Blog

Bozeman!

Paddy checks in from the road! 

Summer training has officially begun! Last week we had most of the team down in Stratton for a mini block of training before heading out to Bozeman for Andy and Erika’s wedding. We had an awesome training session coordinated with the junior team back at Ball Mountain Dam doing long skate intervals. We are pretty lucky to have such a strong group to work off of each other all throughout the dryland training season.

This week leading up to the wedding the team is making its way out to Bozeman, Montana. We are all looking forward to the big event and getting in some good adventures around Bozeman during the week. I am somewhat overwhelmed with the number of epic running and hiking options right out the door. On Tuesday morning those of us in town coordinated a skate roller ski with Coach Caldwell of the West, Austin Caldwell, and the Bridger Ski Foundation Team. It has been really fun to explore new training venues and get to know Bozeman.

Today I ran/hiked up Sacagawea and Hardscrabble Peaks in the Bridger Range. It was so fun to get up high in the mountains just after a short drive. There’s still lots of snow up there! Gearing up for more expeditions later this week, stay tuned for wedding updates!

Group training gets the best results

Jessie shares some awesome workouts the team has been up to this week. 

I love getting to train with such a motivated and driven group of athletes! Having a strong team to train with means that everyone has a chance to push themselves to be better every day by finding someone to learn from. We’re all good at very different aspects of ski racing. Some days you find yourself leading the group intervals, and other days you find yourself drafting off your teammates and doing your best to pick up on their technique and copy the things they do well. And this give-and-take makes the entire group get much faster, quicker!

The group right off the line (photo by Sverre Caldwell)

This week we have had some really great quality workouts, including a lot of Level 3 skating on tuesday and the uphill run test on thursday. We saw a lot of PR’s and some of us found new high heart rates for the summer!

Up and up and up! (photo by Sverre Caldwell)

But a workout doesn’t have to be high intensity for there to be a huge benefit from training in a group. On the long, slower roller skis we learn from each other by watching and copying subtle little changes in technique. I like to ask my teammates what they’re thinking about when I see them striding really well, for instance. Learning the “cue words” they tell themselves can really help me too, because you never know when someone’s cue word really sticks in your mind and can work for you!

The girls train working together during skate intervals.

We’re looking forward to one more high-intensity workout and another long slow distance training day before taking a much-needed day to rest and recover!

Back into summer training!

Andy recaps the start of a June training block back in Stratton. 

At Stratton the beginning of June marks the unofficial start of team training for the SMS Elite team. For the past two weeks everyone has moved back into our condos around the village and settled back into daily training with coach Pat.  US Ski Team coach Jason Cork is also living in the Stratton area again this summer so we are lucky to have him around for many of the group workouts as well.

The guys going head to head in speeds. (photo from Coach Pat)

I always really enjoy the training of early summer because although your fitness may not be at its peak and you may not feel your strongest, most of the workouts are fresh and exciting. It’s not hard to get out the door for a rollerski when you have your teammates at your side and you’re not completely sick of the roads yet. Long rollerskis can actually be pretty enjoyable in this area with the low traffic and smooth pavement and the trails have been in great shape for running and bursting with green color.

 

Some of the more exciting workouts of our first weeks back together are made up of testing workouts. Here at SMS we have two main training test we use throughout the year, the double-pole test and the uphill run test. Each test is fairly simple to run and are usually done with the club skiers and the elite team and give us an easy measuring tool to use throughout the year. We might do each test 3-4 times per summer.

The girls doing their drop-in speed training (photo by Coach Pat)

On Thursday we kicked things off with the double-pole. The test is done just down the street from SMS on a rolling uphill road taking 3.5 to 4.5 minutes and needless to say it’s a lung burner… and an arm burner, back burner, and shoulder burner. Basically everything hurts by the end and it can be especially tough this time of year since most of us have not done any seriously hard efforts since the end of the season.  I’ve even been knows to dish out a few barfies on the pavement after such a shock to the system.

 

I don’t believe we had any breakthrough PR’s on Thursday with the elite team but we all had fun putting down one hard effort to start the training year and set the bar for further improvement. At the end of the day that’s what these test are best used for and why we do them. Not to compare times with one another or to take too seriously, but to show us how we can individually improve throughout the summer. With more specific strength workouts, more hours spent double poling, and more technique work its actually really cool as an athlete to see your testing times improve throughout the prep period.

