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Community Engagement

*Katharine checking in.

As an athlete, one of my favorite parts is giving back to the community and especially having the privilege of acting as a mentor for local kids. Luckily for me I have had lots of opportunities to do that lately! 

This summer our team has been making a concerted effort to host more “open” practices. In past years we did a lot of various practices that community members and kids were invited to join in on. Last year we weren’t able to do any because we were trying to maintain a nice tight COVID bubble. Since vaccines have become available and we all feel safe doing so, this summer has been all about making up for lost time! In the last two weeks we hosted a community mountain bike clinic, a roller ski agility session, an open bounding session and a group run/hike! These opportunities are always a blast because we get to connect in a meaningful way with the people in the community who support us. It truly means a lot to the team. 

Another highlight of the past few weeks for me was getting to go for a beautiful mountain hike with some close family friends from Washington. It has been four years since I last got to see them!

With Neva and Sisu, my good friends from Mazama, Washington on top of Mount Abe. I love going for hikes with kids who remind me to slow down and really get a good look at all the slugs on the trail. 

I have also, for the past three years, worked with Little Bellas as a mentor. Little Bellas, for those who don’t know, is all about getting more girls on mountain bikes. Two years ago I took the plunge and shouldered the responsibility of running a chapter based out of Lebanon, NH. That means handling all the logistics of the program and planning the practices which occur on Monday nights all summer. It involves quite a bit of year-round work and planning but is incredibly gratifying during the summer months. 

Every time I get to ride with this awesome group I leave feeling energized and inspired, ready to take on the week!

At our most recent session, we rode our bikes for an hour and a half and then used the last half hour of our time to work on learning how to properly care for our bikes after a mucky ride! 

Things like open community sessions with the SMS team, hikes with friends and my Monday afternoons on the bike with kids in Lebanon are what give me the energy and happiness-power that it takes to get through lots of hard intervals. Don’t worry, I’ve been doing plenty of that too!

Tired But Happy About It

*Jessie checking in.

Hello everyone! 
Well, we have some sore and tired bodies, but overall happy campers on the squad. Having just wrapped up a bigger two week block, and finished yesterday with some hard uphill skating intervals, I can safely say that everyone is working hard and making progress. It’s always very inspiring to me to see my teammates grinding away at their goals and getting faster and faster throughout the year! 


I don’t have a photo because silly me, I forgot, but please join us in welcoming Max Nelson to our summer training team! Max is joining us from Minnesota (yes, we are slowly taking over the world with warm hugs and baked goods) and he’s here for a two week training block. We are honored to host him! 


We also had the joy of guest coaching many awesome young skiers at our open skate roller ski clinic this past Wednesday! Despite a dismal forecast and some rain, everyone had an awesome attitude and we had fun going through the agility course. And then, of course, we just HAD to end with sprints and starting lines that got progressively sillier and sillier. By the end, you had to start lying down on your back with no poles, flip over, do 5 pushups then start racing. Let me tell you, I saw some impressively fast turnovers! Thank you to everyone who came out to meet the team and train with us. It’s always fun getting to see more of the ski community! 

The SMST2 girls team, showing off our new team sports bras from Indura! Jessie, Alayna, Lina, Julia, Katharine. (Photo from Bill)

In between working hard, the girls of the team got together for a little fun evening in the Stratton Village. Keeping that happy life balance! 

Lina and I showing off our new summer dresses. We so fancy! (Photo from Julia)

I’m finally joining the gravel bike train and I’m SO on board with it now! Julia took Lina and I on a beautiful loop the other morning and I love having a non-impact mode of training that is still fun and challenging. It’s a nice thing to mix into all of the roller skiing and running! 

On a super fun gravel (and road) bike ride with Lina and Julia!

After so much rain the past few weeks, I was simply stunned on a sunny afternoon run up to the Stratton Fire Tower. It was like running through an enchanted fairy land with all the moss and ferns! So much green. I loved it. The views from the top weren’t too shabby, either! 

I think it’s awesome how we balance out big training efforts with rest and recovery – you can’t have one without the other! So now we’re reaching out for all the gains we’re going to get once we recover from the past two weeks. Body care, big sleeps, great hydration habits…here we go!

I always knew I talked with my hands, but this is just…a lot. Photo and “Ricky Bobby” moment captured by Julia.

