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Next stop after Lillehammer was Davos, Switzerland. Before this trip I had never ventured to the fabled land that is the Sertig Valley, where Davos nestles. If you’ve ever been around World Cup skiers, you’ve probably heard them rave about this place. And for good reason; its famous for its sun and snow and lots of skiing.

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We drove from Zurich and arrived at the Hotel Kulm late at night:

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After three weeks way up north, hardly ever seeing the sun, it was awesome to wake up to the sun drenched Alps out my window:

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Looking down valley:

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Lapping through the stadium and its golden warmth with Andy:

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The transit system here is sweet. You can take the busses from the hotel to town, to skiing, to the gym, the store… and then a train if you want to go further:

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Taking the bus back up to our hotel:

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And towards that great selection of local dairy delicacy:

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The glowing rays didn’t make landfall everyday… a reminder of how high we are; cloud country:

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One tradition that the US Team has maintained for many years now is an inter-team secret santa / poetry slam. Everyone writes a poem for, and supplies a gift for the individual they happened to draw out of the hat. It is one of the more entertaining team activities I have ever been a part of. Whitcomb reading his incredible interactive poem/gift:

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Checkin out the stadium from the high point of the sprint course. It takes them a couple of days to get it all assembled into its final form:

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Slow Davos morning:

A slow Swiss morning. + #swissalps #nutella #teatime #davos #klosters #hotelklum

A photo posted by @reesehanneman on

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Running through muddy farm fields:

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After the brutal three-race tour in Lillehammer and the travel to Switzerland, I got a cold. It was the same one that has been circling around through the team for weeks. I felt pretty bad for a day or two, and wasn’t planning on racing on this weekend, because racing while sick is never a good idea, and you have to look longterm to protect your health. I woke up Saturday morning feeling ok, so I decided to give it a go.

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Long story short, by body was rocked, and I didn’t really even have a chance to perform very well either day. I gave it my best, but unless youre just totally “on” here, youre gonna be spit out the back. You can read more about my performances and my feelings HERE.

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15k classic.

Reese Hanneman racing in the Davos WC this am #TokoProfiGloves

A photo posted by TokoUS (@tokous) on

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Needless to say, putting my body through those efforts gave the cold a chance to take hold, and I have felt horrible since. But that’s just the name of the game sometimes.

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I changed all my tickets to head home on Monday, before the cancelled La Clusaz races were reinstated to Davos. However, with the state I was in, we thought it would be more productive to head home and let myself recover from this insane block.

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So I am back in Alaska now, trying to heal and to let my body climb out of the hole that I dug, both recently and more long term.

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There is a lot of season left. Like, a TON of races. So although the first three weekends didn’t go as well as I hoped, or even as well as they could have… it was still a very productive trip. There were many positive things that still outweigh my poor results.

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For a more in depth look at my results, and thoughts about training and preparation and the intense game that is the World Cup, read THIS ARTICLE/INTERVIEW.

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Thanks for reading!

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After the opening weekend in Ruka, we drove, flew, and drove our way to Lillehammer, Norway. While Ruka was pretty sweet, it’s hard to describe the excitement of racing World Cups in Norway. It’s the mecca of xc skiing; they bleed it, and it was invented here. Racing in the Lillehammer stadium, site of the 94 Olympics, is like playing at Fenway Park; staring up at those almost unfathomably large climbs like looking at the towering Green Monster wall as you walk to the plate.

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And in the same way, you just know when youre there. Skiing dominates even the first views of town:

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I think people would be very, very surprised at how difficult these World Cup courses are. I am speaking as someone who has seen both sides of the coin; I have won races, SuperTours, US Nationals, on courses that I used to think were challenging. Hermod’s, Telemark, Switchback, Wall Street, Elliots… these hills that used to capture my awe and scare the daylights out of me would barely get you out of the stadium in Lillehammer. It’s hard to really have a realistic grasp of how big these World Cup hills are unless you have skied up them.

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Because of this, our first couple days here we headed up to Sjusjoen to do some easy skiing. Sjusjoen is a famous skiing destination, the high rolling hills speckled with cabins and buried in snow. There are hundreds of kilometers of trails that turn into thousands, going farther than you could ever possibly ski.

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Even when youre skiing easy, its hard not to get amped on Sjusjoen. Simi was stoked:

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Riding our provided coach back down to town:

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The hotel that we stayed at, along with pretty much every other team as well as the throngs of media, timers, officials, and organizers from FIS, was incredible. It had one of the largest floor plans of any hotel I have ever seen, and had an incredible feel of old grandeur.

