Last weekend was definitely a sweet one to be a skier or ski fan- with everything from Junior Nationals to the famed Holmenkollen, and biathlon World Championships and NCAA’s all happening at the same time. Honestly, it was tough to keep track of it all!
As for me, I was in Chamonix, France racing in Europa Cup Finals with a crew of 16 other US athletes from various clubs- APU, Stratton, and Sun Valley. OPA Cups are a really competitive version of the US SuperTour circuit. Like the SuperTour, they are a continental cup series that qualifies skiers to the World Cup for their home nations. Unlike the SuperTour, OPA Cups include skiers from at least 7 different countries instead of just one, and each and every one of the skiers has to qualify to even race there. Needless to say, the level of competition is quite high, and it’s a great opportunity for developing US skiers to get exposure to European racing, where everything is a bit different.
It was my first time in France, and Chamonix was one of the more incredible places I’ve ever raced. It’s tough to complain when you’re racing at the base of Mont Blanc and enjoying crepes, fondue, and croissants in the sunshine!
My best result from the mini-tour was in the 2.5k classic prologue, where I placed 25th. I generally like shorter classic races, and although this one included a long herringbone section, not generally one of my strengths, I was still ready to hammer. The course in Chamonix was barely holding on to the available snow and consisted of a nice mix of ice and sugary corn snow. By the final race, I wouldn’t say we were even really skiing on snow anymore, more like a frozen piece of ice over grass and dirt. But, the wax techs gave us great skis regardless!
I posted a longer blog with more pictures and stories from our week in Austria on my personal blog, so if you feel like checking that out, look here. Otherwise, here are a few random snapshots from Chamonix:
Exploring city streets in downtown Chamonix (photo Annie P)
APU women Rosie Frankowski and Chelsea Holmes at the venue
Taking the tram to l’Aguille du Midi, where you can see the top of Mont Blanc
Adventure tram crew- Reese Hanneman and Eric Packer (APU), Anne Hart, Annie Pokorny, and Ben Saxton (SMS-T2)
The view from the top was breathtaking- here’s looking towards the French Alps
The peak to the right is Mont Blanc, the highest point in central Europe at 4,810 m
Repping the green team at 12,500 ft!
Danger! Brave skiers start their tour down the Mont Blanc valley from here. I decided to pass on using my nordie skis
I think that’s Switzerland! Mont Blanc lies on the border between France and Italy, and is claimed by both countries.
I loved getting to race on a US team with skiers from other clubs- here I am with Annie Hart and Annie Pokorny from Stratton. All season long we race against each other in the US, but in the end we’re all part of the American team pushing each other to improve and reach the highest levels of our sport
Wanted to end with this shot from Reese- a reminder that we wouldn’t be able to do these trips without the support of the National Nordic Foundation-big thanks to them!
After a long day (or two) of travel, I’ve joined up with the rest of the green team in Sun Valley, ID for SuperTour Finals which start this Saturday with a 10/15k classic race. There isn’t much snow in the valley, but the skiing up at Galena Lodge where they’re holding the races is fantastic, so we can’t wait to race! Thanks for reading.