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I’ve been dreading this post for a little while now. Putting things on paper, or in this case the form of a blog post, always makes them seem much more concrete and real. I can’t quite figure out how to put it in a way that seems less harsh, but here it goes: I’m finished with competitive XC-ski racing. For some this may not be a shock as I made the decision a little while ago, but it has taken time to really sink in. Before you come to any conclusions, however, let me back track some and explain the entire situation. This is not your standard “retirement”. I’m not a 10 yr USST vet that’s realizing my time is up–just a pretty conflicted 17 yr old trying to figure out where I’m headed. And so, the story begins.

My path to this point started during the college process. Choosing what college to attend is a big one. Although no college will guarantee success any more than the next, each college will have a unique impact on the rest of your life. Ever since I started to really ski, all I could imagine when it came to my future and college specifically was skiing. I spent so much time doing it that I honestly couldn’t imagine my life without it or what I would do. This all changed during my year at Burke Mtn. Academy. I had a really rough season and it kind of hit me that skiing won’t always be there for you. It’s a heartbreaker. No matter how much you train and how much you care, sometimes things just don’t fall into place. Even with this realization, though, at the beginning of the college process I knew I was going to ski. Maybe I didn’t want to put skiing over academics anymore, but I would go to a school with a ski team. Both my brother and my sister are at Middlebury and my oldest brother, Willie, was planning on going. Naturally it was pretty high on my list of schools I was interested in. As time went on, however, it started to occur to me that maybe the traditional liberal-arts skiing schools weren’t really the schools I wanted to be at. They are perfect for a lot of people I know, including my siblings, but there was a little inkling that maybe it just wasn’t for me. During this same time period my interest in politics was increasing. It was an interest that I really got into during my rough season last year when I ended up with a lot of spare time. For this reason, I had considered Georgetown, but wasn’t a huge fan of what I heard/saw and so I went back to looking at ski schools. Later on I heard about another DC school, though. George Washington. I looked at it some and heard great things, but still wasn’t sure how I felt about going to a non-skiing school. My season was turning out to be better than I originally expected and I was pretty excited about skiing. Come application time I decided I’d apply to GW, but to a specific political communications program that I doubted I’d be admitted to. I finished my season and was really happy with how it had gone, but as you could probably guess by the nature of story telling, I had also been admitted to GW’s political communications program. It was an unbeatable situation- studying political communications in the heart of DC (literally 3 blocks from the White House). I started to really think about it. This was an opportunity for me to take a leap of faith and study something that I was really interested. After a lot of thought and a lot of discussion I concluded that this was something I couldn’t pass up. I chose to attend and leave skiing behind.

That might have been too long of a description for you to really care much about, but this next part is the part that is really important to me. Since making the decision, I’ve realized some more things that make me feel better about my decision. The #1 thing I think that every skier should know is that you should follow your interests, and not just skiing. This may have been unique to me and no one else has felt this way, but I had spent so much time skiing and ski training that I really hadn’t done anything else. Even before I ended my career, when I was having fun doing other things I did better in my races. By the end of this year this year I was having my best races, yet I was doing so many other things at the same time. Before then, I didn’t know what else I could even do. You don’t have to leave skiing to pursue interests either. For me, I just realized that I hadn’t learned to do something new and had the feeling of beginner’s frustration basically since I started to ski–so sometime in Kindergarten-2nd grade. I wanted to feel that again and since stopping training I feel liberated. I’ve taken up and learned to do/play things ranging from skateboarding to polo. Skateboarding may well be a short lived career (I’m still pending my first injury which will likely be the end), but on the other hand I joined the college Polo team. I’ve been working as a greenskeeper at a local golf course and as a host at a different country club. I’m seeing and experiencing things I was so removed from in the past. During college orientation a couple of weeks ago I was blown away by the number of clubs available. In addition to joining the Polo team I also joined Coast Guard Auxiliary. I still want to find some kind of sport, but the moral of the story is that there is so much else to do out there. This obviously isn’t applicable to everybody and a lot of people will still find a lot of joy and fulfillment in skiing for a long time to come, but recognize that it won’t always be there and if you are serious you’ll learn to thrive in those times. I’d heard coaches and older skiers say this so many times, but for me it just now sunk in. I hope to someday be able to give back to the skiing community that has given me so much. I’m planning on watching as many carnivals as possible and racing against as many master blasters as I can find (not hard to find), but I also hope that I’ll be pretty busy in DC. Skiing will never truly leave me–Johnnyklister does have archives you can look through–and my classmates must agree since even though I had already quit, I was the lucky recipient of the senior superlative “olympic bound”…maybe as a spectator I guess. I must say though, after leaving skiing I got an invitation to REG which was pretty close to reversing my decision. I’ve been waiting to be able to go to that camp for a while now, but I was able to turn that down so I decided that I would probably be able to do a fasterskier post without fear I would back out on leaving.

