- We flew west; there was snow.
As documented through the tales of Paddy and Annie H, we found a great deal of trails to travel in West Yellowstone, MT and Sun Valley, ID. We trained and raced on the Rendevous trails in West, while getting the chance to train on the Harriman and Galena BCRD trails in Idaho. While we travel to race, getting the chance to train, to go on long skis in the woods and enjoy the act of skiing, was a huge treat.
- We had a junior wolf pack stalk us.
In addition to the T2 team, our juniors and post grad athletes joined us for both SuperTour weekends. The pack includes Kam, Katharine, Lauren, Julia K, Julia B, Gabe and Matt Boobar as resident pack Alpha. Having the kids on the road kept the energy high, or as high as it can be chasing around the little pups.
- We skate raced
The first weekend of SuperTour races consisted of a skate sprint and 10/15K. Erika sat the weekend out to attend to a cold, but the rest of us got a taste of good, hard altitude racing. On the sprint day, we had good qualifications but no one made it through to finals. On the second day, Annie H and Paddy posted top 20 results while Katharine went ahead and took home the gold. Full results here.
- And then we classic raced
In Sun Valley, we then raced classic sprint and distance races, both held on the Lake Creek trail system (which has been sanctioned as an official Olympic training venue). Things went better that time around, with Annie H and Ben making it through to semifinals on the sprint day. Annie turned around and posted a top-10 result, her best SuperTour distance posting, the next day while Paddy and I made it into the top-20. Full results here.
- We reached out.
While in West, we got the chance to spend time with the multiple junior teams training and racing there. All of our home clubs make the Thanksgiving pilgrimage (get it? Too much?) to Yellowstone, which gave us ample opportunity to ski and chat with up-and-coming athletes.
- Patrick shoveled.
The west had snow, but not the most snow, and in order for us to be able to race on the Lake Creek trails in Sun Valley, volunteers spent two days shoveling snow to be groomed. Pat was one of those volunteers, so in addition to schlepping us to training, testing race wax, applying race wax, attending coaches meetings and dealing with the logistical nightmare that is eastern snow conditions, he found time to shovel snow for hours a day to make sure that our races went off. I don’t know how he did it all, but he did it well, as we had some of the most competitive skis in the field that weekend. You go, Patrick O’Brien.
- Annie H never took off her spandex.
- Erika rose the level of women in sports.
The Women’s Sports Foundation has supported SMS T2 athletes for two years in a row now, with a grant given to Erika last year and to me this year. As part of her commitment to the program, Erika fundraised money last week for the WSF Travel and Training fund, which helps fund the athletic pursuits of young women all across the country.
America definitely happened. In case you missed it, the US Ski Team women placed third in the Lillehammer World Cup team relay last weekend. Jessie was the anchor leg, an experience blogged here.
- We hugged and split up.
Now the domestic group heads its different ways for the remainder of December before meeting up again in Houghton, MI for US XC Ski Championships. While Annie H and Erika head north for NorAm races in Silver Star, BC, Paddy, Ben, Pat and I are headed back East for a respite week before the Eastern Cup opener in Craftsbury next week. Stay tuned for our further adventures!