Final Prep Phase

Simi sends an update from Park City camp

It makes us all a little anxious to know we’ll be putting on our first race bibs in just over a month. Some of us will be overseas trying to fit in training and racing during the 4 hours of daylight in Northern Scandinavia. Some of us will be in West Yellowstone, Montana for the week-long, kick-off ski festival that most skiers associate more with Thanksgiving than turkey and stuffing. Regardless of where we’ll be throughout the world, we’ll all share a hunger for showcasing a summer’s worth of hard work and patience when the time comes to break the start wand.

Some of the guys striding up American Fork
Some of the guys striding up American Fork

Our final, and perhaps most important period of preparation is underway right now in Park City, UT. Every Fall we come to this high-altitude training environment, focusing on ramping up our race-pace intensity on our roller skis while still sneaking out for long runs and rides under the golden Aspen leaves and crisp, blue skies that Fall in Park City is famous for. The days are getting shorter and shorter, and whether it’s a conscious recognition or not, our minds and bodies know that race season is just around the corner. Joined by friends and national team teammates from Alaska Pacific University, Craftsbury Green Team, and the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation, we have a great crew here. We push each other to our limits on the hard days, and laugh at each other’s stories on long distance running and roller ski sessions. Since we opted to not travel to Canmore, Alberta this year to get on snow before the race season kicks off in mid-November, the camp has been both incredibly enjoyable and quality. We don’t feel like we need to cram a bunch of hard dry land intensity in like we have done in past years. Instead, we’ve had the time to make sure that we are recovering well from each hard session before we get out for the next one. One of the highlights of the camp so far has been a 3.5 hour run on the Wasatch Crest Trail. Gaining 3,500 vertical feet in the first 3 miles brings you to what is literally the spine of the central Wasatch Range. We ran on a perfect Fall day, with temps staying cool in the 60’s and the trail paved in golden Aspen leaves at 10,000 ft. It’s days like these keep you coming back for more and remind you of how lucky we are to be doing this kind of thing day in and day out.

Running the Crest Trail
Running the Crest Trail
Sophie all done skiing for the day
Sophie all done skiing for the day

In a week most of us will head back to Vermont for the two weeks before we hit the road for the winter. I will spend some time with family in friends in Colorado for a week before returning to the east coast. I’m crossing my fingers that I’ll be able to find some snow somewhere around the state, at least to get out for a cruise with some friends and share some good laughs before I’m gone for another 5 months. It’s easy to feel a bit nervous this time of year, knowing that we’ll be living out of our duffel bags and driving/flying to a new World Cup venue every single week until mid-March, but it always makes it easier knowing that you’ll be surrounded by great teammates and coaches. A lot of people always ask me if I get sick of spending all of my time with the same group of people year round, and I always respond with a resounding “nope!”. This is a great life that we’re living, but being able to share the adventures, the ups, and the downs is what is truly makes it so special. So stay tuned for reports from the road and we hope to see you at our SMS T2 sendoff dinner in Stratton on November 8th! -Simi

Hitting up the terrain park!
Hitting up the terrain park!
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