As for this blog it’s up to Topher I guess. If it doesn’t get deleted I’ll probably post a photo of me rollerskiing up capitol hill every once in a while, or the results of my latest domination of every 60+ yr old in the Jackson area over Xmas break. I know I won’t be able to rival @Justin Freeman’s blog, but a boy can dream, can’t he?

It’s really bittersweet to be finishing up this post, also a little scary thinking that this probably isn’t monumental at all to anyone else on fasterskier than me or my parents. I just want to thank everyone in the ski world for everything you have given me. It has be an unbelievable community to be a part of and I’ll hopefully be around here in the future. A final thanks to Topher for thinking a blog written by a J2 would be worthwhile. It’s been really fun putting my experiences in words and I hope that others enjoyed it as much as I did. Sorry for not putting any photos on this one, must’ve been a rough read.

-Peter

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Phew. It feels good to finally get a chance to sit down and rest. The post-JNs depression is setting in and the quick immersion back into school definitely isn’t helping. Overall, however, I’m still really psyched on how the week went for me. I went into JN’s with some confidence from upward trend of my season, but really wasn’t so sure how’d it would pan out and where I would end up. The U18 (J1) field this year is pretty stiff and my goal was a top-10, but realistically I was hoping for a top-20 or top-15. After a fairly easy travel day on the way to Stowe, it was a more than welcome surprise to find that, by some miracle, they actually had significantly better skiing/snow than out west. I was feeling pretty good on the training days before the first race, but wasn’t feeling super prepared for an actual race. Monday was the classic 10k interval start. I was thinking that this would probably be my best race of the week, but during the race I was never able to hit that next gear. I felt pretty slow and after the first lap, because of a pretty low seed, I was out on the course alone without much to gauge my speed off of.

Finally Famous! Front page of the Stowe Reporter with Connor Gray and Bjork Hågensen

Finally Famous! Front page of the Stowe Reporter with Connor Gray and Bjork Hågensen

The classic sprint day on wednesday I was looking for some redemption. In the qualifier I made a pretty bad mistake right off the the bat. The Stowe course has a gradual, but decently long, hill almost immediately and the decision to double-pole it or stride it was a tough one that I think was make-or-break for a lot of people. Immediately after double poling it I regretted it and the rest of the course I was praying I would get another shot in the rounds. I ended up with a better than expected qualification in 15th. Next up was the Quarter finals. I was really anxious about the quarters since I had a mental block and couldn’t make it through any all season. When it came down to it, I felt great and hung in behind Thomas O’Harra to come in an easy 2nd. In the semis I was feeling really good again sticking in 3rd, but in the tuck section before the last quick uphill I tripped up a bit and had to stand up, losing some pretty significant ground. I made up a lot of it on the hill, but sprinting is pretty unforgiving and I ended up in the B-final. The B-final for me had a strong start, but at the end I just didn’t have it and hit a wall pretty hard coming in last. In the end that got me a 12th place though which I was more than happy with. It was tough to be so close to top-10 and have missed out, but luckily I’m a 1st year so I have another shot next year.

