Fairbanks feelings…

Here we are, in sunny and cold Fairbanks, Alaska, ready for the last 4 races of the entire season! The team is excited (especially for the team relay, because of course we are) and everyone has different parts of the week they’re looking forward to and pumped about. Here’s a quick snapshot from the team!

Jessie, Anne, Sophie and Erika showing off the new suits! (photo from Paddy)

Anne: “I’m having so much fun with my fellow food lover Jessie cooking up some tasty treats to fuel us through a big week of racing!”

Paddy: “This is my first time in Alaska – it has been really fun to explore somewhere new and see the ski culture and history here in Fairbanks.”

Erika doing a little ski testing at the stadium!

Jessie: “It’s so fun for me to get to be with my SMS family again and hang out cooking, doing yoga, enjoying the sunshine and catching up in between races!”

Coach Pat testing the last of the skis the day before the skiathlon.

Sophie: “This is my first time to Fairbanks and so far it hasn’t disappointed! It’s cold, but by race time the temperatures have warmed and the sun is shining bright. The race trails are awesome and I’m excited to finish off the season with my SMS teammates.”

Andy: “The weirdest thing thats happened so far? I got sick the day before the first race… thats actually not that weird because it happens all the time at Spring Nationals. It’s a pain in my ass {butt}, but at least I will be able to work on my cheering skills for a few days.”

Erika: “I’m really looking forward to the team relay. We’ve been runner up too many times, this year we can win”

Simi: “It’s great to be in beautiful Alaska for our last races of the season. They’ve had a great snow year up here in Fairbanks, the skiing is probably the best we’ve had all year, and finally being able to spend time together as the SMS family is a great way to end the season. I think everyone up here wants to race fast this week, but the vibe is still one of celebration at the end of a long season and to be able to hang out with so many people in the US xc ski community is an opportunity we only get once a year, so we’re all pretty psyched for that.”

Ben: ”     “.

On stressing less

Jessie talks about getting sick, finding the positive and learning from it! 

It’s always easy to be positive when things are going well, but what about when a wrench gets thrown into “the plan”? The last races of World Cup period 1, I traveled to La Clusaz feeling great and fully intending to do some awesome skate racing. Then I got the cold that made it’s way through our entire team (staff included) and wasn’t able to race at all, which was pretty heartbreaking as it was the first time I haven’t anchored the relay since World Champs 2011 and I absolutely live for relay days. I feel like it’s my part to play for the team and not being able to race my heart out for the team that I love made me feel like I wasn’t doing my job, wasn’t fulfilling my role. I felt horribly guilty for being sick and kept thinking “if only I’d washed my hands 31 times instead of only 30, I might have washed the germs off! If only I’d slept another hour…ate another orange to get more vitamin C…” but there’s nothing I could do, and I finally realized that the only way to get better was to let it go and not worry about the things that weren’t going to happen, and instead focus on the things I COULD do to get better!

The town of Saint Jean de Sixt where we stayed in France
The town of Saint Jean de Sixt where we stayed in France
The course on training day as the sun came up over the mountains!
The course on training day as the sun came up over the mountains!
Noah and JP testing out kick
Noah and JP testing out kick
Because it's France, the FIS family tent that serves athletes and staff lunch had wine out on the tables...in large juice pitchers. No shortages there! Andrew and Tim testing it out here.
Because it’s France, the FIS family tent that serves athletes and staff lunch had wine out on the tables…in large juice pitchers. No shortages there! Andrew and Tim testing it out here.

And you know what? The world didn’t implode, I didn’t die, and things moved along. The relay did great, and SMS team member Sophie scrambled for us. In the end, it was a good lesson that even when things don’t go as planned, it’s not the end of the world and things will get better. And things DID get better!

I traveled back to Davos with Liz and Noah where we lived in a little apartment in town and got to put up a Christmas tree, cook our own food (I was particularly thrilled about this) and generally feel more “normal” and at home than we would have in a hotel.

Dinner with Liz and Noah - it made me so happy to cook again!
Dinner with Liz and Noah – it made me so happy to cook again!
The three musketeers and their Happy-Hanukkah-Christmas tree! (photo from Noah)
The three musketeers and their Happy-Hanukkah-Christmas tree! (photo from Noah)
I had a really nice Skype with my family on Christmas!
I had a really nice Skype with my family on Christmas!