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Just a section:

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Around every corner, down every staircase and through every hidden door, there were unexplored wings full of amazing rooms:

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Another morning bus ride up to Sjusjoen:

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Cruising through the almost otherworldly morning winter lunarscape:

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A quick video clip of the ladies kicking and gliding:

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J Diggs, stoked and smiling like always:

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While we were here, Sadie presented her senior project. I have a tremendous amount of respect for Sadie and how she manages to ski at such a high level and study at the same time, a feat that is made possible by the opportunities and flexibility at Alaska Pacific University. She presented from one of the local schools here in Lillehammer, and it was streamed live to family and friends all over the world, including her professors back in Alaska. We all gathered in one of our hotel rooms to watch and cheer her on:

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Mornings in the woods behind our hotel:

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Norway is the only place I have ever been where you can eat salmon 3 meals a day. It’s like being back home in Alaska. This, right here, is Norway on a plate:

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Lillehammer is an incredibly quaint, cute, cozy little town that gently slopes away from a lake. Candles, wreaths, and glowing stars illuminate every window of every little house. Mainstreet is a bustling little strip of holiday cheer, bright storefronts and delicious aromas:

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Liz being her usually beaming self:

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Like I mentioned last post, we were super lucky to have Pete Dickinson volunteering his time to be here as our team physical and massage therapist. He was incredibly hard working, and was a major asset to our team. Erik messed up his hand in a big crash earlier this fall, the same crash that saw Scott Patterson take a broken ski through the leg… and so Pete was working a little magic on Eriks hand:

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We had a mini tour this weekend; three days of racing in a row, each an individual event but all of the times adding up cumulatively. Skate sprint on Friday, Skate 10k on Saturday, and 15k Classic pursuit start on Sunday.

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Without going into too much detail, I had a pretty tough weekend. To be honest, I am struggling to find my form, and I’m not sure why. There are many, many factors, and I am sifting through them all with my coach Erik Flora and the rest of the US Ski Team coaches to try and find a solution.

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The thousands of fans out along the side of the trail chanting “U-S-A!! U-S-A!!” might have been the only thing getting me up these hills. Nearing the top of one of the biggest climbs I have ever seen:

World Cup Lillehammer Cl 15k - Matt Whitcomb USSA

photo – USSA/Matt Whitcomb

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In Fridays sprint, we struggled as a team. A lot of America’s top sprinters were considerably further back than normal. How far off? Andy Newel ended an absolutely unbelievable streak; Friday was the first World Cup sprint in NINE YEARS where he hasn’t qualified for the heats (top 30)!!!!! I am almost certain that this kind on consistency, in skiings most crazy event where the smallest margins are of huge importance, is completely unmatched by any other athletes. This is an incredible testament to Andy’s amazing sprint skills and speed.

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Evening jog with Andy to shake the legs out:

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I am really hoping that after two weekends of racing, my engine starts to warm up and come alive. I know there is a lot more snap and power in there somewhere. I just have to let it show itself. I need to just believe in all the training I did this summer and fall.

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Yesterday was spent traveling; bussing, flying, and bussing to Davos, Switzerland for the next weekend of racing. I am excited to see if I can do better.

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Early last week, we made our way south from way, way up north in Muonio, Finland. How far up north? It’s pretty common to see reindeer on the roads, that’s how far:

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On our way, we had to stop again at the airport in Rovienemi to drop off our rental vans and get on the shuttle provided by the World Cup; it helps us save money. I noticed that they claimed to the official airport of Santa, but I think the residents of North Pole, Alaska and the Fairbanks airport might have something to say about that:

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When we did arrive, I was amazed at the bustling little resort clustered at the top of a massive hill. Walking to dinner:

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They use a different kind of ammunition to shoot their signs here:

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I am incredibly lucky, and grateful, to have Bryan Fish over here waxing my skis for me. He actually volunteered a week of his own vacation time to come over the week before the first races while we were in Muonio, to help wax and test my skis. I am always amazed at how much time, and skill, it takes to prepare an athletes skis at the World Cup level. When you’re dealing with this many different types of snow, every range of temperatures, so much travel, constant packing and unpacking, and the sheer number of skis… it would be absolutely impossible without someone who really knows what theyre doing. Also, a big, big thank you to the National Nordic Foundation for helping cover some of Fish’s expenses. The combination of these two awesome things is allowing me to have competitive skis here on the World Cup. Thanks Fish!!