Semi-final on Classic Sprint day. Left to right IMD: Logan D., Karsten H., and myself

Semi-final on Classic Sprint day. Left to right IMD: Logan D., Karsten H., and then me. PC: Alex Diekmann

The last individual race was the Skate 10k mass start. I’m typically a stronger classic skier, but any mass start is going to be a fun race. The start was a rolling start because of a pretty terrible crash at the start of the U20 race at a hairpin right out of the start. It made for a real relaxed beginning and it was easy to work into the race. I was feeling really good, but was also trying to be patient and not push it too hard at the beginning. In the end I somewhat regretted this as the group I was skiing with dropped off the lead pack and before I realized it was happening it was a little late for me to bridge the gap on my own. The whole race was nice and steady for me and our group was definitely able to pick some people off. I was a little bummed because I felt like I had a lot of energy throughout the entire race and could have been going harder, but the course was a tough one to bridge a gap on. In the last 1k I put on a big push to drop the people around me and got out in the open enough to be able to single-stick it through the finish. My final place was 25th which I was really pleased with considering I did not expect it to be a strong race of mine and I thought I could have gone a bit harder.

Scramble leg of the relay

Scramble leg of the relay. PC: Alex Diekmann

The final race was the 3×3 relay leg. I was on IMD #2, but no matter what the circumstances relays are awesome. I had the pleasure of being the first leg and the responsibility of surviving the start. Warming up I was crazy tired. I really did not think it was going to go very well for me with some yawns here and there and some 500lb legs. Right out of the start, however, I was feeling quick. After the first 1k or so I was sitting in 3rd. Then as we approached the 2k mark and the only real major hill on the course I was feeling strong and decided to go for it. I hopped up into first and got a small gap going. More importantly though I was leading through the major spectator corner…I mean lets be honest, that’s all that really matters. In the end, Lars Hannah from Rocky Mountain, Logan Diekmann who’s also from IMD, and I came in and tagged off at about the same time. My team finished in 7th after it was all said and done. It was a super fun day and was awesome to see both our girls and guys U16 relay teams come in first.

JNs dance this year was, without much more said, mediocre. I ended up on a pretty epic sledding mission that night though instead.

JNs is always awesome and it’s tough to leave a week full of some of the greatest things life can offer- good company and ski racing. We’ve got a local race in Jackson coming up and the Club Championships in Sun Valley in 2 weekends, but other than that the season is coming to a close. Will update again soon.

-Peter

 

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Writing this so late is probably a bad idea- I’m doing my best to get a head start on sleep tonight to make tomorrow’s 4am wake up to watch the sprints a little easier. Olympic season is the best season. There’s so much momentum in U.S. Skiing right now and these Olympics could push it that much farther; fingers crossed!

For my own season though, things have been going well! I started off the season with an IMD JNs qualifier here in Jackson which went pretty poorly for me. I can’t quite pin why, but I had some really disappointing results. Those races left me feeling pretty bummed thinking I was going to have another lackluster season, but after some deep talks with the wise Pete Phillips I decided that if I was going to go down, it would be in flames. I really put the hammer down, getting in some of the most consistent training I’ve had all year, and made a very conscious decision not to let myself get bogged down by a couple of bad results; an important lesson I learned last year. The effort definitely paid off at the next qualifier up at Galena Lodge in Sun Valley.

The first race of the weekend was a skate sprint, typically my weakest race. I was pretty surprised when I qualified in 10th, basically cutting my past results in half. The placing wasn’t exceptional by any means, but I had thought my season was done after Jackson. Unfortunately I got a little tripped up at the start of the quarters and with a tough headwind couldn’t get myself back up into the top 2. The next day, however, I put my head down on one of the smoothest courses I’ve ever skied and strode it out into a 6th place in the classic 10k. It felt good to really successfully push through some pain, and slight depression as Miles Havlick flew right by me from 8 or so spots back. After getting 6th I realized that I was right back in the mix; if I could get some good results in Soldier Hollow at our last qualifier I would be off to Stowe.

