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Posts Tagged ‘ski mountaineering racing’

The Heat is on in the Alps!

Monday, February 20th, 2012
Staying warm in the winter chill

Arctic temperatures have blanketed the Alps these last 2 weeks, some mornings with the thermometer reading -19 C (-2 F)!  Growing up in Vermont and Maine  these frosty temps are quite common in January. Back then I grew tired of freezing my tail off at the top of a GS course. Not only did I soon switch over to a more aerobic sport , cross country skiing, to keep my engine warm  but also moved to a sunnier state, Colorado. Now I have switched over to another sport, ski mountaineering which keeps my heart and mind equally warm.

Sunshine warms the heart

I have had a little break in the World Cup calendar. Despite the Siberian temps, I have bundled up just like we did when we were kids,and headed for the mountains on my own, with friends and with my family, all heartwarming and important moments to stay balanced.

Enjoying warm winter moments as a Family

Perhaps it’s only in ski towns in France that when teachers strike and there is no school, kids go skiing! These two weeks I took advantage of having some more time to pump up the volume in my training logging more than 15,000 meters of climbing in 2 weeks, but also get out find some new terrain that I had not skied before. I headed out with a friend one day  up the Col de la Floria, a good climb from the valley floor to the top (1440+meters) There was a nice long boot pack at the top and a great steep ski coming down. Another time I explored the, Aiguille de la Gliere Nord, once again a great varied climb, boot pack, with an impressive view to the other side. It is these kind of days in the mountains that bring me warmth and a smile.

Heading to the Hills

I managed to get in some good races as well in these 2 weeks. I squeezed in 2 Mountain Ski tour uphill victories ( Flaine and Les Contamines), both excellent for my own uphill climbing but also really fun ambiance.  I did not have these on my calender but decided to go as there were not only good training opportunities but also a great chance to see another part of the Alps and go with other from my local Chamonix Ski Mountaineering club. The Tour de Grand Veymont in the Vercours region of France was also the CAF (Club Alpine Francais) national championships. This time artic temps prevailed. Mittens and hand warmers were the ticket. It was a gorgeous course, a great sunday out as a club and I came home with the win for the women and the CAF national champion title.

Tour de Grand Veymont & Trophee de Gastlosen

 The Trophee de Gastlosen is the 2nd largest race in Switzerland next to the famous Patrouille des Glaciers, with over 1200 participants. Two years ago this race was a world cup and I raced with my USA teammate and pal lyndsay. It was the first team race of the year for me with 2300 meters of climbing. I raced in Chamonix Club mixed team.  We placed 23rd overall out of 210 teams with a time of 2h53 reaching our goal of being the first mix team and also breaking three hours. It was probably the coldest temps I have ever raced in with the thermometer around -21 C. at the start but the great backdrop of the Gastlosen mountains and the technical climbs and descents kept me moving and made for an excellent day.


Warm moments together

Now it’s tapering time for the next world cup which will be held on the active volcano of Mt. Etna in Sicily, Italy. on February 24 and 25th. This volcano has been rather active these past few months so it will surely be an interesting race! See this article for pics and news. Surely the HEAT will be on in Etna.

Staying warm

This is a great time for everyone to slow down, breathe, and rejuvenate together.

If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant; if we did not taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.”—

Anne Bradstreet




Ski Mountaineering Season Wrap Up

Saturday, June 11th, 2011

Smile, breathe and go slowly (except when racing~Thich Nhat Hanh

As all athletes know, here are many things that go into a season of racing. The ski mountaineering season is long, beginning in early december and ending in the 1st of May. There are moments in the season that are low points and high points, races to try to peak for and others to recover from. Juggling and balancing, especially as a mom of two young boys, is never easy but for me two things help a lot:

Breathe and Believe


On Snow Training Camp in Cervinia, Italy–home of the Italian side of the Matterhorn, 13-14 Nov. 2010

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

Last weekend, Nina organized and participated in an on snow training camp for her ski mountaineering race club, the Chamonix Ski Alpinism Club. It was a great weekend and the first time on snow this season for many. Not for Nina though. She had been on snow a few other times.

The group stayed at an hotel in Cervina (2050 meters) and skied and ski toured at the area all the way up to 3451 meters (11,322 ft). At such altitude and being the first big training on snow, they had to be careful not to get too tired and prolong recovery from the workouts.

