As a ski racer, it’s both fun and necessary to be able to revisit the same places over and over, ski on the same trails again and again, and fall into sort of a routine that you are constantly revisiting year after year. In most of our lives as professional athletes, the fall training season offers an opportunity to either embrace this type of déjà vu or let it slowly wear down your psyche for the nearing race season.
In early October, we dove head first into the heart of the fall training block with an altitude camp in Park City. It’s essentially the same camp we’ve been doing for the last three years, but we’ve found a template that works for this time of year, and it makes it that much easier to embrace year after year when you have a cohesive training group that is pushing each other during every single workout on every single day. Lots of speed sessions, a few really good hard intensity workouts, and some gorgeous long runs during peak foliage. It’s a recipe that many of us are no stranger to. As is usually the case in Utah in the fall, the weather was ideal while we were there. Cold nights meant sound sleeping, and sunny, warm days led to quality, Vitamin D-filled workouts. This time of year, the mornings are alive with a certain type of energy that signals we’ll be on snow soon, and we’ll be putting on that first race bib not long after that. I think it’s the crisp bite in the air that stirs that energy, and you learn to love each morning as it gets a little bit darker and your coffee tastes a little bit better.
After two productive weeks in Utah, we jumped on a plane for the quick trip up to Canmore, Alberta a couple days ago where our neighbors to the north store a gigantic pile of man-made snow underneath an even bigger pile of wood chips only so they can spread it out come October and offer on-snow training to anyone who is crazy enough to want to ski (literally) hundreds of laps on a 2 km loop. But hey, we’re not complaining, because it’s awesome. And it’s real skiing. And over the years we’ve developed camaraderie with our Canadian pals as we collectively take on the goliath-like programs like Norway and Russia. We’re the little guys and where we lack in funding we make up for in determination and work.
Canmore is one of my all-time favorite mountain towns to spend time in. The people are incredibly welcoming, the mountains make me want to climb and ski, and you can buy real-sugar gummy bears in bulk at the grocery store 100 meters away from our condo. You’re lucky if you get to spend time in a place that offers even just one of those perks if you ask me.
Another week on snow up here- including two time trials- and then everyone more or less splits ways for a bit before we reconvene in Vermont. For a lot of us T2ers that will be skiing the World Cup circuit starting in mid-November, the early part of the month will be our last opportunity to spend some R&R at our homes before we hit the road for a long 5 month race season in Europe. Stay tuned for more updates from the T2 crew as we get closer and closer to the start gun going off in West Yellowstone, MT and Kuusamo, Finland. Thanks for checking in!