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The waxing at this level always amazes me. The snow is often so weird, and so variable, that the intricacies of the wax application is so far beyond me… especially in kick wax. One tool that our US techs use to try and help them is this sweet, high precision device that measures camber height along the length of the ski under a given load:

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The stadium fanfare starts to take shape against the snowy forest:

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Its dark for a majority of the day here…

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Although when a snowcloud engulfs the resort, the lights from the jumps and the alpine hill keep it bright as day, even late at night:

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Being the opening weekend, the media was going nuts here. I thought this mobile production studio, with this sick pop-out glass area for the talkshow hosts to sit in, was pretty slick:

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And the jumps are a constant presence, looming over it all:

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It is exciting to have four Alaska Pacific University team-mates here at the World Cup. I am honored to join Erik, Sadie, and Kikkan here, and to hopefully learn from their success:

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My first race of the year, and also the first World Cup, was a classic sprint. It was a really hard course, with one pretty solid climb and then one climb that was probably one of the biggest, at least the steepest, I have ever seen in a sprint. I was really excited for it, as it played to my strengths. I did everything as I have in the past, at all my good races. I was feeling ready.

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I had an ok qualifier. I ended up 67th, six seconds from making the top 30 and moving onto the rounds. I skied the course well, but unfortunately I just didn’t quite feel like I was firing on all cylinders. However, there were some Americans doing really well. Ida Sargent had an awesome day, going all the way to the A final and finishing an absolutely incredible 5th!! Simi and Andy both made the heats and skied well in their quarterfinals, but weren’t able to move on.

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Heres Andy following Alex Harvey into the final 100m:

photo - Toko

photo – Toko

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The next day was a 15k classic mass start. The over-riding theme of this race was figuring out the pacing. Each 5k lap incuded three massive climbs, all of them so steep that staying in the tracks was nearly impossible. When you tried to ski up them, you were just holding on for dear life with every kick, trying not to slip and start sliding backwards. Crampons might have been handy…

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In the start pen:

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On live Eurosport television all over Europe:

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This race was again, just kind of barely okay. I skied decently well for the first lap, but just could never really turn it up. I also crashed on the last lap on the exact same spot where Noah Hoffman broke his fibula in a big wreck. I think these two races actually went well for me, considering it was the first time I had worn a bib in a long time, and they were actually on par, if not better than, how I started off last season.

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FIS is going to be making some sweet, behind the scenes videos this season. This is their first one. I am really impressed; I have always thought that the sport of cross country skiing is really poorly portrayed in videos, and that there is so much more potential to show how intense it really is. THIS VIDEO HAS SOME SICK SHOTS, INCLUDING DRONE FOOTAGE!!! This is a strong start. It really gives a good feel for what the World Cup scene in Ruka looks like. I am stoked to be featured in this video, 2:36 into it:

I tried to embed this video, but it wouldnt let me. CLICK HERE to watch it on the FIS YouTube channel.

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Lifting the night after the race. The weight room didn’t have a weight belt, so I had to make one by using a tricep rope attachment and a rubber jumprope:

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Andy Newell has celebrated a lot of birthdays here in Ruka/Kuusamo over the years. This year was no different; we found an awesome little spot for a dinner party:

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From Ruka, I rode on organization transport for a couple hours to the city of Oulu, and then flew from there to Stockholm, and then to Oslo… as we were coming in, we flew through a couple cool, very separate layers of clouds:

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From Oslo I drove a couple hours to Lillehammer. We are looking forward to the three-race mini tour here this weekend!

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As always, thanks for reading!!

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After a really long travel day, flying Anchorage-Seattle-Reykjavik-Oslo-Helsinki-Rovaniemi and then driving north for a couple more hours, I finally arrived in Muonio with the rest of the US Ski Team. I had heard many horror stories about how dark and cold it was going to be here, but I figured that my 20+ years in Fairbanks would serve as best of preparation as anyone could ever hope for. Muonio is far north of the arctic circle, futher north than Kotzebue, Alaska.

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But yes, it is dark… walking to breakfast at 8:30am:

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But the dusky mornings are awesome. The trails and accommodations are on the north side of a big hill, and so I literally haven’t seen the actual sun with my eyes for over a week now. But that makes the orange morning glow that much more welcome. Erik B crusing:

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Noah and JP (Noah’s and Sadie’s wax tech) testing some skis:

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And then by the afternoon, its very dark again. Luckily, they have a great lighting system on the trails here. Heading to the second training of the day:

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Local flavor:

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The hill, trails, and village we called home for this week, as seen on the restaurant wall (with authentic fishing nets):

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The village itself is gorgeous. Like a little winter wonderland:

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And it feels like it out on the trails too. I am proud to be rocking the new Stars-and-Bars suits of the US Ski Team this winter:

photo - Matt Whitcomb/USSA

photo – Matt Whitcomb/USSA

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Sophie has been killing it. She broke her elbow (for the second time) this fall, and so has been training like a boss with one or no poles:

