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Archive for June, 2009

The “Hallsta Test”; Day 3 of “the Sweden Trip”.

Wednesday, June 17th, 2009

Mitch Prevot from Burke about to log a good time in the Hallsta Test in Solleftea, Sweden.

Mitch Prevot from Burke about to log a good time in the Hallsta Test in Solleftea, Sweden.

The third full day at the Solleftea Ski Gymnasium’s Summer Sk School was a busy one. On the docket were an uphill running time trial, a multi station classic roller ski work out, and the raft trip postponed from earlier in the week. All went off smoothly and our kids were strongly in the mix.

 

 

 

The Hallsta Test is a time trial up a long two km of road that starts near the base of the ski area here and ends midway up one of the steeper pitches. It is a long standing tradition at the Ski Gymnasium, and many World Cup and National Team athletes from Sweden have times in the book. Fifteen second interval starts send the athletes running and ski-walking for personal best times. The staff of the ski gymnasium uses it as a measure of engine capacity. It is tough. A Swedish team skier called home from the Olympics in Calgary to talk to coach Bengt Stattin, and said “Bengt, the courses here are really, really hard!” ” Are they harder than the Hallsta test?,” was the reply. A thoughtful silence followed and then the athlete said, ” No. They are not. Thank you. I’ll remember that.”

 

The men’s record is in the 7 minute range and women’s in the nines. Those were Olympians. Our kids all had strong performances led by Jack Hegman, with a 9:53, and Mitch Prevot in 10:01. Winning today was the Vancouver World Cup sprint relay gold medalist Robin Bryntesson with a 9:18. Hannah Boyer was our first girl at 11:11. Our two youngest were the two fastest today. Working as a team  blind skier Zebastian Modin and his guide Albin Ackerot, an alum of the Summer Ski School and now in the Sport science program at the University in Ostersund, finished in a respectable 12:10.

 

We’ll follow up on the Classic Ski, Raft trip, and today’s 3 hour bog run in the next post.

 

Solleftea Coaches Tony Gustafsson and Bengt Stattin timing the Hallsta test.

Solleftea Coaches Tony Gustafsson and Bengt Stattin timing the Hallsta test.

Best, Pete Phillips

Pictures By Erik Nilsson

Day One “The Sweden Trip” from Burke Mountain Academy

Saturday, June 13th, 2009

Good Morning,

0500 here in Solleftea.  A little misty.I am looking out over a field of dandelions gone to seed occasionally launching little clouds of tiny parachutes into the breeze. Hanging birch, lupen, and a heavy bodied work horse taking his ease or whatever it is horses do when they simply stand and let things happen. He has been there for awhile now.

The camp officially starts today. Short meeting, move in, lunch and then an afternoon of hill bounding, orienteering and circuit strength. Athlete-coaches on hand are Tio Soderhielm, Charlotte Kalla, Emil Jonsson, Robin Bryntesson, and Britta Nordgren. All the real McGoo! Great skiers and having watched them work with kids for the last few years, great people and great coaches. Old guard coaches include Bengt Stattin, Tony Gustafgsson, PO Andersson, Tobias Laangberg, and Kaare Korpela. Erik Nilsson is working directly with the BMA gang this year and will be with us for both the Swedish and Norwegian legs of the trip.

 Yesterday we opted to stay close to town. Minimum driving and it was nice. The kids visited the park on the river and watched their Swedish counterparts graduate from highschool…fun celebration, very traditional…white peaked caps, lots of song, open-bed trucks, the beds bordered by freshly cut birch boughs and blue and yellow Swedish flags and ballons, were signed with various school class logos and not a few had tables set up in the middle complete with champagne and food. At the finish of the formal ceremony a wide blue and yellow ribbon bounding the area where the students stand to receive their diplomas is cut by the headmaster “releasing” the kids to their parents and the world. Trucks fill up, corks pop, and the parade begins. Some of the singing would seem to indicate corks had been popped some time before. The general mood is one that would send most North American school people and the more conservative of us tsk-tsking with disapproval or fleeing in search of another place to lay down stern law, prosper and dominate our fellows and our world.

Later in the day we went up to Hallstaberget to try out the roller ski loops and to get a little exercise. All good…still a little cobbling things together as one or two were still missing gear. “How big are your feet? you can use my skate poles, the wheel just fell off!” etc. The roller ski track in Solleftea is arguably one of the best I’ve ever seen for instruction and technique training; many transitions and opportunities to short-loop back around to keep working on a hill for intervals or on a drop-in and climb for tempo changes.

For dinner we went to a forested park on the island, Hagestaon, in the middle of the river. We walk across the bridge nobody jumps off and set up a fire pit, grill chicken and sausage, have salad out of a bucket, Mitch eats two full baguettes of fresh bread before anyone catches him; ” I only ate four ends!” How many ends do two loaves of bread have? Conversation runs the gammut from serious to absurd…college stories, different schools across New England and bits of news from Alaska. Old man lies. We decide the gang in the shelter across the river for whom the caps have been twisted and thrown away are the “poor-me’s” from the party we hear sub-woofing somewhere downstream. “Even the cat won’t stay with them,” observes Lucy. “Look at him…he’s stalking off in disgust!”

Ten o’clock rolls around and we clean up around the fire and head back for our bunks. The easy day has been a good idea. Later, all of our gang long asleep,  the music dies down and this wonderful stillness settles in with the pale light of northern June midnight. Down in the river valley two geese are black specks over the lemony colored water and make a long curving flight toward the north. A big horse plods into the meadow next to our hotel.

I’ll try to keep the week on record here. It gets busy…wet too I have a feeling. That’s ok. As Bengt says “We aren’t made of sugar or paper. We won’t melt.” Let’s get it out of the way before we head to Sognefjell and the snow.

all the best for a great summer

Pete Phillips