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Start of the SkiMountaineering Season in Europe!

Thursday, December 27th, 2012

 

Nina Win's AlpiTigne Sprint

Nina Win’s AlpiTigne Sprint

My  ski mountaineering season kicked off with the first race of the season here in the Chamonix Valley in the 8th of December a little later than the alpine and nordic races in Europe.

Being in a heavy training period I was not expecting super results, but pleased to be not far behind Gloriana Pellisier of the Italian team and World Champion Sky Runner Emilie Forsburg in her debut of skimountaineering. I even took the top step for the Veterans podium and always enjoy racing on my home turf.

Great to be kicking and gliding again!

Great to be kicking and gliding again!

The holidays kicked off with a wonderful visit from my parents who originally gave me the gift and love of skiing, kicking & gliding in my back yard in Vermont and weekend trips up to Bromley mountain & skipping school to ski! (Don’t tell my kids!;-)

Mom & Dad kicking and gliding on the Chamonix Trails

Mom & Dad kicking and gliding on the Chamonix Trails

The boys have been getting out kicking and gliding too in our own back yard, practicing their sprint starts!

A & B practicing their sprint starts just like their mom!

A & B practicing their sprint starts just like their mom!

Anders had a little early season setback…and its working hard to get strong again on my bike!

Anders (6) Training hard to get his leg strong for skiing again

Anders (6) Training hard to get his leg strong for skiing again

We celebrated a special birthday (20 yrs x 2 ) with my family & friends. Thanks to the Albert Premiere for their wonderful hospitality.

Celebrating with friends and family for my 20th birthday x2 :-)

Nice to get dressed up in something other than a skimo race suit!

Our Chamonix Ski Alpinisme Club  organized a womens’ training weekend to help grow the sport of ski mountaineering for women, as it is a very male dominated sport, much like many endurance sports. It was a weekend that coincided with a night uphill race in La Clusaz, home of World Cup x country skier Vincent Vittoz. We had a great turnout for the weekend with over 10 women involved in the training weekend. I particularly liked the race for a good hard training as it had a sprint start on skate skis. followed by a short downhill and transition to uphill w/ skins on.

Getting ready to start at La Clusaz night race

Getting ready to start at La Clusaz night race

 

Click on the following link  video to see the start where I was inspired by Kikkan Randal. I continue to be inspired by the USA womens ski team’s strong performances this year, especially Kikkan approaching her injury with such tenacity!   IMG_0850

Just before Christmas my team ventured down to Tignes for the first Sprint race of the season. The race was a coupe du France and it was great to get in the sprint game again. Chamonix Ski Alpinisme showed a strong performance there taking both men and womens wins overall and 2nd woman. The first World Cup Sprint kicks off in Switerland at the Alpiniski the 24th of January.

Podium Women AlpiTignes Coupe du France

Podium Women AlpiTignes Coupe du France

A couple more weeks of hard training before the season really begins with French nationals on the 6th followed by the first skimo World Cup the 9th/10th of January in the Tyrol Italy.

My Christmas Present! Thanks SkiTrab! So happy to be skiing on the best!

My Christmas Present! Thanks SkiTrab! So happy to be skiing on the best!

Here’s a little slide show of what’s been going on in our world….

From our family to yours, Wishing you a happy & healthy holiday season and a great start to your ski season!

Happy New Year Everyone!

Happy New Year Everyone!

 

 

 

 

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 www.ismf-ski.org.

Please check out her team’s site, www.chamonixskialpinisme.com and her personal site for more information, www.ninasilitch.com

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.

Ski Mountaineering World Cup Season Continues

Friday, April 2nd, 2010

Pierra Menta 2010- Nina still managing to smile during the 4 day stage race: climbing 10,359 meters & skiing close to 100km

While most of you Fasterskier fans have probably finished up your last races of the season and are getting ready to put the skis away til next winter, the ski mountaineering season is still in full swing, with still 3 big world cup races left, the final one the famous Patrouille des Glaciers,  a high altitude, long distance team race. The past 2 months have been busy with a flury of World Cup races and World Championships, followed by the famous French stage race, The Pierra Menta a.k.a. The Tour de France of Ski Mountaineering.

The ski mountaineering season is long, beginning mid december and ending end of April. It is a bit of a personal jigsaw puzzle figuring out how and when to peak and fitting in all the pieces of one’s life: work, family, kids, racing, training, eating, sleeping and staying healthy all winter long. Coming soon I will share some highlights from the previous races and hope to share a little more about the sport itself so perhaps you can give it a try next season! In the meantime, enjoy the YouTube video of the Pierra Menta- We finished 9th place overall and had one day in 7th!
This gives a taste of the Pierra and all it’s glory!
Coming Soon!


Individual World Cup Mt Etna: Sicily (yes the mediteranean island off of Italy)

USA TEAM-Ski Mo World Championships

Ski Mountaineering World Championships 2010: Andorra:

Nina in a transition at the World Championships

The Pierra Menta 2010: Tour de France of Ski Mountaineering:

Nina in the Pierra Menta with Mont Blanc in the background

Pierra Menta: The Tour de France of Ski Mountaineering- 4 day Stage Race

Ski Mountaineering Mama – World Cup season begins!

Thursday, January 14th, 2010

head shot 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

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.

Cold with the mittens on!

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

Getting back into the groove after the transition

Christmas Holidays:

After this race I tried to put in some volume training and enjoy the holidays with my family.

Happy New Year! Family Ski Day!

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

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.

Nina, Miro and Kilian- (maybe they will transfer some VO2 max energy to me!)

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

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

2nd place overall woman at La Pyramide, Mt. Saxonnex-Jan 10

Podium Mt Saxonnex- 1st Sr Woman, 2nd Overall

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

http://www.boston.com/sports/other_sports/skiing/articles/2009/12/24/with_vancouver_looming_vonn_looks_golden/