Getting after the double pole (photo by Coach Pat)

Next up will be the Uphill run test which is a 3ish K all uphill run which takes the leaders about 12 minutes.  Again it’s one of those things that we would like to see steadily improve as we do more hard running and more L4 intensity throughout the summer. But for now we just have to step up, put the hammer down, and see how it goes. Check back to see who gets their PR’s!

Jessie’s spring break recap

Hey there ski fans! Jessie checking in from spring break. This is a longer post but if you’re ready for an interesting read with tons of photos, buckle up for the Hawaii trip recap!
When I was in 1st grade, I met Danielle Mangine. We’ve been friends ever since. And although I don’t get to see her or any of my friends back in Minnesota as often as I would like, it’s one of those friendships that just picks right back up from where we left off the last time we saw each other! Danielle is a “yes” person who never turns down a chance for an adventure, which is one of the reasons she’s an awesome travel buddy. So when I called her up in January asking if she wanted to fly to Hawaii for a week of hiking, surfing, and relaxing on the beach (yes, I actually DID use the word “relaxing”!) she said “yes” right away!
Adventure buddies!
With a few months to plan, we got our flights, picked out our AirBnb stay, and then because I’m a nerd I read an entire guidebook cover to cover so we could plot out the best adventures to be found on Oahu. And boy, let me tell you, we packed a lot into that week!
Welcome to Oahu!
We started off with Makaha Beach. This would later be a really controversial spot for us, but I’ll tell you that story when I get to it later in the week. For now, the beach was amazing! We saw huge shore break with waves that crashed up bigger than me (run away! run away!) and we saw a super cute little turtle just chilling and surfing the waves, “Finding Nemo” style. If he could talk, he would have been one chill little dude.
Me, goofing around in the waves.
We then headed to Kaena Point, the North-Western most tip of the island. We saw cool little tide pools, huge waves, a sea arch and a blowhole that made a really funny whistling sound when the waves and wind hit it just right!
Danielle on Kaena point!
What better place to field-test my Podiumwear training tank?
Danielle exploring the tide pools on Kaena Point.
The next day, we drove up and down the famous North Shore. Why is it famous, you ask? Because SURFERS LOVE IT! We did, too. We saw the famous Banzai Pipeline where the waves, sure enough, were forming perfect barrels. We saw the beaches where waves in the winter months get up to 20 feet high (yikes!) but they were calm the day we went there. I jumped off the rocks at Waimea Beach, which was super fun and then got turned head over heels body surfing in the huge shore break. We met a big turtle at, (you’ll love this): Turtle Beach. Well named. Then in the afternoon I rented a board and surfed until my arms were sore and I couldn’t paddle fast enough anymore. Also, because I got distracted by some turtles popping their heads up. Those little buggers really are the cutest things ever.
Me, doing a little cliff jumping!
Sleepy turtle. (and protected, so don’t disturb!)
Getting ready to go surf some smaller waves on the North Shore (not going to pretend I can handle anything above 3 feet!)
Then we saw the famous Hanauma Bay and snorkeled from one end to the other, and I loved all the fish I got to see!
Danielle and I at Hanauma Bay!
However…the biggest thing that gets me about Hanauma Bay is that before you’re allowed to enter you have to watch a really cool video about preserving marine life. It’s not hard, you only have one rule: DON’T TOUCH ANYTHING. If you step on or touch the coral you can kill it, which means the fish lose their home and bam! The reef is not as magical anymore. Don’t touch the turtles either- they’re protected and also don’t want to be harassed (I mean, hey, I wouldn’t like being poked either). But what do people do? They STAND ON THE CORAL! This drove me slightly nuts, because most people shouldn’t be that stupid or selfish to kill a reef just for the sake of a cool selfie. Just find a patch of sand to stand on when you need to take a photo or adjust your mask. Or suck it up and wear a life jacket so you don’t have to stand when you get tired swimming. Ok, preacher mode turned back off now. But now, should you ever go snorkeling, you know not to touch anything and we can all still be friends. 🙂
Danielle crossing a stream on our hike
So much beautiful green! Which is probably why it was raining.
After we stopped for lunch and enjoyed a picture-perfect beach on the east side, it started to rain and we went for a hike anyways in search of a waterfall. The trail was unmarked and covered in mud, and after wandering around in the jungle-like forest we finally headed back to the car, without a waterfall but happily tired from our hike and loving the vines and ferns we got to see. Since we were sweaty and super gross, we went right to the epicenter of people: Waikiki Beach. I’m really glad we were renting a room on the west side because staying in this super busy city would have been a little overwhelming for me (thank goodness Danielle is more city-savvy than I am and could direct me through the traffic!). We had hilarious beach-bum moments as we used the outdoor showers to scrub the mud off and changed in a bathroom stall into our dresses, but then we blended in pretty darn well for the fireworks show and dinner afterwards!
Fireworks over Waikiki
The next day was both the most amazing day of the trip…and the worst (that night). We really wanted to see and hike the Haiku Stairs, which were built during the war up to a huge satellite tower on top of a mountain that overlooks pretty much half of the island. While originally wooden ladders strung up a ridge, they were rebuilt as sturdy metal ones. But the tricky thing is…the stairs are now illegal, with a fine apparently over 2,000 if you get caught. So, I think I’m supposed to say this for liability sake: I’m NOT telling you to go do this hike, and I’m officially not recommending it. Wink, wink. The hike was amazing.
