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Archive for the ‘Misc’ Category

#fueledbyjustin Pre Camp

3.Jan.2017 by Kaitlynn Miller

Mary checking in here with an update from our “Justin Bieber” Pre Camp!!

With US Nationals being held at Solider Hollow in Heber City, UT this year, most of the “sea level” team searched for ways to get some extra early time at altitude before the races. We are very fortunate to have a teammate, Liz Guiney (nick-named lizguine after the long, lean pasta) who lives in Park City. Her mom, Julie, and mom’s boyfriend, Dave, graciously opened their home to us for a pre camp. It was a great opportunity to train on the courses, adjust to the altitude, and get in our holiday social fix. Oh and eat some amazing food!

Dave happens to be a culinary expert and was the personal chef for Justin Bieber and Kendall Jenner in early December (no jokes here). So Dave took home all the left over food that Justin (yes, first name basis) didn’t use. It was pretty fun to be eating Bieb’s preferred items. We are fully confident that we now are sponsored by him #fueledbyjustin. Our pancake breakfast would have been nothing without the Bieber Buttermilk, Bieber Vanilla, or Bieber Maple Syrup (Vermonter approved). Snack time was made even greater with Bieber Hot Chips and Bieber Ritz Crackers. Plus, Dave was able to tell us lots of Bieber stories. Next to arrive will be Taylor Swift, so we will probably return for a post camp 🙂

#fueledbyjustin New Year’s Day pancake breakfast, with buttermilk pancakes, berries, smoothies, and good friends. Photo cred: Heather

While in Park City, we had a fun filled, yet very packed social schedule. But don’t worry, we made plenty of time for recovery as well, knowing some of our more important races were right around the corner. Liz’s Dad, RJ, and step Mom, Deann, hosted us for a delicious dinner of burgers, salad, potatoes, and yummy toffee dessert bars. We enjoyed a very relaxed game of ping pong and decided that we should definitely stick to skiing. The next night, we tagged along to an Eve before the Eve party. I feel as if party doesn’t even cut it – gala may be more appropriate. The event was hosted at a beautiful house in Deer Valley, with amenities such as valet parking and a coat check. The attire was anywhere from jeans and blouses, to beautiful gowns, and sparkling bell bottom pants. And the decorations, sheer size, and set up of the house was anything but incredible. We debated between making friends and exploring while there, and went with the exploring option. We enjoyed yummy finger foods (but had our hand sanitizer in our pockets) that seemed to be endless, and took over the chocolate fountain for dessert. The gala made for amazing people watching, and we certainly enjoyed our very spoiled evening. We also made time for shopping at the outlet malls and seeing the new Star Wars movie. Our final social event was a nice dinner prepared by Julie and Dave with Liz’s childhood friend.

Getting all dressed up for the Eve before the Eve party. We almost fit in!! Photo cred: Dave

We are so so grateful to them for hosting us and letting us take over their kitchen, bathrooms, and bedrooms. These past 5 days have been great preparation for us, and we are looking forward to a few more days of resting, speed practice, and ski/course testing before the races.

A beautiful day to practice some high speed skiing at the White Pine trails! Photo cred: Heather

Walking through the parking garage to access the skiing. We were feeling pretty spoiled to park in an underground garage! And were thinking back to our fast laps in Slovenia with very similar scenery. Photo cred: Heather

Thanks to Skida for our new head gear!! We were getting crafty at Liz’s sewing on our new GRP and SkiErg patches.

Our last day at Liz’s house, we enjoyed an urban ski tour right from her front door!! This was right before the 24hr blizzard hit. Photo cred: Heather

We’ll kick things off Saturday with a 10K skate followed by a Classic Sprint on Sunday, the Mass Start classic races on Tuesday, and finally a Skate Sprint prelim on Thursday. You can check the results here:

Stay tuned for more!


13 Hours with the Biathletes in Northern Minnesota

15.Dec.2016 by Hallie Grossman

The biathletes have been in Northern Minnesota for the last week, gearing up the IBU Cup Trials race which started today. The temperature rarely gets above 0 and the wind is often howling. Race times have all been moved to the afternoon to allow for the highest temperatures, which leads to lots of time spent hanging around the house and going on some shopping excursions to Fleet Supply, Target, and Cub Foods.

Yesterday was a prerace today, but official training wasn’t until noon, so we had plenty of time to spend in our lovely rental house on Lake Pokegama.

8am: -7 degrees. Breakfast.

9am: Still -7. Drone flying time. Sam bought two drones when we were in Canmore. They have provided endless hours of entertainment (mostly for the boys). They started having races around a course in the house.

