Shaftsbury which has been great. I forget how good the training is down here and some of the back roads are beautiful for running and Ive been able to head out to some of my classic NY rollerski loops. Yesterday was a big Sunday Funday we had planned with the SMS-T2 team and we started a long rollerski in Townsend VT.

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the leaves are just starting to change a little bit and it was a really scenic ski over to Putney. It was really fun to ski on some roads we don’t get to train on very often and also ski past some of the little Vermont ski areas like Grafton Ponds where we used to have Bill Koch ski races as kids.  Some of my most memorable BKYSL races were always at the Putney School which is where we finished our 3 hour ski and right where coach Pat’s house it.

It really was a perfect sunday funday and we got to enjoy an amazing meal outside in the sun what included BBQ ribs and fresh corn. gotta love it

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Speed Camp Video

easy week surf adventure

Since this past week was a lighter one with training we spent some time doing some easy workouts around Stratton and getting organized for Lake Placid camp. After doing some L3 intervals on Saturday we had a good change to take a few days away from serious training so Erika and I headed out to the coast.

Our first stop was North Beach near Hampton. Once you get north of the craziness of Hampton beach I really like the NH coast both because it’s beautiful when the weather is great and also because it’s pretty laid back. Not too uppity… whatever that means. I’ve been taking little surf trips to Cinnamon Rainbows since I was in junior high and I have a love-hate relationship with the ‘wall,’ the local surf spot. You can’t see the waves from the road because of the concrete wall so there’s always a lot of anticipation as you get out of your car and check the surf. Reports are always off and I’ve been skunked many times.

This weekend was calling for small surf so expectations were low, but Erika and I had a few really fun sessions at the wall.

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Looking over the wall at some surfers paddling into some glassy goodness. Shoulder high and shredable

Most of the surf boards I’ve owned over the years have been built for bigger waves, which is great for trips to Costa Rica but not necessarily the summer swells of the Atlantic. I was sold when I came across this 6’0 epoxy egg at the shop. It has an old school shape and a lot of paddle speed for the smaller summer days.

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It’s kind of like a super short long board that turns really well and was a lot of fun to surf. We picked up a traditional long board for Erika from the shop and our surf vacation was on. We had a really fun session at the wall on Saturday evening and surfed until it was dark. Erika has been on a few surf trips with me, which can be tough when the conditions are too big to learn. This weekend though, it seemed like everything came together for her and she started surfing all kinds of waves and even dropping into some head high sets!

We spent the next day hanging out around the Portland area. The weather was awesome so even though the waves had died down a bit on Sunday, we still had some beach time to hang out in the sun.

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Walking around Portland was pretty cool. One of the great things about living in New England is that within a short drive you can be right at the coast, something I think we don’t appreciate as much as we should. We met up with Annie and walked around town and checked out the docks.

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Even though the waves were small, I still almost always want to get into the water and surf. We had gone to Higgins beach in the morning where the waves were glassy but tiny so we got to get some sun time in and take turns riding the 9 footer on little long board waves, trying to nose ride and surf with some old school style.

IMG_1159Even on a 1 foot wave I’m still having fun

It’s hard to go to the Portland area and not do touristy stuff so we checked out the lighthouses and went to the legendary Lobster Shack for dinner on Sunday. There was about a 40 minute line to place an order but it’s one of those places where the food comes out really quickly and you can even go enjoy it on the rocks down by the water. It was definitely worth the wait and after a lobster roll I was ready to get back in the water for an evening 1 foot surf sesh.

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Lobster shack classic

 

 

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On Monday we had a long drive to make from the coast back up to Lake Placid for the start of camp, but not until we got a few more waves in. We woke up early and drove down to the ‘Wall’ again for some of the most fun surfing I’ve had all summer. Waves were 3-4 feet, shoulder high and totally glassy. Erika was holding her own among the crowded break and getting some great waves. The drive to LP was long but the weather was perfect and it was definitely worth it for the fun surf we had scored in the morning. For the next two weeks we will be having our typical training camp here at the OTC in Placid. Lots of intervals and time trials on the schedule so it should be exciting as always. I’m looking forward to a lot of tough workouts and hitting up all the local swimming holes.