Although my training wasn’t perfect and definitely not what I had planned before getting sick, it was another reminder that even when things don’t go according to plan you can always make the best of it and find positives in every single workout! And yep, there were many moments where I doubted my fitness and had confidence struggles going into the Tour since I hadn’t raced in a while and didn’t know what would happen. But when I kept finding the good things in every practice session and focusing on all the things that went right, I was able to talk myself into a “can-do, go kick butt” attitude instead of a “I have no idea, let’s just see what happens” kind of attitude.

Doing some baking for a Holiday party with the Canadians! (photo from Liz)
Doing some baking for a Holiday party with the Canadians! (photo from Liz)
Enjoying my new relay-inspired socks from Podiumwear! Thanks guys!
Enjoying my new relay-inspired socks from Podiumwear! Thanks guys!
Getting over sickness takes time and patience, but a few easy hikes helped me feel like I was getting back into it!
Getting over sickness takes time and patience, but a few easy hikes helped me feel like I was getting back into it!
SUNSHINE! Happy to be super warm in the Swiss mountains!
SUNSHINE! Happy to be super warm in the Swiss mountains!
Davos does an incredible job with snow farming, and they created 10km of trails for us to train on.
Davos does an incredible job with snow farming, and they created 10km of trails for us to train on.

Now we’re in Val Mustair for the start of the Tour de Ski, and I’m so excited for another tour! I think it’s so exciting to race from day to day, getting to do what we love over and over again. It’s a high-energy, fast-paced way to live and you’re totally exhausted at the end, but that, too, is a great feeling of knowing you accomplished something incredibly difficult. I was really happy with my start to the tour yesterday in the skate sprints, making the final and finishing 6th on the day! (further proof to my skeptical mind that getting sick won’t derail my season). But even more exciting was that we had 4 girls qualify (Sophie, Me, Sadie and Kikkan) as well as Simi for the men, and everyone skied so well. It’s also so fun to have Sverre and Lilly Caldwell cheering us on at the tour – it’s like having our own SMS support crew! They have been amazing cheerleaders all winter long. Speaking of cheering, make sure to cheer loud for our SMS teammates at Nationals in Soldier Hollow this week!

-Jessie

The Gold, Bronze and SilverStars!

Erika recaps the SilverStar race weekend…

The SMS Elite domestic crew headed to SilverStar, B.C. this weekend for a combined NorAm/SuperTour race with our neighbors in Canada. SilverStar is one of those places you dream of traveling to as a Nordic skier. Fluffy white snow cakes brightly colored houses and tall pine trees. Add twinkly lights and perfectly groomed trails winding through the woods and the whole scene looks like a life-size gingerbread village.  Despite frigid temperatures throughout the week, the race days brought slightly warmer weather (a balmy 11 degrees) and fresh snow to keep things interesting! It took us a few days to nail the layering for the colder weather (read: spandex shorts, 2 layers of long underwear, tights AND over-pants on the bottom, tee-shirt, long underwear, fleece mid-layer, jacket, vest and puffy coat on top plus two hats and double buff) but once we did we sent it for two days of fierce racing competition!

Such beautiful tracks!
Such beautiful tracks!

Classic Sprint:

Julia Kern, the guppy of the group threw down an impressive sprint on Saturday to take the overall gold and her first SuperTour win! Annie and I got our sprint legs under us and held our own in the B-Final to finish 8th and 12th overall. On the boys side, Ben got his double pole on for a 3rd place podium finish and Paddy kept classic skiing alive, choosing to stride the heats after a strong 16th place finish in the qualifier. He got knocked out in the heats but decidedly won the classic race for the day (and in our hearts).

Proud of our guppy!
Proud of our guppy!
Driving to the venue.
Driving to the venue.
Paddy keeping striding alive!
Paddy keeping striding alive!

Skate 10km/15km Individual Start:

Sunday offered up fresh snow to make the brutal World Cup course at Sovereign Lake just a leeeeetle bit harder. The biggest accomplishment of the day may have been actually getting TO the race course after a few failed attempts to get to the top of our road on icy streets. Fortunately the women on our team are pretty strong these days and coordinated an impressive sled push to boost the mini-van up the hill. Shout out to Uber-John for gettting us to and from the venue safely! Katherine dominated the hills on the 2 lap 5km course to finish in 2nd place overall and I spent a lot of time in the pain cave trying to hold on to Chelsea Holmes of APU and racing into 3rd place! We were thrilled to have two SMS skiers on the podium and Annie and Julia both in the top 12!