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When in Finland… Toko gloves drying in the sauna:

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Fresh snow in the morning… theyre set up to handle it:

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We have been incredibly lucky to have Pete Dickinson from Winthrop Physical Therapy here with us. He is an incredibly skilled PT, and has been really awesome at keeping me from getting too tight and sore, especially with all the travel and hard workouts. Pete, Erik, and I:

photo - USSA/Matt Whitcomb

photo – USSA/Matt Whitcomb

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Sadie and JP cruising through the white land:

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You know you’re way up north when you get some good northern lights… We had a couple pretty good shows. Jesse Diggins contemplating the universe:

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Now, we pack up and drive south to Kuusamo, which is where the World Cup opener is this coming weekend. I am extremely excited to start my first races of the year here, against the very best in the world. I will race the classic sprint on Saturday and a 15k classic on Sunday, on what I hear is one of the hardest courses in the world.

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Thanks for reading! As always, you can check follow me on Instagram to see the updates I post in-between blogs:

Reese H Instagram Button

 

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I would also like to take this opportunity to give a huge thank you to the Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Center of Alaska for their amazing support. I am extremely excited to have them as my headgear sponsor for these World Cup races. Also, Alaska Childrens Eye and Strabismus , the Alaska Club, Girdwood 2020, and PDC Engineers have been instrumental in getting me to this point. They deserve a lot of credit for the way they have been so involved and supportive.

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Check back for more soon!

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There are the pretenders… and there are those who do it for real.

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The National Nordic Foundation does it for real.

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I mean that in the sense that, in life, there are always going to be those entities who focus on what is essential and lots of those who will focus on what isn’t.

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The NNF focuses just on whats essential. They make it happen. They fund the most important part of US skiing development; ironically, the part that the US Ski Team doesn’t fund; the up and comers. The harsh reality is, there will be no good American skiers to cheer for in the PyeongChang or Beijing/Almaty Olympics, or any Olympics after that, unless todays juniors can see any reason at all to dedicate themselves to elite cross country skiing.

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There are two main obstacles that stand in the way of every single person who aspires to fulfill their potential in skiing; training, and finances. The training will be hard, it will be deeply exhausting, it will be painful, and it will break you. Many times. Theres no way around that. And still, the money side is still even more difficult. It just costs so much money to represent the United States at international competition.

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That’s there the NNF comes in. They are knocking the top off the financial wall that stands between us and medals.

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Personally, the NNF has been involved with my development for quite a while. It’s not always a lot, but just enough to make it possible.

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I remember my first World Cup. It was 2010; I had gone to World Juniors once before, and was on my way back from my first year at Under-23s. I had made the Nations Group for the World Cups in Canmore, and couldn’t possibly have been more nervous. I couldn’t believe that there I was, the same kid who couldn’t crack the top 50 at Junior Nationals my first couple years, racing the best guys in the world for the first time:

photo - Phil Bowen

photo – Phil Bowen

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I was dead last. (If you don’t believe me look here)

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If you had told me that 4 years later I would be racing another World Cup, this time many more of them under my belt, at Finals in Falun, Sweden and would ski an entire 15k skate (my achilles heel) with a group of four of the fastest guys alive, I would not believe you.

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But that’s exactly what’s happening in this picture. I am heading up the Mordorbakken (Murder Hill) for the last of many times on one of the hardest courses I have ever seen; in front of me (#34) is Federico Pellegrino, who has been on the World Cup podium multiple times. Immediately behind me (#37) is the Olympic gold medalist from two weeks earlier, Ola Vigen Hattestad (also, ya know, the Sprint Globe winner). Behind him is Eirik Brandsdal, multiple time World Cup winner. And next in the white is the Olympic silver medalist Teodor Peterson:

Reese Hanneman NNF 4 _ Kikkan Randall

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It’s hard to believe. But that’s what makes it cool. That’s what makes the NNF’s support so worthwhile; it allows young skiers like myself a chance. I am just trying to continue that trajectory.

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The NNF is getting in there and making it happen. Funding the parts that don’t get funded, but without which we will have no good skiers.

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We are in the final week of their Drive For 25 event. The idea is to get a lot of people donating a little bit of money each. I don’t usually do these kinds of requests, but I ask that if you like skiing, and you want to see your friends and your friend’s kids, and even some kids that you don’t even know, who are from the same great free country as we are, have a chance to go for their dreams… please make a small donation to the NNF.

NNF button

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I don’t get any of this money. Your donation goes into the pot to be distributed to the neediest areas; you can see exactly where HERE.

