Hallo from Norway!
I am very excited to be kicking off this season by racing Period 1 of the World Cup! This will be my first time racing Period 1 and I am feeling excited, nervous, confident and scared. My first race will be the day after Thanksgiving and I will be competing in 10 races in four weeks, more than I ever have before. These races are considered some of the most challenging courses on the World Cup circuit and many other nations enter the season in tip-top shape just so they can qualify to race for their nation. So, competition will be fierce!
I feel grateful to have qualified for these races based on my results last season and have had them stewing in the back of my mind during summer and fall training. Although I am honored to have these start spots and proud of myself for earning them, I can’t help but acknowledge that the additional pressure has affected me the last few months.
A few weeks ago, I shared some of the tough training thoughts that I had been dealing with this fall. I was riding a roller coaster of physical and mental feelings during training and during the recovery hours. Things just weren’t clicking for me and I was puzzled on how to fix it. I stepped back and took a 10 day break from the continuous rigors of training, which proved to be just what I needed. After some adventures with family and friends out west, I was able to go into our team altitude training camp in Park City, UT with good energy and a positive attitude.
I spent two weeks in Park City with Lina, Lauren and Coach Perry. We explored the mountain canyons, amazing trail running, and joined the National team for a few key workouts to get in some solid intensity.
This was the first time I had gone into an altitude training camp already acclimated and it turned out to be the best I’ve ever felt. I had a better understanding of pacing and how much my body could handle in the skinny air. For the first time in many, many weeks, things started to come together for me and I was able to find that extra gear that allowed me to push myself mentally and physically in training.
It didn’t hurt that the weather was amazing and that almost all of my nordie friends were gathering in the town for training at the same time.
Although there were only a few key workouts during the camp, those were enough to give my system a little boot. I returned to Vermont, happy to be back at sea level and enjoy a rest week. By the end of the week, I was feeling good to go again. We had special visitors from the Harvard ski team over the weekend and they got us going in some really hard bounding intervals up Stratton Mountain. The enthusiastic college skiers and the plethora of oxygen came together to form a really fun training atmosphere and a great workout.
These solid workouts started coming more frequently for me and I felt like I was back to laying productive, foundational bricks to my training. I had two more solid weeks of training with the SMS team which included a spicy mix of threshold, L4, speeds and time trials.
During the last TT of our mini race series I was approaching the final climb to a 10k course, skiing with my teammate, Lina. We went zipping down one last descent and were using each other’s draft to gain a few extra seconds, when my wheels hit a crack. I wobbled. Caught more of the draft. Wobbled again. Hit another crack and went down going 40 mph. This crash could have easily led to broken bones and a nasty concussion and I feel so, so lucky to have been able to ski away from it with just some broken skin. Although, I have never had so much road rash across my body or felt this sensitivity of nerve pain before. I somehow was able to get both sides of my body and both the inside and outside of my legs. I don’t recall exactly what happened, but whatever force didn’t hit my head or bones, definitely slid across my skin. This wasn’t exactly how I wanted to wrap up my final rollerski prep period of the year, but I’ve been cleaning the wounds and doing what I can to heal up as quickly as possible.
My final days in Stratton were spent training, moving out of my condo, packing, cleaning and celebrating the kick off to the season at our SMS T2 Send Off dinner.
Due to the pandemic, we haven’t been able to host a send off dinner the past few years. Not only were we excited to host a farewell party, but I think the community was excited to come celebrate with us! It was such a treat to see so many friends join us in Stratton to send us off and help us raise funds for the season that is quickly approaching. We auctioned off many items and services, including a dinner next summer that is to be prepared and hosted by the team.
We are so thankful for all of the support that our little team receives and could not follow our motto without it: local inspiration, international excellence. The send off dinner and enthusiasm around the event helped us reach our initial fundraising goal, but we still have a challenge going from our board that we are trying to meet. If we can receive 250 donors by the start of the season, then they’ll unlock $25,000 for the team!
If anyone is interested in supporting the team, they can donate on our team website (tax deductible). If anyone is interested in personally supporting my own season, then they can write my name in the memo and the money will go directly to my World Cup racing expenses this winter. These donations are included in the 250 donor goal and will help the entire team race faster in the winter!
After a whirlwind few days, I left the 70 degrees in Vermont in shorts and a t-shirt and flew across the Atlantic to find myself in Beitostolen, Norway. My teammate, Lauren, and I have been here for a week, training on snow, before we travel to Ruka, Finland in a few days.
I’m not sure what the start of the season holds for me, but I am happy to be here and am hopeful that I can accomplish some big result AND process goals over the next month.
Professional skier, traveling the world, exploring the culture, racing my heart out.