Danielle and I about 1/3 of the way up!
One of the rope sections. That rope came in handy as the mud could get a little slippery.
Doing some steeper hiking
We hiked up the backside, in the Moanaula Valley. It was 5 miles to the top, and a lot of epic climbing up the ridge line. In many places, ropes were strung up as you couldn’t have made it up the steep mud and dirt on just your feet! The flowers and plants were amazing and most of the time it smelled like perfume since it rains so much that it was impossibly lush. Even more amazing: I didn’t get a single mosquito bite! Unlike the plants, however, I didn’t smell that great so maybe that was what did it. 😉
Danielle on one of the coolest rope sections up the ridge!
When we got to the tower at the top, it was an incredible view. We have photos, but that somehow never does a place justice. If you want proof of how amazing it is, you’ll probably have to go hike it. Oops, I wasn’t supposed to say that!!! Remember: I’m officially not encouraging people to hike the illegal stairs.
Panorama of the top!
Danielle and I at the top of the stairs!
While we were originally planning to hike down the way we came, we met some locals at the top who assured us that the guard would only lecture us at most and that it “wasn’t even THAT illegal anymore. It used to be bad, but not now”. We decided to risk it and took the amazing and crazy 3,920 stairs down. My calves still don’t like me for it.
At the top of the stairs, the steep sections look like a roller coaster drop-off!
Ready to go down!
A short few sections were flat…and it looked like you were about to run off the edge of the earth. 
…and other parts looked a little “Indiana-Jones-ish”.
Nearing the bottom, we were super ready to take off running after the last stair and, with the help of satellite GPS, find our way out of the bamboo forest into a nearby neighborhood (also per recommendation by the locals). But to our amazement the guard thew us a peace sign and winked, and we scurried out of there, our faces bright red. We didn’t look back.
Some amazingly beautiful shore break – it was a lot taller than I was!
After catching an Uber back to our car, we drove back to Makaha Beach (remember? Surfing turtle place?) to rinse off in the ocean and relax before dinner. We locked our wallets and anything valuable in the trunk, completely out of sight, (thinking it would be safer than having it on the beach when we were swimming) and while I came back to the car to check on it before the sun started to go down, we returned an hour later, while it was still light out. The drivers side window had been smashed and the trunk popped open, with both our wallets gone. This was a serious dent in our vacation. Without getting too far into it, everything is ok now: we have the police on it, they found video of the woman trying to use my credit cards (this woman had probably been watching us pull up to the beach and targeted us because we are obviously not locals), our cards were cancelled and while she stole some clothes and things as well, we didn’t lose things we can’t live without and nobody got hurt. What we DID lose, however, was our peace of mind and trust in the locals, which is a huge shame. Every time we parked the car after that, we cleaned it out entirely and never touched the trunk in case people watching thought we were locking valuables away. We didn’t trust people like I always do, and that bothered me that our vacation had a slightly different color to it for the last few days. We still enjoyed it, and didn’t let it ruin our time there, but it was different. I’m not telling you this for your sympathy (or for your blame in having left anything in the car), but I AM telling you this so if you go on vacation remember that just because you’re as happy as you’ve ever been, there are sometimes people who are bad people and target tourists, and that just plain sucks!
The sunset right before we left.
The next days after many, MANY hours on the phone trying to figure everything out with credit cards and such, we still got to hike Diamond Head Crater and see Pearl Harbor. The Arizona Memorial was extremely powerful and it was so humbling and moving to see the museum and learn everything about what happened there. I was really grateful for the opportunity to go see this, and Danielle felt the same way.
Top of Diamond Head overlooking Waikiki
After Danielle flew home, I had the next morning to spend before my flight so I hiked to Manoa Falls to see the beautiful 100ft waterfall (and got totally soaked in a really fun rainstorm). Then I went back to Waikiki Beach (the only place I felt safe parking my car in a secure parking garage) and spent my last few hours before I flew home on a surfboard!
Danielle “battling the weekday crowds” at our last beach stop together!
Hiking in Manoa valley was so beautiful!
The 100 foot tall waterfall was really cool
I got soaked in a rainstorm while hiking through the bamboo forest!
When I got home the next morning at 6:15am, I had 30 hours to spend in Minnesota before my flight to spend time with my boyfriend in Boston (finally! YAY!). While I was slightly less excited to finish filing my taxes, I was thrilled to be headed to my end-of-season party that evening, organized by Kris Hansen and my wonderful parents! Huge thanks to Slumberland for hosting the event, and to Salomon, Podiumwear and Swix for providing really cool door prizes…including a new pair of carbon skis – wow!
Visiting with the next up-and-coming skiers! (photo by Bruce with SkinnySki)
Giving a presentation on the winter and what it’s like to be racing on the road. (photo by Bruce with SkinnySki)
It was so fun for me to see my home ski community after being gone all winter, to get to meet new people and have a chance to share photos and stories from my year on the road. Thanks to everyone for coming out and sharing your enthusiasm for this sport we all love!