Sunday Gap Ride

*Will checking in.

Doooooof well that was a day and a half of biking! For our Sunday distance workout, we got a group of guys to go for a gap ride around central Vermont. After 110 miles including four of the steepest mountain passes in Vermont, the boys are feeling absolutely cooked and ready for a day off. 

For those who know a little Vermont geography, we did Brandon gap, Middlebury gap, Lincoln gap, and Appalachian gap (in that order.) Lincoln gap happens to contain the steepest paved mile of road on the entire continent of North America, so that was a rough one to hit at mile 70! When biking up Lincoln, you need to be in your smallest gear and push very hard to even move. It’s so steep that you must lean forward on your bike to avoid tipping over backward. Thankfully, Tiffany Teaford (the mom of Wyatt, who rode with us) was in the area, and surprised us at the top of Lincoln with some emergency snacks (pictured below). 

For anyone in Vermont looking for a cool adventure, I would recommend any one of these gaps (or all of them, if you’re up for it!) And if you enjoy pain and hate when their legs feel good, you can even add on a bonus two gaps at the end (Roxbury gap and Rochester gap) for a total of 6 gaps. Zander and I did this last year, and you won’t catch me doing it ever again 🙂

From grinding up the steepest hill in America to nuking back down at over 60 miles per hour, it was a very fun (and exhausting) day. I love this kind of workout because it helps build mental toughness as an individual, and more importantly, as a team.

Tasty Summer Baking Recipes

*Lina checking in.

Hi there! Lina here with my first blog post on the SMS team page! After moving down to southern Vermont from Burlington earlier this spring I’ve already been living in Stratton for 7 weeks now! The summer is flying by and I have been enjoying exploring lots of new places. One of my favorite parts of training in Stratton is the amazing roller skiing around the area.

Striding and gliding on the great rollerskiing terrain with the team.

We have been busy making a lot of yummy recipes, Jessie, Alayna and I tag-teamed making a wedding cake for Ian and his fiancé, Kameron who are getting married this weekend! The team got together and had a little wedding send off party for them. The cake was super tasty, if you are looking for a delicious, summer cake recipe enjoy this one:

https://www.halfbakedharvest.com/bursting-blueberry-lemon-layer-cake/


I am currently living with Alayna and Julia which has been great, Alayna has been putting her baking skills to use and made super yummy post workout blackbean muffins.

Recipe here: https://www.ambitiouskitchen.com/gluten-free-flourless-black-bean-brownie-muffins/


The last recipe that I think is worth sharing is a pistachio cardamom rose loaf. Perfect for a rainy day baking project. I found the color combination of this one particularly interesting and could not resist giving it a try!

https://nadiashealthykitchen.com/pistachio-cardamom-rose-loaf/

Tasty pistachio cardamom noms 🙂

Hope one (or all) of these recipes find their way to your kitchen;) Happy summer training and cooking!

Summer Mini Trips

Alayna checking in.

Compared to last year, this summer is going by in a whirlwind! I’ve been in Stratton for just over a month now and I feel like I haven’t had a minute to sit still. We’ve have team BBQ’s, birthday parties, board meetings, and graduation and wedding celebrations. It’s been busy! Some of the highlights for me have included a surprise birthday party that the girls threw for me. I’m actually pretty embarrassed at how oblivious I was to their planning, but they really surprised me with an amazing oreo cake! Also, we got up to the Whites right away to run the Presi Traverse, which was a super fun adventure. 

Not the most glorious day in the Whites, but it sure was a fun first adventure of the summer!
Back to the daily grind on the remote roads through small Vermont towns.

My most exciting mini-trip included a 24 hour stint in northern Vermont for a 25k Ultra Trail running race at the Trapp Family Lodge. Last year, we didn’t have many opportunities to jump into races like this and I really missed them. I enjoy running as part of my ski training and have fun getting into the race mindset during the summer months when there are super low stakes. The race in Stowe was definitely hard, climbing up and down parts of Mt. Mansfield, but I’m excited to incorporate more of these New England running races into my summer as we go forward. 

Booked it back to Stratton to celebrate a Swedish Midsommer evening after running 25k in Stowe.

My most recent trip took me up to Lyme, NH for a 4th of July celebration. Julia, Lina and I met up with a gaggle of college girlfriends that were stoked to be reunited. These little reunions with friends mean a lot to me and are a huge part of keeping me happy throughout the hot, humid and grinding workouts during the summer. Looking forward to planning more of these mini trips in the next few months!