 

 

Canadian SMS camp week

It’s been the week of camps! technicially the week of 3 camps since the Canadians are still in town training and the SMS BKL and junior camps have been going on at the Stratton campus.

I wasn’t even able to get a post in last week because things were so busy so there is a lot to catch up on. For me the last two weeks have been planned as a big volume block… one of the last big volume blocks of the summer before adding in a bunch of intensity as we get closer to the fall. Last week was a 24 hour week and this week was even bigger so it was awesome to have the Canadians and their coach Tor Arne Hetland here at Stratton to add a new level of intensity.

I spent the beginning of last week showing the crew around the southern Vermont area and leading them on some fun rollerski sessions and runs in the green mountains. We were really stoked to hear that the Canadians were having a camp here in the Stratton area so I tried to give them a tour of all the great training spots.

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We have been putting in a bunch of longer workouts in the 3 hour range. Having Tor Arne around has been great so that he can drive the vans and support some fun point to point workouts. Here we are running toward Little Rock Pond after skiing for 2 hours from Manchester. We are pretty good buddies with the Canadian dude and have been traveling around the world with them for years so it’s great to catch up and talk to one another… or yell if you are Harvey on a long run.

IMG_1068Lenny and babs join me in the cold river waters after a long workout. We got lucky with some pretty epic weather all last week.

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Kris Freeman came over from NH for some training and the younger T2 dudes have been joining us for a buch of workouts so it makes the 3 hour rolls a lot more exciting. Tor Arne coaches the crew in this photo as Alex Harvey and I lead the crew up the big hills next to SMS campus. It’s alway fun to have a big group for distance skis and its cool to try to learn from great skiers like Alex, Devon, Babs, and Lenny.

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As we jumped into our second week of training the weather turned just in time for one of the hardest workouts of the week. 6×5 minutes level 4 striding in the pouring rain is one of my favorite workouts. It makes it a little more exciting I think to do intervals out in the elements every once and a while. By the last interval we were pretty much hammering all out and feeling a serious burn.

This week was also the start of the annual SMS summer camps that Sverre runs here every year. These camps are pretty special to me because they were one of the biggest reasons I stated training for skiing in the summer when I was a kid. I would come up from Bennington to the BKL and the Junior camps to learn about what xc skiers did for training in the summer. The camps were also a big reason why I ended up going to SMS for high school… so I think it’s a great opportunity for kids to attend them.

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BKYSL campers are the younger kids. this year we had about 50 campers! (Lilly Photo SMS blog)

During the past week we have had plenty of time to interact with the kids. We try to eat meals with them in the cafeteria and talk about skiing whenever we can. One big draw of the camp is that we also get to ski a few workouts with the campers which is pretty unique. This is probably the only camp in the country where young skiers can join more than 5 Olympians for a rollerski technique session.

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Pat and I work on skate technique with the ‘older” BKL boys. We worked on everything from V2, to V1, to skiing with frisbees.

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Annie Hart works on cornering with some girl campers. (Lilly Photo SMS blog)

IMG_3168It’s pretty impressive to see the numbers increasing each year for both the BKL camp and the Junior camp. (Lilly Photo SMS blog)

For each group we like to hold a Q and A and it’s always interesting to see what the kids ask. This year for the junior camp we even got Tor Arne and the Canadians to come in and answer some questions from the campers, it was pretty rad.

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Tomorrow will be my last day of big training as I wrap up this two week blog of volume. We are planning a sweet point to point run with the crew. After intervals this morning and about 26 hours stacked up for the week I’m starting to get a little tired and looking forward to an off day. for Daily updates from the Camps, lots of photos, and to keep up with what the SMS club is up to check out their blog http://smsxc.blogspot.com

 

 

VT Vacation Week

hot damn… it’s already August! since returning from Alaska camp I’ve been here in Vermont for the past week enjoying a little VT summer vacation. The past two weeks of training camp in AK had a lot of high quality training so this was a great change to kick back and take an easy week.  A lot of my teammates on the SMS-t2 team headed home but Erika and I hung out here at Stratton and had a kick ass stay-cation (i think thats what you call it) and got to enjoy some great VT summer activity.

