Methow Valley Training Camp

16.Jul.2017 by Ida Sargent

The US Ski Team camp plan has fallen into a predictable pattern over the past few years, returning to the same training locations at the same times of the year.  This year as a women’s team, we wanted to mix it up and add a new location for renewed inspiration. So while I absolutely love summertime in Craftsbury, I was excited to travel to a new location with my US Ski Team teammates.  The goal was a shorter intensity focused camp with quality hard interval workouts together in a positive team atmosphere.  Our normal camps also usually become overly busy with sponsor and media requirements, testing, and other meetings and events and we wanted an opportunity to focus solely on our training without this simultaneous busy schedule.  So what better way to tune out distractions than to drive a few hours into the woods of Washington, turn down a dirt driveway, and continue for a few more miles before establishing our training base camp in two little cabins on the in the Methow Valley.  The training plan had hard intervals every other day interspersed with longer distance sessions that included rollerskiing up the pass and long runs in the mountains.  It looked intense on paper but without super high volume and the with benefits of the quiet cabin life, it was easy to relax and embrace the training and the company of the team.  Soon we were rocketing through one workout after the next.  We stayed in some wonderful cabins in Mazama that were mostly free of internet and cell service (I say mostly because Jessie Diggins still had service and setup a hot spot for us all so we weren’t quite offline).  Pete Dickinson, a PT who travels with the team in the winter, is the dad of Craftsbury Summer Training Group athlete Kelsey Dickinson, and lives nearby, set up a table on our porch for an outdoor PT and massage studio.  And our coaches, Matt Whitcomb and Tim Baucom, kept the fridges full of food and the training plan full of excitement.  Besides Sadie Bjornsen, who grew up a few miles from where we were staying, this was the first time spending any time in the Methow for the rest of us so we had a blast exploring new trails and roads and I’m already looking forward to another visit there!  If you haven’t been to the Methow Valley before, I would urge you to make a visit!  From the Dolomitesque spires of the mountain peaks to the crystal clear and freezing cold rivers and the countless miles of trails in between, it is a sunny outdoor playground!


Checking out the map on the first morning  as we learned our way around the Methow Valley.


To the mountains!


Tree huggers


Following Jessie and Kikkan on a long rollerski up Washington Pass.  Besides the intensity training, we did a lot of team technique work, helping each other make changes by sharing cues that we thought about and technique changes we were trying to make.  Then following each other during the workouts was a great opportunity to practice these changes.


Striding towards the snow!


Tim manning a feed zone in the middle of a rollerski OD.


Interval time!  Lots of head to head workouts taking advantages of different strengths and hammering together as a team.


Pain faces and grimaces nearing the end of our mock team sprint time trial


More smiles mid L4 bounding intervals courtesy to some much needed cooling efforts!  It was hot and sunny every day which was a nice change from some of the rainy weather at home!


Scoping the best route into the falls?


A rope swing into Patterson Lake that rivaled the rope swing at the Dreissigacker’s cabin.


The meadow in front of our cabins


Cabin life at its best!  Eat, sleep, train, and chill!


After an awesome camp, I headed back to Craftsbury which despite being nearly 3000 miles away, is surprisingly similar to the Methow Valley.  It’s a little greener due to a fair amount more rain and the mountains are not quite as high nor the lakes and streams as cold.  But all the trails, lakes, and quiet roads are perfect for summer training and adventures.  The spotty cell service tunes out a lot of real world chatter.  And most importantly, we have an awesome group of skiers and biathletes working hard together.  I’m looking forward to a solid block of training at home over the next month and a half!


Here’s the GRP ladies rolling in a train on a recent long rollerski workout