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Archive for December, 2010

Going to the Maine show

Friday, December 31st, 2010

After spending a few days back home in Fairbanks for Christmas, I joined in on the mass migration to Rumford, Maine. With US Nationals starting there on the second day of 2011, there were tons of skiers heading that direction at the same time.

As much as I would like to think of myself as a ski racer, it is a little bit embarrassing to admit that I have never actually skied East of Houghton, Michigan. The nearly 24 hour trip over here was a little bit tiring, considering that we were traveling about as far as physically possible within the United States. I would tell you a little bit about it, but my teammate Don Haering, who is one of the funniest guys I know, has already written a hilarious report here.

Holly, Ky and I catching some Z's in the airport.

We saw this creepy box as they were loading our plane... Im not sure what to say (photo - Erin Phillips)

Everything here in Maine is exactly like everything I have ever heard about it. So in that sense, it’s not that surprising.

The skiing is… interesting. No matter which way you slice it, there really isn’t much snow anywhere. People who have rock skis are using them, but those of us who don’t are still skiing, and will probably have rock skis soon.

Us skiing around near the stadium... not sure what Bart is doing (photo - Kasandra Rice)

For some reason, that picture makes the snow conditions look amazing. But it is pretty iffy out there besides in the stadium.

Everyone is just getting prepped up for the first sprint race, and it’s always fun to have skiers from all over the country in one place.

Happy New Years!

Start of the Rossland Mini-Tour

Sunday, December 19th, 2010

So, just a few quick notes from Rossland.

Some fun ski testing and intervals

Yesterday was the first stage of the NorAm mini-tour they are running here. I have never actually done a mini-tour before, so I was pretty excited. The first stage was a skate sprint, and we all knew that it would be super fast, with some of the Canadian World Cup men coming back to fight over a spot at World Champs. It was nice and short, and after a decent qualifier, I had some good heats. The quarterfinals are always the most nerve-wracking, because you can either guarantee yourself a top-12 finish, or potentially get thrown all the way back to 30th. So I was super relieved to come from behind, passing 3 people in the final 100 meters, to nab second and move on. From there, I just rode the adrenaline, and ended up 10th overall, 4th American. I would say that those were the fastest, deepest heats I have ever skied in, so I was stoked to end up there.

It was so sick to see Sadie with a huge win. She was just dominating all day, and took it all the way to the A final. Also, Holly and Perrianne Jones actually tied down to the pixel, which is pretty insane.

With a berth to World Championships on the line to the winner, the stakes were high. I can confidently say that I have never, ever seen people digging so deep before. Drew and Stefan came absolutely raging into the final stretch, and I thought they were both going to crash just from going so hard.

Sadie, Katie, and Taz join in the frenzy, dominating the heats all the way through

Mark, myself, Brent; running down the Canucks

Me in my semifinal, heading up the 1 minute long hill

Girls podium; with Sadie on top and Holly and Perrianne sharing the 2nd step

Pete and Bart, contemplating decisions, decisions

Today was a 5/10k interval skate race. The course was really fast, and all the climbs short. It was, for all practical purposes, a 10k sprint. Holly and Lars continued their unbelievable streaks, each coming out on top. I think Lars was like 21:50, for 10 kilometers!

 For me, it was going pretty well until I pulled a totally idiotic move; going into the finish chute when I still had a lap to go. Of course, I had to ski all the way back and around, losing major time. For about 2 minutes, I couldn’t believe it, but then I tried to get my head back into the race. I had lost tons of time, but I just decided to see where I could finish with an extra minute tacked on.

Tomorrow is a 10/15k pursuit-start classic race, which is going to be insane. There are like 100 guys starting within 2 minutes. I’m super pumped. Should be a good day for the AK crew.

Lars laying it out there today, on the way to the big W

Ladies from today, after Holly again flexed her distance muscles

Lars on top, after one of the fastest 10k's imaginable

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Most of these photos were taken by Rob Whitney

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OH CANADA video

Friday, December 17th, 2010

I just finished up a video from our two weeks in SilverStar. There is some pretty sweet racing footage in there, as well as the inevitable antics. Pretty fun!
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Killer Weekend

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

Yesterday were the distance skate NorAms… the predictions of a big dump overnight were unfortunately correct, and the groomers were rallying until race start to get the trails taken care of. They did a good job, but it was still some super soft skiing.

Lars is obviously on fire, putting down another amazing race. He took the men’s win, and Holly also continued her dominance by besting the women.

J-Southam cruising to another solid result

Lars being latched by Brian Gregg, who skied well... theres 2/3rds of the podium right there

Holly heads out into the mush, and to the top of the podium

Sadie and Becca come through with a group

These guys work so hard to give us athletes the opportunities to ski fast. Thanks Casey and Erik!

With this being my first year on a large, internationally competitive team, it was fun to share in the weekends success of my team-mates. APU skiers won both the men’s and women’s NorAm in Canada, both the boys and girls LynxLoppet high school race in Anchorage, both the men’s and women’s Anchorage Cup races, and a World Cup podium all in one weekend! Wowzers!

We packed and traveled all day today, arriving in Rossland this evening. We will be here for the NorAm mini-tour this weekend, which should be pretty rowdy. I’ve never actually done a tour formatted race before, so I’m looking forward to it.