A perfect summer evening in Lyme surrounded by friends! 🙂

Kicking off the training year!

*Julia checking in here!

The new training year has officially kicked off and our team has had a great early start to the year! Most of the team was able to start off the new training year with skiing on snow in Bend, Oregon for a few weeks. Nothing beats skiing on snow to develop good technique habits before diving back into a long summer and fall of rollerskiing. After many kilometers skied in Bend, our team made it back to the East just in time for summer to roll around.

Wahooo for back on snow skiing with friends! (PC: Bill Harmeyer)
Alayna, Katharine, and I. (PC: Bill Harmeyer)

Our ENTIRE team gathered for our first team training camp at Green Woodlands, thanks to Bob Green’s generous invitation to have our team stay in the cabins at Greens. This mini training camp gave our team the chance to bond early on and build a great team culture heading into the summer, and of course get to know our new teammate Lina Sutro! We mountain biked LOTS of miles, rollerskied, ran, and spent evenings around the campfire sharing stories and laughs together. Sometimes it is hard for everyone’s busy schedules to line up so it was extra special to have every single team member at camp together having a good time, training hard, working together, and most importantly having fun! Thank you Green Woodlands for hosting us, we had a blast…also for readers out there, Green’s has super fun mountain bike trails, you should definitely check it out if you are in the area and is very beginner friendly and free to everyone.

This year’s SMS T2 Women’s Team!
Lots of beautiful miles biked 🙂
We even got Jessie out on a mountain bike a few times and she crushed it!
Laughing around evening campfires.
More miles of stoke!
And more campfire stories and laughs.
And one more big ride to finish off camp!

Between Bend Camp and Green’s Camp, Katharine and I also graduated college from Dartmouth! I have been reflecting a lot on my last 6 years and I feel so fortunate to be a part of this team. Pat, Sverre, and the whole team have been incredibly supportive of many of us who are pursuing an education while ski racing and I am really thankful that I was supported by my club team the whole way. I know without that support, it would not be where I am today. I knew that at any point I could come to Stratton and join the team for training, but also knew that I was still a part of the team even when I spent some terms away training at Dartmouth. What I find so special about our team is that we truly aim for international excellence and local inspiration, our mission. Our team values extend beyond just ski results, but growth as humans. We aim to have a greater impact in our local community and beyond, whether that is hosting clinics, community outreach, or attending college to become a more educated, informed and well rounded individual who can use their college experiences to have an impact within skiing and beyond. So I just wanted to take the time here to thank my team and its’ supporters for believing in our mission and for allowing us to chase both our athletic and academic dreams!

Katharine and I with the other Dartmouth Skiing graduates.
We did it!

Summer training is back in full swing, so make sure to check the blog regularly for updates from all of our team members!

Season recap – highs and lows of the year!

*Jessie checking in from Boston, and apologies that this is such a looooong post!

That’s a wrap! The 2020-21 season ended on just about the highest note imaginable (with the exception of covid still being a big part of our lives, of course). This was the hardest and most challenging season I think I’ve ever faced, without the ability to see Wade or my family once in the 4 months straight that I was on the road. As a team, we were extremely cautious in our covid protocol, which meant significant challenges in keeping a light and fun team atmosphere without the ability to interact as a group in person. And yet, despite this, we had our most successful season to date, we kept everyone safe and healthy (including residents of the towns we raced in) and still managed to have fun and enjoy the process, at least most of the time.

The team that makes it happen! (photo by Nordic Focus)

Here are the stats from my year:

  • 114 straight days on the road
  • 24 World Cup races
  • 4 World Champs races
  • 1 Tour de Ski win
  • 1 Overall World Cup win
  • 1 Distance World cup win
  • 8 World Cup podiums, 3 of them wins
  • cried about 4 times
  • laughed about 1072 times
  • worried about covid approximately 218 times
  • managed to somehow get about 19 bruises
  • fell off the pull up bar 2 times
This was very special to share with all our staff, and Jason Cork, my longtime coach and tech.

