Monday, October 13, 2014

Drive for 25

Like my teammate, Erik Bjornsen pictured above, I am one of those skiers who must fund a majority of my own World Cup racing expenses at a cost of over $20,000 per year.  The National Nordic Foundation is stepping up again to help close this gap.  Their support of XC development has helped transform our country into a skiing nation. The NNF has funded many racing and training trips which I have attended over the years, supporting my development from a junior racer to an Olympian.  They are a huge contributor to our team and our ski community.

Development doesn’t happen overnight but instead involves year after year of cumulative training and racing experience. This process is a journey that takes time and hard work.    Each race weekend and each season is a learning experience which helps me prepare for the next adventure.  Every goal that I reach launches me forward to new goals and higher aspirations.  Two weeks in Europe for World Juniors used to feel like a long trip and now I’m spending four months racing in Europe and I couldn’t imagine returning home after a couple weeks.  Toeing the starting line with powerful European racers used to be incredibly intimidating but now I am close friends with many of these ladies and have realized that they are also chasing similar goals through racing and training. This is also not a solo process.  I have had incredible teammates along my side the entire way as well as support from organizations like the NNF.  Here are a few pictures highlighting my development from a junior racer to a World Cup skier.  The NNF has funded many of these racing trips and I am grateful for their support. 

Please support the NNF through the Drive for 25.  My fundraising page can be found here. Thank you for the generosity! 

This picture was taken during my first European racing trip when I was fifteen years old.  We competed in the U18 Scandinavian Cup Championships in Otepaa, Estonia.  Simi and Liz were my teammates on the NNF (then NCCSEF) funded team as well as Hannah Dreissigacker who is an Olympian in biathlon.
Skiing in Italy with my buddies Sophie and Sadie at World Junior Championships
Sprint awards at the U23 World Championships in Hinterzarten, Germany.  I just missed the podium after racing against some of the ladies I continue to race against on the World Cup including from left to right, Denise Herrmann, Mari Laukkanen, and Katherine Harsem.

2011 World Championships in Oslo.  This was my first senior level Championships and the first time we raced together as a team! Pictured from bottom to top, Liz, me, Kikkan, Holly, Sadie, Jessie, Morgan
Training in Bend in 2011
Celebrating a 5th place World Cup relay finish in 2012 which was a breakthrough performance as a team.

Olympic rookies psyched for Sochi!
Kikkan, Sadie, Liz, and I practicing starts last week in Park City

Thank you for reading and thanks for the support!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Fall Colors!

I may be a ski racer but fall is my fall is my favorite season.  There is nothing that makes me happier at this time of they year than seeing the vibrant reds, oranges, and yellows or shuffling through the crackling fallen leaves.  We returned from Austria to peak foliage.  After returning home after dark, it was wonderful to wake up the next morning to all the fall colors.  I sat in the Adirondack chairs for a long time that morning eating breakfast, drinking coffee, enjoying the foliage and watching the stray leaf fall from the tree.  Later that day I had a nice foliage walk with my dad and snapped a few pictures of the peak conditions.

It can't be fall without apple picking and the GRP made a trip to an orchard in Hardwick

Liz with the foliage behind her
Climbing trees was not allowed so John grew a few inches with the help of Pete to reach the perfect apples on the highest branches

It's past peak now which means there are more leaves on the ground to shuffle through listening to the crackles of the dry leaves.  

Lost Nation Road yesterday morning
And don't forget the other fall color which is PINK! October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and a time to stand strong with women everywhere.  Pink is of course the unofficial USST Women's Team color.  Our last team training camp of year starts next week in Park City, UT.  I'm looking forward to proudly wear my pink while training hard alongside my favorite ladies!  Stay tuned for updates from Team Pink!