Jessie Diggins: Bend Update

Bumps, scrapes, smiles and skiing like crazy

I’m going out on a limb here and proclaiming this year the best Bend Camp yet. We had an incredible streak of sunny warm days with great skiing up on Mt. Bachelor, and some really fun afternoon activities after the mornings on the mountain.

Just in case my usual blog posts about glitter and sunshine have thrown you off track, I want to set the record straight: yeah, we have a lot of fun, but we work hard. Really, really hard. Don’t let the pink fool you. We’ve been putting in some big hours this camp, and doing tons of drills and video work with a fresh approach to technique. It’s been mentally and physically exhausting, but with plenty of fun thrown in and I’m leaving camp happy and tired…exactly where I want to be!

Adding a little hiking into our crust cruise up Broken Top Mountain

A huge thanks goes out to Sue for running the Nordic Lodge and Bachelor Mountain for some awesome trails. Another big thank you goes out to Dave Cieslowski, a Physical Therapist here in Bend who generously donated his time to us to help keep us on our feet! I have been having some issues with shin splints and particularly sore muscles in my forearm so Dave has been awesome in helping me recover and stay skiing. It’s also the reason you’ll see kinesio tape on my forearm in some of the pictures – nope, I didn’t get crazy tribal tatoos crawling up my arm. Next year, maybe. And the biggest thank you I can manage goes out to our amazing coaches for working so hard to not only give us the best coaching possible but finding creative and new ways to keep it fresh and fun. Like adding in the crust cruise, the biking, the point-to-point runs, the new drills, team nights and having awesome attitudes in general!

THIS is why we can't leave our phones lying around anymore. It's also why we have so much fun - our coaches are awesome.

Our last day here we went for an epic crust cruise. I’d never been crust skiing before in my life (I know…how could I have been missing out all this time?!?) but now I know what all the fuss is about. Zipping along between the trees, it was like a choose-your-own-adventure game where we each picked our lines and went for it! We skied from Bachelor to Todd Lake, crossed the lake and then started up the next mountain over.

Gliding right over Todd Lake (photo from Liz)

Stopping to get a drink (photo from Liz)

I really enjoyed myself all the way to the top of Broken Top mountain, where we climbed right up into the bowl. Then I turned around. Shoot. I forgot that when it comes to skiing down mountains on skinny skis, I have next to no skills, or experience, at all. Oh boy! Watching Andy, Simi and Matt go down the mountain was amazing and terrifying at the same time. I had to get Liz to talk me out of my original plan to side-step my way down the bowl :) I also had to tell myself, out loud, to not be such a chicken. It was a scary thing, and I fell a lot and finished the day with a smaller percentage of skin on my body than I had when I woke up, but it was so worth it. I was so psyched that we had the chance for an adventure ski, because I think it’s so important to keep training fun and throw in those epic days whenever possible!

Whew! Great uphill practice (photo from Liz)

Matt, Grover, Andy and Ida about halfway up to the bowl (photo from Liz)

The learning curve for skiing down mountains is pretty steep. This is what the first part of it looks like!

As we do every year, we hosted a Fast and Female afternoon. We had a record number of girls participating in the Bend event this year- I believe over 65! – and it was really fun to see familiar faces of girls who’ve come back every year and see new girls as well. We had a number of stations: obstacle courses, relays, the “winter Olympics” station, and a line dancing station. 10 points if you can guess which station I led!

Kikkan and Liz leading a station going through the sports in the Winter Olympics.

Me, Sadie and Ida answering questions from the girls after dancing!

YES! Our new friend Annie shows us what the right attitude looks like.

For those not familiar with Fast and Female, check out their newly updated website: http://www.fastandfemale.com It’s a really neat organization dedicated to empowerment through sport, and I’m proud to be an ambassador alongside such inspirational, strong women!

Fast and Female participants getting their posters signed by Winter Olympians!

Me, Ida and Sophie during a long skate ski

A typical day in camp looked something like this: wake up, get some breakfast and COFFEE!!!, head out the garage to wax up some skis for the day, and then jump into the car. We’d drive up to the mountain and then ski for usually 2-2.5 hours every morning, working on drills and very specific technique goals. Then we’d get home in time for lunch and a shower, and usually some foam rolling or stretching. In the afternoon we’d either do a run and strength, a longer run or mountain bike. For dinner the girls, guys and coaches took turns cooking and we’d eat family style.

The morning klister scene

One thing I’ve been really working on is my balance, so I can stay on my feet more. Somewhat ironically, this has actually made me fall more as I’m now taking more risks and pushing my limits a little more on cornering. But I’m slowly getting better!

Matt raising the stakes in the balancing game...

Working on my yoga moves during strength!

I’m finding out that I have irrational fears this spring. I have no problem whatsoever with going skydiving, bungee jumping, cliff diving…I’ll jump without any problems. But I am such a little chicken on a mountain bike. It really terrifies me. As a result, on our mountain bike I was going painstakingly slow with my usual death grip on the handlebars. I was (for once) fine, but all my mountain bike fears happened to my teammate. Sophie took a tumble and ended up with a radial fracture in her humerus, right above her right elbow, and is in a cast. She is such a tough cookie, and after a couple days of checking in with the doctors she was out skiing with no poles! She’s going to have incredibly strong and efficient legs, and I’m so proud of her for keeping her chin up and I know she’ll heal up quickly.

One handed? No problem! Sophie rallying us around

Just three girls all crammed into the front of the biggest truck ever...Soph, me and Sadie touring Bend

We are such a tight team, and this spring we’ve taken the opportunity to meet as both a large team and a women’s team and go over goals and projects for the year. I feel so lucky to be a part of this!

Matt, Kikkan, Liz, Ida, Sadie, Sophie and I after our girls team meeting getting some treats!

After a long camp, it’s time for a little relaxing! But first we’ll fly to Park City for spring testing, then I’ll be back out in Vermont with my club teammates! I can’t wait to get back to Stratton and see everyone again!

Ida, Andy, Sadie and Sophie at the side of the Deschutes River

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