Reese Hanneman Blog Banner

General

Alaska Club Video

Monday, August 24th, 2015

I wanted to do a more casual, less-epic post and share this video that The Alaska Club made, which is kind of a fun look into my not-so-normal membership story. The Alaska Club is an amazing network of health and fitness locations all over our state, and offer so many activities and facilities I cant really even begin to cover them all. Needless to say, I train there quite a bit, and really enjoy the capable yet family friendly atmosphere.

.

<div id=”fb-root”></div><script>(function(d, s, id) {  var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];  if (d.getElementById(id)) return;  js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id;  js.src = “//connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v2.3″;  fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, ‘script’, ‘facebook-jssdk’));</script><div class=”fb-post” data-href=”https://www.facebook.com/TheAlaskaClub/videos/10154066214031102/” data-width=”500″><div class=”fb-xfbml-parse-ignore”><blockquote cite=”https://www.facebook.com/TheAlaskaClub/videos/10154066214031102/”><p>In this new episode of Meet Our Member, meet Reese Hanneman. Reese is a Nordic skier, originally from Fairbanks, who has…</p>Posted by <a href=”https://www.facebook.com/TheAlaskaClub”>The Alaska Club</a> on&nbsp;<a href=”https://www.facebook.com/TheAlaskaClub/videos/10154066214031102/”>Tuesday, August 18, 2015</a></blockquote></div></div>

.

All of Summer, in pics

Monday, August 17th, 2015

.

Ok, well I clearly fell off the blogging horse pretty hard. I think I landed straight on my head actually… Its basically been all summer since I posted. So, in order to make up for that, buckle up and hang on, cause here we go on “Reese’s summer” in one blog post to get all caught up.

.

June started off with the first glacier training camp of the year. Eagle glacier was looking very wintry that early, and the skiing was actually extremely good, even if the visibility wasn’t:

.

We all converge out of the fog on the stadium to get some fuel and friendship:

DCIM100GOPRO

.

Tools:

2 Engine Room-7197

.

Apparently the GoPro thinks I’m a goofy one-balloon-legged, cheese-ball-grin-wearing troll:

DCIM100GOPRO

.

After that week, I headed north to Fairbanks to hang out with my fam for my grandmas 85th birthday. Driving through the Alaska range, looking at Denali:

4 Engine Room-6018

.

My grandma is known in town as the impressive old lady who still does all the running races, albeit walking… but she is a huge inspiration to all of us. I will be stoked if I’m still that active at that age. All the Alaska fam got together and ran the Midnight Sun Run together, which is a really fun, late night 10k through the heart of the city. Pre race team shot:

5 Engine Room-7614

.

Its actually a really sweet scene. The race winds through all these all these cool neighborhoods packed with people out cheering. I hadn’t done a real road running race in a long time, and it was a pretty fun, and painful, way to push myself to new flat pavement speeds:

6 Engine Room-7837

.

My brother and I got interviewed on television right after the race, talking about the traditions of this race and how we use it to prepare for ski races:

.

Training some aquatic yardage at the Alaska Club:

DCIM100GOPRO

.

One of the highlights of my summer has been getting hooked up with a Scott Genius from the incredible crew at Chain Reaction Cycles. I have ridden a lot of bikes in my life, and I genuinely believe this is the best all around mountain bike in existence right now. Imagine a bike that can make you want to launch off of every jump and smooth out the biggest, most unpleasant rocks and roots, and then with one flick of the thumb instantly locks out both front and rear and begs to be sprinted up the next long climb. Needless to say, I have been very excited about putting in mileage on it, and am so thankful to Chain Reaction for their support. They make you feel right at home, and are so nice and helpful with whatever kind of bike you might be looking for.

pic - Jake Bassett

pic – Jake Bassett

.

Valdez for the 4th of July. Cleaning fresh yellow-eye snapper right outta the icy sea:

10 Engine Room-6422

.

Sea kayaking with miss Jessica:

11 Engine Room-6337

.