Soldier Hollow this past weekend ended up being memorable for a few reasons. 1.) This one is tough for me to wrap my head around. The weather was awful. Never in my life have I raced at Soldier Hollow in anything but bluebird skies and perfect snow- this was not the case this time around. It was raining for our starts and slush was everywhere. An all-around disheartening moment in my ski career, but SoHo crushed the grooming still as always. 2) A much more light-hearted moment for me. Friday’s race was a classic sprint on the same sprint course used for the 2014 Senior Nationals skate sprint. I knew the course well and I have always had a little more confidence in classic sprints. The wax was tricky, turning the course into an almost complete double-pole course with one quick little herringbone over Hermod’s Hill. I woke up feeling great and went into the qualifier with more conservative hopes of a top-20 ski since Soldier Hollow is a Super-Qualifier, meaning it’s not only an IMD qualifier, but is also attended by Rocky Mountain, High Plains, PNSA, Far West, the Wyoming High School teams, and more. I had a couple of trip ups in the qualifier and was scared to see my result. I ran back to the wax cabin to change and when I came out was beyond excited/shocked to see my name in 3rd overall U20/U18- 1st for IMD and 2nd U18 overall. I wasn’t quite sure how to react at first, but I knew that something was beginning to click that had been missing the past year.  I naturally had some high hopes for the day after that, but was again cut short in the quarterfinals. I learned a real tough lesson that day about really assessing the course and how to approach my heats, but mostly just couldn’t believe that I somehow screwed up what could have been one of my best races. Regardless, I now have the confidence that, even as a 1st year U18, I can ski right up there if I put it all on the table. 3.) The last memorable reason is that apparently I need to loosen my boots. Saturday I hoped to continue the momentum in a wicked hard 15k mass start skate. I had a strong start, but after the first lap I noticed that I couldn’t feel my feet (Or stopped noticing that they were there?). Each glide I wondered if the energy from my legs was transferring through my feet still, but each push forward put greater strain on my ankles which caused me the most pain. I made myself hold out for the remainder of rhe race and ended up finishing 19th overall and 7th IMD- still an improvement from my last skate race. Overall I’m really psyched with how my races went. I feel significantly more confident in my skiing and can’t wait to get to Stowe for Junior Nationals and see if I can keep up the progression and improve even more. This year at Stowe there’s both an individual classic 10k and a classic sprint which should be perfect for me. Until then I’m going to keep up the consistency and make sure I’m doing everything in my power to have the best prep. If all goes well I can get some payback on New England on their own course for giving me such a rough season last year.

I’ll put up some photos when I get ahold of some so that these posts don’t get too dry. Otherwise, keep up the USA Olympic patriotism and pray for some Gold!

Best Regards,

Peter Neal

 

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In a place with a far from curated nordic course where you’re alpine skiing before nordic skiing, I was pretty psyched to at least try my luck at Trail Creek earlier today. It’s been snowing on-and-off here in Jackson for pretty much the last month and a half, but the last couple of days are finally really it, I hope. The fall in Jackson, however quick, was a good one with plenty of rollerskiing and, most recently with the in-between weather, a lot of snowy runs. I hit my lifetime PR a few weeks ago for pushups, so I’m pretty much guaranteed a good season I think. In all seriousness though, I have been feeling pretty strong and it seems like the training from last year is finally starting to kick in. I’ve been pretty upset when I go on facebook and see al the posts of east coasters skiing when we all know that the West is Best, but it wouldn’t really matter anyways because I’ve been wasting all my time doing school work. The college process was/has been easily one of the most stressful times of my life, but I’m starting to move past it and get some more time for life’s luxuries, like blogposts of Fasterskier. I’ve definitely been missing the east lately and the simpler life up at Burke. I’m pretty fortunate though to have jumped around between Burke and Jackson, they’re both pretty awesome choices. One of my favorite parts of school back home, however, is our dress up days. People get creative and go all out and I always feel like I am pretty bad at Halloween, but it’s tough to live up to costumes as awesome as this one:

If you can read this, I'm thoroughly impressed.

Just trying to wake you up with the sideways picture

 

Ok maybe that didn’t work out so well. I swear I tried everything I could to rotate them so that you can actually see them, but it was to no avail. Trust me though, if you are going to turn your computer sideways for any of these photos, that is the one to do it for. The costume if you couldn’t figure it out on your own, or just didn’t think it was funny, was Kip from Napoleon Dynamite. A great scene from the movie, reenacted here, was when Kip was waiting at the bus stop for his internet girlfriend,  “La Fawnduh”. Regardless, there were lots of other great costumes as well. I’ll get back to somewhat more relevant things now. The weather has been an awkward transition from fall to winter. There is always snow on the ground and the temperatures to match it, but not enough to really do anything with. One of my favorite tests of the “true” temperature has been driving around this 1970 Toyata Land Cruiser that’s at our house for a while.

