I know it is Monday and I know that means it is blog day, however, I am asking for an extension this week until tomorrow. I have some thoughts that I would like to put down on paper and have just not had time yet today to do so. I will say that we had a long, but again, easy day of travel from Kuusamo to Lillehammer. I had plenty of time to write, but unfortunately, car rides are a recipe for car sickness if I try and read or write, so those hours were out, and the plane rides were bumpier than usual today too. So, not to make excuses, but I am going to need a day extension, but I promise it will be worth the wait, as I will have time to get some pictures together too. Until then....be well.
Oh, and wish happy Birthday to Andy Newell today too, if you happen to have a sec.
View from our hotel here in Gallivare. It is a really beautiful scene here, with the trees covered in snow and the trails in perfect condition. Plus, with such short daylight hours you are pretty sure to catch either the pinks of a sunrise or the reds of a sunset!
Monday today consists mostly of a long drive from Gallivare, Sweden to Ruka,
Finland, where the start of the World Cup season begins!We had our opening FIS races this weekend in
Gallivare and had some really good success, with Jessie sweeping both races (a
classic sprint and a skate distance, so about as opposite as you can get which
bodes well for all the Tour racing this year!) and Sophie and Caitlin on the podium as well in the sprint and distance respectively.
As for me, I dove into some classic sprinting, and due to the small fields on the day, every woman qualified, so I was able to get some practice racing both the quarters and the semis, which was pretty fun. The following day was the 10k skate, which is one of my favorite races, so it was good to get one of those under my belt before the first one on the World Cup. I have some things to take away from it, things I want to improve, but the goal of remembering what it feels like to put a race bib on in the winter was one of the accomplishments of the day. This ski racing thing on snow is actually pretty different from the summer training modes of running and rollerskiing, so the transition is always a bit of a learning curve it seems.
Kuusamo hosts the Ruka Triple as the World Cup season opener each year. We start on Friday with a classic sprint, Saturday's race is a 5k skate and Sunday is a 10k pursuit start classic, which is based off the other two days results. Pursuit starts are some of my favorites because you get entered in a huge game of tag on skis.
Our first day on snow. Sophie, Sadie and me.
Jessie putting in some striding work.
So much snow. It is really nice to be engulfed in winter here.
Our new incredibly warm puffy coats from L.L. Bean. Wow. I have never owned a nicer coat. Thank you L.L. Bean!
Jessie, Sadie, and Noah on a night walk.
Ida and Jessie (who is feeling pretty pumped it seems!)
Me on a night ski with Sophie.
Thanks for all who took these pictures and shared them with me, as I have not taken a single picture so far. Oops. Remedies for that are on the way.
Happy Thanksgiving! I am really thankful for a lot of things, but this team is really high up on my list.
We made it, after a LONG but easy travel day to Gallivare, Sweden, which is located about 100 kilometers north of the arctic circle. Though it takes a while to get all the way up here, it is worth it, as the skiing has been great, with 5k of skiing on real snow (like the kind that fell from the sky!) I am hoping that we get some more to make the tracks even more white, but I cannot complain, as not only is this more winter than I have seen in close to two years, but the volunteers are also shoveling and making already good tracks, great. Plus, it is snowing now, and I have heard rumors of 6 inches over the next couple of days which would be incredible. Regardless, it is wonderful to be on real snow, not just a manmade strip, and with it hanging from the trees it is really beautiful here.
I have not taken any pictures, as my phone does not take great ones anymore, and the battery tends to die right after I take one, or if I let the cold air grace its presence, so I have stolen a few from Ida and Sophie, but would recommend checking out Noah's blog here: http://noahhoffman.com/skiing-in-gallivare/ for some really good shots. Happy Monday, as always, and next Monday's blog will be come after our first races of the season! They are not World Cups, but good FIS races which will help us get in the groove again before jumping right into the Kuusamo, Finland mini tour the following weekend.
I hope wherever you are, you are happy and healthy.
Sophie, Sadie and me after our first ski in Gallivare yesterday.
