Monday, June 24, 2013


Dark chocolate and pink grapefruit sorbetto at my favorite restaurant in Park City, Vinto!  YUM!!!

I’m not sure if you have noticed the super moon the last few nights, but it has been amazing.  Check it out tonight if you get a chance and haven’t seen it, as last night once the sun went down I couldn’t believe how bright my living room was with moonshine!  As I was looking at it, I was actually thinking about my brother, Andy, who for the last month has been in Alaska guiding trips for the American Alpine Institute (AAI) up Mt. Denali!  I realized last night, as I was admiring the moon from 8200 feet, where I live, how much more amazing it must be to see it at 14,000 feet, which is where he and his team currently are on his second trip up the mountain in a month.  The last trip he led his team summited, but he was not able to, as one of the clients fell ill with altitude sickness and he stayed with her at 17,200 feet.  He is hoping to summit this time up, though he has assured me that, while summiting would of course be incredible, just being on the mountain, doing what he loves, is cool enough.  If you are interested in following his progress, you can do so here: . He is Denali Team 6 and they are currently waiting out some weather at 14,000 feet, but hoping to move to 17,200 in the next day or so.

As for me, I have settled into my life here in Utah again very smoothly.  I arrived home to the condo I have lived in for the last 2 summers, that had already been made very homelike by my teammates who had been training in Park City the last couple weeks while I was in Sweden.  It is so nice to come home to a clean, cozy, homey place, and even nicer to have two of my teammates still here!  I had 6 days of training with Sophie and Jessie and it was awesome to have them out here!  The week was busy with moving in to the condo for the first time this year, blood tests and strength tests, catching up with friends, and the highlight of the week, the Sunday Sundance Sufferfest!  This is an event that is in it’s second year, but I missed last year’s kickoff, so it was a first time for me.  It is a road bike race that Alex Moore, the Head Strength and Conditioning Coordinator at USSA, and my friend and strength coach, puts on.  It involves all sports and staff who sign up at USSA, and is handicapped by your projected fitness level after doing a bike test in the gym (or just guessed if you forego the bike test or are an endurance athlete!).  So, the first girl headed up the 9 mile climb from the base of the Sundance Canyon to the top of the pass, 34 minutes in front of the last starters who were Noah Hoffman and Taylor Fletcher (Nordic Combined Skier and road biker).  The idea is that everyone will arrive at the top about the same time, if the handicaps are done right.  The first athlete to cross the line, regaurdless of where you start, wins.  It was a really fun event, as you have no idea how you are doing overall, you are just riding as hard as you can and trying to catch people the whole way up.  The handicaps were done quite well, as most of the field of 47 people finished within 8 minutes of each other.  The event is a great way to get everyone at the USSA together and compete in a fun event together, which otherwise never happens.  It is concluded at Sundance, with the best brunch you have ever tasted!  Thanks to Sundance resort for the discount on such delicious food and hosting us all for the second year in a row!  I am already looking forward to next year!

On my way home a good friend, Carina Hamel, who taught me how to ski and was my inspiration and idol (and continues to be in new ways) when I was first getting into the sport and until she retired after college, picked me up and took me to lunch in Portland during my 6 hour layover.  It was so nice to get to see her again, and she is still such a positive part of my life and incredibly driven and kind person.

An interval session this week at Soldier Hollow with Jessie was supported by two of our awesome coaches, Jason Cork and Matt Whitcomb.
Jessie and me riding the post interval high in the sun!

My good friend Alex Shaffer enjoying her sorbetto!

Noah also psyched after his 2 appetizers, 2 entrees and dessert in front of him.  You train as hard as this boy does and you will also need to double up on your food order.

My strength coach, Alex Moore is also my good friend, and I consider his kids partially mine as well! Here is Charlie, the oldest girl trying out my road bike.

Gemma, one of the twin girls who was born premature and weight 3.7 lbs when she was born, but is now a tank, weighing more than Charlie who is 2 years older than her!  She is always game for a challenge, and as this bike is big enough for me, it is a bit too big for her!  Though not for long....

We had a Midsommer dinner on the solstice and we had a Swedish feast! Here is Jason Cork making my favorite Swedish treat, Kanelbulle!!


The following photos are all from yesterday's bike race!

Making final race day adjustments! Cork may or may not be shortening my seat post....

Alex unveiling the Sufferfest revolving trophy!

Alex makes a pretty big deal of this event and the start list is revealed right before the start of the race, along with pretty hilarious introductions to all the competitors.

Noah, the new record holder who blazed by me with 2 miles to go, almost so fast I didn't see him!

The finish

This year's champion, Will Brandenburg!

Not a bad place to ride

Support crew, Ruth Flannagen and timer, Jason Cork

Pumped to be finished and cheering on the final competitors.

Some of the crew on the way down.  Beautiful scenery.

Will and his trophy!

The event was also complete with the National Anthem, sang by one of the Alpine Strength Coaches and I have tried to post the video but it doesn't seem to want to post, so I will try and get it on Facebook.  Stay tuned.