July glacier camp was another solid one. We were so lucky to have Zuzana Rogers, from our team’s pt partner Advanced Physical Therapy, up there that week with us. A bunch of us had injuries, whether overuse from way too many miles pounding our joints, or acute from some sort of rollerski crash or tumble in the mountains, that she worked tirelessly to fix so that we could keep training hard. She also took some great pics up there, like this one of us boys heading off the line in a sprint simulation:

pic - Zuzana Rogers

pic – Zuzana Rogers

.

There were some crazy skies and cloud colors that week:

.

Post team sprint intervals, podium ceremony:

pic - Zuzana Rogers

pic – Zuzana Rogers

.

Flora. The tireless, dedicated-beyond-belief, Renaissance coach… ceaselessly coaching:

14 Engine Room-6474

.

When I got down from that week of skiing my brains out, I raced the Hammerman Triathlon, which is part of the national XTerra off-road tri series. I raced it a couple times back as a teenager, but it’s been a while. I was excited about having a non ski specific race to focus my mental energy on. It’s definitely a little bit different, charging through an open water swim and then hopping on the bike and hammering for an hour, and then trying to run fast. You can read the newspaper article about the race, with some quotes from me (which make me sound like a whiner… didnt mean it that way!!) HERE.

.

Transition 1:

16 Engine Room-6757-2

.

I was pretty happy with how I performed… I was second out of the water, 3rd on the bike split, and then won the run split to take second overall:

.

I got to ride the downhill trails at Alyeska for the first time since the Chair 6 trails opened…  such an unreal dh biking experience. The singletracks weaving down Glacier Bowl are incredible!

18 Engine Room-6882

.

And the lower mountain’s rich loamy dirt is woods riding at its finest:

19 Engine Room-6929

.

Third and final on snow training camp of the summer:

20 Engine Room-7099-2

.

Tyler, logging those long K’s:

21 Engine Room-7018

.

Having the opportunity to ski on snow, on real courses that simulate real race courses, so close to home, is really quite incredible. I am so thankful to the Alaska Pacific University, the Nordic Ski Center, and each of their supporters for helping us be able to train at this world class level. The camp also relies on a few individuals who work insanely hard to keep it running in such an extreme environment; basically Erik Flora and Don, Andre, and Dylan. Thanks guys for all you do! Don and Andre trying to pretend they’re not exhausted:

22 Engine Room-7202

.

I been really loving being able to monitor my training and check out the GPS mapping capabilities of my Suunto Ambit. It is the most capable watch I have ever seen:

pic - Forrest Mahlen

pic – Forrest Mahlen

.

The scale up there is just insane. The vastness of the land is hard to grasp, unless youre there with it towering over you. Scroll down on this picture slowly, and check out the skier in middle of the s-turn climb:

23 Engine Room-7088

.

We had beautiful weather in August. It was clear almost all week, which made for wet snow skiing and amazing sunsets. The latter of which good for some epic yo-yo sessions…David shredding:

24 Engine Room-7318

.

Loving my new Alaska hoody from Jolly Roger:

25 Reese-4

.

Its been a great summer of training on Eagle Glacier. I think had some of my most productive camps yet. It’s a little sad to think that its over… till next year:

26 Engine Room-7154

.

Wedding season… and imagine that, hot enough weather to need shade:

IMG_2484

.

Big mountain riding…

28 Engine Room-7406

.

Loving my Genius so much on this ride. 4000ft climb, and then 4000ft descent… grip and rip!

pic - Peter Kling

pic – Peter Kling

.

That about gets my updated to now… I will be updating much more often from here on. Thanks for reading!

– Happy Trails – Reese

.

 

 

 

 

.

 

 

 

 

Spring Break…

Thursday, April 30th, 2015

The 50k skate in Sun Valley was the final race of the season, and it wasn’t anything to write home about. Besides, of course, the crazy ice and the normal challenges that go along with a 50k National Championship race. Last year, I finished 3rd in the 50k Championship, which was a sweet way to end it all; but that was classic, and this one was skate, which I knew just wouldn’t quite give me the same chances.

