The Eagle Glacier via Simi

I’m finally feeling like I’m catching my breath from the last 20 days of travel and training. Home is always the best place to do that, and that’s why I thought it would be a great idea to stop by Colorado for a few days on my way back to the east coast. Since arriving at home a few days ago, I’ve had a ton of time to catch up on sleep and enjoy a lot of mom’s home cooking, especially since it’s been abnormally rainy for this time of year here in the Rocky Mountains. But as I write this, the sun is well on it’s way to making strong comeback for the first part of August and the forecast looks promising for the next week that I’ll be in Colorado… perfect timing considering I’m just starting to get some serious motivation back to get out and do some grand adventures in the high peaks around Aspen with many friends and family. One of the many pluses to an easy week of training and recovery, especially when most of your days are spent dodging massive thunder and rain storms, is that you get ample time to reflect on recent experiences and adventures, in both the training realm and the social/cultural realm. When I think back to how this last period of training and living went, I can best describe it as ‘exceptional’.

For an on-snow national team camp this year, we decided that Alaska would be the best place for a camp. So, for two weeks in mid-July, Andy, Sophie, Jessie, Erika, and myself had the opportunity to jump into the Alaska Pacific University team culture and train with friends who live in the Anchorage area (many of whom are also on the national team). The first week of each of the men’s and women’s camps (we were staggered by one week so as to have more space and better training value while on Eagle Glacier) was spent in Anchorage focusing on dryland training. From long skis up Hatcher Pass to epic runs in the Chugach to hard intensity workouts on the ski trails in town, the first week of camp was extremely productive and was a huge success for both the women’s team and the men’s team. After a week on the ground, we headed up 5,500 vertical feet to the Eagle Glacier above Girdwood, AK (home of Alyeska Mountain Resort). I have somewhat of an affinity for helicopters, so even before we were on-snow training on the glacier, the camp was a huge success in my mind. We owe a huge thanks to Alpine Air Alaska for taking such good care of us and our ski bags (by my estimate, they have to haul around 1,000 lbs of gear and food up to the hut before every week-long camp).

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When we arrived on top of the glacier, we were met with a couple days of brilliant high alpine sunshine and a great 8 km loop that APU’s coach, Erik Flora, had been doctoring for the last two weeks to get it into the best possible shape for our camps. Most of our glacier days, especially those that were completely socked-in, dictated extremely soft snow. It’s a frustrating type of skiing, but it also requires a very valuable technique skill to have in your arsenal since we see so often see slow and soft conditions on the World Cup.

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All in all, our two week camp in Alaska, especially our week up on the glacier, was a huge success. Erik Flora and his APU team were great hosts and I think we all came away from our AK training block more motivated, fit, and psyched about our sport than ever.

I’m really looking forward to getting back to the east coast soon and seeing my SMS T2 family, but spending time at home has been amazing, as it always is. I’ve had quite an itch to get out for some nice long, slow runs in the backcountry. Here’s a few parting shots from a rainy and cold- but still great- run up Independence. I was joined by my best friend, Linden, our ex-T2 coach, Gus (who was on his way to Park City), and my sister, Jenny.

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Thanks for checking in, for all of the support, and for keeping us going! Have a great rest of the summer and get outside to enjoy the August sunshine!

-SH

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