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Thank you for your support.

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America thanks you.

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Park City training camp, October 2014 edition, is in the books. Every October, most of America’s elite ski racers convene in the small silver mining town to bang heads and push themselves. This is the third year I have gone to this camp, which is built around a US Ski Team training itinerary, and it didn’t fail to disappoint.

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For me personally, these two weeks cap off the real “training season”. From May first until now, the training has been hard and it has been big. This camp, which combines both volume and intensity, also throws a third big wrench in the spokes; altitude. The added stress on your body from living and training at 8000 ft is utilized to stimulate even more aerobic development; your heart rate and subsequently your metabolism are much higher up here than on the great plains of Alaska.

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The Wasatch… watch over you as soon as you land in Salt Lake City:

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I have always been a little bit enamored with the city of Salt Lake. It seems to have its own rugged flavor of Americana; a mix of old and new, classic and hip. Signs of a bygone era:

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The warmth and the mountains… when you come here, you join many others looking for the same thing:

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But when you come here, you are only looking for one thing; the most exquisite, authentic Mexican food in the world. This place has a well deserved cult following and is worth the long wait:

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Mole like you’ve never experienced. Rich and complex beyond description, yet healthily simple.

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Driving up out of the basin to Park City. Into the hills… and the textured blankets of fall colors that cover them:

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Coming from Alaska and having already trained in the snow this fall, training in Park City is like being transported back three months. It is quite invigorating to head out for training and be washed with the golden sun, its warmth bringing that sweat to the surface.

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On the way to training we see many others also making use of their last summer days… and in this case, maybe their last days period:

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The area is known amongst skiers for its long canyon roads, that climb from the Heber valley to any number of high mountain passes. Awesome for intense aerobic training, not so awesome if you happen to like even small downhills in between your big climbs:

photo - Sam Sterling

photo – Sam Sterling

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Nothing but clear skies for 2 weeks. Moon over the aspens:

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Food. Calories. Sleep. These are essential for supporting physical output of this magnitude. So you might as well make it delicious. Eric Packer with his killer curry:

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You cant make a harder workout than uphill ski-bounding at altitude. Experts know that it is the most oxygen expensive form of workout you can do; when its done at high altitude, you have even less in the bank to draw from. I struggle immensely with it; some people thrive. Lex Treinin can go uphill faster than your honor student:

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Nature’s spectral palette:

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All this running in the golden hot sun… gave me a good excuse to bust out my new Oakley Razorblades. This may just be the coolest product ever. Its a remake of the glass that started it all, with modern lenses and technology and timeless style that flies in the face of the modern trends. I feel like I should grow a moustache:

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Up on top, taking in the view:

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Many things about Utah are not like home. Some are good, some are bad, some are… just mildly annoying. Spiky seed pods stuck to everything after a run through the woods:

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And the good… homemade apple crisp from apples picked off of a wild apple tree just hours earlier:

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I am so incredibly thankful for the team that I have. We would never be able to do this alone; my literal teammates and I push each other every single day, every single workout to be better. Fitter, quicker, more powerful… and even just better people. Chelsea Holmes leads Sadie Bjornsen as they hammer Hermod’s, trying to become better than the two standout skiers they already are:

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One huge draw to Park City is the rollerski track. The opportunity for us to train on real ski racing terrain, which is much different than the long, steady grades found on paved roads, is hugely beneficial. Mens crew hammering some double pole speeds up some steep stuff:

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After so many hours every day, so many harsh impacts with the poles, with the feet, in the weight room… things break down. Muscles cramp, tendons get cable tight, knots form. We would never make it this far without the incredible Zuzana Rogers. She and the incredible staff at Advanced Physical Therapy keep us rolling along while we are in Alaska. But beyond that, Zuzana donates her time to come along on training camps like this one, making sure we can get the most out of it. Her physical therapy knowledge, and her skill with deep tissue recovery massage, is beyond valuable:

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Sometimes, all the nutrition and maintenance and PT and eating and sleeping is still not enough. Sometimes you just hit the wall. On the last morning of the camp, we were doing a 2.5 hr, all uphill, L2 skate workout. I was feeling ok; just barely hanging in there after the intense 2 weeks, but hanging in there nevertheless. Until I wasn’t. I went from fine to horrible in about 10 minutes. There was no question about it, I was breaking down. I began to lose clear cognition, I couldn’t maintain any sort of good technique and my pace slowed significantly. It was as clear of a sign as any; my body would take no more. My teammate Lex and I had been skiing together, and we were in surprisingly similar states. So we did what we almost never ever do; we stopped a workout early. We pulled over, ate some food, and put our skis and poles in the car. Then we sat on the edge of a small canyon, overlooking a creek, and enjoyed the nature around us as we hung on (at least mentally) for our lives:

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In all, it was an extremely good camp. The training was great, the weather was superb, my coach was inspiring and selfless as always, and my team-mates were strong. I came here to Park City to push the last two big training weeks of the year, and I did just that. I am leaving extremely tired, with my body right on the edge of brokenness; but one step away. So I accomplished what I set out to do.