.

One race earlier in that week that was notable was the 15k classic. The course was 3 laps of a 5k, and the climbs on the loop were milder than a lot of the really gnarly steep courses that we race. So, I decided to do something that I have never done before… I double poled a classic distance race on skate skis. I did it because I actually thought that for me, it would be faster over the whole 15k. Yes, there was a long climb that took roughly 6 minutes to get up, but I had tested it out and thought that I would be able to muscle the double pole up it about the same speed as the guys who were striding, and then make up some time on the long downhills.

.

There is something very unnerving leaving the start gate of a classic race, knowing that for the next 40 minutes you can use nothing but your arms to get yourself up every hill. At this point in the race, I had caught and passed Noah Hoffman, who had started 15 seconds ahead of me. He would subsequently pass me back later in the race, as my ability to double pole as powerfully slowly diminished:

photo - Lander Karath/Fasterskier

photo – Lander Karath/Fasterskier

.

After that finale, I returned to Alaska for some much needed time off from competitive ski racing. After so many months of going from venue to venue, and race to race, testing skis and training and prepping, and packing and unpacking, over and over and over again… I just wanted to do anything but that.

.

Easter weekend was just what I needed. Spending a few days deep in the Alaska Range with my family and friends, snow machining and powder skiing and even some xc touring, with absolutely beautiful weather and perfect, bottomless, powder snow.

.

Team Hanneman loving being together:

2 Engine Room-4847

.

Bro Logan… Laying it down through the high backcountry:

3 Engine Room-4728

.

XC skiing on the closed, snowed-in Denali Highway with my mom:

4 a Reese Nancy Summit

.

Two weeks ago, I went traveled way up north to the village of Nuiqsut, Alaska. I have been involved with the NANA Nordic program since its beginning, and it is one of the most tremendously rewarding things I get the chance to do. It started in the NANA region (Northwest Arctic), and because of the success and the incredibly positive impact on the youth of the region, has expanded significantly to include a large portion of rural Alaska, and now called SKIKU. It really is an incredible program, and you can learn more about it here.

.

Nuiqsut is one of the furthest north settlements in North America, situated between Prudhoe Bay and Barrow, Alaska, and 30 miles-ish from the ocean up the Colville River.

Nuiqsut Alaska map location arctic

.

Flying in:

5 Engine Room-5073

.

Having landed, the next step is unloading and finding one of the village trucks to take you to the school, which is home base:

6 Engine Room-5074

.

We spend a school week teaching the kids to ski during their scheduled PE classes, and then with multiple open sessions after school. Over the years, I have had so, so many teachers and parents tell me that they have never seen the kids get as excited about something. Slipping and sliding:

7 Engine Room-5119

.

That feeling of accomplishment, after so many times falling down:

8 Engine Room-5116

.

It also offers an amazing learning experience for us “coaches”. Not just physical and social, but cultural. On a few of the trips, I have gotten to hang out with a few of the older kid while they are training for Native Youth Olympics. This week, I got to have multiple days with them, and to have them really walk me through what they do. If you’re not familiar with NYO and the competitions, you can check it out here. There’s a pretty cool short video on the homepage of that site.

.

One of the most impressive is the One Footed High Kick, which involves kicking a ball suspended in the air with one foot, and then landing only on that same foot that you used to kick it. This high-schooler boy, Phillip, was kicking 89” the day I was there, which is 7-foot-5 inches!! He told me that the world record is 113”, which is 9-foot-5 inches. Imagine jumping off the ground, kicking just shy of a full size basketball rim with your right foot, and then landing only on your right foot. Yeah; absolutely insane. Here, Phillip training:

9 Engine Room-5092

.