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Evening Swimming at North Beach in Burlington 

One of the things I was have been really looking forward to the last month was seeing Old Crow Medicine Show at their concert in Shelburne VT. They have a new album out that we’ve been listening to a lot and it’s not too often we get good bands that just want to play in a little Vermont field… Shelburne Farms is a pretty laid back but beautiful venue. So we drove up to burlington for the day going for a run by the water in the afternoon and eating at the dockside restaurants on Lake Champlain.

Old Crow sounded really amazing… I think their stage presence and sound quality has come a long way in the last few years. It’s cool to see a band with blue grass roots still able to rock a venue.

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Old Crow playing at Shelburne Farms 

The next morning we headed town to Thompson Point to visit with the Ogdens and Hodges at their family lake house. Since I live so far south I don’t get to spend too much time around Lake Champlain but being by the water for a few days makes you appreciate how big the lake is and how awesome it is to have that during the summer.

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With a few days of vacationing it was time to get back into hard training a little bit on Saturday with an uphill running TT. It had been while since I’d done my running time trial up Mt. Anthony in Bennington and I was a little worried about running it the week after returning from the Big AK training camp but it turned out to be a great run. Sometimes the legs can be a little heavy after a week of only skiing. but I was just 1 second behind my all time PR set two falls ago and faster than any time I ran it last summer, so I was stoked. Erika and my buddy DJ came out to run up the mountain with me so it helped to have them there to help me start hard and push even harder into the finish.

We had amazing warm sunny weather for the entire weekend which made it possible to finish off vacation week with style. I got the new and improved Triumph out for a bunch of rides, did a little fishing,  and got to hang out in Weston with buddies. Although ‘hanging’ out in Weston usual turns unto ‘working’ in weston it was still a good time.

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Spending time helping insulate Ryans house… foam is up on the outside 

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Last year I picked up a vintage Arthur Fulmer helmet on Ebay and haven’t used it at all until now. It’s extremely old school looking and extremely sparkly… but I guess thats how they used to roll back in the 70′s drag racing scene.

Starting tomorrow I will begin another two big weeks of training here at Stratton. Fortunately the Canadian men are coming to town which should make things exciting and help push me through the next big block of training. I’m looking forward to catching up with those guys and their new coach, Tor Arne Hetland who was always a idol of mine and a cool person to race against back in the day!

 

Alaska Camp Video

Alaska Update

For the past 4 days the USST has been training along side the APU team here in Anchorage. This is the beginning of a 2 week camp in which the second half will be spent skiing on snow up on the Eagle Glacier. I haven’t been in Alaska in the summer since 2001 when I did my first US Ski team camp as a 17 year old…. so it’s been while. Although traveling out here is a bit of a process from Vermont, the training is pretty rad and the long cool days provide a perfect climate to escape the New England heat and get in some harder training.

The next two weeks will have a pretty high volume of hours but also we will try to hammer on one another a bit doing hard intervals and some speed workouts. the big pack roller skiing of some of our distance workouts is also a good change of pace. literally…the pace tends to be a little high when you put 15 -20 fast dudes in a group and tell them to ski distance for 2.5 hours.

pic 2dudes strung out along the road toward the end of a 2.5 hour rollerski with some good climbing.

So far we have had two really cool distance skis. one from just outside of town in Anchorage where we skied through a log of different developments finishing with a great view of the city. And another  with even more vertical yesterday when we skied up Hatcher Pass. Although it was a little cold and cloudy it was still a pretty scenic training session, as you came around the corner to the top of hatcher pass it definitely looks like you’re somewhere in Europe or something winding up into the big mountains. A little bit of a change from our typical VT skies.

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Ben and I climbing up

 

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At the top!