The plan for the weekend was two workouts each day with technique drills and exercises. Every thing from avalanche transceiver search practice, to transition drills. The mainstay of the training would be LSD, long slow distance, making sure not to get the heartrate too high.

The final day even included a short race with many transitions. With great weather (although a little cold up high), breathtaking views of the Matterhorn, good snow and a funloving group, the weekend was a big success.

Nina had a great weekend and got some good mileage in on snow. She has been training with Adam St. Pierre of the Boulder Center for Sports Medicine and is feeling strong. She is really excited what this year on the World Cup curcuit will bring (first WC race Jaunuary 8th in France). Follow her World Cup story here and on

Please check out her team’s site, and her personal site for more information,

Nina looking cheery training in Cervinia in mid November with the Matterhorn behind her.

The group headed out ski touring from the mid station.

Nothing better than an Italian "apero" with local cheese and sausage---the slopes they are skiing on here in Brueil-Cervinia is host to many cows on the summer Alpages. So the cheese is very local!

Avalanche Transceiver and Rescue Drill training--always a good idea to practice that at the beginning of the year!

Touring up to the Guide's Hut for lunch, which is at 11,322 feet! Building the ole' hematocrit!

Chamonix Ski Alpinism Club Training Camp, Cervinia, Italy 13,14 Nov. 2010--Under the Matterhorn.

World Cup Ski Mountaineering Season Wrap up

Friday, May 21st, 2010

Nina at World's in Andorra.

Nina finished the World Cup ski mountaineering season totally psyched. Last year, she was burnt out by the end, but this year she wants to keep on going.

7th place overall in the final World Cup rankings and winning World Cup prize money probably helps a bit. Nina was strong throughout the season, and although wanted to peak better for World Championships, right in the middle of the season, felt a little flat then. However, she did make 10th place in the Team Race in Worlds. Some other highlights were finishing the Pierra Menta, with her teammate, Lyndsay Meyer, for the third year in a row. While this year, it wasn’t a world cup event, it still had the same world cup crowd, so 9th overall and one day in 7th felt pretty good. Nina posted an 8th place in the French National Championships, individual race. Considering France, Italy and Switzerland are at the tip top of the sport, I say “chapeau” or hats off to my wife.

Nina (lower right "USA") at the start of the Grand Beal World Cup in France with two Swiss girls in red behind her left shoulder.

In the end she had 26 race days for the 2010 season and in her 3 year World Cup career has racked up 17 World Cup starts and 7 World Cup top tens and two World Championships selections with a top ten in Andorra Worlds 2010.

Nina winning the Cenise Bargy skimo/xc skate/skimo race with our two sons Birken and Anders sharing in the celebration.

Her favorite win of the season was a regional race, the Cenise Bargy which is essentionally a ski mo/xc biathlon, starting with a leg of ski mountaineering racing (800 meters of climbing then a 500 m descent), then you switch to nordic skating equipment for a 3 km skate, then finishing with a skimo (500 m up and 500m down). The start was right through the narrow main street of the little village.

Team USA, Lyndsay, Nina and Mona stopping the clock at 9h52m in Verbier, after leaving Zermatt at midnight. The Patrouille des Glaciers is the most famous ski mo race of them all and traces the Haute Route.

Her last race of the season was a pretty good one too. The Patrouille des Glaciers starts in the middle of the night on mainstreet Zermatt and after crossing numerous passes and valleys, finishes in Verbier, some 4000 meters of climbing later and over 54 horizontal kms (that’s well over 125 kms if you had a bicycle computer). She and her two teammates, Monique Merril of adventure racing fame, and long time race partner, Lyndsay Meyer finished 4 th overall in the World Cup division and stopped the clock at 9 hours 52 minutes!

Julie, Nina, and Lyndsay sporting their Chamonix Ski Alpinisme Race suits.

Another great memory of the season was starting a ski mountaineering race club here in Chamonix, France. Can you believe Chamonix didn’t have a ski mo club? We couldn’t and approached the town and Chamonix Sports Club. They whole heartedly supported the idea, and with Nina as vice president, we forged ahead. Check us out at:

Nina is already eager to keep training for next year and is taking an “easy” month, without structured training, but still some, ski tours, mountain bike races, running, swimming and strength. June will be back to the sceduled training and then getting specific (roller skiing, glacier skiing and specific strength). Thanks for following us this season. If you have any questions on ski mountaineering racing, please feel free to email.

All the best for a fun summer of training!

And a big thanks to all her sponsors! Especially the nordic ones, such as SWIX poles!!!!!