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Big thanks to Erik Flora, Sam Sterling, Zuzana Rogers, and Alaska Pacific University for making it happen!

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Thanks for everything Park City! Thanks to the US Ski Team coaches for hosting, and for including us in their workouts. It is inspiring to see the next wave of America ski racers going at it together. Watch out world! Part of our APU crew at the top of a long ski:

photo - Ben Lustgarten

photo – Ben Lustgarten

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Until next fall…

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Thanks for reading. As always, I don’t post as often as I would like to. For near-daily posts, theres always that silly app called Instagram!

Reese H Instagram Button

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The goal with my last blog post was to give a really brief glance into the sometimes unflattering realities of my summer training. Many people whom I talk to personally are often really surprised to hear how much I can struggle as I strive to be a better skier and person; the lack of motivation, the bad workouts, the near-constant suffocating fatigue, and how it all effects my life. It’s not always dark and gloomy, but it’s definitely not always sunny. After I posted that blog, I actually received a lot of messages from people all around the world who said that they loved it, and that it inspired them to hear that from me. Many of them empathized, saying they often felt the same way in whatever pursuit they were focused on; for some it was grad school, others a new tough job, and others their own athletic careers. It was really flattering to hear from these people, and I want to say “thank you” for your stories, which continue to in turn inspire me. No matter what we’re up to, we are all in this together.

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Now back to more superficial, documentary blogging…

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The real massive training blocks sort of ended in August. At that point, it didn’t necessarily get any easier, but the actual number of hours of training decreased a little bit; this slight hourly reduction goes a long ways in brightening my outlook on whether or not I’ll be able to hang on. When training 4-5 hours a day, almost every day, for a month… you are hardly ever more than one quick meal and an outfit change away from having to start another training session. I struggle mentally with always having that impending workout looming on the horizon. So cutting back even slightly, getting one more hour between workouts, can sometimes seem like deliverance.

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Wait, did I say I was just going to do “superficial, documentary” blogging… oops. Now for real.

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September brought a few weeks of higher intensity training and a few less hours, like I mentioned. We started hammering through some pretty serious Level 4 (sustainable race pace) workouts. These are some of the hardest workouts we do, because the pain level is extremely high and the intervals are still of substantial length, often 4-6 minutes, and we usually do anywhere from 4-6 intervals.

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The infamous Potter repeats. This no-outlet road switchbacks up from right from the ocean, and inflicts plenty of discomfort. Our mens crew at the top, 3x12mins race L4:

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photo – Sam Sterling

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I’m really excited to be using Skins compression wear these days… these guys pretty much invented it, and are on the forefront of the compression game. Gimmicky products aren’t really my thing, but I have been wearing the RY400 recovery tights after workouts because I honestly feel like I recover a little faster when I do. I don’t think anyone likes that feeling of your legs just throbbing and aching after a hard workout or race, and so anything I can do to minimize that the better. I’m also really looking forward to wearing the A200 tights and tops under my race suit this winter:

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One day, my lifelong buddy and teammate David Norris and I headed down to the legendary Kenai River for some fall trout fishing. We started really early in the morning, putting into the river in the drift boat at 5:30 am and with beads in the water as soon as the sun rose:

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It was one of those insanely magical days, one that I will probably remember for the rest of my life. For the first three hours, David and I estimated that we probably averaged a hook-up on every other cast. It was almost hard to believe. We were fishing with Keen Eye Anglers, and I couldn’t believe owner Kyle’s mastery of the river. He was finding these subtle spots, and outfitting us with these intricate hand-painted egg-pattern beads. David and I with one of countless simultaneous rainbow landings:

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I visited Goldenview Middle School one afternoon with some of my teammates, to hang out, run with, and talk to the xc running team. It was a really awesome experience; I was blown away by how enthusiastic and engaged the kids were, and also how many good runners they’ve got goin on.

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I had a blast goofing around and going through their warmup routine with part of the team, as David called out what drill we were doing:

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And then we went outside and did a pretty impressive distance run around the Anchorage hillside. It was awesome, and I got challenged to a couple sprints… I think I was just braely able to fend for myself :)

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Afterwards, we talked to them briefly about our own athletic careers, and what it’s like to be full-time skiers. They asked a lot of really good questions, and were pretty stoked:

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Thanks for having us Goldenview!!

