Back into VT training!

It’s good to be back! I’ll be honest, beating back the jet lag and time change wasn’t easy, but now that the team is recovered from our epic New Zealand training camp it’ll be nice to have a few weeks with everyone here to get some good solid training in at home! These next few weeks will be a good chance to focus on getting back into intensity training and shorter, harder intervals after some great volume in NZ. We got a chance to do some FIS racing there which was awesome, but also reminded us that it’s time to start shaping our fitness into more race-ready pacing as we get closer to November!

Getting some intervals done on a slightly soggy day! (image from Reese Brown/SIA Images)

But while we were in our recovery week, I went on a really fun and relaxing camping trip with my boyfriend, Wade, to Bourne Pond! It was funny hiking in and camping in a place that’s only a few miles from home as the crow flies, but it was a beautiful part of the Green Mountains that we hadn’t yet seen!

These signs are adorable.

It was really nice to hike in nice and slow and take the time to really enjoy the trail! Usually, we’re running all the trails we go on, which is super awesome, but sometimes it’s fun to slow it down a little and notice more.

Wade and I enjoying the slow hike in.

We REALLY slowed down life with the hammock by the pond! After a lot of travel it felt pretty good to unwind! And now that I’m rested, I’m super excited to be back in training with the team!

Some pretty cool clouds in the lake!
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NZ Update

I’m sure updates from New Zealand have been hard to ignore, and you might even be a little sick of hearing about them by now, but I’ll try to give you a quick update on some behind the scenes events of New Zealand. It’s hard not to talk about how lucky we were this year with sunny weather and endless amounts of trails, but you can only ski so many hours a day, so what else did we do while we were down under?
Alayna at “THE tree” in Wanaka (photo from Kelsey)
1. Wanaka – there is this lovely little town called Wanaka that is about a 35 minute drive from the Snow Farm, and we spent a couple days in town recovering during the middle of camp and a couple off afternoons wandering around town. If Wanaka weren’t all the way across the world, I would move there in a heartbeat. It’s set on a beautiful Lake with beautiful running trails that stretchalong the perimeter, there are delicious coffee shops littered throughout the town, a big grocery store with every kind of Tim Tam you could imagine, and manageable sized population.
Beachy sunsets (photo from Julia)
2. Sunset/sunrise walks – I never really feel trapped at the Snowfarm, but we do spend most of our time either on the ski trails or contained in the same building, so getting outside for a stroll when the sun is rising or setting is a lovely way to explore what else the Snowfarm has to offer. The sunrises and sunsets up at the Snowfarm are unbelievable with the mountain settings and the beautiful colors.
Kelsey, Alayna and KO enjoying the beautiful mountain sunset! (photo by Julia)
3. Naps – We put in a lot of hours of skiing at the Snowfarm, so whether you’re a napper or not, it was important to put your feet up for a few hours in between sessions and try to recover. Sometimes you can even multitask with a nap and a movie at the same time!
Simi multitasking
4. Food – The food at the snowfarm was amazing and we were lucky to have three hot meals prepared for us each day. A lot of training results in a lot of eating, so we were very grateful for all the tasty treats that were made up for us every day.
YUM!
5. Goofing off – We were down in New Zealand to train, but it’s always important to keep it fun. Whether it’s a team movie night, a ping pong game, a game of bananagrams, or a mid-ski photo opportunity, we took the time to appreciate the people we were surrounded by. I am feeling incredibly lucky to be on a team with such awesome people who keep each other smiling day in and day out. By the end of camp, there’s something pretty special about cracking a joke and watching the tired giggles unfold!
🙂
Tired goofy girls group
We’re all making our way back to the states and looking forward to that beautiful fall weather we hope is just around the corner!

Hello from New Zealand!

Winter in August is something special. After months of dry-land training in Stratton it is quite a shock to the system to jump right into mid-winter conditions here on the Snow Farm. New Zealand has had an excellent winter and as such all of the trails here are open and in perfect condition. 

A happy crew heading out to Mount Pisa
One of the special things about this camp is that it brings together several club teams from around the US. It’s going to be a fun three weeks coordinating sessions with Craftbury’s Green Team and Sun Valley’s Gold Team and learning from the other skiers and coaches out on the trails. 
Perfect skiing!
Most of the team is staying at the Snow Farm for just over three weeks. The primary focus of the training camp is to put in lots of quality hours on snow to dial in technique goals and get a big dose of volume based training. Towards the end of our time here we will transition to more intensity sessions and jump into races at New Zealand Winter Games. The Winter Games is a three day race series with two distance races and one sprint. Stayed tuned for updates from the rest of camp and the upcoming races!

SMS Summer Camps!

