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Archive for January, 2009

Praz de Lys U23/JrWorlds report

Saturday, January 24th, 2009

The US U23 team and coaching staff arrived in Praz de Lys, France on the 20th gearing up for U23/Junior World Championships, which will commence on the 29th with the U23 10/15K skate.  Praz de Lys sits in the southern French mountains at about 4,000’, and is 1:30 drive southwest of Geneva and hour northeast of Chamonix.  The past couple of days have included some easy distance skiing, interval workouts, acclimatizing, and an afternoon or two of some sightseeing and culture.  Our second night here, some of the team made it down to the neighboring village of Les Gets to watch a downtown night team sprint.  The atmosphere was pretty festive with free raclette and hot mulled wine for the spectators.  Day three, the team made the hour drive over to Chamonix to ride the 8000’ tram giving some amazing views of Mont Blanc and the French alpine country.  In anticipation of spending the next two weeks in a waxing cubicle it was nice getting out on some long skis early on.  Wax and structure testing will ramp up these next two days as will athlete ski testing.
Our first two days here we saw perfect weather, sunny and in the high 20’s.  The trails were in perfect condition with immaculate grooming.  Skiing up the valley past chalets, school ski groups and alpine lifts, you got the impression some of these trails go on forever, visiting neighboring villages along the way.  The whole team was pretty psyched up to be here, with many “this is why I’m a ski racer moments.”  Yesterday a storm system moved in bringing a wintery mix of rain, sleet, snow, wind, all of it.  Looks like this next week we’ll see some more of both sun and snow.  There’s around a four-foot base out on the trails so this snow isn’t going anywhere even if we do get some rain.
I’ve never experienced a race venue and accommodations like this.  Our windows overlook the stadium and we’re a mere 30 meters from the wax trailers.  Its pretty ideal, no driving involved.
Representing Sun Valley and the USST over here are U23 athletes Morgan Arritola, Alexa Turzian, and junior athlete Noah Hoffman.  All three seem to be in good form and will be gunning for podium spots in the distance events.  I’ll report more once the racing gets underway on Thursday.