 

Erik B trains out of Anchorage for most of the summer to he’s been stoked having both of his teams in town working together. here he is at the top of Hatcher pass.

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We have a few more rollerski workouts planned over the next 2 days including some L3 skating intervals tomorrow at Kinkaid park and hopefully a ling OD on sunday before we wrap up the dry land portion of our camp and swap with the girls who are up on Eagle Glacier right now. I’m looking forward to getting back up to the glacier having not been back in 13 years. the views up there are amazing and flying in on the helicopter is always a fun opportunity. hopefully weather cooperates.

All in all life has been pretty good up here in AK… as long as you are aren’t a picky sleeper.

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closing my shades at 10pm to get ready for bed and the sun is still shining!

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Vermont Update

Big news coming out of southern Vermont here…. I’m officially a fisherman. After going fly fishing for the first time last year and being skunked each time I finally caught my first fish the other day. I have to admit I’ve realistically only gone a few times but it was starting to be an ongoing joke between Erika and I that I could never catch one, but the loosing streak is finally over.

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It’s not the most spectacular looking fish but it was still a solid catch, haha … reeled in with my own tied flies! I think they’re only getting bigger from here on out.

The second week of this ‘big month’ has been had a great mix of everything here in VT. This week of training was slightly smaller than last but still packed with some quality workouts including some of the first L4 rollerskiing intervals of the summer. This is the time of year when we start to add in a little harder faster ski specific workouts so on Tuesday I started out the week with a 5×4 minutes sprint specific workout. it was a lung burner but it felt good to go fast.

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Since this big week is still supposed to have a lot of volume we’ve been putting in the long workouts too. These are the weeks when you can be doing a bit of thunder storm dodging but when it’s clear it’s absolutely beautiful training around here at Stratton

IMG_0899A few of our staple workouts like bounding up Stratton and a lot of our OD’s end at the top of the mountain so when the gondola is running it’s a good way to save the legs from getting completely blown out.

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With the kick ass wether going on I was really stoked to finally get my Triumph back from the shop. I dropped it off to my mechanic last year and it sat there all winter. There weren’t any serious modifications to be done but with such busy schedules I wasn’t able to get it until just a few days ago. It was awesome to get back out on the bonneville and I’m really looking forward to riding it a lot once we’re back from Alaska. With new tires and a fresh tune up it really fires off the line now putting those drag bars to good use.

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we finished off the week today with some double pole intervals and strength . despite a few hard workouts all in all its been a more relaxed week as we get ready to head to a big two week training camp in Anchorage and up on Eagle glacier. It will be pretty easy to get the massive hours needed for this ‘big month’ with the next two weeks in training camp with the USST. I haven’t been up on the glacier since my first ever training camp with the US Team back in 2002, so it will be cool to get back to Alaska in the summer time and get some hard training in.

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Pat talks DP technique with the girls

 

Happy 4th!

This is a great time of year to be in VT and as always the week of the 4th is one of the biggest training weeks of the year, actually July is one of the biggest months of training for me hopefully logging around 85 hours for the month. So before I jumped into this missive month it was time to relax a bit and head out to Bozeman with Erika for a wedding. This was my first time in Bozeman during the summer months and it was awesome! great training in the mountains and beautiful wide open spaces that are so different that what Im used to here in VT I felt like a tourist most of the time snapping all kinds of photos. There were big thunderstorm rolling through each day but it kept the days cool and the scenery super green so I wasn’t complaining.

IMG_0881You gotta feel a little bit like a cowboy while you’re in Montana. I realized while I was there that I’ve never really ridden a horse.. at least fast so thats my goal for the next visit.

there was sill snow in the mountains especially on some of the big peaks. Anya, Howie, Erika and I did a run/hike up a 10,000+ foot peek which was a cool adventure for a sea level guy like myself.

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The sun came out and it got really beautiful out for the ‘slide’ down. instead of following the trail we hit the snow and did some high speed glissading, it was a lot faster and a whole lot more fun and a bit of an off piste adventure.