Fairbanks feelings…

Here we are, in sunny and cold Fairbanks, Alaska, ready for the last 4 races of the entire season! The team is excited (especially for the team relay, because of course we are) and everyone has different parts of the week they’re looking forward to and pumped about. Here’s a quick snapshot from the team!

Jessie, Anne, Sophie and Erika showing off the new suits! (photo from Paddy)

Anne: “I’m having so much fun with my fellow food lover Jessie cooking up some tasty treats to fuel us through a big week of racing!”

Paddy: “This is my first time in Alaska – it has been really fun to explore somewhere new and see the ski culture and history here in Fairbanks.”

Erika doing a little ski testing at the stadium!

Jessie: “It’s so fun for me to get to be with my SMS family again and hang out cooking, doing yoga, enjoying the sunshine and catching up in between races!”

Coach Pat testing the last of the skis the day before the skiathlon.

Sophie: “This is my first time to Fairbanks and so far it hasn’t disappointed! It’s cold, but by race time the temperatures have warmed and the sun is shining bright. The race trails are awesome and I’m excited to finish off the season with my SMS teammates.”

Andy: “The weirdest thing thats happened so far? I got sick the day before the first race… thats actually not that weird because it happens all the time at Spring Nationals. It’s a pain in my ass {butt}, but at least I will be able to work on my cheering skills for a few days.”

Erika: “I’m really looking forward to the team relay. We’ve been runner up too many times, this year we can win”

Simi: “It’s great to be in beautiful Alaska for our last races of the season. They’ve had a great snow year up here in Fairbanks, the skiing is probably the best we’ve had all year, and finally being able to spend time together as the SMS family is a great way to end the season. I think everyone up here wants to race fast this week, but the vibe is still one of celebration at the end of a long season and to be able to hang out with so many people in the US xc ski community is an opportunity we only get once a year, so we’re all pretty psyched for that.”

Ben: ”     “.

End in Sight (Sophie’s Update)

I’m currently sitting in the Chicago Airport on my way to Spring Series in Fairbanks, Alaska. The last few weeks have been a whirlwind of travel and racing and I’m excited to be finishing up the season with my SMS Elite teammates in Alaska. Now back to the last few weeks…

Drammen Sprint qualifier (photo: Toko US/Nordic Focus)

After World Champs we flew to Oslo for the Drammen city sprint. The Drammen sprint is one I’ve really struggled with in the past. It’s a very gradual classic sprint course that favors power skiers and my first few years racing it, I wasn’t even close to qualifying. Last year was my first year qualifying and this year I was psyched to qualify again and make it through to the semis, ending up 9th on the day. It ended up being one of my better sprints of the year, but I know there is still some work to be done on my power striding. It’s an amazing atmosphere in Drammen and I’m happy to feel like I’ve begun to figure this course out!