Great podium day for SMS!
Great podium day for SMS!
Another awesome ski day!
Another awesome ski day!

Paddy got some redemption after the sprint race with a strong 5th place finish on a tough 15km and Ben put down two awesome laps before remembering he had a third and was forced to apologize to his legs as they suffered though another 5km. With the first SuperTour period wrapped up, the SMS Elite team posted some best ever results for this time of year and are looking forward to more racing after the New Year! We definitely couldn’t have done it without our incredible coach, Pat O’Brien and service team (also Pat O’Brien with help from John Ogden, BSF and Vail.) Thanks for following along ☺

Park City Camp

Sophie wraps up camp with annual send off dinner information!

We just wrapped up our final dryland camp of the training season in Park City, Utah. This means a few things. One, we are tired and ready for a recovery week. Two, that was our last training camp which means less than a month until our first races! And three, our annual send off dinner must be just around the corner and you should come!! I’ll elaborate a little.
(Rollerskiing up East Canyon Liz Arky photo)
(Rollerskiing up East Canyon Liz Arky photo)
Park City camp was fun, hard, and beautiful. We spent two weeks training at altitude and the focus of our first week was volume, and the focus of our second week was intensity (but still a lot of volume). On top of our long workouts and hard workouts, we were also doing several speed and strength session and of course, we threw a couple recovery days in there too. So with the last camp over, we are all looking forward to a little R&R before hopping back into some solid training in a week or two.
Run OD with Jess and Liz (photo from Matt Whitcomb)
Run OD with Jess and Liz (photo from Matt Whitcomb)

Most of us are heading over to Europe for World Cups or out west for Supertours in mid to late November, which means we have less than a month until the season begins! I don’t know where summer went, but winter is just around the corner and we are PSYCHED.

Sophie is pumped
Sophie is pumped

We have our annual send off dinner coming up! This year is will be on November 11th and if you would like to attend, please contact scaldwell@gosms.org for details. We promise delicious food, good company, and a good reason to bring the community together before the season begins. Thanks for following!

Team! Andy, Paddy, Coach Pat, Ben, Simi, Julia, Anne, Erika, Jessie and Sophie
Team! Andy, Paddy, Coach Pat, Ben, Simi, Julia, Anne, Erika, Jessie and Sophie

New Zealandisms

Life down unda’ is a bit different from Vermont…

Ida, Jessie and KO enjoying the trails!
Ida, Jessie and KO enjoying the trails!

CHITCHAT

Although the majority of kiwis speak English, the familiar language sounds almost entirely different in New Zealand. A few of my favorite translations…

Toilet paper: Nappy

Sausage: Saucy

Friend: Mate

Person: Fella

Head: Noggin

Candy: Lolly

Cookie: TimTam (also the best packaged cookie I have ever eaten!)

Grilled Cheese: Toastie

Bad: Average

Awesome: SweetAzz

Pretty SweetAzz
Pretty SweetAzz

NOMS

Tea served in a sweater
Tea served in a sweater

True to form, the kiwi fruits down here are incredible. New Zealanders also know a thing or two about coffee and in addition to creating traditional cappuccinos and lattes they have mastered the flat white and the long black. I’m still waiting for the slow grey but so far flat whites are killing it. The food at the SnowFarm is an interesting (and very tasty) mix of British inspired dishes with Asian influence like spicy lamb curry, miso soup with tofu and seaweed, rice noodle salad with eel, eggplant couscous and meat pies.  TimTams are also a local staple-think two shortbread cookies filled with chocolate Oreo frosting and covered in rich milk chocolate.

jessie's lunch!
Jessie’s lunch!

WeathAh’

Cruising around the trails (photo from Jessie)
Cruising around the trails (photo from Jessie)

Totally unpredictable. Every day is different and we’ve had a little bit of everything from 50mph winds that nearly blow you off the mountain to still sunny days skiing in sports bras. The trails cover over 25km of varied terrain plus the option for crust skiing out into the hills! We’ve had klister conditions and fast skating along with a few inches of fresh powder and cold hard wax cruising.

