Greetings from Chamonix, France! Thanks for reading my very first blog for Fasterskier. What an amazing site for training, racing and keeping up to date on athletes in the nordic sports! We all want to ski fast whether up or down! I am pretty sure this is the first ski mountaineering race blog for FasterSkier. Through it, I hope I can share a bit more about the sport, continue to help it grow in the US and reach the goal of ski mountaineering in the Olympics in 2018 . To learn more about me and the sport of ski mountaineering be sure to check my intro, about me and other pages.
Here’s a quick rundown of my season so far:
Pila World Cup, 18-19 dec 2009, Italy.
My season this year started off pretty early with the first World Cup in Pila, Italy mid December. At this race I was joined by my national teammate all the way from Colorado, Monique Merrill.
Mona and Nina and Pila World Cup warming up and checking out the course
This was a great event for first world cup-early season but good training none the less. Day 1 was a sprint race which took place at a ski area- under 5 min which included a short flatter skin (climb with skins on but you could kick and glide) to a series of kick turns (steeper climbing) to a boot pack (a face too steep to skin), and then back to skins and a short fast down hill across the finish line! This was an exciting race and a good opportunity for spectators to see what ski mountaineering is all about- it was televised throughout Italy on their sports channel RAI. Like World Cup Nordic sprint races there were 3 heats. Day 2 was a very cold night race with pleanty of climbing and descents. Due to the cold weather (-22 c at the top of the ski area), the course stayed on the lower slopes. For me that race was about survival and staying warm.
Here is a transition from down hill skiing to an uphill skinning section. Here I am trying to get my skins back on quickly, but it is cold!
Getting back into the groove after the transition
After this race I tried to put in some volume training and enjoy the holidays with my family.
Happy New Year! Family Ski Day!
I train on a similar 4 week cycle to nordic skiers, intensity, med volume and volume and recovery week. Night training is often the time to get out with my husband.
Night workout- Michael and his Petzl Ultra
Barlouka Uphill, 2 jan 2010, Veysonnaz, Switzerland.
Last week I finished an intensity week – a series of 4 races in 9 days. There is a great series here of night uphill races often mid week. The races are a fun ambience followed by a good pasta or raclette meal and good company. At the Barloucka race in Switzerland I was joined by Kilan Jornet (over World Cup winner in 2009) and Miro Mirella, 2 of the best ski mountaineering racers in the world (and world class endurance runners as well), both from the Pyerenees of Spain. This Swiss uphill race was a 750 meter climb. With 5 km of distance, there were some stretches of flat; a nordic background really helps for those kicking and gliding sections.
Post race pasta. Nicola (a Swiss Team coach), Nina, Miro, Kilian's girlfriend and Kilian. Kilian and Miro are on the Spanish Ski mo Team and are both ranked number 1 in the 2010 World Cup. They live and train at a French Sports School in the Pyrenees. Kilian recently broke a running record on the John Muir trail in California with his sponsor Salomon. Maybe they will transfer some VO2 max energy to me!
La Grimpee du Loup, La Clusaz, France, 6 jan 2010.
This was an uphill/night race which climbed 720 meters with a section in the beginning of a 20 meters to skate or skin. I chose skating and it was to my advantage -and flew past people on this small first hill. Uphill night races are pretty intense efforts- this one just under 30 minutes so your heart is working pretty hard. This one was also about -12 degrees (not warm again).
Podium- La Clusaz, 3rd Place, behind a Swiss and a French Team member!
La Meurianne, 9 jan 2010, Montriond, France
Cold again! Hand warmers really do the trick. This was the first team race of the season and had 2 ascents, 2 descents and a boot pack +1300 meters). I did this with my ski club teammate, Nuno from Portugal. Team races are really fun as the two are obliged to work together going up and down. Often people use elastic cords to stay close on the ascent. This helps the second person who may be a little less fast than the first. For me it helps also mentally to stick together and work in the same rhythm. For me it was fun to race with Nuno as it made me work just a bit harder on the uphill to keep up with him. We were placed in the mens category and came in top 30 in a tough field. Not bad, just 1 min behind the top womens team who are on the French National Team.
La Pyramide Uphill, 10 jan 2010, Mt Saxonnex, France
580 meters (sunday eve) I was not sure if I was going to do this race- It depended on how I felt and if I had a good recovery after saturday. I felt good, rested, stretched and spun on my wind trainer to get the lactic acid out of the legs. Headed out to this race. It was an interesting course. Straight up hill up a ski lift line then a downhill section with skins on in the off piste powder (remember at night- here the Petzl Ultra head lamp would have been an excellent choice- little did I know I just had my small Tikka). After the dowhhill a boot pack (carry skis) through tough deep powder. At this point my legs were quite tired,and the boot steps were huge for my short legs. The last section was a good gentle skin up to the finish!
2nd place overall woman at La Pyramide, Mt. Saxonnex-Jan 10
Podium Mt Saxonnex- 1st Sr Woman (2nd overall)
Here I took 2nd place just 1 minute behind a very good uphill climber!
Recovory Week and next races:
The following week is recovery with volume for me. I have two weeks leading up to my next world cup in Italy. This sunday I will head over to Italy to race. The races are always well organized and techincal and this one will give me some good endurance training as it is a climb of +1800 meters and 4 transitions.
World Championships and the Patrouille des Glaciers:
Some skiers this year are focused on peaking for the Olympics. For me it is to peak for the World Championships in Andorra beginning of March and also the famous Patrouille des Glaciers end of April. This year my father has put together a team for the mini patrouille des glaciers as well. www.pdg.ch