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This falltime of year means lots of hard intervals. The idea is to build the aerobic capacity of the body through pushing it at near max effort for many many minutes. Lots of uphill bounding:

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On the recovery week, I got to go on a really sweet adventure out to Hinchinbrook Island, which is one of the two big islands that protects southcentral Alaska, and Prince William Sound, from the Gulf of Alaska and the entire Pacific Ocean. It was in short, amazing. Unreal…

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Flying through the Chugach on our way to the Sound:

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It’s rare in Alaska that you see such rich, blue, clean waves rolling onto sandy beaches:

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Landing on such an extreme, remote island is a pretty raw experience, even before you go very far… and then all you have to do is walk a couple hundred feet and it gets even more real:

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Nothing quite like having gourmet pancakes and all the toppings, as the sun rises over the beach and the blue waves crash in:

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Back in Anchorage, its more intervals. Bounding uphill on a gorgeous day:

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Last weekend I volunteered to lead the high school running races around for Regionals. Lars and I were representing NANA Nordic and I put in a solid 35k of riding in front of the racers. It was fun to see all of the skier kids out there tearing up the trails in their spikes!

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Winter is surely on its way. Weve been getting snow in the high mountains above town for a couple days, and have done a couple long runs with the boys in the high country.

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Ptarmigan hunting on foot, and 4 hr run, all in one:

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David, gaining altitude and freedom:

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I love this time of year, when I can look out my front windows and winters icy grip slowly descending onto the mountain peaks… And when the sunset hits those late evening clouds just right, everything just pops. This photo is almost totally unedited:

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I just got to Park City, Utah for the last big push of the year. I will be here with my APU team for two weeks, focusing on both volume and intensity simultaneously. Coupled with living at 8000ft, it will be a very difficult training camp.

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As always, follow me on Instagram for more frequent photos!

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Thanks for reading!

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I just finished the biggest training block of my entire life.

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It’s not often that I honestly peel back the covers on what is really going on in my training. I try not to overly emphasize the day-in, day-out grind and extremely tiring monotony that is the workout routine of a pro cross country ski racer for a few reasons: it’s hard for it not to come across as very boring, and I also don’t like to be that guy who is always claiming how “hard” he’s been training. There are plenty of those out there, and I personally am not really interested in reading that, so I don’t construct my own blog that way. It’s not usually what I would want to hear.

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But the reality is that it has been tough. I have never trained this hard at any point in my ski career. And it’s been like that all summer long. It has honestly been a test of my will and my desire to succeed at almost every level; often it has been questionable whether I would be able to complete each month, each week, each day, and even each workout. There have been so many times when I just felt so broken, both physically and mentally, that I wasn’t sure I wanted to keep going.

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But I had to keep going. There will be five men representing the United States on the World Cup this fall; the four on the US Ski Team, and me. I do not take this opportunity lightly. I do not take the responsibility of representing our country lightly. I want to show up in Europe in shape, and ready to perform.

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Of course, it’s a bit of a risk. Some people think it’s too much. I’ve had people tell me that I should back off, play it conservatively, that I probably don’t need to train this hard.  And that’s true; I really don’t need to do any of this. I could just go get a job, and I wouldn’t be exhausted all the time, I wouldn’t have to be gone all winter, I wouldn’t have the risk of failure, and I would actually be able to pay for things.

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But that’s not the decision I’m making. I’m going for broke.

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It’s not as risky as it sounds. My training is based on years and years of personal experience, and on the shoulders of my incredible coach Erik Flora. I had a great season last year, making big steps up in my overall performance as well as my consistency. That did not happen because I got lucky; I spent last spring, summer, and fall pushing myself harder in training than I ever had. It made me fitter, and able to maintain the high load of racing fast all season.

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Now I’m just doing it again. But more.

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I would not be able to push through these towering waves of physical exertion, which threaten to crash down on me and pummel my body to pieces, without my team mates. Having these guys right in front of me, and right behind me, is what keeps me pushing.

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I’m also following in the footsteps of those who have gone before me. Over the last year or two, Sadie has taken her talent, added in a gigantic serving of hard work, and made a grand entrance onto the world scene. And she is at it again:

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You have to be strong to be a successful pro ski racer. Tyler and Eric leading by example:

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Sometimes when it hurts so badly, and it would be acceptable to quit, all you can do is focus; focus on just getting through it. Erik B can adjust his focus to a razor point better than almost anyone I know:

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I didn’t mean for this to get all emotional and philosophical and epic. But I have had a lot of people ask me how training has been going, hope I’ve been having fun, enjoying summer, yadda yadda. And I often just play it off, agreeing, like it’s a lot of fun and everything is just easy and smooth. I can be known to over-emphasize the fun parts; the down time, the off time, the adventures I get to do in between training. Maybe that’s just to convince myself that I can keep doing it, that I can handle the training load.