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The weather ended up being perfect for Saturdays wedding and it was a great time and a cool chance to meet a lot of Erika’s family and have a good ol party. The Little Smokies are a local blue grass band that played during  the ceremony and reception which was rad. always but to stomp it out on the dance floor to some Montana blue grass.

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It was hard to leave this scenery but on Monday I had to fly back to Albany and get ready for the ‘big’ month of training. For the last 5 days it’s been brutally hot here in VT with the usual sweat fest humid workouts we tend to get here in July and August. My flights ended up being delayed heading home so to make up hours I’ve been putting in 4-5 hour days for the remainder of the week but everything has been going well. For our saturday workout today we had a massive group bounding up stratton for L3 intervals and roller skiing this aft.

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Ben and our new training partner ‘the Torch’ sweat it out during an uphill running test.

 

 

 

Broke Back Mt.

I started off the week with a visit to a local elementary school in Bennington to celebrate their ‘get moving’ week. I usually do several school visits in the Fall to get kids fired up about xc skiing but hadn’t made it to Monument Elementary yet so I stopped in and talked with the kids and ran them through some exercises. they were an energetic group of kids who were stoked to get outside and let loose. I have a feeling since it was the last week of school these guys were itching for summer vacation…. hopefully after our talk they will be thinking about staying even more active throughout vacation.

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it was beautiful outside and not a bid way to spend an off afternoon.

This weeks training schedule was another big volume week that started off less than ideal. After some great bounding intervals up Stratton we had an agility and strength session planned for the afternoon. One of our goals of he SMS T2 team is summer is to train as much as possible with the club and development kids and one of the ways we are doing this is through agility training on and  off the skis.

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Jessie runs through some mobility drills with some of the SMS club kids on campus.

unfortunately even after a good warm up I ended up throwing out my back in the gym doing power cleans. I wasn’t even lifting partially heavy but I think my legs were just a little tired from bounding intervals in the morning which resulted in a bad strength session with a blown back.

so for the remainder of the week I’ve been trying to still get in the big hours but without hurting my back any further. right now running is by far the most painful but I can still rollerski and bike pretty well. 2 times this week I swam in the Stratton snowmaking pond for an afternoon workout.

IMG_0803the Newell Family pool… not bad for doing laps either. VT summertime is in full swing

For the remainder of the week the team had some great group workouts including some L3 skate intervals and distance roller skiing. I finished off the week with a 4 hour classic/ skate ski combo workout down in Manchester on some sweet roads that we don’t get to ski too often. It was a bummer to miss out on the run/swim portion of the workout with the rest of the team but one of the sacrifices of being injured. Erika and I finished off the sunday fun day by tubing and swimming (and walking down the river since there wasn’t very much water flowing) which is always a super fun VT activity.

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I drove by the Annies the other day when they were roller skiing and I was able to snap this picture from the car as I drove by. odd bunch

anyway… with the back still busted up i should have taken my monday off day to heart and really laid low but instead I finished up the last of my big renovations at the cabin including finishing off some exterior painting, staining some furniture, assembling some epic rocking chairs that my USST teammates got for me, and a lot of other odd jobs. by the end of the day the cabin was ready for relaxation/ party season…. whatever the weekends bring.

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PC to VT

sorry for the lack of a blog post last week but it was a busy transition from Bend with our usual PC testing stop before returning to VT. This year most of the team is doing slightly less testing but I still chose to stop by the COE for 3 days on my way to Vermont to do some strength testing and also get in a few sessions with Tschana, our new strength coach.  T, as we call her, is in the process of having her first baby but we were still able to get in some strength testing at the COE testing vertical and power, and also hammer out a few sessions.

The best part about being in PC was getting so see friends and take it easy for a few days after a hard training camp. one of the highlights was meeting Loki and Bartleby Jess’s new kittens.

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The weather was beautiful as usual while in Park City so we got a few good runs and rolls in during my short stay as well. It was awesome to catch up with Vordy and family and have a BBQ down at Cory and Alex’s sweet new house in Heber. it’s great to be in the season of backyard BBQs.