Monday, June 17, 2013

2013 Scando Summer Adventure


I am on a plane back from Sweden and I finally am taking a bit of time to write down some of my reflexions on this year’s Scando Summer Adventure.  There is a lot to tell, but this is a blog and I don’t want to fill it with too many words, so I will try and let this installment of pictures tell most of it, but before I bust out my photography skills on you all, I want to say a few words first.

This trip came together very last minute.  I was feeling off balance at the thought of not connecting with the scandinavian side of my heart for the 6 months of the summer training season.  I believe in a past life I must have been born in Sweden, because every time I am gone too long my hear begins to feel unsettled and every time my feet hit the solid ground of Scandinavia my whole body gets this wave of incredible happiness.  My world is complete when I am there.  All of the little crazies that flutter around at points in my life disappear and I feel fully me.  It is wonderful. 

But these trips do not just fall open at my lap and I want to make sure everyone who reads this knows that the people in my life who support me, both financially, mentally and physically, make this kind of adventure and these life changing experiences a possibility.  There are a number of ways I needed to be supported and pushed a bit to buy this year’s plane ticket to my Scando Summer Adventure.  I had never trained with the Norwegian National Team before and as you may be able to relate to in an area of your life, meeting new people can be intimidating and scary, especially when you don’t speak their language and you are about to go try and join the best cross country ski nation in the World at their camp in their home country.  I was, to put it lightly, a bit nervous!  So, I needed some support and encouragement from my coach, Matt, and from my teammates and family to help get me on that plane.  

Next, there is that “purchase” button that needs to be pressed, and I couldn’t have clicked it without the incredibly generous support of a few key people and organizations in my life.  I am not sure whether these individuals and organizations want to remain anonymous to the public, so I will not name them here, but I will say that you know who you are and you allowed me to click those “purchase” buttons.  I want everyone who has supported me through this incredible journey that I am living each and every day, to know that you made this trip possible.  This trip has energized my summer of training, infused excitement in my bones all over again to train my heart out this off season.  I have learned so much, not only in terms of new ski ideas and thoughts, but also how to venture into something unknown, step out of the comfort box, and face some nerves head on, and it seems that these are the ways that you learn the most about yourself and how to grow.  I have made some lifelong friends, felt happiness on these trips that is above a normal level of joy.  You all made this possible and for that I have so much gratitude.  Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you.

Now, time for some stories.

AHHH....the treats that greet you when you cross the border into Sweden.  Bulle.  The best taste known to man, or at least me.

Emil, sporting his new Fast and Female Supporter hat!
Get your own at:

What must be the next best thing to Bulle that the Swede's have come up with.  This was my 
mid-afternoon "Fika" (a snack or treat that is eaten after lunch but before dinner or training as is the case with us).  It has creamy cheese or butter, lettuce, egg, anchovies, cucumber, tomatoe, lemon slices and dill and was it ever tasty.  YUMM!

Anna and Emil recently bought land in Ostersund, about a 7 minute drive from where they live now.  Ostersund has an island just off the shore which is connected to the mainland by a couple bridges.  This is the view from their property.  It was absolutely gorgeous.  Anna made pizza one night and we ate it on the land looking at the view above as the sun got lower in the sky.  It was a perfect evening.

Complete with a swim.

And an apple tree planting!

Anna and Emil's first apple tree on their land.  Today they were cutting down lots of big trees, but last week they added this special one to hopefully bear them some fruit or at least a good memory of this day.

Anna and I on a run.  As you may be able to tell, we hate our jobs.
This was a fun day.  Emil and Anna like to take me on adventures where they surprise me by not filling me in with any details.  They tell me we are heading into the forest and to pack things I might need, which really could include everything.  This year's adventure included 3 salt blocks, a bathing suit and some food.

Our mission was to find some salt lick points that needed a new salt stone put out.  We found 1 of 3, and boy were we psyched!

And we also needed our bathing suits for the awesome sauna we fired up at the cabin Emil took us to!

If it is possible to really look at Anna's face in this picture you will laugh so hard a tear might fall out of your eyes too!

Going from being super hot to super cold makes you feel so alive!

Yesterday was a busy day, packed with a 2 hour drive each direction to and from Solleftea, where they have about a 6 k rollerski track on the ski trails!  It had just been resurfaced last year and it was in perfect condition.  Anna and I, along with one of Sweden's top junior skiers, Sophia (above middle) did a 30k time trial.  As Anna and I often feel, there is not enough practice for the long races during the season.  In fact, it is always the case that the first 30/50k races we face are at the major championship each year and never one before.  So, Anna has made it a goal of her's to do a few of these long time trials to mentally and physically prepare for Sochi.  I think it is an awesome idea and was really happy to do my first one with such a fun and inspiring duo of ladies.  The tracks in Solleftea couldn't be better for this kind of workout.
It was also fun to be in Solleftea because I found some fellow American skiers, some even Burkies!  Kate Barton and 4 american skiers were at the Solleftea Summer Ski camp for the week, which is the same camp I joined my first 2 summers as a nordic skier, 9 and 10 years ago!  It was really fun to be back at the camp, the roles reversed, now it was me on stage getting asked the questions from the campers and telling my stories, where 10 years ago I remember sitting in awe of the World Cup Swedish Athletes who were coaching the camp for the week.  I hope we were all able to make as much of an impression on these skiers as the stars of 10 years ago made on me.