It’s your favorite time of year again…last week was SMS summer camp week! Although it was sweaty, hot and sometimes raining, I saw so many smiles and hard work and fun happening throughout both camps. There was the BKL kids camp, with the younger skiers, and then we had the junior camp with the older kids. It was incredible with over 60 kids at the BKL camp and over 50 at the junior camp!

Sophie leads a group of roller skiers at BMD. (photo from SMS)

Every summer, the SMS Elite team members try to schedule our training around the camp so that we can come visit for a workout or two, eat a meal with the campers, and most importantly give all the skiers a chance to ask questions about what it’s like to travel and race, to be a professional skier, and (of course) the timeless question…”what do you eat for breakfast on race day”?

It was awesome seeing kids faces light up when I handed the medal out to be passed around (photo from George Forbes)

With our big three week, ski-your-face-off training camp in New Zealand about to begin, the team was doing a wide variety of training that week as everyone needed to do what their body required for them to show up to New Zealand after a full day of flights rested and ready to go. But I was super happy to have had the chance to see both camps in action!

Saying good-bye (with photos, too) to the BKL age camp! (photo from Kelsey Phinney)

And now, I’m off to the airport! No, really, my Lyft ride from Boston arrives in 8 minutes. Wish us luck Down Under as we get back in touch with the feeling of being on snow again!

 

I got to demo the super fun pump tracks that Justin Beckwith made for camp! (photo from Justin)

Lake Placid camp, part two

Well, there’s definitely no way to entertain you better than KO letting you in on the secrets of camp and “Fat Roy”, the possibly pregnant house cat at our awesome rental house. So, you should probably go back and read the latest blog post if you haven’t already. I’ll just talk workouts instead. Because we’ve been doing quite a few of them at this camp!

Big train of girls on a distance double pole! (photo from Matt Whitcomb)

Often, our team training camps are two weeks, because of the travel involved getting to snow or a camp location. Once you get there…may as well stay a while and make it worth it! But since this camp is more local and a short drive away for SMS, Craftsbury, and the US Ski team members on both teams, we made it a shorter but more intense camp. With a 9 day camp, we’ve been doing intervals every other day, and in between doing some fun long runs in the Adirondack mountains, speed work or easy distance training.

Hiking up Mt. Marcy with the girls!

Some of the key workouts for intensity included a skate team sprint, which was super fun! We partnered the older athletes with the younger ones, and my partner was Lina with the Craftsbury team. We also did some super hard double pole intervals, which was challenging but great in a big group of girls changing leads.

Lina coming in for the tag (photo from Coach Pat)

This morning we did a long run up and over Mt. Marcy, and the views were spectacular with a clear day!

Me, Ida and Sophie

Ida, Sophie and I hiked our pink wigs supporting Kikkan to the top and did a happy dance for her there!

Sophie crossing the “Indiana Jones” bridge

A few of the group made it a longer loop and went over to Avalanche lake, which I love because of the narrow boardwalk along the side of the cliff over the water.

What a cool place to run!

Check back in later to hear the next team member’s update!

Jessie

 

How to beat the heat: a guidebook

The forecast in Vermont tells us that we are currently in a “heat wave”, but this is slightly misleading. Today the main floor of our house was 93 degrees Fahrenheit; this is not a heat wave so much as a death sentence. Obviously fighting to stay cool in these satanic temperatures is a losing proposition, but we at the Ski Haus have made some bold strides in the last few days and we thought we’d share them with you.

Alayna gets some ice cold water from Coach Pat

 

  1. Stay hydrated. Drinking water is key in keeping cool. As you lose water to dehydration, your body temperature rises, so replacing fluids is essential. If your body is well hydrated you’ll be better able to sweat which is your body’s best defense against the heat.

  2. Eat lots of popsicles. This is easily the most delicious way to stop yourself from melting. Any flavor will be useful in the cooling process, but I have it on good authority that Blue Raspberry is the most effective.

  3. Use a water gun filled with ice water to spray yourself during the heat of the day. This is a favorite of Coach Pat.

  4. Get air conditioning. Seriously, what is this eastern obsession with forgoing the comforts of modern science?

  5. Stick your head out of the car window while moving. Dogs do this because it works! You’ll never feel better than when that breeze hits your face. DISCLAIMER: Do not try this while you are driving, passengers only.

  6. Dig a large hole. We all know that basements remain cooler than the rest of the house because heat rises. So why not go even lower than your basement? Dig yourself a home worthy of a hobbit and you’ll feel back to normal in no time.

  7. Buy a five-gallon bucket of Wilcox Maple Walnut ice cream. Use an ice cream scoop (or spoon) to create a big hole in the middle. Then turn the bucket upside-down, and put it on your head, using the handle as a chin strap. You’ll immediately notice a difference in how hot your head feels. As the ice cream melts, feel free to walk around saying, “I’m cool.”