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The girls have some baby time with Pete and his kids…..

After just 3 days in Park City it was time for me to head back to Vermont and start another big block of training. My first few days back were pretty easy which I took advantage of by getting organized and finally doing a but of work on the cabin. Cabin maintenance is hard to keep up on and even after just two years I needed to touch up some paint which means a lot of sanding and sweating.

IMG_0790It was in the high 70′s this day and on the deck with now wind or protection from the sun it felt 90. It was a tough afternoon of work. because of some bad deck design (which I’m trying to fix) snow builds up against the side of the cabin which has caused my paint to peal… here’s  a before pic after a bunch of sanding. it will look brand new in a day or so though.

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It feels good to get back into a rhythm here in VT and settle into some training. The next two weeks for me will have a lot of volume. for the most part conditions have been awesome for roller skiing although we’ve been getting rained on a bit.  Now that the whole SMST2 team is around we will be training together as a group as much as possible. During our first official workout we were lucky enough to come together for a running day in Hanover and have Ben True take us through some running drills to dial in our technique.

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Not sure why Paddy is talking on the phone and not paying attention. But Gus has some great flow going.

Yesterday we had our spring running tests which are an uphill 3,000 meter run so we were all able to feel out our new running techniques. I have an old test I have been running up Mt. Anthony in Bennington for a long time and recently Stratton as adopted a similar test up near school. it’s a good way to hammer and work on maxing out your heart rate and since the tests don’t take very long (around 12 minute) it can be a good gauge on how your L4 is progressing throughout the training season.

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For the next two weeks the training will be tough which doesn’t leave too much free time but it’s still great to be back in southern VT during the summer

 

IMG_0782              Building over at Ryan Fosters land in Weston

 

 

Bend Video

 

Bend Update

We are a little over half way through our Bend training camp and so far this year has been better than ever.  It’s pretty easy to get stoked to wake up and ski at 6:30 every morning when the sun is out and the tracks are setting up nicely at Mt. Bachelor. Sometimes the skiing can be hit or miss up there this time of year and we have definitely had our share of rainy days up there in the past but this year has been epic.

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As usual there are a lot of skiers in town taking advantage of the late spring skiing here. Although we aren’t linking up for any specific workouts the US biathlon team is also training here and its good to see the familiar faces on the trails.

the goal for our 10 day camp here in Bend is to work on easy distance training but this year we have a very big focus on technique. this time of year is a great opportunity to try to make some big technique changes before hammering in the specific movements during all the summer training hours. So far I have been alternating 2 days of classic followed by 2 days of skating with lots of video from the coached to try to dial in the needed changes.  As a team we have also been doing technique drills almost every day.

IMG_0720A lot of people are testing equipment this time of year which makes it tough to get too many picture while on snow… but take my word for it that the skiing has been perfect this year. lots of k’s in the sunshine so far.

it’s still Bend camp so even with a lot of training there is always time for a lot of other things too. Mountain biking and running have been awesome in the afternoons and all the outdoor action keeps us pretty busy and active. I feel like Ive been pushing non stop for the past 5 days with all the action.

IMG_0738taking in the nature.

We even had time to do a little rock climbing with Grover and Cork today who showed great ‘coaches’ strength

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IMG_0745Cork dog..

I couldn’t find any climbing shoes that fit so I just kind of hauled myself up everything with running shoes on but it seemed to work out ok and definitely got my arms pumping a little bit.

After a long day of skiing in the sun, living, biking, swimming, there’s really no other way to finish it off than with a classic Bend meal. there is a lot of good eating around here.

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Building, Talking, Working

Week number two of the training year was extremely busy for me around the Stratton area not only because of the training but also because of a  lot of other extra activities going on.  Training for the week was pretty basic as we ease back into the big hours of the summer getting in a few longer workouts on the bike. The one interval session of the week was a bounding L3 session that Gus and our new coach Patty O joined us for up Mt. Equinox. It was one of the first real group workouts of the year with Simi, sophie, and Erika all around to jump in.