I feel so much gratitude and love towards my team and the companies I partner with that have made this absolute dream of a season come true. There has been tireless work behind the scenes, both on the road and back in the US while we are traveling and racing. We have countless volunteers that keep our bodies together (literally and figuratively). And I have many brands I work with that have, in our partnerships, helped me to become the athlete I am today and allow me the time and space to work with so many incredible causes that I believe in.

The staff that makes the magic. (photo by Nordic Focus)

I’ve been asked a few times in interviews what the best part has been about achieving a lifetime goal of winning the World Cup Overall. Here’s what I think is great about it:

  1. Getting to celebrate it with the team, because you know and I know that this is NOT the kind of thing anyone achieves alone. I sincerely hope all my teammates, coaches, staff and volunteer staff feel ownership in this, because I feel a team ownership whenever I look at these globes.
  2. Having the increased visibility for our sport through the press that these Globes and the Tour de Ski have brought, which I hope creates more opportunities for the next generation of skiers.
  3. Having a bigger platform with which to use my voice to shout about these amazing causes I care so much about: The Emily Program, Share Winter, Protect Our Winters, the WithAll Foundation and Fast and Female.
Honestly just shocked by how heavy the big globe was…and nervous that my exhausted arms were going to drop it! (photo by Nordic Focus)

I will also acknowledge that while it has truly been a team effort, I also had to work very, very hard for a very, very long time to get to the place I am now. This is not the kind of success story that happens quickly, but slowly, over a decade of hard work day in and day out. I have given up things to become the best skier I can be; a normal college experience, time with my family, a normal dating experience and then time with my fiancé, and flexibility. But in return I have gained so much more, and I would forever make these same choices that have shaped my life! I did a lot of growing up on the road surrounded by my teammates and coaches. I gained life experiences by learning about other countries, cultures, and making friends around the world. I learned how to market, well, myself, and then how to work with brands on campaigns I resonate with. I learned how to fail long before I learned how to win. I learned how to use my voice. I learned how to put everything I have towards a goal not knowing if I will achieve it or not, but trusting the process of trying. And in pursuit of trying, I have met the most amazing people from all around the world, and been inspired by them.

Traveling home with the globes was a humorous experience. Julia, Matt and Grover helped me get them home in one piece!

Perhaps most important of all, I ended the season feeling inspired and excited to keep trying. We have work to do. But first…a rest!

So happy to be back home with Wade after 4 months!

I’d like to declare that a season is never just sunshine and rainbows, in the same way that it’s not always raining and terrible. There were many highs in the past year, and also many lows. Luckily, the highs vastly outweighed the lows, and I recognize that I am very fortunate to feel this way…and that I have had a lot of privilege in my life in order to feel this way. What you see on social media is mostly a collection of highs, and even the lows and behind the curtain moments are the ones that you’ve been allowed to see (well, naturally…I still had to select them and post them). Yet it’s often a collection of highs because that’s how I feel about life as a ski racer – it’s a lucky way to be going through life!

Hunter exploring Samedan in the Engadin valley with me!
I very much enjoyed this “custom-fit” doorway in an old church on our run. (photo from Hunter Wonders)

I try to keep it real with you and let you see behind the curtain as much as possible, because when I was a young racer I really wanted to know what life was actually like for professional athletes. One of the things I did struggle with this season was pressure, especially as it became clear that winning the overall and distance titles was a possibility.

Charging out hard to catch my pack for the last race of the season. (photo by Nordic Focus)

I very much like the phrase, “pressure is a privilege”. I used to think “well, that’s stupid, nobody likes to feel pressure”. But I have since revised my opinion. Let me tell you why.

This season I have felt a lot of pressure to be “on” every day, to be doing all the little mundane aspects of being a professional athlete to the best of my ability. I put this pressure on myself, because I like knowing without a doubt that I have always given my best effort. It gives me confidence on every start line, the same way that I like to cross each finish line knowing that I could not have possibly given more. Essentially, my goal is to be the person who gives the most, not necessarily to be the person who wins.