Processed with VSCOcam with g1 preset

Another test of your devotion to my photos, I know. Driving that thing around is by far the most fun I have ever had in car and also the coldest I have ever been in a car. One morning it looked nice and sunny so I hopped in to go to school and quickly realized that it was actually 12˚ out. Not the best idea, but I learned to wear a one piece snow suit from then on out. Based on my testing during my drives to and form school, it’s damn cold. My conclusion to this blog posts, if there really is one, is that winter is coming/kind of already here. We head up to West Yellowstone this friday which is the most fun week of all the time. West Yellowstone is easily the most hopping ski social scene with Craftsbury falling just behind in 2nd. There’s no better place to get free stuff from people you’ve never heard of and play xbox for 24 hrs straight, only stopping for a quick workout here and there. Until we get up to West though, I’ll just be back here in Jackson skiing on a course even shorter than that of Craftsbury’s. This brings us back to what I originally started the post on, I tried to ski today. I got up to the cabin, and even though the snow was halfway up my shins and the ski bums were out in full force alpine skiing, I spent probably an hour on a (maybe) 30ft section of snow classic skiing. I felt pretty dumb, but I really couldn’t have cared less because that one hour of terrible skiing just got my psyched up again for the rest of the year.

The Cabin after Hurricane WordPress

The Cabin after Hurricane WordPress

 

That wraps up my random thoughts for the day, but, as always, there are plenty more to come. To all those without snow, I sympathize with you. To all those with snow, I’m sorry because we’ll just be back here alpine skiing.

 

Sincerely,

Peter Neal

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Woah, its been a while since I’ve posted. I don’t have much of an excuse other than being as busy as everyone else this summer. I’ll try and do a quick summary of my summer and whats going on now.

My summer was pretty hectic and it went a little bit too fast, but it was fun nonetheless. Most of my time was spent in Jackson training and working some here and there. Having Pete Phillips as the coach has been awesome and I’m looking forward to this upcoming season with him. It was strange to not go to Norway this year as I’ve gone the last couple of summers, but it was nice to be in Jackson since I spent the year at Burke. Instead, I took a few trips outside of Jackson to Long Island in June, and then to Sun Valley and California in July/August. Training-wise I’ve been training more than I ever have before in the summer and I’m optimistic about this upcoming season. I’m hoping for some good stuff considering I’ve got to get into college this year, but time will tell how it goes. Overall though I’m really happy with how my summer went. There’s obviously so much more to put in about, but if I start trying to recap it all this will turn into an all too extensive post.

Now that school has started this are getting a bit more serious. I’m entering Senior year and am already tired of Shakespeare’s Plays and College Applications. Luckily, we start off each year at the Community School with a camping trip which made it a bit easier, but school is school. School at Burke started yesterday and it’s a bit sad to see that those days in East Burke are truly over, but I’m sure I’ll be back there soon enough. That’s all I’ll post for now, but look for more posts in the near future. (I actually mean it this time). Check out the photos below for a timeline as bare and un-insightful as this post.

Bye Bye Burke

Bye Bye Burke

Hello Summer

Hello Summer (this is why I came home; hard to beat)

Bye Bye Summer, Hello School (games on the first day, but I swear it gets worse)
Bye Bye Summer, Hello School (games on the first day, but I swear it gets worse)

 

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It’s a bittersweet feeling to start saying goodbye to spring and hello to summer, and the start of training. I’ve spent these past few weeks relaxing and enjoying the things around me. Burke had a “May Camp” for the alpiners, but since it was off-season for the Nordics we were left to our own means. As it worked out, my parents would be in Europe during (almost) the same time doing a book tour for my Mom’s book “To Heaven and Back” and they decided they could let me hop along for a week. I spent 5 days at Middlebury visiting my siblings before flying out, which took up most of may break, and then I was in Europe for 8 days traveling around Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Italy.