Well, HAPPIEST OF MONDAYS to you all. Welcome to my newly enacted Monday blog! I have bet myself that I can't do it again, so, here's to proving me and all of you doubters out there wrong! I am home in Vermont for another 4 days before I take off for Gallivare, Sweden and the season beyond. Here are a few photos from my time in Vermont!
One of the last skis in Utah at our team training camp last month.
Skida's new shop!
Check it out if you haven't yet! Located at: 16 Kilburn St in Burlington.
Some of their collection.
Some of their cashmere collection! SO SOFT!
Big thanks to Fresh Tracks Farm for hosting such a fun send off event for me and for all in the community who came out to join.
My good friend and supporter Pheobe Stone who is currently in fashion design school in Boston. Pheobe owns a company that makes custom clothing, though for now she is a bit too busy to be cranking much out at this point. So look her up in a few years when she is a full time designer. GO PHEOBE!
Corinne and me sporting this year's Friends of Liz print, which has been a huge hit already. Get one of your own on their website: www.skidasport.com or visit them in their shop in Burlington.
My whole family came over for dinner last night to hang with me before I take off on Friday. It is incredible how many people I have in my life and all the support and love they give me.
I was able to fit in a visit to my old Elementary School here in East Montpelier today.
Me giving a few words of "wisdom" to the youth of our generation!
Lunch room chats are the best.
Yeah, the weather has been pretty ideal while I have been here.
My nephew, Pete getting a lick of frosting from my Mom who's birthday we celebrated last night.
And my niece, Liza getting her turn!
It has been great to be home and take some much needed rest with some much needed family time. I take off on Friday for Gallivare, Sweden to get on snow! T minus 2.5 weeks until the season starts!
Spent a little time in Vermont 3 weeks ago and got to do some running with the Girls on the Run group from my Elementary School. It was great to be home again, and as it was my 4th year joining there were some familiar faces! It is so cool to see how the group has doubled in size in 4 years. So inspiring to be among such an energetic group of young girls. Though we were not quite able to finish our 40 minutes of running, as a thunder storm rolled in, we got a really good workout in and all came in with ear to ear smiles in time to play a trust game! Thanks girls, for letting me join your inspiring group for a day! See you next year and good luck at your 5k on June 6th!
Girls on the Run group from East Montpelier Elementary School
A visit to a kindergarten class always makes your day.
Girls on the Run group talking about setting goals and how to go about achieving them.
Flexing some strong muscles!
Stretching and warming up.
Kindergartener's practicing their tucks.
I also got to hang out with some of U-32 (my local high school) Cross Country skiing and running as well as Track athletes! Really fun to meet this generation of hardcore, fun loving girls and guys that are absolutely a true team in every way. They support one another, set goals together and inspire each other to be the best they can be.
Matt in his recently dug 5 foot hole for his cabin shed.
My mom and I went to help pour some concrete in the holes for the posts one day.
Into the hole it goes!
And we hiked Burke to ski the training hill one afternoon!
So fun to get my mom back on skis!
Hiking with my folks up Owls Head in Vermont. It's a quick hike up but a nice view at the top. Here I am with my Dad.
My mom trying on Matt's new motorcycle helmet! It's a good look!
On a jaunt with the pooch.
The rain and sun came together to make a rainbow....
...just in time for dinner. Thanks Vermont! Until next time...stay green.
Being a cross country skier on the US Ski Team who gets to travel the world from November until mid March chasing World Cups, is a wonderful life. It's full of opportunity, challenges, good friends, incredible teammates and engulfed in a love of sport. Here are a few pictures from the season and a few stories from the road.
Racing a World Cup in Davos, Switzerland this season.
A team picture from the road. This was taken at the start of the Tour de Ski in Germany.
I was the sole finisher on our team in the Tour de Ski this season (a stage race not unlike the Tour de France, with 7 races in 9 days at 4 different venues in 3 different countries), due to some athletes needing to drop out due to sickness, injury and preparation for the rest of the season. So, the whole staff was working just for me for the last 2 stages!
