Sendoff dinner!

Happy Halloween! Happy almost November! That happened quickly. It’s almost November and we have just under a month until our first races of the season. It’s been a beautiful fall in Vermont and I’ve been able to put in some solid weeks of training over the past month. I’m happy to have my teammates back with me and we’ve enjoyed some long easy training sessions to catch up on the past few weeks as well as some hammer sesh days to begin fine tuning everything for winter.

Bounding intervals

We had a wonderful send off dinner and owe a huge thank you to everyone who donated to our 100 donation challenge and to those who came to our dinner. We are extremely lucky to be part of such a supportive community and it puts a big smile on our faces to head off into the season after connecting with everyone at the dinner.

Sue and Sophie

We all have slightly different schedules at this time of year in order to do what we feel best prepares us for the season, but a group of us will be heading up to Quebec on Monday for a few days of skiing on the snow they saved up from last winter. It will be nice to be back on snow and then have another ten or twelve days back in Stratton to take care of everything and do some more good training before heading overseas for the winter!

Anne, Soph and Erika after a great training session!

Follow our blog closely to see where the season takes us all. We should have updates coming in from all over the country and world!

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Adventures out West

It’s weird to think we’ve already been back from New Zealand for almost three weeks, but it probably passed so quickly because the first week was a blur of jet lag. Traveling to New Zealand is the best jet lag ever, but coming back is HARD. Part of it is probably because we’re tired from a long, hard camp, but generally when we head west we fall asleep early and wake up early (preferable) and when we head east it’s hard to fall asleep and hard to wake up (not ideal). So flying 18 time zones east made that first week back feel a little like sleep walking.

Vermont foliage was already changing when we got back from New Zealand!

As Jessie mentioned, we had a busy few days with NBC in Stratton mixed with some focused recovery from a big camp. After about nine days at home, went out to Colorado for a quick trip to visit Simi’s family and attend one of our friend’s weddings. I’m skipping Park City camp this year for some low altitude training and a couple months of getting into a routine at home, so it was nice to get my fix of western mountains and dry air in CO. We went for some beautiful runs and hikes and met up with Paddy and his girlfriend, Anne, and hiked Paddy’s 1st (only my second) 14er!

Hiking up Castle Peak in CO

Now I’m pretty much back in Vermont until we leave for Europe in mid November. I was welcomed back from CO with 85 degree weather and high humidity, but the temps have dropped and I must say, the last couple days have been pretty perfect fall weather. I’m looking forward to getting in some solid training and home time before a long winter on the road. Follow the blog to get some updates from the rest of my teammates in Park City!

Pretty views

Hello from the Other Side (New Zealand)

Hello from down under!! Several of us made the trek to New Zealand a week ago, and a few have only been here a couple days, but it’s nice to have most of the team reunited on the opposite side of the world. New Zealand is definitely one of my happy places. We stay up at the snow farm, which is the only place to cross country ski in the country and Life. Is. Good. The skiing is right out the door, the food is delectable, and the jet lag is awesome as long as you enjoy falling asleep early and waking up early.

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We just finished up our first week of training up at the Snow Farm and are spending a couple days down in the town of Wanaka to do some runs, take an off day, and recover at sea level. As much as I love being up at the Snow Farm, it’s really nice to spend a little time in town. Town actually feels a lot like summer with mild temperatures, bright sunshine, and no snow except for the capped peaks in the distance.
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We will be in New Zealand for one more week putting in some big hours on snow and then finishing off the camp with some races. Be sure to follow along our Instagram account and blog for more updates!

Vermont summer

I’ll admit I’m a bit of a homebody and since Stratton is only about 30 mins away from where I grew up, summer is “home” time for me. I can appreciate adventures and hopping from place to place, but there’s also something nice about staying put for a couple months and getting into a routine that involves coming back to the same home every day. Time still manages to pass quickly because all of a sudden I only have about three weeks left of summer. Most of the team has been in Vermont since early July and a good percentage of us will head to New Zealand in a few weeks for a big block of training on snow.