Embracing military week at Burke properly

One of the coolest things I’ve done was the Vogalanga in Venice. It’s an annual 30k human-powered only boating event. With over 7000 people in boats ranging from gondolas to kayaks to row boats, to boats I’ve never seen before, it was an unreal experience. We were right in the heat of it, getting screamed at in Italian and run over by the row boats. The thousands of tourists and locals were lining the canals when you came through giving you much needed inspiration. Although it wasn’t a race, it was a brutal effort to put in at the end of a vacation. Hopefully it can get me off the hook for some of those awful Monday track intervals at Burke. Traveling there and back, regardless of some terrible delays on the way home, actually felt pretty good. It was one of those rare times as a skier that you get to fly without having to drag 5 heavy bags with you.

One of the many back canals in Venice

Now that I’m back at Burke and enjoying the Northeast Kingdom spring, however, it’s back to training. Before my break we were doing almost all of our workouts with the alpiners. It’s always fun to train with some new people when you’re a team of 3. I’m looking forward to what the future spring and summer holds as well. We’ll probably pick up with the alpiners again to finish out the year while also trying to teach our newly switched Nordic Timmy some basics! It’s incredible to think that there are only a couple more weeks here. I could have sworn just a few weeks ago we were doing gymnastics and getting pummeled by Climb the Castle. So many experiences to look back on and laugh at or build on.

New friend in Swiss land

This year had taught me a lot and given me so much. I’m looking forward to this summer in Jackson to focus my training and maybe make some money working for the local Mayor. As many may have heard, Pete Phillips, my former English teacher and coach from just a few months ago, will be the new head coach of the Jackson Hole Ski Club Nordic Program and in addition to him heading back west, I’ll be joining him. After a decade of my family working with Pete in one way or another, it has really come full circle. From Willie’s first trip with him to Sweden to my past year at Burke we’ve constantly been connected in some way. Although Ali leaving is a big change for the club, and change is never easy, I couldn’t think of a better person to fill the role. I can’t wait to get home and start training with Pete and my old team. The new season has begun and I’m more motivated than ever to see what I can do. After getting in a good rest I’m confident I can get a solid base this summer and kick it back up next year.

 

Peter

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Ever since my season was cut short things have been going well. I’ve gotten a chance to take a break for a while and just enjoy the Northeast Kingdom in all of it’s glory. With so much free-time I’ve had to revert to doing all of my homework and reading “books”. The lack of new Netflix movies and shows recently has been a bit of a damper as well. The Kingdom is somehow suddenly getting snow. After it snowed a few inches all the alpiners were a little too excited for a “powder day”. In retrospect I guess it was probably the most snow they’ve seen in a while. Spring Break is coming up the first 2 weeks of April so I’m hoping Jackson will still have more snow than here and I can get in some good skiing while all my friends back home are in school the second week. Another highlight of my premature spring was the Stowe Derby. You know, I was under the impression it was mostly just an epic downhill with a small runout so I thought it was a good idea to wear my jeans and norwegian sweater, but I was so unbelievably wrong on that one. The downhill was the most insignificant piece of that race. When I noticed people with triacs and new hole skis I started to understand what it actually was. That was easily one of the most painful races of all time. I was quite relieved to finish that, just barely beating Kate after she and I started in the same wave. Coming down the downhill I did run into a little bit of adversity though. I was coming around the major corner that everyone watches on and there was some “slow traffic” taking the inside line I needed to get in on so I attempted to go out into the loose snow to pass. As you’ll see below that didn’t work out fantastic.

Taking the corner maybe a little bit wide photo by Mike Hitelman

That one took a minute to recover from. Kate was pretty surprised when I skied up behind her after having gotten a pretty good lead up until this spill. Another pretty big part of my break was NCAAs at Middlebury. That was so so much fun. Not only were the races awesome to watch, but I got to spend some time with my big Bro and Sis and go to some classes with them. The Saturday of the mass start could not have been a more perfect day. Bluebird skies, warm temp., and MILES HAVLICK bringing home the W!! That day truly could not have been better.

Big Sis and I loving life after the Mass Start

Other than homework, the Stowe Derby, and NCAAs there hasn’t been too much going on. I’m psyched to get home for a little bit of Spring Break and then finish up school. Future posts will likely be along the same lines as this one, recapping missed flights, spring skiing, and school adventures. Big shout out to everyone that raced at JNs especially Tara Humphries from right here at BMA! She didn’t have her best races because of a little sickness, but as most of us know, JNs is much more than racing. I have to go work on my bicep curls and sit-ups in preparation for Spring Break, but more is to come soon!