Me and my team of waxers at the Tour de Ski. To put it in better perspective, my usual wax tech is sitting to my left. All of these guys work together, but each athlete has one wax tech who is in charge of getting our skis ready. We share two athletes to one tech. Once I was the only athlete left racing in the Tour de Ski I had all of these guys working to get the best skis possible, not for the whole team, but for me! It was insanely awesome.
This was one of the highlights of my year. Our women's alpine team was staying 30 minutes away preparing for their next race, and they heard I was racing and took the time to come down and watch me. It was so moving to realize that everyone who is on the US Ski Team is really just one big team. We all follow one another throughout the season and even come to races on the very rare occasion it works. I skied to one of my best results of the whole season that day and I am sure having these girls yelling their faces off at me helped hugely.
Another racing shot.
This was in Russia on the day of the first World Cup podium of my career. I was second to my very good Norwegian friend, Astrid Jacobsen (middle) and just ahead of another friend, Steffi Boehler from Germany (far right). I have been told that your first podium changes who you are as an athlete, as it lets you believe in what you can achieve in the future in a clearer light.
And I don't even like pink!
We ski in some cold, but beautiful places. This is a bit east of Lillehammer, Norway.
And some of the sunsets we see blow my mind. This one is in Davos, Switzerland.
Me and our Development Team coach, Bryan Fish.
Lot's of road tripping from venue to venue when you are on the road for 4 months. Three abreast in the Cargo Van.
My birthday is in January right after the Tour de Ski finishes and I celebrated my 4th birthday in Seiser Alm, Italy. Believe me, it is not a bad place to celebrate the day you were born.
Here is one of the views. Just saying, we are pretty lucky to be able to see the places we see.
A few pictures from the World Championships in Falun, Sweden.
My teammate Sophie Caldwell and me.
"Little Morderbacken". The Morderbacken is the name of the biggest hill on the courses in Falun. There is a "lilla" or "little" Morderbacken...
....and there is a big Morderbacken!
Our women's Worlds Team.
Me racing in the relay at Worlds. The socks that you can see me sporting we only bust out on relay days and the whole team has them. We wore them when we placed in the top 6 for the first time ever, and we have worn them ever since. They have helped us ski to multiple podium finishes, a 4th at the last 2 World Championships and have made a debut at their first Olympics in Sochi. We are not superstitious, but these socks create a state of mind. If you are wearing these socks, you are racing for more than just yourself that day. You are racing for your team. It's a different kind of pressure you put on yourself and a feeling of greater responsibility. It's a feeling of honor, as you were one of those chosen to represent Team USA on that day and that's something that is not to be taken lightly.
Our relay team at the Falun, World Championships this year. From left to right: Jessie Diggins, me, Sadie Bjornsen and Rosie Brennen (from Park City!)
Our two awesome PT's who volunteer all their time for us when they travel and leave their real jobs to come work on us. We are incredibly lucky to have such generous supporters of us. We really could not be performing at a high enough level to compete with the best in the World without them.
One of our awesome Swedish wax techs.
After Jessie and Caitlin won their medals the hotel left this in their room!
Me, Sadie, Jessie and Kikkan.
Yum!!! My fuel for the year is largely made up of these goodies!
SPRING FUN BEGINS WITH GOOD FRIENDS!
After a long season we are all ready for a break. Some people jet to the beach to get warm and relax, others head for the mountains to backcountry ski or alpine ski, and others just go home to see friends and family. I started with heading immediately into the backcountry of the Sawtooth Mountains around Sun Valley, Idaho where our final races of the season were held. I grew up as an alpine skier so I have fallen in love with alpine touring, as you are able to get way out into the mountains where nobody is and satisfy my endurance junky desires and also make some turns on familiar feeling gear from when I was a kid. After spending a week playing around up there, I came back to Utah to see my friends who I hadn't seen since early November when I left for the season, and I have been soaking it in. Today was the start of the new training year, as we always officially start on the week that May 1st falls in. So, this year that week started today, April 27th. We have about 6 1/2 months to prepare for the 2015/16 season and I am pumped! I busted out my rollerskis for their first training session of the year this afternoon and though it was a bit breezy, the sun was out, so couldn't have started on a better note, though I am feeling quite out of ski shape!