10am: -5 degrees. Visitor! A lady came to appraise the house. I only took a picture of her leaving because it may have been weird otherwise. She told us that we shouldn’t go outside and should remain next to the fire all day. She also told us the internet was slow everywhere in northern Minnesota.

11am: -2 degrees. After a few too many hours inside, it was time to go for a walk or a jog. Though it’s cold, it is really pretty outside. I found these insulated coveralls in the basement and they have become my go-to for all non-skiing outdoor activities.


12pm: -4 degrees. Time to leave to ski! On the way, we saw this guy securing his hay bales  on the side of the road. 

1pm: (probably still -4). Getting bundled. Important to keep being goofy when preparing to ski and shoot in subzero temps.

2pm: (my guess is still -4). The amount of toe warmers and duct tape we go through on a daily basis to try to stay warm is a little ridiculous.

3pm: Warmest point of the day. 0 degrees. Still trying to get warm after skiing.


4pm: -2 degrees. Coloring time. And TV watching and Instagram scrolling time.

5pm: -4 degrees. Watching the Wizard of Oz. Grand Rapids, the town we are staying in, is Judy Garland’s hometown. So a very fitting movie!

6pm: -6 degrees. Waxing for tomorrow’s race.

7pm: (Forgot to take a thermometer picture. My guess is -7). Dinner time.

8pm: -9 degrees. TV watching and phone scrolling.

9pm: -9 degrees. Final drone flight of the night. Plus more TV watching and phone scrolling.

West Yellowstone Race Season Update!

8.Dec.2016 by Liz Guiney

Almost three weeks ago, we packed up the GRP trailer and left rainy Vermont, hoping to trade the drizzle for every skier’s Thanksgiving dream- white, fluffy powder in West Yellowstone. Although the opening SuperTours weren’t supposed to be in West Yellowstone, the town was still planning to host a set of FIS races right after Thanksgiving, and the team decided it would be a good opportunity to get in some low-key race starts before the SuperTour season started.


View of the Outdoor Center in Vermont the third week of November- a little uninspiring but we got through it with lots of rain jackets. Happy to go in search of powder!



Kait thought she might save a little money on a plane ticket out west by hopping in the back of the trailer…

When the team first got to West Yellowstone, cover was a little thin and we felt like baby deer sliding around out on the icy trails, but within a few days the 2-3″ in of daily snow accumulation added up, and the skiing started to get really good. West over Thanksgiving is always a great time, with coaches, skiers, and friends from all over the country getting together on snow for the first time. We only had a few days before the races to acclimate, so we treated them more as training races and took the opportunity to practice race day routine- what to eat and when, how to test skis, warm-up routines, and dealing with pre-race nerves.


Mary, myself, and Ben enjoying a beautiful ski testing day (Photo Pepa)



We stayed in the “fox cabin” for our first week in West, and they really took their decor seriously. Fox quilts, fox stuffed animals, and about 30 fox paintings on the walls.

Even though our acclimation for the races wasn’t ideal, we still wanted to get in high-quality workouts that would prep us for the upcoming SuperTours. The techs also worked really hard to get us good skis, and everyone had solid races! In the skate 5/10k, our top results were myself (Liz) in 4th, Kait in 9th, Mary 17th, and Ben in 5th in the men’s race. We built on that the next day in the 5/10k classic, with Ben finishing 3rd, Heather 17th, Kait 6th, and I surprised myself with a win. It was nice to have our first races of the season not count towards the SuperTour totals, so we could get our feet under us without too much pressure.


Kaitlynn going tongue out in the 5k skate (Photo Katrina Howe)



It was a perfect day of classic racing for the 5k. Getting some cheers from the Sun Valley team (Photo Annie Pokorny)

We were hoping to move up to Bozeman for the first SuperTour races the following weekend, but unfortunately they didn’t get enough early snow so they had to cancel. Luckily West Yellowstone jumped in and offered to hold the SuperTour races there, and we were happy enough to stay an extra week if it meant getting to race. The whole team moved to a different rental house and had another week of perfect skiing on the Rendezvous Trails before the races.

Then it was go time! We raced a freestyle sprint on Saturday, on a short and winding course with all V2-alternate and V2 terrain. The whole team qualified for the sprint, so it was a successful morning. In the heats we didn’t do quite as well, with most of the team being eliminated in the quarterfinals. I made the semis but just missed out on the A Final, so by the end of the day everyone on the team was hungry for more. Luckily the next day we had a 10/15k classic individual, and for whatever reason our team seems to be stronger in classic. We woke up that morning to a few inches of freshly fallen snow and much more coming down from the sky, along with a howling wind. It was nothing if not an adventure, but luckily the techs gave us really good skis! The team had our best day of the season so far- Ben took 2nd in the men’s 15k, and Kait and I both made the podium in 3rd and 1st, respectively!