We had some amazing skiing. One of the coolest things is seeing the kids find incredible joy by doing something that seemed too hard when they started out. The first day is inevitably tough; they have very little feel for what it means to glide and skate, let alone stand up. I spend a lot of time helping kids get untangled on the ground, and how to stand back up. But it’s one of those lead-by-example things, where the more I zip around between groups and between healping each one, the more they watch and observe and learn how to ski. Before you know it, they are gliding down little hills and skating around the flat terrain. By the end of the week, they cannot stop smiling as they zoom around town, down big hills and bombing down the riverbanks. The progression is incredible, and the stoke is high:

10 Engine Room-5160

.

I got the chance to speak to each one of the classes in the school, from high-school seniors all the way to kindergarteners, about my journey as a ski racer and the “uphills” and “downhills” that I get to experience along the way. It’s fun to share stories of my training and racing, of success and failures, and tie it all together with some positive ways they can better their own journeys.

11 Engine Room-5175

.

The setting gives me a chance to make some really personal connections with some of them. They feel comfortable asking more questions, or even just wanting to see more pictures or videos of ski racing:

12Engine Room-5217

.

I wish I was always as excited about ski training as these kids are about getting to go out!

13 photo 5

.

And the beautiful Arctic 11pm sunsets…

Engine Room-5165

.

After that trip, I just tried to recover a little bit and not worry about doing any training. It seemed like just the other day I was racing that 50k…

.

Spring backcountry skiing is always good option for solid aerobic training, without thinking of it as such. The further and higher you climb, the bigger the payoff, right?? Tracks from our first run of the day, with so much potential terrain out there too:

Engine Room-5353

.

At the top, after a solid morning of leg-burning uphill with my buddy Etienne:

Engine Room-5363

.

We are right in the thick part of putting together our Spring Celebration event, which is on May 8th at 6pm. If you are in Alaska, and especially Anchorage, YOU ARE INVITED!!! There is always some incredible stuff in the silent auction for silly cheap prices, and we would LOVE to have you there!!

APU Spring Celebration (1)

.

Thanks for reading!!

.

 

.

 

Training to be a Pressure Fighter in Europe

Friday, March 20th, 2015

I just returned from the US after a five week stint in Europe, racing on the Europa Cup circuit with a great group of Americans. I wrote a blog with a few musings, on the challenges of staying mentally sharp while being mid-pack, which is posted on the Woodski Blog page HERE. Its the “Reese Hanneman Checks In from the Europa Cup” one.

.

Woodski is also having a March Madness sale, which you can see on that same page. If you havent checked out the new site yet, you should!! It turned out really sweet.

.

Now I am in Sun Valley, Idaho for the final week of races of my season. It is SuperTour Finals and the 50k National Championships. I am actually pretty excited to race here.

.

Europa Cup #1

Thursday, March 5th, 2015

After US Nationals in Houghton, I headed back to Alaska for a couple weeks to regroup and get in some training for the biggest trip of my racing season. The skiing in Fairbanks was impeccable, and it was a great place to train.

I also happened to be in town for the Besh Cups, and hosted an open house night at Trax Outdoor Center. We had an awesome turnout, and it was really cool to hang out with so many of the young Alaskan skiers, to share my stories of racing on the World Cup with them and get them stoked on their own skiing.

TRAX Night _ Reese Hanneman _ Besh Cup CCAK

.

I got to sign and hand out a lot of my new Allergy, Asthma and Immunology of Alaska posters:

AAICA Reese poster_Final

.

My goal of these two weeks in Alaska was to recover from Nationals, and to prep myself for a huge block of travel and racing. The plan was to travel to Vermont for two weeks of a Supertour racing, and then head to Europe to join up with the US Ski Team’s trip on the Europa Cup circuit for five weeks, before stopping in Sun Valley for Supertour Finals and Spring Nationals.

.

Craftsbury was an interesting string of races. I went there with the goal of turning my confidence levels around, and to win some races. Racing the World Cup all fall only served to beat me down mentally, and then I didn’t ski well enough at Nationals to reverse that much. I ended up with some decent results, with a 2nd, 3rd, and 4th. The skate sprint was the first race of the year where I felt like it was back on my game; I attacked hard and furiously in the A final, but Kris Freeman was somehow able to follow me away from the rest of the pack and nip me at the line. He was skiing incredibly well there and was so strong, which was impressive to see; but it’s hard to know you’re still not quite performing at your best.