 

(Erika taking a dip in Hamilton Falls after a long, hot rollerski)
(Blueberry season!)
In the meantime, we’ve been enjoying training together as a group and making the best of these months we have in the same place. It’s been a sweaty summer and there was a week in there where I felt like we would finish training and immediately have to go jump in the nearest swimming hole. Training has been building throughout the summer, but for the most part we’ve been enjoying a lot of easy distance workouts including one of my favorite runs across Franconia Ridge. In between easy distance training, we’ve snuck in a couple time trials and our go-to interval workouts for the summer. Everyone is looking fast and soaking up the last few weeks of our summer routines!
summer training
Franconia views

Sophie on women’s camp in Washington

 

IMG_2055.JPGJessie and I are currently in the Methow Valley in Washington State for a U.S. Ski Team women’s camp. The focus of our camp is intensity and it’s been really fun to explore a new area. It’s a short camp without a ton of volume, but we’re doing some sort of intervals pretty much every other day. It’s hard, but it’s cool to see how much your body can handle when you stay on top of your recovery and do a lot of sleeping and eating in between sessions!IMG_2069.JPG

This area of the country is beautiful! It’s very remote, but that’s okay because once you’re here I don’t really see reason to leave. The surrounding mountains are impressive and while it’s 90 down in town, there is still a bunch of snow up high in the peaks. The town of Mazama pretty much consists of a general store (that has just about everything you could need), but the town of Winthrop is a little bigger and that’s a quick 15 mins away.

We’re staying in these rustic little cabins in the middle of the woods without cell phone service or internet and it’s been pretty darn nice to be disconnected for a week. Everyone should be heading back to Stratton in the next week or two, but first it’s time to finish up this camp with a bang!IMG_2068.JPG

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!

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!

January recap from Europe

Sophie recaps her month of January

I recovered from my Christmas cold just in time to start the Tour de Ski. I did the skate sprint and the classic 5k and they were both solid races. I had a great qualifier where I qualified in 5th, but just missed making it into the semis! The next day was a fun 5k classic mass start. I don’t think I’ve done a 5k mass start since I was a junior, so it was a little hectic, but pretty fun. After Val Mustair, the sprinters packed up and headed to Toblach, where we would spend the majority of the next two weeks before the sprint World Cup weekend. We took three days the following weekend to head to Planica, Slovenia for an OPA Cup sprint and distance race. I really love that area in Slovenia. It is in the Triglav National Park, set at the base of the Julien Alps. I was psyched to take the win in the skate sprint and think I had some extra motivation that day from watching my teammates, Jessie and Sadie, get 1st and 3rd in the Tour de Ski 5k skate.

Hanging with Ides between heats at the OPA Cup

 

Skate sprint in Val Mustair (Nordic Focus/Toko US photo)

 

Cooling down with Breck in Val Mustair

 

Sim and I both took the wins in Planica and here we are with our head coach, Chris Grover, at the awards ceremony

 

Slovenia was a little chilly, so Ides and I embraced comfort over fashion in an attempt to keep ourselves warm

There wasn’t much natural snow in Toblach, but the area did an incredible job of laying out man made ribbons of snow throughout all the valleys. There were probably 30kms of trails when we arrived and about 60kms of trails when we left. Unfortunately, two days after we got back from Slovenia I came down with a pretty nasty stomach bug. I’m really scared of throwing up and haven’t thrown up from a stomach bug since middle school, so it caught me a little off guard and came on fast, but one hospital trip and a couple days of rest later, I was feeling okay. It took a little while to get my appetite fully back, but by the weekend I was feeling healthy enough to race. I was pleasantly surprised to have a decent qualifier in the sprint and then felt better in my quarter final and moved onto the semis. In my semi final, Kikkan rode up a little hot behind me on the first down hill and ended up tangling in my skis and we both fell. Luckily I only broke a ski and neither of us were injured. I was pretty bummed because both sprints that I’ve made it into the semi finals this year, I’ve ended up on the ground and missed a chance to move onto the finals. Every once in awhile, falling is part of ski racing, but I’m thinking I’m ready to be finished with falls for the year. Anyway, the real highlight of the day was watching Sim ski a brilliant race and get 2nd in the Toblach sprint for the second year in a row! The next day was a team sprint, where I didn’t have a lot left in me, but the team sprint is always a fun event to participate in and I’m looking forward to doing another one in Korea next week.

Recovering from the flu on a field trip with my parents 😉

 

Skiing around TOblach with one of our techs and my friend, Andrew Morehouse

 

All smiles after Sim’s 2nd place!

