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Sunny Days

Thursday, February 12th, 2009

The sun is officially back in Fairbanks… ok, not exactly sure WHO officiated that, but for the sake of quickness, I’ll just say I did. After what seemed like endless months of depression-inducing darkness, that blazing orb has returned. It has brought with it mid-day temperature spikes, and some seriously gorgeous skiing.

For all of us student athletes living here in the Last Frontier, the winter can be pretty tough on the Vitamin D diet. The necessary habits of the competitive skier don’t allow for much exposure to natural light; the training sessions early in the morning before school usually take place alone and always in the dark. The two or three hours of daylight we get here in Fairbanks come right around noon, when everyone is stuck inside stimulating their grey matter. And by the time the second workout rolls around, sometime near 3 pm, the sun is already long set.

“So, how do you ever ski?” you may be asking, and that’s actually a pretty legit question. Fortunately, both major ski trail systems in Fairbanks have adapted to this pit of darkness, featuring amazing selections of lighted trails. Birch Hill has by far the best lit trails I have seen in the country, with over 15k of challenging terrain blasted with light until at least 10pm every day.

So needless to say, it feels weird to be skiing in the afternoon now with the sun blaring in your eyes. And it warms the snow up too, allowing skate skis to actually glide… imagine that!


Some of the local master blasters following the groomer in this morning’s rays

The Hanneman brothaas…

David Norris and Reese Hanneman, post max-effort intervals….

Look familiar? The train of Subies leaves the hill, with the highest point in North America on the horizon

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Thorough Aggravation

Wednesday, February 4th, 2009

What do you do for workouts when its 25 below outside, and has been for almost two weeks? A lot of weird stuff, that’s what.

Since the Soldotna Besh Cups, it has been pretty difficult to ski here in Fairbanks. Ok, so it’s cold. But that’s not even the worst part. At this point, everyone who has lived here all their lives (yes, that’s all of us….) is pretty accustomed to dressing for the weather, with all kinds of specialized apparel and contraptions for staying warm. But what are you supposed to do when it sprinkles little white pieces of grit all night, and the tracks are slower than asphalt the next morning? And what do you do if this goes on without end? You get creative.

FAST has been engaging in a bunch of different indoor workouts to supplant real skiing. How often do those treadmills in the workout clubs actually get their incline feature maxed out? When does the dance floor in the UAF Rec Center resonate with the thunder of countless boxjumps? More than likely, its February in Fairbanks.

So, having almost quintupled six months of running miles in a manner of days, I am praying for a heat wave. You know, a good, toasty 5 below. Totally workable.

But you know what all this cold and snow means? Absolutely KILLER skiing in March and April. I’d venture a guess that it will be pretty much ideal conditions for Distance Nats. Of course, it could also still be 25 below. And if it is, don’t blame me.

And until then, I’ll keep trying to break this treadmill.

 -Reese Hanneman

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Uneventful Week Recap

Sunday, February 1st, 2009

After finishing Besh Cups 3 and 4 on a positive note in Soldotna, Team FAST began its final 10 week plan to have us each individually peak at specific times in the heat of the racing season. All of us looked forward to high volume with a few intensity sessions scattered throughout this past week, but remained skeptical of how the conditions would hold up since the last week had a range of -30 to +50 degrees.

The conditions never held up and some of our training was compromised half way through the week, but that is ok because being a skier means adapting and making the most of the circumstances given. I think that I hit somewhere around 16 hours of training… about 20-25% short of what I optimally hoped for, but I was able to get some good intervals in as well as some good gym workouts. While not really talking over training in depth with the rest of my teammates, I can safely say that they too made the most out of the week.

On the topic of making the most out of the week, I gotta give some mad props to Tyson for his 4th in Telemark Super Tour. Don’t quote me on this, but I believe that this is his best sprint finish yet. You can watch the majority of the race on youtube

( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nlj_ao1QoBw ).

The winter sports performances are just beginning. The Super Bowl is going on right now; James Harrison made a huge 100 yard interception return! The X Games also were a good start, Simon Dumont’s double front flip with a super man extension was so big I was speechless when I first saw it. Coming up to Fairbanks we have Distance Nationals as well as the make up races for Senior Nationals, which I can guarantee are going to be more action packed than the fore mentioned X Games and Super Bowl could ever hope to be. Besh Cups 5 and 6 next week, look for another post!

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