The one guarantee is spectacular views no matter what the weather. Even in total whiteouts the fog is mesmerizing!

KO, Soph, Erika and Liz on a crust cruise
KO, Soph, Erika and Liz on a crust cruise

Seasons and Time

So technically it is the end of winter down here. A short drive off the mountain places us smack dab in the middle of Wanaka where trees are starting to bloom and spring is in the air. Over the course of a month we will have experience summer in VT, winter and spring in New Zealand, and fall upon arrival back in VT in just a few days. Mind blowing. Even after being here for two weeks the time change still confuses me. We are 16 hours ahead of the east coast but across the dateline…which basically means at 12 PM here on Tuesday it is 8 PM on Monday in Vermont. This is how I imagine scrambled eggs feel all the time.

The beach at Wanaka
The beach at Wanaka
On a warmup run before strength
On a warmup run before strength

We have a few more days down unda’ before returning to Vermont and are making the most of midsummer (winter) skiing and training and can’t wait for the first snow to fly up north!

Thanks for checking in!

Xo

E

Week one in New Zealand!

Sophie shows us what part of our team has been up to on the Snow Farm.

The majority of our team is down in New Zealand taking part in a U.S. Ski Team training camp for the next two weeks. It’s late winter here in New Zealand, so we’ve been skiing in what feels like late February/early March conditions. With the exception of a windy and rainy day yesterday, we have had mostly beautiful weather and the skiing has been awesome.

At the Bob Lee hut.
At the Bob Lee hut.

So far we’ve been logging a lot of easy distance training, but we did have one day of intensity where some of us did threshold intervals and a few people jumped in the Merino Muster, a 42km loppet race that is held up at the Snow Farm. Jessie and Liz took the top two spots for women and Hoff and Simi took the top two spots for men. They were also the top four fastest racers overall! The rest of us did some fun skate intervals as a group and worked together to push through the strong headwind we were fighting.

Leaning into a huge headwind!
Leaning into a huge headwind!

We have an off day today and we are going to head down into the town of Wanaka to get off the mountain for a few hours. This week we have some more volume on the plan as well as several intensity sessions including a couple races over the weekend. Stay tuned for some more updates and photos from winter in summertime!

-Sophie
-Sophie

Mini Camp in Craftsbury

Julia shares, in an amazing photo set, what half of the team has been up to in northern Vermont! 

Anne, Paddy and I headed up to Craftsbury, VT with Pat to do a mini camp while the rest of the team is at a camp in New Zealand. We thought it would be a good idea to change up the scenery and go train with the Craftsbury team for a few days. Every workout was exciting since we were skiing with different people and in places we have only skied a handful of times.  The first day kicked off with some double pole intervals.

Anne is ready to go!
Anne is ready to go!
Paddy and some of the Craftsbury men.
Paddy and some of the Craftsbury men.
Anne cruising along.
Anne cruising along.
A van full of sweaty athletes.
A van full of sweaty athletes.
Hard to beat this weather.
Hard to beat this weather.
Even harder to beat this sunset!
Even harder to beat this sunset!

On the second day, we were welcomed by a taste of fall with a nice cool and refreshing morning. We headed out for a distance skate ski and Anne and Paddy threw in some short intervals to kick off the approaching fall season. I really enjoyed skiing on roads I had never skied on while soaking in the unfamiliar surroundings.

Paddy and Caitlin skiing along.
Paddy and Caitlin skiing along.
Mary and Anne skiing in unison.
Mary and Anne skiing in unison.
Marry, Anne and I skiing together.
Mary, Anne and I skiing together.

On the last day, we finished up with a really sweet over distance combo over Jay. Although initially starting off in the fog, the sun burnt right though and made the perfect weather for a 4 hour workout. The first hour of the ski was trending downhill so I hopped on some double zero classic wheels while I drafted Anne who was skating. It felt so good to ski really fast while going easy. The second hour of the rollerski was all uphill, as we made our way up towards the top of Jay. The workout ended with a run over Jay and back down to complete the 4 hour workout.

Catching Anne’s draft.
Catching Anne’s draft.
Pat coaching as Anne and Mary ski to the end of a long climb.
Pat coaching as Anne and Mary ski to the end of a long climb.