 

Sprint heat in Toblach

 

Sprint qualifier (Marcel Hilger photo)

 

Team sprint (Marcel Hilger photo)

 

Hot air balloons everywhere!
After Toblach, we traveled to Ulricehamn, Sweden. This was a new venue for the World Cup and it did not disappoint! Ulricehamn is a town of 8,000 people and they sold 50,000 tickets for the weekend of racing. The volunteers could not have been friendlier, the tracks were great, and the fans were psyched. There wasn’t a sprint last weekend, so I was mostly training in Ulricehamn, but we had eight healthy girls, so we were able to start two relay teams on Sunday and I skied a skate leg on our second team. This was only the second time ever we’ve had enough girls to start two teams and it was made extra special because it was our supertour leader, Liz Guiney’s, first weekend of World Cups! On Monday morning, we loaded a bus and drove to Falun, Sweden. This weekend I will do the skate sprint in Falun.
Training in Ulricehamn (Simi photo)
We’re over halfway through the season and the second half tends to fly by. We have a lot to look forward to in the next month and a half. After the races this weekend, a small group of us will fly to South Korea for the Olympic test event. It will be a quick trip, but I’ve never been to Asia before and think it will be quite the experience! After that, we head to Valadalen, Sweden for a little training camp before the World Cup in Oteppa, Estonia and World Champs in Lahti, Finland. After World Champs, I will do one more sprint in Drammen, Norway before heading back home because World Cup Finals have been moved to Quebec City!! We will  be in Quebec City racing from March 17th-19th, so if you had fun cheering at the Ski Tour Canada last year, come do it again in March. Thanks for following!
Ready for the races! (Photo: Fischer/Nordic Focus)

Start of season!

And the races are off!! The season has officially started for our SMS Elite team. Half of our group raced their first races at the World Cups in Kuusamo, Finland, while the other half raced FIS races in West Yellowstone, Montana.

Back on snow!
Back on snow!

Results are often across the board in the first races of the season, but you have to start somewhere and it’s always good to dust off the cobwebs! That said, our team had some really strong results last weekend even though it was our first week back on snow! In West Yellowstone, KO and Paddy each took the win in the skate distance race and Erika was 3rd. In the classic race, KO had another podium finish in 3rd, Erika was 5th, and Ben double poled the whole race and placed 6th. On the World Cup, Sophie and Jessie both qualified for the heats and placed 20th and 26th. In the 10k classic, Jessie showed that she can sprint and distance ski and placed 13th as the top American for the day.

Jessie racing in Kuusamo (Simi photo)
Jessie racing in Kuusamo (Simi photo)
After racing in Finland, we flew to Norway for the mini tour coming up this weekend. Ski racing in Norway is always a pretty incredible experience. Fans go wild, there are even more fast Norwegian racers than usual, and the delicious food (brown cheese) is something we always look forward to. Tune in this weekend to watch the Super Tour races in West Yellowstone and the World Cup in Lillehammer!
-Sophie
Hi from Finland!
Hi from Finland!

Park City Camp

Sophie wraps up camp with annual send off dinner information!

We just wrapped up our final dryland camp of the training season in Park City, Utah. This means a few things. One, we are tired and ready for a recovery week. Two, that was our last training camp which means less than a month until our first races! And three, our annual send off dinner must be just around the corner and you should come!! I’ll elaborate a little.
(Rollerskiing up East Canyon Liz Arky photo)
(Rollerskiing up East Canyon Liz Arky photo)
Park City camp was fun, hard, and beautiful. We spent two weeks training at altitude and the focus of our first week was volume, and the focus of our second week was intensity (but still a lot of volume). On top of our long workouts and hard workouts, we were also doing several speed and strength session and of course, we threw a couple recovery days in there too. So with the last camp over, we are all looking forward to a little R&R before hopping back into some solid training in a week or two.
Run OD with Jess and Liz (photo from Matt Whitcomb)
Run OD with Jess and Liz (photo from Matt Whitcomb)

Most of us are heading over to Europe for World Cups or out west for Supertours in mid to late November, which means we have less than a month until the season begins! I don’t know where summer went, but winter is just around the corner and we are PSYCHED.

Sophie is pumped
Sophie is pumped

We have our annual send off dinner coming up! This year is will be on November 11th and if you would like to attend, please contact scaldwell@gosms.org for details. We promise delicious food, good company, and a good reason to bring the community together before the season begins. Thanks for following!

Team! Andy, Paddy, Coach Pat, Ben, Simi, Julia, Anne, Erika, Jessie and Sophie
Team! Andy, Paddy, Coach Pat, Ben, Simi, Julia, Anne, Erika, Jessie and Sophie