Another day, another plane

The day after Drammen, a big group of us flew back to the U.S. in order to have a few days at home before World Cup Finals in Quebec City. This is the second year in a row that we’ve ended the season in Quebec City and being able to spend some time at home beforehand is one of the many reasons that makes races in Quebec awesome. There wasn’t a ton of snow at home, but we got a few inches and some cold weather, which left us with just enough snow to do some fun tours around home. I was mostly resting and recovering from racing and jet lag, but it was nice to get out on some of the trails I grew up skiing on. Wild Wings is the nordic center right next to my house and one of my favorite places to ski in the world, so I can always find my happy place on those trails.

Bernie doing some indoor sunbathing when it was freezing outside

 

Skiing at Wild Wings!

 

Back with the kitties! This is Leroy, the king.

On Tuesday we drove up to Quebec City. It happened to be the day of the huge snow storm, so we got an early start in an attempt to race the storm. The first few hours of driving were a little sketchy, but by the time we got to Canada, it was clear sailing. We woke up to winter the next day in Quebec City and began to prepare for the last weekend of World Cup racing. The race schedule for the weekend was a skate sprint on Friday, classic 10km mass start on Saturday, and a skate 10k pursuit start on Sunday. I was looking forward to all of the races because I haven’t done much distance racing this year, and it was a great opportunity to hop in a couple of them.  During my sprint quarterfinal, I was taken out on the final corner by a racer who moved in over my skis. It was a bummer because I felt like I was in a good position to move onto the semis. I’ve had a lot of falls this year and I’m not really sure why, but I’m ready to stay on my feet in sprints next year! It was really cool to see my teammate, Julia, qualify for the heats in her first ever World Cup and have Rosie qualify for her first World Cup sprint heats. Simi had an awesome day and just narrowly missed the podium, finishing 4th for the day. The following two days I felt good for the distance races and had a blast skiing with some teammates and racers from other nations. It was a really fun way to end the season. We had so many U.S. fans come up to cheer us on and make us feel like superstars as they screamed our names all around the course. Quebec City was where I raced my first World Cups back in the fall of 2012, so it’s always going to be a special place for me to race. The venue is amazing and I hope we go back soon!

 

Pretty special to have two of my grandparents, Grandpa and Twinkle, at the races in Quebec!

 

World cup season out! (Gretchen Powers photo)

 

Racing in the skate pursuit (Skinny Skis photo)

 

Teammate hugs with Erika. Psyched for this girl racing her first World Cups! (photo: Dustin Satloff)

 

Testing skis with Matt (photo: Reese Brown)

 

Sodie special! These little girls, Sophie and Sadie, are some of our biggest fans and we hope they can be the future Sodie duo (photo: Gretchen Powers)

So the World Cup season has ended, and we have four more races this coming week. The schedule is a skiathlon on Monday, skate sprint on Wednesday, club relay on Friday, and 30 skate on Sunday. That’s a lot of racing, but the end is in sight and I’m looking forward to hammering this week and then enjoying some April adventures. Thanks for following!

Getting ready for Quebec World Cups!

Erika shares her past few weeks

Reporting live: Erika’s world champs re-cap. I thought I’d share World Champs from the other side. What it’s like watching World Champs on the computer screen…the drama, the excitement, the nerves. A different side of racing and one you might not be so familiar with. I’m totally kidding. But if you can’t tell I may be losing it a bit after spending a few weeks on my own in Craftsbury, Vermont. To be fair I haven’t been completely alone. After low snow, rain and warm temps forced a cancellation of the American Birkebeiner most of the SMS domestic squad headed east to Craftsbury, home of the infamous snowmaking wizards who manage to make skiing possible in any weather.

Training with Liz Guiney GRP

I headed to Craftsbury to bide my time in skier purgatory, caught in limbo while waiting to hear where I would race next. Unfortunately I had found myself on the bubble for both OPA Cup trips and the Canadian World Cups and my fate was to be determined by a series of other people’s races. Note to future self: don’t be on the bubble.  Fortunately I had a great place to stay (Thank you Elizabeth and Zander!) and great skiing almost out the door so I focused most of my energy on logging good training sessions and tried not to think too far into the future. Last Saturday I found out that I qualified to race in World Cup finals in Quebec City, Canada and I could not be more thrilled. I’m on cloud nine…CLOUD NINE (for all you bachelor fans out there).  The invitation to race was followed by 3 days alone in Craftsbury Vermont where I enjoyed great skiing during the day and some solo karaoke sessions by night. When in a house by yourself, solo karaoke is always a good idea.