Not an Individual Sport (Simi’s Update)

From the outside looking in, cross country skiing is the epitome of an individual sport. You put in a couple hundred hours of training a year by yourself, your bib number during a race usually corresponds to you and only you, and when you stand on top of the podium you’re usually standing alone on that step. But skiing is not an individual sport. It’s a team sport just like football or basketball or soccer. Your teammates are there during much of your hard training intervals, either pushing you to your limits when they’re right behind you hot on your heels, or giving you reason to go to a new place in the pain cave when you’re a stride behind them. Sometimes you even get lucky enough to look over at a teammate during a sprint heat on the World Cup. And when you are named to a sprint or distance relay team, the importance of team cohesion and chemistry takes on an entirely new focus. Team is everything.

unnamed-3

I wanted to bring up this idea of the importance of team because I think sometimes, while we reflect on past training blocks or great workouts or sweet adventures we’ve done recently, we sometimes forget about the extraordinary team sessions we’ve been lucky enough to be a part of in the recent past. I’m taking this opportunity to describe a workout we had last Saturday that was one of the best team interval workouts we’ve had all year. By the numbers, the session looked like this: 5×10 minutes of skating on rolling terrain at threshold (level 3) at Ball Mountain Dam, with the last 20 seconds of each interval at sprint pace. On paper, it’s not that special of a session, but when you’re skiing 25 miles/hour with 5 other dudes, and you’re all focused 100% on being in that place and no where else, it’s a hard feeling to beat. A lot of athletes in all different kinds of sports talk about “getting in the zone”. For us, doing this kind of workout allows us to find that special mental space, and the reward of finding it is made that much better when you know your teammates, who are also some of your closest friends in life, are also in that mental space. Your surroundings are a blur as the pace line of skiers hammers along the road or trail. You feel like you could continue at that speed, in that pace line, forever. Your breathing becomes rhythmic and relaxed. You feel the endorphins speeding through your brain and body, and you crave more.

unnamed-4It’s important to remember workouts like this. When you’re 12 km into a 15 km race in the middle of the quiet, cold forest in some far off country like Finland, it’s easy to forget what team really means. But it’s these kinds of workouts with some of the best teammates in the world that allow you to push just a little bit harder for just a little bit longer. I can’t wait for many more days with my teammates in the future, and that anticipatory feeling will continue to drive us to be the best in the world.

Alaska camp recap!

I hope I say often enough just how much I LOVE my job, and how lucky I feel! The past week of training was hard work, of course, but anytime “going to work” means getting dressed up in spandex and skiing on a glacier for 5 hours, you know life is pretty good.

Skiing with a view! (photo by Zuzana Rogers)
Skiing with a view! (photo by Zuzana Rogers)

Life on Eagle Glacier is simple – mostly a pattern of eat, sleep, train and cook food for your teammates. But it wouldn’t be possible without the dedication and hard work of the glacier staff and coaches! Big, BIG thanks to Erika Flora and Dylon Watts for keeping the trails groomed, the Thomas Training Center up and running, and organizing transport! Thanks to Alpine Air Alaska for getting us up and down safely in helicopters even when there was a massive forest fire going on nearby (more on this later!) and thanks to Zuzana Rogers for volunteering her time as a Physical Therapist and keeping us healthy during a big week of training! And, as always, our USST coaches Matt Whitcomb, Jason Cork and Chris Grover were awesomely positive and always ready to help us get one step closer to our technique and racing goals.

Liz and Torch, ready to head up to the land of black and white snow and rocks!
Liz and Torch, ready to head up to the land of black and white snow and rocks!

This post will also be mostly photos of the week with a few stories here and there. Enjoy!

The helicopter shadow way below us! I always think this looks pretty cool.
The helicopter shadow way below us! I always think this looks pretty cool.

The trip starts with a helicopter flight that lasts about 10-15 minutes from Girdwood up to the glacier. The Alpine Air Alaska staff are amazing, friendly and extremely skilled! I love looking for bears and sheep on the mountains below as we zip on up.

