Keep on the Sunny Side

As I write this sitting in my hotel room in Seiser Alm, I’m watching some seriously stylish Italians attempt to navigate the slalom gates on the ski slope directly under my window. Go-Pros are everywhere. Someone in slippers and a fluffy robe is shuffling out to the outdoor sauna, and one of the waiters is pacing back and forth having a smoke break. Nobody is rushed (except the skier still frantically making their way around the gates), the sun is out, someone is sending it down the sled run on a toboggan, the slopes are full of skiers, there’s snow on the mountain and if I were to be stuck up here for the rest of my life I wouldn’t be all that bummed out.

Pointing to our hotel up on the mountain!

After I admitted to myself (and then to my coach) that I was too sick to continue racing in the Tour de Ski, I got really pretty sick. I was like a fuse on the end of a firework…right before everything blew apart I burned a little faster and a little brighter than I should have. So I took a few days of total hibernation, sleeping like the dead and shutting myself up in my room with episodes of the Vampire Diaries and other beautifully mindless yet somehow catchy shows.

I started playing with sculpy clay when the internet stopped working...

And I also finished the book Peter gave me for Christmas! If you haven't read this yet...do it.

I aggressively watched twitter updates of the races in Houghton at US Nationals, cheering on my SMST2 teammates and all my friends there. Congrats to everyone who made the Scando/Junior/U23 World Team! I’m really excited to watch you guys rip it up. I also watched the Tour races on TV and cheered for Liz (and, really, every single person that did that final climb. Because that thing is HARD) although it was really painful to be surrounded with racing and talk of racing all day and not be able to go do it myself. It made me feel useless, not being well enough to do my job. Times like that are when it’s so important to remind myself that while yeah, my whole life basically revolves around skiing (I am in Europe for 5 months straight, after all) it’s not all of who I am, and there are other parts of me that are awesome and don’t hinge on race results.

I went on a couple walks in Predazzo to get some sun, and saw some beautiful homes! I love the laundry hanging outside to dry.

I came out of hibernation and snapped out of it just in time to travel to Seiser Alm, and for Liz’s 28th Birthday! We had a lovely evening and I’m so excited to be up here spending a week of training with her and Cork. I’m now well enough to start training conservatively again, and I’m looking forward to all the amazing skiing up here!

Me and Therese this morning. It was so fun to ski with her! (photo by Cork)

While it’s a really low snow year, there are still 13km of really good trails, and this morning I went for my first ski with Cork. We ran into Therese Johaug and skied a lap with her, and it was really fun to talk, hear about her Tour and share plans for the next few weeks!

My special "sit down tuck". Still doing it!

Cork in the lower stadium

Of course, because it’s Seiser Alm and gorgeous and sunny, I needed a few photos to share. Cork graciously posed for some too (if you know him, you’ll know how rare and special this is).

Cork, missing 'Merican food...and finding it in the Alps.

I’m looking forward to this next week!

-JD

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