Monday, November 25, 2013

Beito to Ruka

A Norwegian troll that I found in the woods.
We had beautiful weather all week with sun almost every single day
Mountains above Beitostolen
It was fun to put on a bib this weekend and start a couple races.  It usually takes me a little while to feel normal racing so I was glad that we had a few warm up races to get settled in.  Our team had some great results this weekend and I think we are in a great place heading into the World Cup season.
The sunrise leaving Oslo yesterday morning
And the sunset in Lapland a few hours later.  The sun sets at 2:07pm in Ruka, Finland today so we have some dark days ahead.  
Yesterday we traveled from Norway to Finland and will be opening the World Cup season this weekend in Ruka, Finland, which is a ski area just south of the Arctic Circle.  Ruka is notorious for being cold and dark but I love racing here.  The uphills are long and steep, the downhills are fast, the condos are nice, and we usually get a couple hearty meals of reindeer over the course of the week.  It also recently snowed here so there will be lots of fresh powdery snow and great skiing conditions. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


My last couple weeks at home flew by and it was hard to leave when I was surrounded by wonderful friends and family, a blazing wood stove, mid winter ski conditions in Stowe, delicious Craftsbury Outdoor Center meals, cases of Maple Greek yogurt from the Green Mountain Creamery, and of course my own bed.  But the winter season has finally arrived and I couldn't be more excited!

On Friday my parents drove me to the Burlington airport with bulging heavy bags in tow.
This will be my first year not coming home for Christmas so big hugs were necessary! 
Packing for the winter abroad was quite tricky, especially finding space for all the important travel necessities like VT maple syrup and coffee
Maple syrup for sponsors and friends as well as a 5lb bag of VT Coffee Company beans took up a lot of space in my bag.  I managed to fit it almost everything I needed into my bags but I forgot my winter boots so hopefully my feet will not be too cold until I find some Norwegian kids boots or something else to keep my little toes warm.
After a 18+ hour travel day home from Canmore several weeks earlier, this flight over the pond was quick and easy.  When the flight attendant announced we were landing in Oslo, I was still konked out in a Tylenol PM induced daze but it was great to be back in Europe!
Only in Scandinavia can you find candy and Swix ski wax together in the check out line at the grocery store.
Our first stop this year is Beitostolen, Norway which is a resort town about three hours from Oslo.  Apparently last week was really warm here and they lost almost all of the natural snow but there is still a 5km loop of snow saved from last winter.  The temperatures have cooled off and yesterday it was fun to have very firm classic tracks for some fast kicking and gliding.

Here are Rosie and Sadie partway up the biggest climb of the course.
I have started the last few winters way above the Arctic Circle in dark northern Finland.  Beitostolen has many more hours of daylight and seeing the sun above the horizon is always nice.  Here is the view from the ski trail at 9am. 
We are staying in condos that are a short walk from the trails and taking turns cooking for the team.  My condo tried to make burgers a couple nights ago but we accidentally bought ground pork instead of ground beef.  We were a little alarmed by the color of the meat until Peter, our Swedish wax tech translated the package for us and we realized our mistake.  The coaches raised the bar last night with a gourmet Italian dinner.  Randy made his famous bruschetta, Peter cooked the pasta perfectly, Cork made two types of pasta sauce from scratch, Fish made a giant fruit salad, Grover provided the veggies with a green salad, and Oleg was there for support and entertainment.  Our team is a family on the road and this meal was a great example of the wonderful atmosphere we share.

Bruschetta and fruit salad

The Norwegian National team girls invited us over for "bolle" after dinner.  Astrid Jacobsen who came to one of our camps this summer baked three different kinds of bolle or traditional Norwegian rolls which included cinnamon buns and rolls filled with chocolate which were served with brown cheese and hot chocolate.  It's really fun to get to know skiers from other countries and the Norwegian ladies are so nice and welcoming!  The warm bolle fresh from the oven was also incredible!

Thanks Astrid!
We begin the season this weekend with the Norwegian Opener FIS races here in Beitostolen.  Can't wait!