The Engadin valley is a stunningly beautiful area! (photo by Nordic Focus)

I have also felt a lot of pressure to produce results, to fly home with the crystal globes and bring back medals from World Championships. Some of this pressure is internal, and some of it comes from the outside as well. And yet, I have worked so hard my entire life to be in a place where this kind of pressure is placed on my shoulders. I have wanted to earn this kind of pressure – not for the sake of feeling it, but because you only feel that people expect you to bring home results if you’re skiing well enough to gain that kind of expectation in the first place. And so in this way, reframing pressure as a privilege that I have worked a lifetime to carry, is much healthier than feeling it as a crushing weight. That’s not to say I feel pressure in a super duper Wonder-Woman style every day, but I’m working on reframing it…even more so as I head towards this next Olympics. Because let’s face it – whether I want it or not, there will never be less pressure than I feel right now. It’s only going to get better (or worse, depending on my mindset).

Last classic race of the year! (photo by Nordic Focus)

Back to this idea that the year was made up of a series of peaks and valleys – I’d like to share with you, starting from exactly a year ago, some of my high points and low (or just dumb) points from the last year!

Starting with…Brave Enough. After working so hard for a year and a half, having the book published on on the shelves of bookstores for people to read was a big moment for me! My biggest goal with this book was to bring some compassion, understanding and conversation starters for people around the subject of mental health and specifically eating disorders. But I hoped readers would enjoy the racing, travel and training stories as well! It has been humbling to hear the feedback from readers and how this book has impacted them and the conversations they have, and I sincerely hope Brave Enough continues to inspire brave talks through the years.

Whew! It was pretty cool to finally see the hard copy of the thing my co-author Todd and I had spent the last 18 months working on!

And then, of course, the best question I’ve ever been asked in my life! Wade proposed to me last April, and whenever I would get homesick on the road, thinking about how excited I am to get to spend my life with him was the best way to feel happy.

The best day! Wade proposed to me on the side of a mountain on April 11th.

Obviously, covid in general was a low point. Not being able to spend time with my US Ski Team teammates, to have more normal social opportunities with friends, and train on snow from mid-March through mid-November were all bummers.

Less time with my US Ski and Snowboard teammates as well as on-snow time was definitely a low for me (photo from Daily Skier)

Yet with that low came a high – super quality time in Stratton, Vermont with my SMST2 team, and very solid, consistent training in a great place!

Our requisite “awkward family photo” from our summer of living together! Wade, me and Alayna!
Alayna, my summer roommate and awesome SMST2 teammate!

Because we were in Stratton all summer without the added stress of travel days, we took more trips to do cool epic runs than I might normally do! Below, a photo from one of my favorite days, when Wade, Anne, Thomas and I hiked the Presidential Traverse together in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.

One of my favorite days last summer was hiking the Presidential Traverse with Wade, Anne Hart and Thomas Rabon!

….and with the epic runs came a really dumb low point. I sprained my ankle badly on my birthday. Although it did heal remarkably quickly given how bruised and swollen it was, this was still a painful reminder of how easily injuries can derail the best laid plans.

Why yes, that was my foot on August 28th. It was bruised halfway up to my knee and yet somehow not broken, just badly sprained.

Back to the highs here – with consistent training in one place came repeatable time trial efforts, consistent communication with the same coaches every day, and so many opportunities to learn from my teammates!

Crushing the training scene! Sophie and I looking at video during speed training with Cork. (photo by Tom Horrocks)

Another high point from the road – we went sledding. A LOT. I loved it!

Night sledding on Christmas Eve in Seefeld! (photo by Julia)

We also had a nice little break during our pre-Tour de Ski Christmas camp. Hailey Swirbul, Katharine Ogden, Julia Kern, Gus Schumacher and I all stayed together in a great apartment in Seefeld, Austria (AVITA living apartments, in case you need a good recommendation)! We cooked great food, we enjoyed the ability to sit on a couch instead of a hotel bed, we enjoyed being able to be in each other’s company in a group of 5 instead of just 2!

Playing yet another rousing game of “exploding kittens” in our Christmas training camp apartment.

We also enjoyed the spices and hot sauces sent by Gus’s Aunt and Katharine’s Mom!

The Great Christmas Blind Salsa Taste Test…I should mention that Gus volunteered for this, as did Hailey.

Another season high? Seeing my teammates crush it! This came in the form of BIG moments like Rosie’s wins, Hailey’s first podium and Sophie’s podium and it also came in PR’s, first top-10’s, first World Cup starts and first time scoring points (finishing in the top 30 in the World).

Rosie hugs during the Tour! It was so awesome, joyful and inspiring to see her crushing it this season. (photo by Nordic Focus)
The first time I ever got to put on a yellow leader’s bib. This was a big moment for me!