.

Following Kris Freeman in the 30k classic, on my way to 3rd place behind him and Eric Packer:

John Lazenby photo - Craftsbury 30k Mass Cl

photo – xmatic

.

Skate Sprint Qualifier:

Reese Hanneman Craftsbury Sprint 2015 XMATIC

photo – xmatic

.

On the podium in 2nd place in the Skate Sprint:

APUNSC Craftsbury 2.6.15 Podium Mens

.

From Vermont, I flew to Munich, via an unplanned overnight in London, and picked up the rental van that would be used by the US crew for the next 5 weeks. My APU teammates and I loaded up and drove to Livigno, Italy, a place we picked for our prep week because if it’s relatively low cost and access to skiing.

I had never been to Livigno before, but it turned out to be more than I was expecting. We were primarily there to get in some altitude training and adjust to the Euro time zone before our first races.

Walking from our hostel to the ski trails for training:

RH Insta 1

Instagram: @reesehanneman

 

The skiing in Livigno was amazing, with a good variety of easy touring trails and brutally hard race courses for us to get in lots of kilometers and intervals on. My bud Eric Packer put together this little video with some really sweet high speed shots, that show the area well:

From there, it was a 5hr-turned-8hr drive to Campra, Switzerland when the pass we tried to go through was closed due to avalanches, forcing a long reroute. In a humorous twist, the race venue ended up being just on the other side of the closed portion of the pass. So we drove 150 miles to get three miles further up the road.

.

In Campra, I raced a skate sprint and a classic 15k. The field at these EurOPA Cup races is really intense, with many of the top guys being pretty legit World Cup racers. In the sprint I was really happy to qualify in 17th place, only a few seconds behind some guys who have been top 12 on the World Cup this year. I finished 19th and top American after leading my heat for a while and narrowly missing out in the final drag race. The 15k was one of the more bizarre races Ive done in a while; it snowed so much overnight and that morning that there were hardly any tracks, and it was just incredibly soft and every hill was a pile of herring-boned mush. I didn’t have a great race, but I fought through the weirdness and had a decent result.

.

Next, it was on to Rogla, Slovenia. The ski venue there is way up on top of this wooded mountain, a few thousand feet above anything around it. This makes for some diverse weather; down in the town of Zrece where we stayed, it was warm and springy, while the ski area was absolutely buried with snow.

.

Exploring some ancient castle ruins, high above the towns that have dotted these valleys for thousands and thousands of years… doing my best Usain Bolt pose:

Instagram:   @reesehanneman

Instagram: @reesehanneman

.

Lex providing us with some foreboding harmonica music, adding to our imagination of battles waging and injured soldiers:

Engine Room-3933

.

And then twenty minutes later, up at the ski trails:

photo (1)

.

First race was a skate sprint. I had another pretty good qualifier, in 12th, which was a good sign for my speed. My quarterfinal was the single most physically aggressive heat I have ever been in. I have never been pushed, shoved, and stepped on that much in a race. I had a fast start, getting out and slotting into 2nd place, only to have someone to the side of me who also wanted to be 2nd skate right on top of my skis, causing both of us to get tangled and contort into ridiculous poses in order to save a crash. Now I was last, and hammered the next flat section and gradual uphill, passing half the guys and getting into third, only to have my poles stepped on and be pushed way outside on a hairpin corner, putting me last again. Anyways, this continued on for the whole course. On the final hill, I tried multiple  avenues to make passes through the pack, but got so shut down on every one, coming to a stop on the last one as the Italian an Austrian guys shoved each other into my way. As I finally crested the hill, I open up to max throttle and was able to surge from 6th to almost 2nd, coming within a boot length of advancing.

Coming into the final climb, I was in 6th, looking for somewhere, anywhere, to make a pass:

photo - Sabina Gostinčar

photo – Sabina Gostinčar

.