I think the spring time is a great opportunity to work on general strength and get into the long days of working and training that feel so good. When we are training full boar during the summer we need to be a little bit more careful about recovery but this week I just kind of went for it.

the T2 team started off the week strong by volunteering at Floodbrook Elementary school to help with their playground build.  This was my first playground build and the task seemed daunting at first but with about 80 volunteers per day for 4 days, this thing was going up.

IMG_0713This was the site of where 1/2 of the new playground was going. We were the first wave of volunteers on the first day… which i didn’t realize but apparently that means you spend the day lifting all the equipment out of the trucks. great strength workout

IMG_0712A lot of big boxes. We spit up into groups and started assembling different parts of the playground one small piece at a time. Some jobs were better than others. I put together a few tables while Erika and Sophie got stuck putting together a plastic bubble thing that refused to go together getting more and more frustrated with each bolt that wouldn’t fit.

I continued to stay busy in between training by making my way up to Rutland and talking with the high school about climate change. the organization I work with, Protect Our Winters, helped organize the event and supplied some really cool media for the kids to look at.

 

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I finished off the week by getting in a few longer workouts including a 3 hour bike ride with the SMS team in some beautiful Vermont spring weather.

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Packer leads a crew during the OD ride on sunday

After being on the bike for a few hours the weather was too nice to just sit inside and rest so I continued the extra curricular lifting by heading over and helping Ethan split a few cords of wood. some of the stumps were so big it required some serious power lifting, but long days of working in the sun are what I live for.

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Pretty tired from all the training and lifting I was pretty worked by the time sunday night rolled around. Erika who was on her way back from the fast and female in Maine brought with her two lobster friends that rode in the car with her the whole way. Once they made it to the cabin however they became dinner. it was a good way to finish off a tiring week of training hard and lifting heavy.

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Sprung

Spring has sprung here in Vermont and as my first complete training week of the year comes to an end things couldn’t be better. As promised now that the training year is underway I will have at least one or two blog posts a week to cover all the excitement of a professional nordie skier (insert sarcasm here).

Week one of training is always fun for a few reasons and is always a bit of a roller coaster ride. for the first few days I’m usually  just stoked to be back at it. having just come off a big break I’m always pretty rested but most of all you forget how great your body feels when it’s getting a lot of exercise.  I got in some of my first rides of the summer and enjoyed getting back on the VT and NY roads.

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green grass and cows. Road biking is always a pretty fun way to get back into doing some longer distance training. Even on Stratton this past week there was still a decent amount of leftover man made snow. Yeah there are a lot of grass patches but still some snow.  So many of my high school SMS spring time training memories are of hiking and skiing the mountain in nordie skis. The half pipe is pretty melted out these days but I still like to get up on the mountain as much as possible for a hike up and ski down.

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Even roller skiing seems to be more exciting than normal this time of year. With a combination of intervals, distance , and some hard strength sessions this week by friday the ‘week one’ stoke had given way to a lot of soreness as I adjusted to being back on the job.

SMS is still in session at the moment so we joined the kids for a roller skis workout and finished off the week with a long OD run on Saturday. I was really impressed with some of the young SMS girls as they ran a 2 hour workout with me, most of them not carrying any water. I didn’t think I was running particularly slow either but KO and the other sophomore girls had no problem keeping up. Either I continue to suck at running or they are just in great shape…. probably a combination of the two.

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Keeping the stoke high from a great week of training we headed up to Midd for a little VT barn get-together and embraced the beautiful spring weather and catching up with friends.

IMG_0685VT style corn hole….. is there a better way??

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IMG_0683Sophe doesn’t always play croquet at parties… but when she does, she wins

 

with the temps in the 70′s today and not a cloud in the ski Erika and I set off for a Sunday Fun-day in search of some fish. Some of you might know that last year I got into fly fishing a little bit. and by that I mean I went a few times and I’m yet to catch a fish. literally never caught one.