And the best surprise of all waited for me when we arrived back at Anna and Emil's that evening.  Anna's Dad, Oke, and brother, Bjorn, were there for dinner!!!  More members of my Swedish family!  How did I get so lucky?

My hotel for the night!  That's right, that's an airplane that was turned into a hostel, and it is cheap!  Recommended for anyone who has a fairly short layover night in Stockholm.  It was clean, comfortable, and the right price.  And kind of fun too.

A view of the plane hostel's hallway.  If only a plane that still flew you places could be this cozy!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Snow to Summer

My trip in Norway continues.  There is so much to tell, but I have been spending so much time with all of the wonderful people I have met, that it has been hard to find the time to write about it all.  So, for now, I will tell bits of the story through many pictures.

The days are really light up here in Norway. This is one of the sunsets I was up to see in Sognefjell, which happened around midnight or 12:30, but it never got fully dark.

We skied every day, twice a day for the first 4 days we were on the snowfield, but on the 5th afternoon, we took a break from the snow to go down a bit lower and hammer out some hard double pole intervals.  They were really amazing, as we all did them together in a "pace line", much like biking.  A different person would start each interval and then after the first 30 seconds it was a free for all and the goal was to try to pass each other.  It helped my practice of skiing in a pack and it was amazing to be double poling along with some of the best athletes in the world.  We were really moving, drafting each other and hauling along the road.  It has been one of the highlights of my camp so far, for sure.  I even got to lead the first 30 seconds of the last interval!

Ingvild and I on the way down!

The cool down ski

Ingvild totally spent!

The crew.  Egil, the head women's coach on the left.

Heidi and I happy to be done and riding the adrenaline high!

Vibeke, Celine, Heidi, Theresa and Maiken hanging together in the Signefjellshytta.

My awesome Rossi Rep, Simon, who brought me a bunch of test skis!

Ingvild, Maiken, Therese, Marit, and Celine

The women's team.  Maiken, Marit, Marthe, Celine, Heidi, Vibeke, Ingvild, Astrid and Therese.

Me on the only sunny day while I was there.  Photo courtesy of Mette Bugge.
Celine Brunlie and I drove through Beitostollen, one of the early season World Cup stops on some years and we will be there this year in November for some Norwegian Cup races and training.  Fun to see it with no snow!  
Celine was so kind and took me into her parent's home in Oslo for the last 2 days and it has been so nice to meet her family.  As with everyone I have met, they are extremely generous and kind and have been making me delicious home cooked meals and showing me the ropes of Oslo.

Celine suiting up for our bike ride yesterday

My bike!

Our trip to the kayak race!

We biked from Celine's to her sister's kayak race, and as it turns out, we were allowed to enter the race!  So, we did!  Celine was actually quite good, as she used to kayak when she was younger, and being in a really tippy boat was a real challenge for me, but I didn't flip the whole 5000 meter race!  It was so fun!

Celine and I after the competition!

Celine's incredible family:
Starting with her dog, Kompas or "little bro".

Her father, and also the Chef, Gustav.

Her mother, Kathinka, Kompas, and Celine

Her sister who is on the Norwegian National Kayak Team, Agnes.  Her grandma, Grandma. Gustav, Kathinka and Celine.

Grandma looking really cool at 86 in her blue shades! I hope I can be so stylish when I am her age!  She is a professional seamstress and after seeing some of the work she has done, I am all the more impressed by this woman.

Ingvild Ostberg, my personal tour guide for the day, took me on a rollerski up to Holmenkollen and around on the new rollerski tracks on the course.  It was a super nice day and it's always more fun to ski in a new place with a friend, so the time flew by.

Ingvild and me.

And then we finished the day at Celine's cabin on a Peninsula just a 40 minute trip from Oslo, 10 minutes in a car and 20 minutes on a boat and you are in Paradise!  We did some sun bathing and relaxing in the sun together this afternoon and have now just sat down to dessert after a delicious dinner with the girls!
Me, Maiken, Marthe, Celine, and Ingvild

I have been having such a wonderful time here.  The girls and the coaches have been so nice, so generous and welcoming and training with some of the best women in the World has been amazing and very inspiring.  I feel really lucky to have been here, made new friends, and am fired up for the training season back home as well.  But first, one more session with the girls tomorrow morning in the gym and then off to Sweden to train with and visit Anna Haag and Emil Jonsson on my annual Swedish summer trip!