Recliners+internet+fireplace= all the requirements of a great rental house



Racing in my semifinal heat with some fast ladies



Thanks Coach Pepa! Happy skiers and coach after the classic race



Kaitlynn leading Caitlin Gregg through the snowstorm in the 10k (Photo Fasterskier)



Ben striding it out in the 15k (Photo Fasterskier)



Women’s podium- L to R SMS skier Katherine Ogden in 2nd, me (Liz) 1st, Kaitlynn 3rd



Hitting all the podium spots!

Big thanks to Pepa and to our wax techs Nick and Jake for working super hard to make these races happen for us. The funny thing about race season is that by the time it hits, as skiers we’ve already done most of the hard work during summer and fall training. Our job is to figure out the best way to race fast every weekend, which usually means quite a bit of recovery, mixed with some distance and speed. However, the techs do so much during the week and weekends to give us fast boards, and they definitely nailed it last weekend!

The GRP is now in Silver Star, BC getting ready for the second weekend of SuperTours. Silver Star is a winter wonderland, with frosty trees, endless perfectly groomed trails, Christmas lights everywhere, and colorful houses. We’ll be racing a classic sprint and 10/15k freestyle this weekend. Stay tuned!

Over the River and Through the Woods

27.Nov.2016 by Kaitlynn Miller

Prior to heading out west, the temps hadn’t dropped low enough for the snow guns to start blowing in Craftsbury so all the skiers, plus a few biathletes, made the trek north to Foret Montmorency in Quebec for our second annual Boreal Glide speed block! Foret Montmorency saves snow over the summer under a giant pile of wood chips and at the end of October they spread it out on a 2.5k loop (the Boreal Glide) which literally goes over a river and through the woods. For a short loop it has a wide variety of terrain so it’s great for technique work and doesn’t get boring. We made good use of our time on snow with two ski workouts per day and three speed sessions in four days. All our workouts were high quality and it felt good to get in some speed on snow. It was also nice to work on transitioning some of the technique changes we made in Park City from wheels to skis. One of the camp highlights was our afternoon specific strength workout when we underestimated how long it was going to take and ended finishing well after dark. We got some funny looks and a few cheers as we pulled each other up hills in the encroaching darkness. And no camp is complete without a mental toughness workout. On our third morning in Foret, we went for a real swim of a ski. It rained for the entirety of our 2-2.5 hour classic workout and by the end we looked, and felt, like drowned rats that had been put in a freezer. Fortunately the rain lightened up in time for our afternoon workout, and thanks to some extra clothes provided by Jake and our bathroom turned “drying” room, the whole team stayed relatively comfortable. Our camp concluded with a 10/15k skate time trial. It was quite valuable and confidence boosting to get in a race simulation workout on snow prior to leaving for our first real races of the season. Unfortunately I have no pictures of people so you’ll just have to appreciate my scenery shots (and a video of our time trial, courtesy of Jake).


Welcome to Foret!


Ribbons of snow!


Some cool lichen growing on the ground


Some cool lichen growing in the trees


Water droplets hanging onto some pine needles

Now you might be wondering what we got up to between workouts. Despite the lack of internet in our humble abode, we were never bored. We came armed with numerous movies, knitting projects (at least in the case of one knitting-obsessed individual), books, and an 1000 piece puzzle. We definitely overestimated the number of movies we needed to bring as we only made it through two movies during our four-day camp. This was largely due to the fact that at 8:30pm we would turn off the movie in favor of brushing our teeth and getting into bed… It’s possible we would have made it through a third movie if the 1000 piece puzzle hadn’t been broken out on our last evening in Foret and feverishly completed prior to our departure the next morning. Speaking of our departure, we managed to eat almost all the food we packed for the camp and only had to throw out one burger!


Our dining room/kitchen with the partially completed 1000 piece puzzle on the table

We’re very grateful to Foret Montmorency for an awesome pre-season camp. They did an incredible job maintaining and grooming the loop while we were. Also, a big thanks to Nick and Jake for all their support, and for waxing, videoing, and taking lactates. The skiers are now in West Yellowstone and the biathletes are out in Canmore so race blogs are on the horizon. Stay tuned and thanks for reading!