  8. Take a kitchen knife and carefully cut a watermelon into equal halves. Plunge your bare feet into each piece and feel your feet get colder by the second. Wear these “melon slippers” the rest of the day to keep your feet frigid, and remember, if you get hungry you’ll have a delicious snack close by.

    Pro Tip: Use a pineapple if you’re looking to get better traction.

 

So there you have it! Eight ways to survive a heat wave from three desperate skiers. Best of luck!

 

Finishing a big week!

It’s been an awesome, solid week of training here in Stratton! Now that we’re all back in one place (well, almost, but we get Alayna here tomorrow and then the family will be together), it’s been awesome to get back into a rhythm of regular training. We usually do interval sessions and strength (in the afternoons) on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, a longer over-distance training session on Sunday, and in between we have some easy distance training or speed sessions. Sounds simple, and we like to keep it that way, especially when we’re building up to more and more hours!

 

That face you make when the hurdles are a little bit too close! Jessie, Julia and Kyle led foot agility before strength this Thursday.

A pretty cool thing about our program is that the senior SMST2 athletes lead the juniors in agility warmups before strength a couple times per week. We get to share fun drills that have helped us, make up some new slightly ridiculous drills, and get creative on ways to get better at balance and technique!

Sophie, Simi and Julia led agility warmup on skate skis this Saturday, with some fun partner band pulls!

We capped off this bigger week of training with a really fun roll-run combination workout. We started with a nice flatter double pole that ended with about 25 minutes of climbing up to the AT trail junction and Little Rock Pond.

The girls train double poling their way closer to the swimming pond.

After switching to running gear (and eating a wide variety of snacks, including but not limited to banana bread slices) we ran a loop that went right through Little Rock Pond. Of course, the yearly cliff jumping into the cool water had to be carried out, and we all had some pretty unique styles!

Sophie with “the ninja jump”
Paddy with “the flying squirrel”
Jessie with the “but coach you said to get more forward!” jump
And Simi just making the rest of us look like uncoordinated fools with his sick tricks.

Nobody belly flopped, and we’re focusing on body care now that we have a day off before starting in on next week! And last but certainly not least…a Happy Father’s Day shoutout to all the rad Dad’s out there! Thanks for all you do for us, taking us to practices and races and helping us be better human beings every day.

Springing back into training!

All right, everyone! It’s TRAINING SEASON once again! After a long, fun season and then a nice break and some time off in April, it’s been such a blast getting back into the swing of things and getting back into training once again. I spent the last two weeks of May with my family in Minnesota, and it was great getting to roller ski once again (it feels so strange the first few steps on roller skis! They’re so short compared to skis!). I got to ski over all my favorite loops and interval hills on my old stomping grounds, and go for long runs in the Afton State Park. I was often joined by my high school coach and her daughter, my Mom on her bike, or my high school friends so it was easy to stay excited and motivated, sharing the hard work of training with others.
I was also quite a busy little bee, running around the Twin Cities doing lots of events! It’s been so much fun getting to share the excitement of the past winter with the ski community I grew up with. Seeing the faces of young skiers as they get to hold the Gold Medal is priceless, and also the best feeling ever. You can practically see their goals getting set, their excitement to get outside and get rocking and rolling with their teammates growing.
At the Afton event last weekend! (photo from John Kaul)
The day after I arrived I gave a talk to over 700 employees at 3M, then the next day I went to do a meet and greet at a Slumberland Furniture store. I drove up to Winona to do a big meet and greet with Fastenal, and did a live Facebook feed with MilkBone and my dog, Leo. I did another meet and greet at a local Xfinity store, and then on Saturday the 12th we had the big “Jessie Diggins day” in Afton, Minnesota! There were a couple thousand people there to celebrate cross country skiing, try the new ice cream flavor the local shop named after me, and get a poster. So needless to say…between training twice a day, it’s been quite the busy spring…and that was only the last two weeks!
Campaigning for a MN World Cup!
I had such a blast getting to throw the (ceremonial, of course!) first pitch for the Minnesota Twins team. To be totally honest, my hand-eye coordination is TERRIBLE and I am such a poor throw that my boyfriend Wade took me out to the field near his house in Boston for throwing lessons, because I was so nervous! And I have to say, he’s one amazing coach. Not that I’m biased, of course. But he helped me get the basics so that I actually made it to the plate…against all reasonable expectations I had for myself. I just wanted to do better than 50 Cent’s throw.
The serious face! (photo from the Twins)
Psyched to put on my own jersey! (photo from Erika Flowers)
To wrap up a great visit home, I went to speak to my old High School, Stillwater. It was so fun to come back after eight years, and get to inspire and hopefully motivate the current group of students! It was also such a treat to see my teachers and get to share the medal with them, because after all, they’re the ones who helped me catch up with all my homework when I was flying around the World for ski races all year long!
Students psyched to hold the gold medal!
Speaking to the class
I’d have to say the very best thing that happened out of all my time at home was that I got to help grow excitement and find the right sponsors to partner with the Loppet Foundation as we put in a bid to host the first World Cup event in the USA in 17 years! All the hard work paid off, and just this week our bid was awarded for a race in March of 2020, in Minneapolis at Theodore Wirth Park. I am so, so proud of all the work that the Loppet Foundation has taken on and so extremely grateful to all the companies that are signing on to sponsor the event. More to come on this later, but for now it’s enough to say that it means the world to me that all the junior skiers all over the US will have the chance to finally see their heroes racing right in front of them, at the highest level of racing in the World. What better way to inspire the next generation, than to bring their heroes right to them so they can have a front row seat to the World Cup races?
Right now, I’m in New Orleans for a day with the Smuckers company, before flying on to Bend, Oregon for our first US team camp of the season! I’m so, so excited to see my SMS T2 teammates, my national team teammates, and all the coaches. I really miss everyone when we’re going our separate ways in the spring, so it’s going to be good to get the crew back together. Check back soon for updates from Bend!
Fueling up before a training run with beignets in the French Quarter!