I must say... we had some fun while helping to take down the stadium

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All photos by Rob Whitney

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NorAm Classic Sprint

Sunday, December 12th, 2010

We had the NorAm classic sprint here at Sovereign Lakes, which is a pretty sweet venue. You know how it seems like there’s always something weird about every race course? Not the case here… as far as a sprint course goes, it doesn’t get more evenly balanced than this one. Ok, except for the 270-degree corkscrew that launched you into the final 100. But overall, good sections of striding, double poling, and tucking. Not crazy hilly, not crazy flat. Definitely fun to race on.

Anyways, it was a great day of racing. The Blue Crew girls cleaned the clocks as always… Sadie and Holly killed the qualifier, and then the gals ended up with half of the A Final and half of the B Final. Perianne Jones had a great day, just squeaking by through the heats and then burning to the top spot in the final.

Personally, I was pretty jazzed to with how the day went… Qualifying has always been tough for me, and I have really been trying to improve on it over the summer. So making it into the 9th spot after the prelim was exciting, and I actually went on to hold that exact same position after it was all over. Lars and I kept getting into the same heats, and we made it to the B final together for APU. Mikey Sinnott had a sweet one, ending up as the lone American in the A final.

Tomorrow is a 10/15k skate should be sweet… there are some serious climbs out there, and the distancers should be tearing it up.

One of the girls heats, including Kasandra, Holly, and Fitz, blasts off the line

Guys rolling towards a climb

Lars rounding the 270 degree turn towards the final staightaway

Tall trees... and the ladies leaving the stadium

Bart and I digging into the stairstep climb in our quarter

Sadie was killing it all day... watch out world!

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All photos by Rob Whitney

Biscuits, eh?

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

We have been here at SilverStar for about a week-and-a-half now, and the training has been super awesome. Being able to ski right from the front door is such a sweet thing when you’re trying to get the hours in. Also, the weather here is just stupid-good… I’m pretty sure it’s been above -6 since we showed up; that’s in Celsius of course, since we are in Canada and speaking in Fahrenheit makes you look like a noob.

I’m also super psyched on these new Fischer skate boots… I was lucky in that the previous model fit my feet, but I know that many people were having comfort issues with them in seasons past. This year, Fischer blew the comfort doors right off, making the new Carbonlite boot an absolute envelope of lusciousness. Not to mention a serious carbon cuff, a slick zipper, canting, and a forefoot buckle. I am totally impressed. You can’t get much better than comfy, stable, warm, and rad looking.

These boots were made for skiing... fast... and thats just what they'll do

It has been fun to ski on trails that are integrated with an alpine area. Besides the endless possibilities for lift-serve xc skiing (yeah, it’s a thing… now), it’s fun to pass the snowbarder brah’s on skinny skis.

We are currently gearing up for this weekend’s races, and I will definitely be getting the updates up as they happen.

Looking down towards Vernon

Crossing one of the alpine runs

Fitz was pretty amped on this leopard-print seat cover

 One small side note: Oreos are called “biscuits” in Canada. And are totally not as good as American Oreos.

Iverson takes the cake, or in this case the DoubleStuff Oreos, for best ski-assisted theft from a wax tech

Wild West video

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

So, here is another video I made, this time about the whole West Yellowstone experience. It took much longer than I had hoped to get this up, due to me learning first-hand about the strict copyright laws here in Canada. It literally took three days for me to figure out how to keep YouTube from deleting the soundtrack. But here it is… check it!

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Star of Silver

Saturday, December 4th, 2010

Well, all I have to say about SilverStar is that this place is insane… The best way I have come up with to describe it is this: it’s like living in a snowglobe town. Except that inside the snowglobe, there are 102 kilometers of ski trails, groomed twice daily. The roads are lined with tall, narrow houses painted all kinds of whimsical colors. The trees look like they have been painted with fake snow. And there is a lot of skiing.

Both SilverStar and nearby Sovereign Lake have World Cup venues, so it has been sweet to ski on those trails. They are so fun, because both the climbs and the descents are absolutely massive.

We have been doing a lot of headlamp skiing, which has to be one of the funnest (ok mom, most fun) ways to explore new trails. It’s pretty much dark by the time we do our second workout, so we’ve been doing a lot of ripping around in the dark. I must say, it’s pretty exhilarating to bomb down World Cup downhills with only a little circle of light ten feet in front of your face.

As far as training, it’s been great to bring the volume back up, and we’ve also been doing some good intervals. The sprinters did some high-speed stuff around the course yesterday, and I think it’s going to be a really fun sprint race next weekend.  

This our house. Seriously. And it's actually kinda boring compared to it's neighbors

Patty J and I did an awesome night ski last night, around the whole mountain and over the summit. I was pretty psyched.

Over the top...

I think I might have found the ultimate ski mobile

Scootin to SilverStar

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

We left our ranch house in West Yellowstone on Monday morning, and after the inevitable car issues and some wicked truck-stop food, we ended up in Spokane after an all-day drive. It was a little comical to learn that the Washington city was in a “stage-2 emergency” after a few inches of snow had fallen there the day before. But our all-wheel-drive fleet handled it just fine. 

We finished off the drive to Vernon, BC, and its SilverStar resort on Tuesday. I figured it would be nearly impossible for this place to live up to the hype that it gets, but so far, it has. The APU team is living in two of the gingerbread-esque houses here, and the ski trails start a few steps from the front door. Granted, I’ve only been here one day, but the expanse of trails here was dumbfounding when I looked at the map. I’m super excited to get to know this world class venue by following my experienced team-mates around. 

There are only so many ways to put 6 ski bags on a car

Montana Gothic: Sadie and I exploring one of Bozeman's finest thrift establishments - (photo credit Greta Anderson)

Winding through a bizarre Idaho sunset

Mobbing the trail pass kiosk this morning