Soph and I excited for a ride up the glacier! This NEVER gets old. (photo from Sophie)
Soph and I excited for a ride up the glacier! This NEVER gets old. (photo from Sophie)
A look over Simi's shoulder at the glacier ahead.
A look over Simi’s shoulder at the glacier ahead. You can see the training center on the rocks just a little up and to the left of the controls.
Waiting for our teammates to all get up here!
Waiting for our teammates to all get up here!

Landing on the rocks on top of a mountain will never, ever get old or boring no matter how many times I get to go! I still get so pumped up and excited every time!

The start of the access trail. It's a fun, fast downhill!
The start of the access trail. It’s a fun, fast downhill!
The training center, perched far enough away from the edge but still an awesome view!
The training center, perched far enough away from the edge but still an awesome view!

We all live together in the training center. It’s clean, neat and organized but small with thin walls, so you have to be a super courteous teammate and respect quiet time when people are trying to nap in the afternoon or go to sleep at night! It’s also hard to sleep because when you’re trying to get to bed at 10pm it’s bright daylight outside, so we hang up blackout curtains and sleep with buffs over our eyes.

Virginia and I enjoying the clear views for miles of mountains! (photo by Liz)
Virginia and I enjoying the clear views for miles of mountains! (photo by Liz)
Sim and Soph getting some sunshine.
Sim and Soph getting some sunshine.
You do NOT go past the rope boundary. The edge is somewhat crumbly rock that hasn't been checked out for safety so a 15ft boundary from the edge is mandatory.
You do NOT go past the rope boundary. The edge is somewhat crumbly rock that hasn’t been checked out for safety so a 15ft boundary from the edge is mandatory.
Things 1, 2 and 3 (Reese, David and Scott) ready for training!
Things 1, 2 and 3 (Reese, David and Scott) ready for training!
The biggest pile of cookies ever...left on the glacier for the workers and juniors coming up next! (photo from Virginia)
The biggest pile of cookies ever…left on the glacier for the workers and juniors coming up next! (photo from Virginia)

We take turns cooking and cleaning in groups of 4 up on the glacier. It’s a pretty efficient system! There’s a breakfast crew, a lunch cleanup crew, a dinner cooking crew and dinner cleaning crew and we rotate through the schedule. We all take turns baking fun treats as well since when you’re training 4-5 hours a day you burn through up to 4,000 calories per day!

Virginia, Zuzana and Sadie on cook duty...making homemade gnocchi! Wow! (photo from Zuzana)
Virginia, Zuzana and Sadie on cook duty…making homemade gnocchi! Wow! (photo from Zuzana)
Virginia taking in the view (photo from Zuzana)
Virginia taking in the view (photo from Zuzana)
...and not every day is amazing! Fog during intervals (photo from Zuzana)
…and not every day is amazing! Fog during intervals (photo from Zuzana)

Most days we go out in the morning and skate (since the snow is firmer in the am) for 2-3 hours, then in the afternoon we classic for 1.5-2 hours. We throw 2 strength sessions in there, 2 speed sessions, and one long L3 interval session in during the week. But mostly the focus is on distance skiing to hone in technique on snow!

...but, usually, the view is amazing :) (photo also from Zuzana)
…but, usually, the view is amazing 🙂 (photo also from Zuzana)
Zuzana out for a cruise!
Zuzana out for a cruise!

Zuzana was doing PT and massage recovery work for us, and she helped me when my knee got sore from overuse (it’s fine now). She has the magic touch!

The trail swoops out with this awesome view on a clear day!
The trail swoops out with this awesome view on a clear day!
Our "princess palace", as Rosie likes to call it. Blackout curtains mandatory!
Our “princess palace”, as Rosie likes to call it. Blackout curtains mandatory!
Reese and David on a sunny ski.
Reese and David on a sunny ski.
Sadie working on that slushy double pole!
Sadie working on that slushy double pole!
The birthday boy Erik blowing out his candles. Although Simi seems to be giving him some support!
The birthday boy Erik blowing out his candles. Although Simi seems to be giving him some support!

Erik had a birthday up there (as he likes to remind me, he’s 1.5 months older and therefore I, not him, was the baby of the team for so long. Hah!) and he received an orange pecan pie as well as a chocolate cake! When there’s 25 people to feed one birthday cake just won’t cut it!