Resting, recovering!

For skiers, April is our one month off the entire year. It’s a time to decompress, get any adventures out of our system, and most importantly, rest and recover from the past 5 months of racing! May 1st is when I start training up again, and I need to be totally mentally rested, recovered and ready to rock and roll by then. So April is my time to do whatever I need to do in order to be psyched and happy and ready!
Sharing the excitement of the last season with my hometown in Minnesota last weekend! (photo from Carl Bohacek)
For my body, over the years I’ve learned that no matter how good I may think I’m feeling physically, in order to not get overtrained mentally or physically I need to take at least a week off for pure resting. Which means that nothing except walking around town is allowed – no spin classes, no physical adventures, nothing but letting my body heal up and rebuild itself after what I’ve asked it to do all winter long! This is always really hard for me because there’s always adventures to be had, but I’ve learned that sometimes a small sacrifice can lead to amazing times down the road. And just because I need to rest my body doesn’t mean that time has to be boring! Then the second half of April I start doing things again, but only if I feel like it. One day I woke up and realized I really, really wanted to get back into the gym and start lifting weights again. That’s how I knew I was ready, because my body and my mind told me it was time!
Making sure the next generation gets a chance to see the Gold Medal and get inspired to go after their own goals!
I’ve had the chance to travel all around Boston and the Twin Cities in Minnesota getting to share the Gold Medal, talk to my old elementary school and let every kid in school touch the medal, give presentations to help inspire the next generation…and work my butt off to try and bring the World Cup to the United States for the first time in our professional careers!
Presenting to the Minnesota ski community on last season’s adventures! (photo from Skinnyski.com)
I’ve also been lucky enough to get to be honored at a few playoff games, so now I have a Minnesota Wild jersey and a Boston Celtics jersey to wear while I cheer them on! My boyfriend Wade lives in Boston so along with Afton and Stratton, it’s now my “third home” as a place I spend a lot of time in.
Just because I’m resting doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy watching other athletes crush it! At the Minnesota Wild’s playoff game with Wade.
Simply amazed by the excitement of playoff season at the Celtics game last night!
As we continue to spend our weeks off with family, friends and loved ones, the SMS T2 team is getting ready to gear up for a new year of training hard, working together and pursuing new goals! Thank you for all your support and cheering for us!
-Jessie

Spring Series Update!

This week marks our final block of competitions for the 2017/2018 season. Spring Series, also referred to as Spring Nationals, is a unique event because it brings together all ski racers from around the country for the first time all year. Athletes from the World Cup, Super Tour, collegiate circuit, junior divisions, and citizen races come together for one last hurrah and to celebrate the winter.

Paddy tagging off Jessie (Lazenby photo)

SMST2 has had a stellar start to the week with team members winning four of the five races and putting five different athletes on the podium for the Classic Sprint and Skate Distance races. AND… We won the Club Relay National Championship on Sunday! This is the second year in a row that SMST2 has taken the top honors in this event. This year our winning team for the 4x5km race featured Simi, Sophie, Paddy and Jessie. Nothing brings out the pain cave like relay races with team pride on the line and a lot of face paint to live up. We’re psyched to bring home the championship honors for the second year in a row and training for the three-peat starts tomorrow!

Jessie crossing the finish line (Lazenby photo)

Distance Nationals kicks off Tuesday with the women’s 30km Classic Mass Start followed by the men’s 50km Classic Mass Start on Wednesday. Last races of the year here we come!

The relay podium! (Lazenby photo)