Peter

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So this is going to be a pretty condensed blog post considering the amount of time it is covering, but I’ll do my best to cover it all. It’s been probably a couple of months since my last post, if you’re wondering a few posts got deleted in a Fasterskier crash, but not much was missed. I haven’t really been wanting to post because I didn’t have anything good to say. In short, I’ve had a real bad season this year. I’m pretty bummed considering I had some high hopes for this season, but there is always next year, and then the year after, and they year after, etc. If you read my posts from the first couple of Eastern Cups you know that I wasn’t super psyched with my first races, but I still had hope. Unfortunately, it only got worse form there. My goals went from a podium or win at JNs, to then just qualifying for JNs, to now a podium at the Stowe Derby. So I guess you could say they may have actually increased since the Stowe Derby is pretty prestigious. I think that the biggest factor in my lackluster season is my massive increase in hours. To be honest, last year I was pretty inconsistent with training and didn’t quite have the motivation I should have, but then this year I took an entirely new approach and did all the training plus more. With an increase in training hours like that it is not uncommon to see a weak season followed by then stronger ones. I don’t want to make excuses, but when I look back on my year thats all that I can really see. My technique has improved and my strength increased, but my fitness just didn’t follow. Throughout the season I was definitely lower energy and with a few sicknesses in between Eastern Cups I was out of the running. Looking at it now I see that it is really pretty insignificant in the long term, I mean I’m a 2nd year J2 in a sport where some people don’t hit their peak for another 10 years. Even though that is true its still always hard to not reach the goals you set for yourself and especially when its missed by that much. I’m doing what I can to stay motivated and continue training until the actual spring time here in Vermont. I’m still happy about my decision to come here for the year and wouldn’t change a thing, regardless of the results. I’ve learned so much and developed so many different abilities that the year has become invaluable.

To move on from the disappointing stuff, everything else has been going well! East Burke has been getting some snow, still no base but its something, and the weather has been significantly improved from earlier on. We’ve had countless bluebird days and have been using tons of Extra Blue kick. These are the days that I thought I’d never find here out East. I must say that now with my season being over I have a pretty big sense of relief and am beginning to enjoy the workouts again. I’ve gone on a couple of adventure skis and spent most of my time doing distance skis and catching up on homework. This past week Burke actually had a break, but the Nordic team opted to use it as a training block. Tara and Coach Kate are headed to Junior Nationals and Warren to Eastern High Schools. Since I’ve decided not to do Eastern High Schools or J2 Champs I’ve had ample time to get in some alpine skiing and re-settle in. Many hours have been dedicated to catching up with recent events and following the current #ForwardonClimate campaign. I’m looking forward to getting in some good turns up on the mountain and enjoying the rest of the year. HUGE shoutout to all the skiers at WORLD CHAMPS! Kate and I were up at 6:45 this morning watching the feed. Still plenty more races for the Stars n Stripes and for you Petter Northug. I have faith.

I’ll probably start resuming my posting more frequently now that I’m on better terms with things and maybe start taking a few photos. Until then, Enjoy the Snow!

 

-Peter

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Turns out all this school stuff is getting pretty taxing on the body. For the past 5 days, and then the next 3, we’re on Fall Break! After 3 weeks of rough ski school life, I got to relax and hangout. Unfortunately, my parents don’t love me enough to actually fly me home for the week so I had to schmooze around and bum a place for the week. Luckily, my dad just so happened to be at Middlebury  visiting the other siblings so he headed up for Parents Weekend just before the break!

Runs in the family!

After Parents weekend the Lorenze Family, Paige Lorenze’s Family, was gracious enough to take me in for the week. What a week it has been! The daily grind down here in Guilford, Connecticut has consisted of sleeping in late, eating crepes, rallying their go kart, eating food, going in the pool, doing nothing, going in the hottub, watching a movie, going to bed. Sometimes training could be thrown in. *Thumbs up Kate*. The only time we wavered from this plan was 1.) We took a day trip over to Boston and Nobles Academy. And 2.) Our most recent trip just today into the Big City, NEW YORK CITY. And 3.) I occasionally messed around on my SAT Question of the day app. Makes me feel way smarter than I am. If the questions on the SAT are like those on the app, I’m going to Harvard baby!