Snowmaking wizards hard at work
Post intervals with Kait, Anne and Liz

Although I may have started talking to squirrels once my teammates left (Paddy to Lyme, Julia to JOs, Pat to Stratton, Ben and Annie to Europe), I was fortunate to train with the Craftsbury Green Team during the day. I love my SMS teammates but it is rather refreshing to jump in with people you literally never train with and experience a whole new set of warm-ups, rituals, and ski styles. Annie and Julia and I train well together but I also know where Annie’s going to push the pace in intervals and where Julia is going to stride it out on a long distance ski. Skiing with the green team was like joining a new sorority (a really fit one). Everything was new, including the coach (thanks Pepa), the structure of the workouts and the strengths of each skier. I learned to push the V2 skiing behind Caitlin Patterson and lengthen the double pole chasing down Liz Guiney. I practiced jumping off the line with Kaitlyn Miller and jump skating behind Ida.  We are all getting ready to crush some ski races up in Quebec and had fun pushing each other in workouts as we prep to race the best in the world next weekend!

Not much snow but pretty pretty
So Vermonty

On Friday much of my team (finally) returned to Craftsbury and the house is in full buzz mode as we gear up for Quebec next week. Check in for updates from the team and follow along as we compete at World Cup Finals! I will for sure be the one jumping up and down to see Marit Bjoergen and casually obsessing over my first official World Cup bib. It’s the little things.

Ciao for now,

Erika

Simi’s World Champs account

It always goes by faster than it seems it’s going to. Maybe that’s why the seven years I’ve been living life on the road racing across the other side of the globe feels like one long adventure instead of individual chapters with each having a starting page and an ending page. But as far as I can tell, that’s a good sign. I’m confident there are plenty of professions and careers out there where each hour seems to feel like three and you’re just trying to make it to 5 p.m. on Friday. I recognize how lucky I am to be waking up in a new country every Tuesday, worrying about which 1 pair of 40 pairs of skis is going to be fastest on race day, and catching up on three weeks of missing data in my training log because I’ve got a slight problem with procrastination.

Racing in the team sprint (Getty Images)

As I look back on how quickly this season has passed, it’s easiest to remember (but also trying to easily forget) the crescendo of the race year. Last weekend marked the end of World Championships in Lahti, Finland. These 6 races were by far the most important part of the season for us. For me, personally, I was focusing on the individual skate sprint, which took place on the first day of competition at the championships. Leading up to World’s, I was happy with how my season had gone but I knew that my training and preparations (and the many races that preceded World’s) were all different parts of the equation that would yield being on my A Game for the championships. I had put in the work, I had been patient, I had stayed healthy for most of the year, and I was feeling more confident in my fitness leading up to World’s than I had been all season. Things were looking good. Unfortunately, conditions were slightly less than ideal for the sprint, with about 6 inches of fresh, slow snow blanketing the race venue the night before the sprint. This was especially tough for me as I am one of the bigger skiers in the World Cup field and I generally excel when conditions are hard and fast. I felt decent for the qualifier, placing 11th, but I knew that it wasn’t going to be a day for me when everything just kind of ‘clicks’ and I had to fight with everything I had in a very different way than I am used to when the snow is fast and firm. In my quarterfinal, I hooked a tip in the fresh powder to the side of the skied-in track on the longest and fastest downhill into the stadium before the finish. Before I even had time to feel sorry for myself, I found myself sliding on my face at 20 mph, grinding to a stop as everyone else behind me in my heat shot by me into the finish stretch. Needless to say, it’s one of those race days I want to forget. But I will also undoubtedly remember it for the rest of my life because I was fortunate enough to be on the sidelines for the rest of the day to watch history being made as Kikkan, Jessie, and Sophie all skied in the final women’s heat. Our team walked away with Jessie scoring 2nd, Kikkan notching 3rd, and Soph fighting incredibly hard throughout one of the toughest but best days our team has ever had, coming in 6th in the world.

