Okay, so it's been a minute! I haven't been as active on this blog because I've been feeling burnt out a bit on social media and sharing every scrap of news. However, I wrote this blog post for my partner, Gear West, and it got me really excited about sharing again. So I figured I'd jump back into it and see how it goes. Who knows, maybe I'll have another blog post in a week... maybe it'll be in 2024... I'm happy you're here though and appreciate you following along! I hope to be able to get back into sharing more content in a sustainable and happy way. Thank you for the support!
I just wrapped up a 5.5 week travel stint that brought me all around Europe, home to Minneapolis, and finally back to Vermont just in time for fall to arrive. Originally in search of snow, I started my journey back in early August when I traveled to Switzerland not for a ski race but for a running race! One of my process goals this year has been to test myself in longer, more competitive running races. I had so much fun at the North American Golden Trail Series race in Quebec City back in July that I wanted to test the waters of an international competition. I scoped one out in the Swiss Alps - the Sierre-Zinal 30k. This trail race recruits sub-ultra runners from around the world for a pretty epic course that includes a 2,200 meter elevation gain and a 1,100 meter vertical drop in the heart of the Valais Alps. Although this was an amazing opportunity for me that featured stunning scenery, I unfortunately did not have the race I was hoping for and got my butt kicked by some speedy professional runners. Always up for a challenge, it was fun to try something new, but I quickly realized I was ready to focus on my ski training and set running on the back burner for now.
Luckily, I had timed things perfectly to meet up with my team just two days later in Oberhof, Germany for a two week training camp. We traveled all the way to Oberhof not for it’s amazing two rollerski tracks or beautiful, green running trails, but for access to a ski tunnel. Everyday, in the 70 degree weather, we would bundle up our layers to enter an enclosed freezer packed with snow. The tunnel is a funny concept as it isn’t actually a tunnel underground, but more like a giant ice rink that happens to be shaped in a long skinny loop that reaches about 1.5k in length. The indoor loop is set at about 25 degrees fahrenheit and is covered with man-made, saved snow that gets groomed once per week with both skate and classic lanes.
In the past, we have traveled to the tunnel for a quick, eight day training camp, trying to optimize our time in the tunnel and really put an emphasis on the snow skiing. This was still the main reason for our camp, however we decided to make it a two-week camp and bring rollerskis this time too. This allowed us to mix up training methods and not feel too much pressure to spend every single minute in the tunnel, as it can lose its novelty quite quickly. That being said, we spent every morning in the tunnel working on technique, drills, getting “the feel of snow” back under our feet, and intervals. Throughout the two weeks we did 2 sets of threshold/L3 intervals, 2 sets of speeds, and 2 sets up L4 intervals, hitting both techniques once in each type of workout. In the afternoons, we had a mix of snow skiing, rollerskiing, running and strength. Overall, this variety helped a lot with the mental aspect of skiing in the tunnel everyday. It allowed us to really focus in the mornings and then keep it light in the afternoons and just enjoy the change of scenery.
During my time in the tunnel, I was working on quite a bit of technique changes. While skate skiing I was working on keeping my feet slightly further apart from each other, keeping my hands high and my hips forward. Meanwhile, in classic skiing I was working on better weight transfer and an explosive kick in my striding, as well as getting my hips forward (not just high) in my double pole. I’ve been working on lot of these technique points this summer on rollerskis, but to get to apply them to snow skiing without the pressure of upcoming races in the winter is very valuable!
All in all, it was a very productive camp from a training and technique perspective, as well as a team aspect. We had a few of the younger members of our team join us for the first time abroad and it was fun to get to know them a bit better as we were spending almost all of our time together. After camp, I went on to join my teammates, Lina and Lauren, for a week of training in the French Alps for what we called a “training vacation.” It was a treat to ourselves to explore a new place, while also training most days with some of the French national team.
Finally, I wrapped up my time in Europe and traveled home to Minnesota where I got to see lots of friends and family, connect with the Midwest ski community at a Gear West/World Cup preview event at Wirth Park, and train on some of the roads and trails that I grew up on. This was such a special time for me as I was starting to feel a bit drained from the long hours at ski camp and the time away from loved ones. I felt so much joy from the folks who came out to Wirth park and it stoked the fire inside me to keep putting in the work now so that I can (hopefully) be back this winter with the World Cup team! Now, it’s time to get back to it!
Professional skier, traveling the world, exploring the culture, racing my heart out.