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But the truth is that often, it’s not really all that fun, or easy. It certainly can be. Some of the most beautiful days of my life have been somewhere out on the trail, surrounded by exquisite natural beauty and enjoying the synergy of exercise and creation. But the majority of the time, it’s just plain hard. It’s beyond tiring; it’s beyond a mental grind. It’s exhausting. But that’s what makes the honey of success so much sweeter; when it took everything you had to earn it.

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Thanks for reading

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A friend of mine made this sweet little video of me rollerskiing, using a small drone. I think it turned out pretty sweet considering that he only filmed for for a pretty short time, and that I insisted that he not waste too much of his time editing it.

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Last week was my second and final glacier training camp of the summer. It was also the second week of the US Ski Team Mens camp in Alaska. After the first week in town, which was quite challenging, I went up onto Eagle Glacier expecting a tough 6 days of training.

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I think camp starts now, as soon as those heli skids touch down on snow:

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Its always surreal how quickly you get transported from one world to another. It’s like being teleported in a video game… except the sensations are just so much more intense. One second you’re down by the ocean, in the rainforest… and the next you’re staring at this:

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And I was right. When you throw a group like that up into a training center where there isn’t a whole lot to do except ski, that’s what happens. We ski. A lot. Here is a short & sweet video that Andy Newell made from the week:

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All that skiing is quite exhausting… which is why it was so nice to find this treat from the girls, who had left just before us… Whoever made us these biscottis… Jess? I can assure you that I didn’t let the bag make it through the first afternoon :) Incredibly good:

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What made this glacier camp stand out from the rest was that we had some high-caliber guests in town. There are little clues here and there that there must be somebody besides just Alaskans:

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We had some real warm, wet, soft conditions up there, which meant that the yellow based Carbonlites were blazing… Goofing around between waxing:

photo - Eric Packer

photo – Eric Packer

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Besides skiing a ton, a huge benefit of the glacier camp is the opportunity for some really concentrated coaching. There is nowhere to have to go after training; no meetings to go to, no groceries to have to get, to errands to run. So if you want to stop and talk technique, or training, or philosophy… Erik Flora will happily oblige. He will stand out there, and turn in his passion into productive discussion, LONG after everyone else has gone inside:

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If you look closely enough, you can find a whole microcosm of life up there. In the rocks, the moss, the glacier itself… sometimes you don’t even have to look that hard:

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No matter how much you eat, youre muscles still ache and struggle to refill themselves with glycogen fast enough. The trick is to keep eating… I made some gooey, sugary caramel apple crisp:

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Unfortunately, I did have to leave the camp a few days early due to a minor concussion I sustained in a crash during a sprint workout. I was doing some skate speeds with the three fastest dudes in the US, and was feeling good, until I caught a tip and just whiplashed down:

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In the end, it wasn’t a big deal and I was able to get back to training pretty quickly.

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To read a great full-on article about the whole mens US Ski Team Camp, with pics and videos, click HERE.

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So long for 2014, Eagle Glacier! Its been real!

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This week has been a recovery week for me after a long block of big volume. I still have done some pretty decent workouts though, including a long double pole with Noah Hoffman before he left town. He took this picture on a nice early morning:

photo - Noah Hoffman

photo – Noah Hoffman

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Another thing I am really excited about is to continue using Swix poles for the upcoming racing season. Poles are one of those things that, although maybe not as flashy as new boots or skis, can easily make or break a ski race. Having a super-light pole that breaks easily is just not going to cut it. Having a super-stiff pole that is heavy is a no-go as well. When you train all year for races where there are all kinds of crazy people running into you, stepping on your baskets, and where you’ll be swinging your poles (sometimes hundreds of) thousands of times, there’s really no choice except to use what is accepted as hands-down the best all-around pole out there. Dang light. Dang stiff. Dang durable. I’ve tried a lot of other top-end poles, and trust me, nothing comes close to a Triac 2.0:

Reese Hanneman Swix Sport Triac 2.0 Fasterskier.com

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On Monday, we will start back into another big, solid chunk of training.

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As always, thanks for reading! I post pics more frequently on my Instagram feed, so find me there!

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Instagram Logo@reesehanneman

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