A big high for me was earning the yellow bib and then collecting enough of them to present our wax team and coaches with yellow bibs signed by the team. It’s the kind of gift I’ve always wanted to be able to give, because I needed their help in getting them in the first place!

Matt cheering like only he can up the final climb of the Tour de Ski!

Luckily, I didn’t sustain any serious injuries during the season, but it’s always a potential low point.

Ooops. Ripped up my hand falling on an icy corner. Injuries and the “oopsies” moments are natural lows of being an athlete.

An unexpected high…getting to celebrate Christmas all over again at the start of World Champs! Julia and I decorated our room, just because.

I got SO excited to open the box my family sent for Christmas…2 months later thanks to the mail being so slow! But huge thanks to Nick Hendrickson for getting it to me at World Champs!

Neither a low nor a high, but a strange new part of life…having permission forms, way too many covid test stick-way-too-far-up-your-nose experiences, and slightly stressful border crossings.

Julia waiting for the border crossing guard to confirm our covid test papers.

Something I’ve greatly appreciated over the last few years is having a greater sense of purpose and joy in being able to work hard for and represent causes that I care about! No matter how I race, I have the ability to use my platform for good, and that makes every day a little bit more exciting.

I love this shirt. I also have loved working with Protect Our Winters. (photo from Alayna Sonnesyn)

And then, of course, we have the nice runny noses and rash that can come along with wearing masks all the time. Not a fun side effect, but a necessary thing to do.

…and sometimes you’ve just gotta dress for the covid world outside. Julia and I ready to embrace the elements.

Julia Kern wins best roommate of the year award…and yes, I am biased, because she was my roommate. In normal years we rotate roommates each week, but this year to keep our potential exposure to the absolute minimum we kept our roommates for the season. I very much enjoyed getting to know Julia even better and we created an awesome space in our rooms together!

Posture, posture, posture! Julia making the most out of the “work from home” situation on the road. I was very impressed by her work ethic!

A low for me was not getting the chance to bring my family or Wade over during the year. In years past, having Wade over for Christmas or in the week after the Tour de Ski has been a huge source of joy and happiness, and the same with my family. But we enjoyed many many video calls together and I got to talk with Wade nearly every single day, which was always a highlight of the day for me!

Skyping my family while Wade was visiting…and also getting to see the dogs!
Of all the on-the-road hobbies, I really enjoyed Katharine Ogden’s…she crocheted me a tiny dragon!

A definite low point was the false positive test that kept Sophie and Simi in quarantine for our last week of the World Cup in Switzerland, and meant that we couldn’t see them, or celebrate their retirement from ski racing all together. Soph and Sim mean so much to me, and they have been a huge part of my life these past 10 years! They have inspired me, along with thousands of young athletes across the world. They’ve been amazing teammates, leaders and role models, and personally, my sprinting is much better because I get to follow them around all summer in Stratton! I’m so proud of who they are both on and off the snow, and they, like Sadie, are leaving very big shoes to fill in the team. It is going to be extremely hard without them around, but at the same time, I am very excited to cheer them on in their next steps in life!

A throwback to the day Simi won the Lenzerheide World Cup – and yes, that IS Alex Harvey photobombing in the background. I’m really going to miss having Sim and Soph around!

One last big high point – seeing the beautiful scenery and awe-inspiring ski trails in the places that we raced and trained! I especially enjoyed seeing our last venue in the Engadin Valley, as this was a place I’d never been before but had always had on my bucket list.

Julia and I, crushing the roommate-teammate life together in our last week in Europe! (photo from Julia)

Which brings us back to this spring!

Celebrating the end of a long season! Thank you Salomon for the adorable care package, drinks and glasses! (and yes, that IS a small Christmas tree behind me…Wade left it up so I could get to see it when I got home since I missed having Christmas with him).

I am so excited for time with Wade again, and to just relax, rest and let the season soak in. There’s no pressure to feel great every day, to train any specific way (in fact, I make a conscious effort NOT to train and rest first thing when I come back to avoid any injuries or burnout) and I enjoy this flexibility very much.

Enjoying beach time with Wade in Southie, Boston!