And then stuck in traffic on the final climb, in last:

photo - Erika Flowers

photo – Erika Flowers

.

And then turning on the jets to pass most of the guys, and coming within a boot of that German guy:

photo - Erika Flowers

photo – Erika Flowers

.

The 30k classic featured some really variable snow conditions and it got quite a bit warmer from the start to the finish, which made for some almost impossible waxing. Our techs did a really good job considering the condtions, but my skis were quite slick and so I ended up double poling a lot of it. I was happy to finish 20th place.

photo - Sabina Gostinčar

photo – Sabina Gostinčar

photo - Caitlin Patterson

photo – Caitlin Patterson

.

On Monday, we packed all up again and drove to Austria, and the famed xc ski valley of Ramsau Dachstein. It is just up from Schladming, which is home of the famous Nigh Slalom World Cup, where Austrians by the tens of thousands riot when their countrymen and women don’t win. We have been here training for four days…

While here, I have been given the opportunity to guest host the National Nordic Foundation’s Instagram account, trying to add my own flavor through photos that I post… Heres one of my favs so far… I got this of my team mate Scott Patterson training here in Ramsau:

Instagram:   @gonnf

Instagram: @gonnf

To see more of the pics, check it out HERE. Give em a follow for more!

.

One thing that Ive been spending a good deal of time on is the Europa Cup Challenge, an athlete led fundraising effort put together by my APU teammates and I. We qualified 11 APU athletes to be a part of this US Ski Team Europa Cup trip, and so decided to band together with a unified effort to try and offset some of the costs that we each have to pay. This Europa Cup trip is one of the steps on the path to being internationally competitive at the Olympic and World Cup level; as Im sure many of you have seen, it takes quite a bit of racing in Europe before you can make the jump from top US skier to being a contender on the World Cup. That’s the role of this racing circuit.

We want you to know that YOU are an important part of the system. There are coaches who put in incredible long, dedicated hours and are away from their families to guide the athletes. There are the wax techs, who travel all winter and stay up all night and get up at insane hours to prep our skis. There are us athletes, who push our bodies into exhaustion through an endless string of hard workouts every day, all summer and fall and winter… and then THERE’S YOU!!! You, who bring passion and excitement and support to it all; you motivate us to want to do well, and get us to where we need to go.

 

 

.

If you enjoy seeing young Alaskans, and Americans, challenge convention and dare to put in the work to be the best they can be… I urge you to consider pitching in and being a part of our team. Weve got some pretty cool stuff going on, as well as more details about the racing and the financial aspect… SEE OUR SITE HERE!!

Thanks so much!!

We have one race in Austria this weekend, and then head to France for the big final three-race weekend of the EurOPA Cup Finals. This is going to be one of the most intense weekends of racing of my whole season, as the field will be stacked with many of the best guys in Europe, plus our strong Team USA contingent.

After that, I will pack everything up and fly not home, but to Sun Valley, Idaho for Spring Nationals and SuperTour Finals. Im probably going to be really enhausted at that point, so I hope I can find some more spark for those final races.

Thanks for reading!!

My Big Gamble

Monday, January 26th, 2015

Last spring, May 2014, I sat down with my coach Erik Flora (a man who needs no introduction) to plan my attack on the 2014-15 ski season. My big goal was to make the World Championship Team that would race in Falun, Sweden in February of 15. By winning the SuperTour overall, I had secured start rights on the World Cup from the start of the season this November until Christmas. At that time, I was ranked 4th amongst US men in sprinting on the USSA points list, which would give me an extremely strong case to be on the World Championships team.

.

Basically, it came down to two options:

.

If I turned down the 9 World Cup races, and instead stayed in the US racing SuperTours, I would very likely maintain my points standing and secure a spot on the Worlds Team. I had won both major classic sprints last season, including US Nationals and Spring Nationals against the US Ski Team members, and been first and second in those qualifiers.

.

