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Archive for June, 2011

DP Hammer Video

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

Coach Eric Strabel did a killer job putting together this little video of yesterdays interval session. There is some really cool looking footage and angles, which is impressive considering that he filmed all of it with one hand while riding a bike one-handed. And we werent going slow either… I think you will like it!
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Death Camp

Monday, June 27th, 2011

A week ago I finished off three days of coaching the APU Devo Death Camp out in Girdwood. That group of kids never ceases to amaze me, and the way Charlie Renfro runs the program is totally awesome. The kids are somewhere around ages 11-14, although if you think its going to be easy to drop them, they will make you hurt. These lil buggers quite literally “pin it” all day long…


The best part about this crew of knuckleheads is that they don’t even think they are “training”. Basically, it’s just follow Charlie around on all kinds of workouts and Alaskan adventures, and keep going and going and going.

One of my favorite moments from the camp was one night at about 9:15pm, we had been rollerskiing for about an hour after dinner, doing all sorts of sprints and races and pickups the whole time. And these kids just kept begging me to race them “more”, “more”, “one more race”… There was a 4hr hike planned for the next morning that they knew about, and they didn’t even care. They would have kept sprinting all night if we hadn’t forced them to go to bed.

We did a lot of mountain bike riding:

And I got to take some of the guys up and try out the new downhill trails. It was a blast, and we kept going back and sessioning a few of the turns. I had a ton of fun on those banked ladders:

One morning, we did 4000 ft vertical like it was no big thang… these kids just run right up. The views were really good:

But the glacading was the best. There were some pretty sweet, steep snowfields that made for some of the best sliding I have ever done:

I had a total blast with the kids, and can’t wait to help out next year! Go Devos!!

Glacier Camp 1 VIDEO!!

Thursday, June 16th, 2011

Ive been working over the last few days to get this video put together, and here it finally is… and overview of our first glacier camp, complete with some buttery helicopter footage. So fun!
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Glacier Camp One

Monday, June 13th, 2011

A week ago today, team APU packed in the vans and zipped out to the Girdwood airport to start off the first glacier training camp of the summer. That days weather was decent, and within an hour all twenty-something of us had been helicoptered in and were already raiding the facility’s kitchen.

It’s hard to explain the feeling of stepping out of the chopper onto the rocky plateau that separates the massive snowfield from the 6000ft abyss that plunges all the way to the ocean. The views and the terrain are just unreal; from the upstairs bedrooms, you see this to your right:

And this to your left:

Once the awe and amazement faded, or at least slightly, it was time to get to work. This was after all an on-snow volume camp. From that first afternoon, we all got to business. Erik, Casey and Mikey all put in some crazy grooming hours to churn out the kilometers, and boy was it good skiing. There was a lot of really cool looking weather, with clouds and sun swirling around all at the same time:

There was also some gorgeous, bluebird days, which of course require the obligatory flex-our-muscles shot:

And there were the foggy days too. The nice part about those is that you can’t see all of the big hills that you have to ski up.

One of the best parts about a glacier camp is the amount of food we get to eat. If you’re not skiing, you’re sleeping, and if you’re not sleeping, you’re eating. And there are some pretty dang good options. Erik Bjornsen and I mastered the art of char-broiled nachos at least twice:

And if you feel like something sweet and rich, there’s always endless amounts of Taz’s famous bread pudding:

Skiing wise, the camp was very successful. Personally, I was feeling pretty fit and also a lot more comfortable skiing on that softer, transformed snow than ever before. All of the athletes put in some serious distance, with some of the guys skiing about 400km in 11 sessions over 6 days.

The week ended, as it always does, with the thrilling hike out. While you can fly out (and some people choose to), the hike is scenic, fun, and cheaper than flying. Actually, it’s free.

Here, camp rookie Erik B gears up with the rest of the crew for the trek. Everyone enjoyed giving him a hard time for his road runners and duct-tape gaiters, although I may or may not have actually imitated the second technique myself.

Instead of the more traditional snowmachine-shuttle, we just roped up and hiked right from the lodge since the snow was hard enough that we could make good time on foot:

Once off the glacier itself, everyone felt the need to test out the ancient (almost) wind shelter:

With most of the snow melted out on most of the mountain, it was a quick and easy jaunt down:

But regardless, everyone was fairly content to get back to those vans. We were all pretty smoked; legs sore, arms heavy, and minds blown. But that’s what a big volume week like that is for, right? And in another few weeks, we will have forgotten our fatigue and be licking our chops, right back at it again.



Summer Kickoff

Monday, June 6th, 2011

We started training in May, and did some on-snow skiing as well as all kinds of other training methods. With the new training year comes the inherent search for new places to train… we tried rollerskiing on a large military base, which was great when we weren’t being passed by armed convoys:

I went home to Fairbanks for the last few weeks, to watch my little (er, I mean “younger”) brother graduate high school, get in some good base training, and enjoy the sun and heat. There are a few things that Fairbanks does better than anywhere else in Alaska.


First, the road riding there is soooo good. There are hundreds of miles of great terrain right from town, with hardly any traffic or intersections or anything. So I did a lot of road biking, getting in some nice long rides and did some racing. I’ve actually ridden less this spring than probably the last three, which is kinda a bummer because it’s such a great way to build base fitness, have a lot of fun, and get a mind break from skiing for a bit. Even so, I’ve been able to hold my own in the races this year just from a being in better-than-ever vascular shape.

The second thing that Fairbanks rocks at is weather. Ok, all of you people snickering, Im talking about SUMMER weather. It is hot and dry, so the motivation is usually pretty high. No reason not to get out there and workout.

I did get to try out a totally new, probably-never-been-done-before training activity… While I can’t discuss it much at this point in time, I can say that it was moderately scary and a ton of fun, and that there will be a full-length article and accompanying video on the main page of Fasterskier in a week or two… so check it out there. In the meantime, heres a spy shot:

We are going to be jumping in the heli tomorrow morning and flying into the Thomas Training Center on Eagle Glacier for our first glacier camp of the summer. Everyone is really pumped, and I can’t wait to get up there and put most of civilization on the back shelf for a week. Nothing but skiing, eating, and sleeping. And lots of it! There will be plenty of pics and maybe a video after wards… see you all on the flipside!