One of the things we’ve enjoyed doing together is home projects. Last spring we made a headboard and sliding barn doors for the bedroom, and this winter while I’ve been gone Wade took on the renovation of the entire bathroom and shower! He made a beautiful shower that was ready when I got back, but I got to help install the doors on it and tile the bathroom floor. I was pretty excited about having something to do that had nothing to do with skiing or exercise of any kind!

Wade mixing up thinset mortar for tiling the bathroom floor.

I have to be honest, there WAS a moment while we were reversing the direction of the bathroom door and really struggling to line up the hinges, where I just laid down on the floor and declared “I HATE this.” We both burst out laughing. But it made me feel better! What can I say? I was in it for the pretty tile, not for the other odds and ends of redoing a bathroom! Luckily Wade is a very patient man, and he had already done all the hardest parts!

Learning how to do the grout on the tile.
Some of our more creative cutting pieces.

And now? It’s time for me to have a little vacation time with Wade. I’m excited to celebrate our first anniversary of being engaged (Is that a thing? Do people do that?) and enjoy some down time together. And when it comes time to fire training back up in May, I’ll be rested, super excited about it, and ready to go!

The Journey

*Julia checking in from Vermont!

As I have been reflecting on this season, I have had such mixed emotions. I am frustrated with how my races went, but incredibly grateful that we even had a race season at all. I am really motivated for next year, but left with a taste of disappointment and worry about not making the same mistakes next season. I am excited for Sophie and Simi to embark on their next phase in life, but incredibly sad that they will not be around next year. I feel like I learned more than any other season this year, but also feel that I have a lot more to learn about racing, training, and myself.

Savoring the last few adventure skis with Sophie ❤

Our team embarked on the journey to Europe, amidst a pandemic, not knowing how the season would play out and here we are, having raced almost a full season, no one contracted Covid, and Jessie brought home the overall and distance globe! This season will definitely be one to remember, but hopefully one we don’t have to experience again in terms of having a pandemic. I have always found that unusual situations are the best learning experiences. In the past, that has meant injuries or illness accidentally taught me about what my body did and didn’t need. This year, I spent the summer and fall training in Stratton full time instead of being at Dartmouth, trying to balance school and skiing. On top of that, we were all navigating unusual situations with Covid, making a unique year in the least.

Psyched to experience a new venue, beautiful Engadin!

What I learned from this year is that something didn’t quite work, but more importantly, I learned how to embrace the journey of being a ski racer even when things aren’t working. To have the opportunity to stand at the start line is something that shouldn’t be taken for granted. No matter how small or big the victories are along the way, they shouldn’t be overlooked and should be celebrated! One of my primary goals this winter was to be a good teammate and roommate, no matter how amazing or poor things were going, because what you can control is what kind of person you want to be. This season reminded me that your value as a person should have nothing to do with your results on paper, but based on your interactions with others no matter what happens. As cliche as it sounds, I really believe that it is all about the journey. Hearing Sophie and Simi reflect on their carrier, many of their fondest memories weren’t race results, but the experiences they shared with others. If you are in ski racing just for the results, you will likely be miserable since only one person can win on a given day and it is really hard to do! The little adventures, experiences, and interactions in between are in the end what you remember. So, this winter I focused on enjoying the journey and making the most out of the opportunities given to me, no matter the results. I explored small towns with my camera and drone, hiked up a random roads, met the local farm animals, went sledding a lot, and savored the little social interactions within the team we could have.

Exploring town.
Hiked up to a church on the hill with KO and Hailey!
Overlooking view of Samedan (Engadin Valley) and part of our 30km point to point race course.
Afternoon team jogs, probably our most social activity on the road this winter.

A large part of the journey was hearing all the cheering and support from home. I can’t express how helpful it is to feel the support from all of you, and how grateful I am to be a part of this community that values all of our team members as people, athletes, and community members. Thank you for your continued support and I look forward to seeing people out on the trails and roads this summer after some rest and recovery at home!

Last race of the season, we made it!
A journey in itself to help Jessie get her globes home in one piece despite mean airline agents..they made it!

End O’ Season

Hey all!

Ian here. Wanted to provide an end-of-season recap and sincerely thank each and every one of you for the support you have provided during this interesting season. With the help of SMST2, I was able to race on the World Cup in Davos, Switzerland as well as Lahti, Finland, and Falun, Sweden. All these international opportunities on the highest level of skiing are valuable experiences that I will bring into the Olympic year as I chase the goal I have had since I was 5 watching the Opening Ceremonies on our 12-inch TV with tin foil bunny ears. 