The other option was to accept the World Cup starts in November and December (called Period 1). Fewer men would get this opportunity this season than would get named to the Worlds team, and the chance to race in a significant number of World Cups is a pretty rare opportunity. However, the points on the World Cup are not as good, and so I would risk being overtaken by those racing back in the US where the points were better. No US male has ever gone to period 1 and done well, either there or the rest of the season. Ever. There’s a reason it’s called “the Curse of Period 1”. I knew that, and somehow I hoped I could be different.

.

It was a tough decision; take the chance at really deepening my experience as an elite skier in exchange for potentially making a championship team.

.

I could have taken the conservative route; part of me wanted to. But I didn’t. I went for it. I went to the World Cup to better myself as an athlete, to really put myself out there.

.

Davos 15k - Fasterskier photo

Davos 15k – Fasterskier photo

.

It was a big gamble. When the official announcement of the US Worlds Team is announced in the next few hours, I anticipate that I won’t be on it. I think I lost the bet.

.

I am very disappointed, but I am content with the decision I made. It’s actually quite difficult to hit that home run right when you need to. I threw myself at it, in the very best way I could, and although I didn’t achieve some of the numbers I wanted, I have never learned so much. The experience I have gained through this has been worth it. I believe that I got more out of racing a month of World Cups than I would have at one event at Worlds, although after being 31st on the Worlds Sprint course last season, I would love another crack at it.

.

Now I will focus on what lies ahead. That’s all we can ever really do, right?

.

Thanks for reading. Check back soon for some exciting news!!

.

 

Davos World Cups

Friday, December 19th, 2014

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.

.

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

1

.

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:

2

.

Looking down valley:

3

.

Lapping through the stadium and its golden warmth with Andy:

.

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:

4

.

Taking the bus back up to our hotel:

5

.

And towards that great selection of local dairy delicacy:

6

.

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

7

.

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:

8

.

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:

9

.

Slow Davos morning:

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

A photo posted by @reesehanneman on

.

Running through muddy farm fields:

10

.

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.

.

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.

.

15k classic.

Reese Hanneman racing in the Davos WC this am #TokoProfiGloves

A photo posted by TokoUS (@tokous) on

.

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.

.

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.

.

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.

.

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.

.

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.

.

Thanks for reading!

.

.

 

Lillehammer World Cups

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

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.

.

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

1

.

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.

.

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.

.

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

2

.

Riding our provided coach back down to town:

3

.

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.

.

Just a section:

4

.

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

5

.

Another morning bus ride up to Sjusjoen:

6

.

Cruising through the almost otherworldly morning winter lunarscape:

6_1

.

A quick video clip of the ladies kicking and gliding:

.

J Diggs, stoked and smiling like always:

7

.

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:

8

.

Mornings in the woods behind our hotel:

9

.

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:

10

.

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:

11

.

Liz being her usually beaming self:

12

.

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:

13

.

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.

.

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.

.

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

.

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.

.

Evening jog with Andy to shake the legs out:

15

.

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.

.

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.

.

.

 

 

Ruka World Cups

Thursday, December 4th, 2014

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:

1

.

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:

2 5

.

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

2

.

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

3 5

.

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!!

3

.

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:

4

.

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

5

.

Its dark for a majority of the day here…

6 5

.

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:

6 6

.

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:

6

.

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

.

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:

8

.

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.

.

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.

.

Heres Andy following Alex Harvey into the final 100m:

photo - Toko

photo – Toko

.

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…

.

In the start pen:

10

.

On live Eurosport television all over Europe:

11

.

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.

.

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.

.

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:

12

.

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:

13

.

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:

14

.

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

.

As always, thanks for reading!!

.

Reese H Instagram Button

.

Northern Arctic Muonio Camp

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

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.

.

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

1

.

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:

2

.

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

3

.

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:

4

.

Local flavor:

5

.

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

6

.

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

7

.

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

.

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:

9

.

When in Finland… Toko gloves drying in the sauna:

10

.

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

11

.

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

.

Sadie and JP cruising through the white land:

13

.

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:

14

.

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.

.

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

 

.

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.

.

Check back for more soon!

.