Erik happy to have some sunshine! Not bad weather for a birthday!
Erik happy to have some sunshine! Not bad weather for a birthday!
Simi getting after some seriously heavy weighted pull-ups. He got up to 4 x 70lbs!
Simi getting after some seriously heavy weighted pull-ups. He got up to 4 x 70lbs!
Sadie, Rosie and Chelsea striding it out in a train.
Sadie, Rosie and Chelsea striding it out in a train.
Our one-pole wonder, Torch!
Our one-pole wonder, Torch!

Ian Torchia, our newest D-team man, was the MVP of camp in my personal opinion. He broke his wrist a short time ago and although he’s recovering quickly he needed to ski around with one pole all week. But he didn’t even shy away from intervals or doing dishes with the cook crew one-handed! He was super positive the entire time which made him most valuable teammate. But in all honesty, everyone on the glacier was a real champ! It can be tough to stay so positive and contribute positively to the team atmosphere when you’re skiing your brains out and super tired, but everyone handled the load well and it was a super fun team bonding camp.

This isn't what made him the MVP of camp...but it was still awesome! (photo from Kikkan)
This isn’t what made him the MVP of camp…but it was still awesome! (photo from Kikkan)
The running trail, mostly courtesy of Simi's hard work!
The running trail, mostly courtesy of Simi’s hard work!

Simi worked so hard on this new running loop with banked turns, rock bridges and steps! I was amazed! We named it the Happy Trail since everyone was so psyched to have a running loop to add to the places that are safe to walk/run on the glacier!

We got really serious about sun safety, and wore blue zinc on our lips to prevent the most painful sunburns! It made us look funny, though.
We got really serious about sun safety, and wore blue zinc on our lips to prevent the most painful sunburns! It made us look funny, though.
David getting a haircut from Caitlin while waiting for a hell down.
David getting a haircut from Caitlin while waiting for a hell down.

Our trip back down was a little crazy since there was a huge forest fire in between Girdwood and Anchorage. Alpine Air was busy flying some rescue missions and fueling up black hawk helicopters that were flying ocean water over the highway to dump on the fire, so we waited and hoped that everyone was ok! You feel so removed from regular life up on the glacier so until we started smelling the smoke drifting up, we didn’t even know there was a fire! But everyone was ok, and we made it down safe. Then we waited in traffic for 4 hours, most of it in a standstill on the highway while they let each direction drive along a 5-mile stretch for 30 minutes at a time. We got bored sitting in the car, so we got out and walked for 2 hours picking (and devouring) raspberries along the bike path. Finally the cars started getting up to speed again and we sprinted along, “little-miss-sunshine-style” next to the van jumping in so we wouldn’t slow anyone down! We made it back to Anchorage in time for some late night pizza and a big, big sleep.

I’m now headed to Winnipeg for a week of relaxing and hanging out at the lake with my boyfriend and his family. I’m so excited for a chill week to let all the training sink in and find my happy place!

Happy 4th from the SMS skiers!

This weekend the SMS team had our annual float in the 4th of July parade throughout Londonderry! It was great to see so many fans of skiing out there and equally fun to show roller skiing to people who had never seen it before!

Erika holds the flag as the team skis through the street! (photo from Wade Poplawski)
Erika holds the flag as the team skis through the street! (photo from Wade Poplawski)
Anne passing out some treats! (photo from Wade Poplawski)
Anne passing out some treats! (photo from Wade Poplawski)
Sophie and Jessie pretty pumped on being in the parade! (photo from Erika Flowers)
Sophie and Jessie pretty pumped on being in the parade! (photo from Erika Flowers)

It’s so fun being part of a great community that supports the ski team and cheers us on. We love coaching the juniors in the area, too, and it was fun seeing some of them at the parade!

Andy and the team float...aka Andy's truck all painted up! (photo from Wade Poplawski)
Andy and the team float…aka Andy’s truck all painted up! (photo from Wade Poplawski)
Ben stoked to pass out candy (photo from Erika Flowers)
Ben stoked to pass out candy (photo from Erika Flowers)
Anne showing off her smile to the crowds :) (photo from Erika Flowers)
Anne showing off her smile to the crowds 🙂 (photo from Erika Flowers)
Andy doing some fancy footwork on his "road skis"! (photo from Wade Poplawski)
Andy doing some fancy footwork on his “road skis”! (photo from Wade Poplawski)

Have a safe and happy Independence Day weekend, everyone!