Someone once said, “you either win, or you learn”. Well, I did a lot of learning this year! I started out my training year early during the COVID quarantine when I should have been recovering from the season before, and kept on pushing my limits throughout the summer and fall. I felt so good training so much and so hard that I probably flew too close to the sun and was unable to access that essential race mode when it mattered most in the winter. That race shape that comes from smart, balanced, and targeted training was missing and if you are even 1% off on the World Cup, it gets magnified on the results sheet tenfold. I am taking these lessons of overtraining into the Olympic buildup and training with the mindset of entering my peak shape for Olympic qualifying in December and January. 

However, my season did end on a bright note with a big-margin win at the Birkie Classic through a blizzard and the worst bonk I have ever experienced. I am proud of the effort I put forth that day, going for it early, and hanging on when every part of my body was telling me to stop. I will take that momentum into next year and also the belief that I can push my body to the absolute limit when the time is right. I am now settled in Ann Arbor, Michigan for the spring with my fiancé Kameron and am waiting to hear back from a local bike shop for a job opportunity. I will head back to Vermont around mid-May to start up the long training season, but I hope to come back to my hometown of Rochester during the summer at some point and lead another training clinic for the incredible ski community there. I hope this finds you healthy and enjoying the spring!

Happy Trails,
Ian

Reflections

It’s been a whirlwind couple of weeks that have simultaneously been two of the slowest weeks of my life and two of the bigger transition weeks of my life. After World Champs, the final World Cup weekend was scheduled to be in the Engadin valley in Switzerland. Simi and I were looking forward to winding our way through the valley for our final World Cup races of our careers. Unfortunately, I had a positive covid test the Monday before the races, which we are quite certain was a false positive because it was followed by two negative PCR test and one negative antibody test, but rules are rules and if you get a positive result, you have to quarantine for ten days. Simi, being my closest contact (sorry!), also had to quarantine for a week. It wasn’t how we were planning or hoping to spend our last week before retiring from ski racing, but we were mostly just glad everyone was healthy and we were finally freed to head back home today!

Facetime cheers to retirement

While we are both excited for the next phase of life, we are sad to leave our teammates. I joined the SMS T2 team in its first year and I think Jessie and I might be the only two “originals” left, so Jess, stay strong! It doesn’t feel like the team has changed too much, because each year we’ve had a couple people leave and a couple people join, so the team is always changing, but it’s been a gradual transition. I have so many funny memories of our first couple years on the team when to be honest, we were all just trying to figure things out. And figure it out we did! We’ve developed into one of the strongest clubs in the country, arguably the world, and we’ve done it while having one of the healthiest team chemistries I’ve ever witnessed. We push each other, we learn from each other, and we lean on each other. We know our strengths and know where we have a thing or two to learn and we have teammates who are happy to teach. The best cross country skier in the world calls our SMS T2 team her home. Only one club in the world can say that!

Val di Fiemme World Champs in 2013. My first World Champs, Jessie’s first gold medal at world champs 🙂

I joined the team in spring of 2012, which means I spent nine years on our team. I don’t feel that old, but then I remember that Alayna, Julia, and Katharine are 7-8 years younger than I am and I begin to feel a little old hehe. They’re about as old now as I was in that picture above, with all kinds of time left! I’m so grateful I’ve been able to experience all the different versions of our team and that these last couple years have been with our youngest generation. 

Post Quebec City World Cup smiles with Jess, Alayna, Julia, and KO – TEAM!

Mostly I want to say thank you to this team, our supporters, our followers, and Pat and Sverre. I’ve done a lot of growing as an athlete and a person over the last nine years and I can’t think of a more supportive group to do it with. Our community is something special and when I’ve raced, I’ve done it feeling the support from all of you. It’s been an incredible experience for me to be able to train in the area where I grew up skiing and to be able to connect with the juniors and BKL kids who are skiing in the same programs that I did when I was their age. Simi and I are planning to move out to Colorado this spring, but we will be frequent visitors, so don’t think you’re getting rid of us yet! I can’t wait to hop on a bike and heckle my teammates as they rollerski and hop in a L3 running session with them where I have to go L5 to keep up. 

We’ll be bringing this team spirit with us!

Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!!
With love,

Sophie