Victory laps on the go kart

Yeah, I’m a country boy, what can I say. Having never seen NYC before I was stoked to say the least. It was fun, even though majorly condensed. We took a train from New Haven down to Grand Central Station(SO AWESOME!), then we walked up and down the streets for a while until we somehow ended up on an American Eagle Mega Screen right in Times Square!! I’m not going to elaborate much on that so that people don’t quit assuming I’m America’s Next Top Model. Regardless, we eventually made it to SoHo, not Soldier Hollow?!?!, for a short few minutes and had to rush back to catch the train home. I didn’t really buy anything other than a few minutes on a payphone,we even got lunch at Hard Rock for free!, but you can bet I’ll be ordering up some packages to be shipped to me at Burke in the next couple days.

As seen on JohnnyKlister.com
(ps anyone else getting a malware detection warning on JK? Keeps telling me it’s going to give me viruses or something. Luckily I proceed anyways, I figure Macs can’t get viruses, right?)

Well, that pretty sums up the recent happenings and what not. Obviously missed quite a bit, but I must get back to the much less strenuous life style I’ve come accustomed to. Too much typing, too much work.

 

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Although school has started and Pete Phillips is my English teacher, don’t let the title fool you into thinking this post is going to be anymore intellectual than the others. The Winston Churchill quote I’m referring to is, ” I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat”. That was a pretty accurate description of my most recent rollerski up Whiteface Mtn in Lake Placid for Climb to the Castle. Unfortunately, I don’t think that that was enough for that particular race. C2C was brutal to say the least. I’d vouch for 9k of consistent uphill being one of the more frustrating races there is. Marred by some shoulder muscle cramping pretty early on, I ended up skiing one-armed for the last mile or so. Regardless, I was happy to have finished it after realizing that I don’t even race 9k races as a J2 yet.

Heading home from C2C on the Lake Champlain Ferry

That’s been one of many physical challenges so far at Burke. Some of the others include some strength testing, gymnastics, 2 3000s(one on the track and one on a road), biking, and many more. The ones  mentioned are worth elaborating on a bit. In fact, Gymnastics could probably be put on a similar level as C2C. My extreme lack of flexibility/agility was definitely a disadvantage for that. At Burke they’ve decided we should go to a gymnastics gym once a week and work on things like rolls, balance beam, rope climbing, trampoline, and a couple of others. The rolls were killer, so painful. I swear I may have dislocated my shoulder and relocated it several times doing side rolls. Next up are the 3000s we did. The first one was just the Nordic team, 3 strong, on a local track. I ran a 10:46 I believe it was which was a solid 20second improvement from my last run. The other 3000 was a much more fun, alpiners and Nordics, race on a nearby dirt road. This is the time you gotta really lay it down, impress the ladies at school and show the alpiners how awesome nordies actually are. Neither of those are easy feats, but I think I made some progress. Given the course was mostly flat/downhill the times were much faster, and much closer.

Executing a perfect front…kind of

I ended with a 9:46+/- a few seconds, which is much faster than the track. In the race I was genuinely worried/impressed with the alpiners though. I wasn’t able to actually break away from the front group of them and get the W until we hit the sole hill on the course. Since coming to Burke my respect for the alpiners has definitely grown exponentially. The ones here work a lot harder than I expected, but then again these are many of the best in the country. School has been pretty sweet in general. It’s been super weird starting pretty much fresh somewhere new. Definitely gone through a few periods of homesickness, but luckily there’s not much to be bummed about out here. I’ve spent probably 90% of my free time in the library, but doing almost no work. I’d be quick to call the library my main social scene.

Have to give East Burke some credit for the nightly sunsets

Take a seat on the couch, make yourself look like somewhat of an intellectual, and the ladies will flock(eventually). That last part has yet to happen…but eventually! It’s getting colder here and I’ve heard rumors of snow back in Jackson(along with a constant flow of photos and facebook statuses about a pretty scary fire there). I’m stoked for the winter to come and our recently confirmed 1 month Sun Valley trip to happen. We’ve got a week long fall break right off the bat here at the end of September so I’ll have to coax one of my newly made friends into letting me stay with them.

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