I thought today was going to be the day, we went up to a section in the Otter Creek near Dandy and tired our luck. at first I didn’t think there could be any fish in this area because the river seemed pretty small, but then we saw some massive trout in a hole, tried to fish them for a while without success. so my fish-less streak continues.. but at least I got some sun

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From Surf to Ski

Well it’s May first and what we skiers know as ‘spring’ time is coming to an end. For the past 4 weeks I’ve been enjoying life away from serious ski training which started with a trip to Washington DC after the Super Tour Finals in Anchorage.

After every Olympic cycle the US team is invited to the white house to get a tour and meet the President and First lady. This years trip was special for me because I was there on official business with POW and the Althetes for Action campaign I’ve been working on.   After shaking hands and having a short conversation with the President about climate change I went over to the State department and met with Todd Stern who is the head of Obama’s appointed Special Envoy for Climate Change. A big goal of Athletes for Action is to influence the decisions that are made by countries that might negatively effect the environment and Todd Stern is the man who negotiates on behalf of the US at all the UN climate talks. So this was a very cool meeting and a great experience.

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After the white House visit it was awesome to make it back to Vermont and finally unwind after what had been a very long season. now Vermont might not be the most radical place to be in April with all the rain and mud and crappy wether but it was cool to get some time with friends, do some building, backcountry skiing, and get back to the VT lifestyle.

Back country skiing in VT is pretty unique because it consist of either hiking and skiing the alpine mountains… which we did a lot of… or striking out into the woods which can be a little think to say the least.

IMG_0561here we are shredding the stick up on peru peak . it’s pretty easy to get a branch to the face

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Beaver pond ski sesh

 

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We got to take lots of sauna’s and help out Ryan who is building is new house in Weston. One great thing about April in VT is that it’s boiling season so there were a few boiling parties which consist of getting rowdy, feeding the fire, and making lots of maple syrup.

 

After a good week of red-necking it up it was time to head to Costa Rica for an annual surf trip. CR is one of my favorite places in the world and although each year I say I should try to go find a different spot for a spring surf adventure I just can’t manage to miss out on the gnarlyness of Playa Hermosa.

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the streets of Hermosa Palms where we rent out houses. We definitely aren’t roughing it when we go down there but Playa hermosa is only 10 minutes away from Jaco which is a decent size town with tons of bars, restaurants, and costa rica’s biggest surf scene. People come from all over to surf in this area because of it’s consistently big swells. the first 3 days we say building waves until it really picked up… so much so that they held their local big wave competition at the break known as Roco Loco. You can see from the massive boulders at the surfer’s take off as to why the locals call it that.

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it was in the 15 foot range for the two days of competition. you can’t really get an idea of how big the wave is until you spot the grown men who look like tiny specks on the wave.

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There was a big crew of us down there on vacation, some surfers.. others more into the pool cervesa routine which makes for a great time. Kate Barton had been down there for a whole week before we came and met up with us to find some sweet surf. We spent a few days surfing locally and driving around to some new spots that I hadn’t surfed before. Kate who grew up in Maine is extremely good on the surf board, no joke. even having been down to this area 5 times before i’m still learning new surf spots and getting to know some of the locals in the area.

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this dog didn’t belong to us but made it’s home on our porch for the week. With the swell building and the waves dumping we saw 4-5 people have their boards broken by the powerful surf… we stayed clear for the most part accept for one incident in Jaco. Erika has been getting more into surfing so it was awesome to have her out in the water some days even though the rips were super strong and it was definitely not the easiest surfing conditions.

IMG_0637Playa hermosa is a real surfers paradise.

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As usual we were too busy being excited about surfing to get any decent pictures but it was a great week. One of my old surf buddies Reid came down and joined US. I came down to this area with Reid back when I was in high school and he still has friends in the area that would work surf camp with him. It always helps to know a local or two when it comes to a place like costa

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So thats basically a Vaca recap. Now I’m back in VT and getting into the rhythm of training again. now that the training year is officially underway I will be updating the blog on a very regular basis with updates on the SMS team here in VT and from our many training camps during the summer. ‘Spring” time is over but the summer has just begun… Stoked!