Sophie Caldwell: Glacier Reflections

A Week on the Glacier

Two Saturdays ago, we flew up to Eagle Glacier to spend a week training on snow. I had been on the the glacier once before, but that was three years ago. While we were up there, we put in a ton of hours, kilometers, calories, and ZzzzZzzzs. There is a lot of work that goes into a successful glacier camp and it wouldn’t have been possible without our staff of USST coaches Matt Whitcomb and Jason Cork, APU coach Erik Flora, glacier workers Don Haering and Andre Lovett, and always smiling PT Zuzanna Rogers. We have a lot of photos from the week, so I’ll mostly let the pictures do the talking, but I’ll highlight some of the main themes of the camp.

1. Food

We were all training about 20-26 hours in our six days up on the glacier. Even though training four hours a day feels like you’re training all day every day, it turns out there are still 20 hours left in the day. Let’s say about 11 of those hours are spent sleeping between napping and night time, so that basically leaves about 9 hours left for eating! We would wake up at 7 and eat breakfast, come in from our morning ski and eat a snack, get changed and eat lunch, take a nap and eat another snack, go for an afternoon ski and have a snack, get changed and eat dinner, clean up and hang out and then have another snack before bed. It was awesome. The amount of food that gets flown up there is more food than I’ve ever seen in a kitchen before and every cooking group did an amazing job of making some delicious meals.

One of Celine’s many Norwegian treats she made us, bula!
We made big salads to go with dinner each night, but Rosie B. isn’t a huge salad fan, so Sadie made her a special Rosie salad on the final night
My favorite snack – toast, jam, Norwegian brown cheese, and eggs
Celine posing with her burger
Caitlin brought a basil plant up to the glacier and made us a caprese appetizer for dinner one night

2. Skiing
Most of our workouts on the glacier were easy distance. We were skiing twice a day, so doing too much intensity wouldn’t have been sustainable. We did throw in a speed workout, a classic intensity workout, and a skate intensity workout. Each girl on the glacier has different strengths and weaknesses and there were always days where someone felt good and someone felt bad. Everyone was happy to follow or be followed, so we were constantly learning from each other. The days you didn’t feel great made you tougher and the days you did feel great made someone else tougher.

A group ski on our final day
A train of us led by Celine on the team sprint day
Erika skating into the sun on one of our first days up there
Kikkan and me on the final day (she was much more appropriately dressed)
Following Kikkan on team sprint day
Kikkan and Liz showing off our Bjorn Daehlie summer uniforms

3. Sleep ZzzzZZzzz

When we weren’t training or eating, we were usually sleeping. We slept in bunk rooms and hung blankets on the windows to keep the light out at night. Sometimes it was difficult to wrap my head around going to sleep when it was still so light out, but when we were training as much as we were, it wasn’t too difficult.

Matt taking a little snooze on our first day up there
Looks like I caught him again!

4. Special guest
For the past four years, the girls have had a special guest from another country come to the glacier camp. This year Celine Brun-Lie was our guest. Celine is on the Norwegian National Team and she is a very good sprinter and I really enjoyed having her at our camp. She has a very relaxed personality and was eager to learn from us and happy to teach us a lesson or two. I hadn’t really noticed it before this camp, but apparently Celine and I have very similar styles of skiing. At one point it was really freaking Matt out how similarly we skied, especially when we were wearing matching clothing. Celine brought a lot to our camp and we were all happy to leave Alaska with a new friend. I hope she will be back soon!

Maybe we are more similar than I realized!
Celine, Jessie, Sadie, and me after a rollerski workout while we were still down in Anchorage
Celine and Erika pushing each other
Celine and Sadie during our skate sprint time trial
Celine and me on the helicopter ride up to the glacier

5. Weather
The weather wasn’t perfect (despite all the beautiful pictures), but it really wasn’t terrible until the last day. We had a couple days of sun, a few days of clouds, and one day of rain. It was warm enough to ski in sports bras one day and warm enough to ski without a raincoat every day except for one. The last day it was cold and rainy and I didn’t wear enough clothes, so I just about froze and had to come in early. It wasn’t the best way to finish of the camp, but I learned my lesson and (hopefully) saved myself from getting the flu. Whether it was cloudy or sunny, there was almost always some kind of incredible view. My favorite thing to do was to walk up to the heli pad in the evening around the time the clouds usually cleared to rest and take in the surroundings. I’ve never been anywhere like Eagle Glacier and on a good day, it’s hard to beat.

View from the heli pad on a beautiful evening
Our helicopter up
One of our first days skiing

6. Good Company

This was the most important part of our camp. It would be easy for a group of 14 girls to be sick of each other after spending 6 days straight in a small building on top of a glacier, but instead, we were all sad to say goodbye. I don’t know what the secret is, but we know how to read each other and we know how to be bearable at worst and enjoyable at best. There were 1,000 times more smiles than there were tears and we all came away fitter and better skiers. I’d call that a success!

Getting ready for a group picture with Zuzanna, Don, and Andre
Many different clubs coming together
The girls with Matt and Jason (missing Erik Flora)
A snake of sorts?
Erika and me
Sadie and me
and a final Sodie pic!

After we came down from the glacier, we went to Holly’s cabin in Hope, Alaska for a night of hanging out in the sun and relaxing by the campfire. I flew home on Monday night and will be home for a few days before I head out west to visit some family and friends in Montana and Colorado. I’m looking forward to an easy week of training with the Annies and Erika followed by a good fix of western mountains and sunshine. Thanks for following!

Celine and Rosie peeking into Holly’s beautiful cabin
s’mores by the fire at Holly’s
Matt making his own instruments
Jessie, Erika and me on top of Hope Mtn.
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