Friday, January 29, 2016

Sjusjoen in pictures

Perfect tracks for ks and ks

Extra blue classic striding

A few ski tracks across the pond
More amazing tracks
Sjusjoen cabin landscape 
The view across the lake from Hotel Rustad  

Jessie and Liz found a rest spot in the middle of a long ski

Our cabin in Sjusjoen
A visit to the Madshus factory in Biri which was really interesting to see the inner workings and the magic behind the ski production.  It was also great to meet the rest of the Madshus team.
Cozy cabin living

Sunday, January 24, 2016

An inspiring start to 2016!

Late January and early February is an easy point in the winter to get bogged down and feel a mid- winter lull.  The excitement of the beginning of the season has worn off and you can't even get jazzed up listening to Christmas music anymore.  The sunny anticipation of springtime hasn't hit yet either brining it's own excitement. For those of us living out of duffel bags in Europe, it's that time when you get really sick of all the tshirts you have and you would give anything to be able to put your entire bag into a big washing machine rather than doing anymore sink launday. This is normally the time when I feel the homesick vibes or mid winter blues.  But luckily, this is not the case this year! I'm feeling more energized and fired up than ever before.  Maybe it's just because I spent the day spent watching my teammates finish second in a 4x5km relay, followed by an OD ski getting lost on the hundreds of kilometers of trails in Sjusjoen, Norway finishing it with a hearty dinner of salmon and potatoes.  But it's not just today that has left me feeling inspired!  2016 has taken off to a great start and I feel so grateful to be working hard chasing my goals and surrounded by many of favorite people!

Here's a brief catch up of the past month.  January began with the Tour de Ski, 8 races at 4 venues in 3 countries!  I only raced the first five races of the Tour but it was an exhausting and fun series for me including two top 20 finishes, one broken ski, about 35km of racing, and watching two of my teammates win World Cups!  Sophie and Jessie are following in Kikkan's footsteps and proving to us all that with hard work and belief our goals are achievable!

Fog rising at the start of the Tour de Ski in Lenzerheide

Classic sprinting in Toblach

Sophie wins a World Cup!
And Jessie does it a few days later!
Finishing my Tour with a broken ski and a creative javelin ski handoff from Jason Cork.

After I finished racing in the Tour, I stayed in Toblach, Italy for about a week with the other sprinters.  The Dolomites are an amazing area to explore!  There wasn't much natural snow but a local marathon coincided with our stay and the organizers laid out about 50km of manmade snow for the event so we had plenty of trails to ski!

Post Tour recovery in Toblach with Pat
European sightseeing on our drive to Slovenia! It was fun to take the time to explore away from the ski trails and I'm grateful for all the travel that I get to do for my job!
From Toblach we travelled to Planica, Slovenia for a sprint weekend including an individual sprint and team sprint.  I did not pace the course well in the individual sprint and was disappointed with my race after fading in the final meters.  But luckily I got another chance the next day in the team sprint. I was motivated by my racing the day before and planned my attacks to move up in each round on Sunday in the same area where I had struggled on Saturday.  I was excited to race with Sophie and to have another opportunity to ski my heart out on a challenging but fun course!  An added bonus of the Slovenia weekend was having Eben, Natalie, and Pat there cheering!  I feel so lucky to have such supportive friends and family!
The Julian Alps in Slovenia
Training the day before the race with Erika, Sophie, and Chelsea.  Planica was one of the most beautiful venues I have ever skied in surrounded by the sharp peaks.  The trails were also very fun and challenging to race!
Soph and I jumping for joy after our 5th place team sprint finish!
Visits and cheers from Eben and Natalie!
Despite a low snow year in Slovenia they still skied this couloir shown to the left of the peak on the day after the races!  I can go fast on skinny skis but I think he's the best skier in the family.
From Slovenia, I headed to Sjusjoen, Norway for some a training block before the Period 3 World Cups.  With so much racing, we don't always get the opportunity to just go out and ski.  But the past week I've skied A LOT, taking advantage of the endless kilometers and perfect tracks here for some long ski tours and really productive training.  I'm looking forward to more racing again soon but right now I couldn't be happier to be outside skiing and following my passion!

Cabins, snow and perfect tracks in Sjusjoen!

Life is good!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Frohe Weihnachten!

Every year Santa decorates a big sugar cookie of every family member and puts them in our stockings. But when you're not at home....

Your older sister gets to eat yours!

I'm used to spending a lot of time away from home especially in the winter but it's always a little harder at this time of the year.  I grew up with so many holiday traditions that can be hard to replicate on the road.  Even the little things like sitting as close as possible to the wood stove first thing in the morning when the rest of our wood heated house is still a little chilly is a really special feeling.  So I always dread not being at home at Christmas even if I'm doing something I love.  But that said, I had a wonderful Christmas this year.  I spent the ten days between the Toblach World Cup and the Tour de Ski with my teammates in Davos.  We rented a really nice apartment and had a great break together cooking delicious meals, skiing, ice skating on Fluella pass under the full moon, and enjoying the sunshine.  Winter hasn't really arrived yet in most of central Europe so we skied on a manmade loop in Davos but enjoyed sunny weather every single day! 

After the last World Cup we drove from Davos to Zurich via Innsbruck where we stopped for some groceries.  It was cheaper there than in Davos so we stocked our kitchen for the week and also had a scenic drive through Innsbruck in search of a bigger grocery store.

Jessie serenading our living room with some Christmas carols 

Our house came decorated with two Christmas trees and we added some other decorations from the "Christmas box" our team saves in Europe so the apartment was very festive!  I woke up early a few mornings and loved reading in the light of the tree with a cup of coffee before everyone else woke up 
Andy, Noah, and I at the dinner table.  We don't often have kitchens or the opportunity to choose what we want to eat so we took advantage of this time and had some awesome meals including burgers, curry, fajitas, mushroom risotto, pad Thai, and sushi bowls!

Noah and Liz making sushi rolls!

Chrismas family this year getting a little silly.  So lucky to spend the holiday with all of them!

The view from our deck on one of the cloudy days

Lunch on the deck after a morning of skiing

We were just out of town at the base of the Jacobs Horn gondola so it was an easy walk to the ski trails or grocery store.

A strip of snow in green grass.  There was about 8km of manmade snow in Davos.  The temps were freezing at night so they were making new snow most nights and many of the trails (not this one) were shaded so the conditions held up extremely well.

Christmas eve dinner with the Capol family is a highlight of our Swiss Christmas.  Jurg Capol works for FIS and is the mastermind behind the Tour de Ski.  He lives about 45 minutes from Davos with his wife and daughters and they have graciously welcomed us into their home for a wonderful meal.  Jurg's wife Michaela taught herself how to cook a turkey just for us and I think her turkey's may be the best that I'v ever had!

Delicious food and great company

The moon shining on the snowy mountains on the top of Fluela pass! We ice skated on the top of the pass under the Christmas full moon!

Winter in Switzerland?
A pretty drive to Lenzerheide from Davos for interval training on the next World Cup sprint course 

Almost looks like VT

This tunnel maybe not as much

A pretty Swiss church in the village of Schmitten

The view from Lenzerheide.  Today we drove 45 minutes from Davos to Lenzerheide for the start of the Tour de Ski.
The Tour de Ski starts here this weekend!  The entire tour is eight races in ten days in three countries!  I'm only planning to race the first five or six races and then will stop in order to recover for the following World Cup weekend in Slovenia.