Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Cross Country Skiing

Once a year, SMS hosts an annual summer training camp for junior and Bill Koch League skiers from around New England. “Camp Week” kicks off with the BKL crew, a rambunctious bunch of 8-13 year olds who have a seemingly endless supply of energy. After four days of games, roller-ski practice and mountain adventures the BKL crew heads home and older junior skiers arrive for four days of hard training, time-trials and technique work. This year’s camp coincided with a big week of training for most of the Elite team but we were able to jump in a few workouts with the younger crew and hosted a Q&A and small group discussion with each of the groups. The Q&A is by FAR one of my favorite things we do at the camp. It’s like an episode of Kids Say the Darndest Things (except without Bill Cosby creeping around).  We basically let the kids ask absolutely anything they want…they can ask about skiing, school, relationships, training, racing, eating, hobbies, anything. Most of the time the kids are too shy to really grill us with questions or more often they just decide to tell us stories instead. But every once in a while, you get a real gem. Below is a breakdown of some of our favorite camp questions from the next generation of ski champions and a few of our answers (Full Disclosure: I was in a Q&A group with Jessie so most/all of the responses are from the two of us).

BKL Discussion Group
  1. Most asked question:Q: What do you eat for breakfast?

A: I think I’ve actually been asked this EVERY SINGLE YEAR at “Camp Week.” Apparently our noshing habits are fascinating. My answer? Power oats: oatmeal with pumpkin, an egg, cinnamon, maple syrup, granola, peanut butter, banana, blueberries, and Greek yogurt.

Also coffee is a must
  1. Most useful question: Q: How do you recover between workouts?

A: This was one of the best questions I received this year. Jessie and I both responded with a few ideas. Eating a mix of protein and carbohydrates within 30 min. of a training session (i.e. banana with peanut butter). For a week, try to eat something within 2 minutes of your workout! LOTS of water. LOTS of sleep. Naps when possible. Foam rolling and massage. Yoga. Vitamin C. Active recovery-spinning or jogging for 15-20 min.

Post workout natural ice bath!
  1. Best race question:Q: How do you stay focused during a race?

A: Everyone has different strategies for this but Jessie and I both liked to pick a physical technique cue to help us refocus during a race. This could be something as simple as swinging your arms, crunching down on your poles or even just remembering to breath!

  1. Best training question:Q: How do you warm-up for a race?

A: With music, lots of jumps, some L1 a little L3 and even little less L4 plus some running around, changing of clothes, going to the bathroom and more jumping.

  1. Best travel question:Q: What’s your favorite place to ski?

A: Tie between Bozeman, MT and Sjusoen, Norway.

  1. Best historical question:Q: How old were you when you started skiing?

A: Me: 11 Jessie: since she could walk!

  1. Most personal questionQ: Have you ever been injured? How did you deal with it?

A: I broke my elbow in the fall of 2015 and honestly didn’t deal with it very well. After it healed I was able to gain some perspective and realize what a small part of my ski career that 8 weeks was and also recognize the opportunity I had to focus on other things in my sport like mental strength while I was injured.

Sophie and Anne fielding questions from the juniors
  1. Most unusual questionQ: “What if you don’t like people cheering for you and it makes you sad/slower/nervous?”

A: Although I love cheering and feed off of it during races, I actually used to hate it when I was younger. I think I even told my dad that before races I didn’t want to see or hear him because I needed to “get in the zone” and he wasn’t allowed to cheer for me during the race. Although you can’t tell all of the fans to stop cheering during a race, remember they are out there because they all want to encourage you and are psyched to see you pushing hard and skiing your best! Try to reframe “cheering” to make it motivating. Every time you hear someone cheer, pick up the pace so you won’t have to listen to them anymore or use the cheering as a cue to refocus on your race rather than worrying about the people on the sidelines.

  1. Best non-ski questionQ:What do you do in your free time?

A: I like to get outside as much as possible! Hiking with friends, fishing, swimming, kayaking, anything outdoors. Jessie and I also share a love for baking and cooking so that’s a fun way to unwind as well.

Hiking with friends!
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