Qualifying for the sprint rounds (Getty Images)

The sprint at World’s was frustrating and it left me with a feeling of wanting so much more. But as cliché as it is, that’s ski racing. That’s part of it. It won’t be the last time in my life that I’ll be disappointed by the outcome of something that I work incredibly hard towards. But that experience has lit a fire in me that will continue to burn for many months and years to come.

We’ll finish out the World Cup season next weekend (I’m on a plane back to the U.S. as I type this!) in Quebec, and I am incredibly excited for it. It feels like having World Cup finals back on our home turf is the decadent desert served after a five course meal that was satisfying and filling, but the main course wasn’t exactly what had I ordered. Our SMS team racing in the WC finals will include myself, Andy, Sophie, Jessie, Paddy, and Erika, and between all of us we’ll have a small army of fans and family members from across the country making the trek up to the banks of the Saint Lawrence yelling for us as we put an exclamation point on the end of a great season. Can’t wait to see you all there.

 

World Champs recap

Sophie recaps the team’s experience at World Champs! 

We just finished the most successful World Champs the U.S. Ski Team has ever had and our SMS Elite team was a big part of that group! If there’s one word I can use to describe the experience, it is INSPIRING. The first race of World Champs was the skate sprint and we had six athletes qualify for the rounds. Four of those athletes were SMS Elite teamers Andy, Simi, Jessie and me. Sim had an unfortunate crash, but Jessie and I made it onto the semis and before we knew it, we were on the start line of the World Champs A Final with our teammate, Kikkan. Yep! Three out of the six women in the final were from the U.S.. That was pretty neat. Jessie and Kikkan went on to place 2nd and 3rd and I was 6th. It was an incredible day for U.S. skiing.

Sophie qualifying for the sprint (Getty Images photo)

We continued to have a strong championships with Sadie and Jessie teaming up for 3rd in the team sprint, Simi and Erik placing 5th in the team sprint, our women’s relay team getting 4th, and Jessie getting 5th in the 30km skate race. I think it’s safe to say that our team is riding a high right now and we plan on keeping it rolling through the rest of the season.

Kikkan and Jessie ski the flag down the finishing stretch (photo: John Lazenby)

We have a city sprint in Drammen, Norway tomorrow and then the four of us will be flying home for a few days to prepare for World Cup Finals in Quebec City. There, we will be joined by a handful of our SMS Elite teammates and get to put on a show in front of our home crowd. We hope to see you in Quebec!!

These dorks want to see you in Quebec cheering!

Julia’s Camp Craftsbury Update

After much time spent on the road, I decided to head home early after the Birkie team sprints were cancelled due to lack of snow. Ironically enough, I was surprised by 73 degree weather at home in the Boston area, but the snow held out for the few days I was home. I enjoyed sports bra skiing in the sun while getting my tan on (yes, I did get a pole strap tan line on my hand)! I also got to ski with a former teammate of mine at the Windblown Cross Country Ski Area, one of my favorite places to ski growing up.

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Skiing with Corey Stock at Windblown in a sports bra…in February!

I made a last minute decision to jump in the annual Bogburn race, a 7km ski race through the woods of Vermont on a single-track trail. It was so fun to race in a low key, incredibly fun adventure ski race that crossed rivers and slalomed through the woods. The technical course made for perfect agility practice. After the race, a few Dartmouth Alumni’s from the ski team and my parents and I went for another lap because the skiing was unlike anything we ever get to ski. Race courses are becoming more like highway skiing every year so a windy course that you can’t actually memorize is quite refreshing!

IMG_0011.jpegSkiing with Dartmouth skiers during our cool down on the single-track trail.

Once the snow had quickly melted away at home, I headed up to Craftsbury where our team reunited after our Midwest trip. Even after a period of warm weather and rain, Craftsbury still had the full 5km race loop and 12km of skiing total, allowing our team to get in a great training block on some sweet terrain. During the season it is often hard to get in any training because we are racing so often, but this was the perfect opportunity for the team to have good skiing conditions to work on technique and other things without having to cut workouts short because of races. The team is still training in Craftsbury until everyone splits their ways, either going to Europe for OPA Cups or to Canada for World Cup Finals.  I just arrived in Lake Placid, NY for Junior Nationals to get some racing in before World Cup Finals in Quebec, Canada just two short weeks away!

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Erika is excited to be back in Craftsbury!

DSC_2951.jpegVermont sunset.