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Archive for the ‘Misc’ Category

A Montreal Adventure

30.Jan.2016 by Kaitlynn Miller

Last Monday Caitlin and Kaitlynn took a day trip to Montreal with three main objectives; preview the World Cup Course at Mount Royal Park, enjoy a touristy afternoon in the Old Town, and pick up Susan from the airport. Side goals included, but were not limited to, finding the Mount Royal self-guided bird feeder tour, eating some tasty food, and not getting too terribly lost.

We hit the road around 8:30am and navigated our way to Mount Royal with only a few wrong turns and one moment of panic when Kaitlynn had Caitlin get off at the wrong exit which led us into a tunnel going strait under the city…

Once at Mount Royal we headed off onto the trails with a somewhat accurate idea of where the course might go. After skiing about half of what we thought was a 13k loop we realized that the course was actually only a little over 3k… The trails in the park ranged from fairly wide double-tracked roads to quite narrow snowshoe paths, which we did try skiing on only to came nose-to-nose with a fat-bike unicyclist.

Watch out for the speedy unicyclist!

Watch out for the speedy unicyclist!

Checking out the snowshoe trails!

Checking out the snowshoe trails!

Skaters on Lac au Castors, otherwise known as Beaver Lake, which the ski trails go around

Skaters on Lac au Castors, otherwise known as Beaver Lake, which the ski trails go around

Those are some gooey skis when they can pick up a stick that big!

Those are some gooey skis when they can pick up a stick that big!

Towards the end of our ski we came across a large stone building with a fantastic view of the city. We think the course circumnavigates the building.

Kait skis over to a city overlook point. We think the course for the World Cup might go out this way by the wall, or at least somewhere nearby.

Kait skis over to a city overlook point. We think the course for the World Cup might go out this way by the wall, or at least somewhere nearby.

Skiing to the edge to look out over Montreal

Skiing to the edge to look out over Montreal

The city spread out below us

The city spread out below us

Obligatory selfie with the view

Obligatory selfie with the view

Of course we had to take advantage of the cheesy frame to capture our "Montreal moments!"

Of course we had to take advantage of the cheesy frame to capture our “Montreal moment!”

Looking towards the city from part of the race course

Looking towards the city from part of the race course

We had almost given up hope of finding any bird feeders, although we had found many bird houses, and had started skiing back to the van when we came across one! For anyone interested, we saw quite a few Black-capped Chickadees, some White-breasted Nuthatches, and many fat squirrels.

We found a birdfeeder! (Which was a sideline purpose of our trip to Mont Royal.) Kait poses with the feeder, and the fat grey squirrels at its base.

We found a birdfeeder! (Which was a sideline purpose of our trip to Mont Royal.) Kait poses with the feeder, and the fat grey squirrels at its base.

Big, well-fed city squirrels

Big, well-fed, city squirrels

Caitlin checking out one of the many bird houses along the trail. Surprisingly enough, there weren't any birds in it...

Caitlin checking out one of the many bird houses along the trail. Surprisingly enough, there weren’t any birds in it…

We even spotted a few mounties who actually headed out onto the ski trails shortly after we took this picture

We spotted a few mounties who actually headed out onto the ski trails shortly after we took this picture

Our ski-outing and trail-scouting complete, we navigated back down into the Old Town section of the city to find a parking spot.  It ended up being in somewhat of an art gallery district, and we wandered in and out of a few galleries and shops, walked down to the waterfront, and meandered through the city streets to the Notre-Dame Basilica.  For a blue sky day, it got surprisingly cold in the later afternoon, and we paused for a welcome cup of tea before resuming our walk. (After all, what would we two do without our three cups of tea a day!?)  Five o’clock found us getting particularly hungry, so we popped in to a low-key pub-style restaurant along Rue St. Denis.  Although the food took a little while and we were ravenous by the time it arrived, it was definitely worth it.  We agreed that if we’d been in the US, a place with that ambiance would most likely have served iceberg lettuce, greasy burgers, toasted white bread, but instead we were treated to leafy greens and crusty baguettes!

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A government-related building down near the waterfront

Looking up a side street towards the Notre-Dame Basilica.

Looking up a side street towards the Notre-Dame Basilica.

Tall towers

Tall towers

One of the many fascinating buildings of Montreal

One of the many fascinating buildings of Montreal

We walked by these cool lamp posts outside the Notre-Dame Basilica, with the Bank of Montreal across the square

We walked by these cool lamp posts outside the Notre-Dame Basilica, with the Bank of Montreal across the square

There just aren't ornate doors, or buildings, like this in the United States. Montreal has an old-world, European feel. Front entrance to the Notre-Dame Basilica

There just aren’t ornate doors, or buildings, like this in the United States. Montreal has an old-world, European feel. Front entrance to the Notre-Dame Basilica

What interesting statues they have!

What interesting statues they have!

We counted at least 6 stuffed polar bears in Montreal. We found three were in an Inuit Art shop/fur store. Pretty sure they weren't for sale...

We counted at least 6 stuffed polar bears in Montreal. These three were in an Inuit Art shop/fur store. Pretty sure they weren’t for sale…

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We also found a stuffed tiger.

The Bank of Montreal building, designed to make you feel small, and the occupants powerful and solid

The Bank of Montreal building, designed to make you feel small, and the occupants powerful and solid

An evening at the square

An evening at the square

After our few hours in Old Town, we were off to pick up Susan at the airport! One of at least three airports near the city, we were headed to Pierre Trudeau International airport, taking care not to exit the highway for any of the other airports.  Throughout our day, we were navigating “old school” style, using maps and written directions, because neither of us had phones that work in Canada, or GPS units! Caitlin primarily drove while Kaitlynn manned the maps, both working to keep up with the rapid-fire highway signs and numerous intersections in the city. It also took us a little while to guess our way over to the highway, especially while being attentive to the fact that many streets are one-way, and that information was missing from our map. We felt like the Night Bus from Harry Potter as we squeezed our sprinter van down many narrow, one-way, cobbled streets with cars parked on both sides. Upon arriving at the airport, we were pretty sure Susan had been on the ground for a while, and we needed to make contact with her, so Kaitlynn hopped out of the van at the airport to connect to wifi and find Susan. Meanwhile Caitlin thought it would be most sensible to take a short loop around the airport with the van and return to the pick-up area rather than waiting, in case the parking attendants were strict.  Several miles later down the highway, having missed the turn to loop the airport, with no idea how to turn around and no passenger-navigator, it seemed like the waiting option would have been more sensible.  But she finally got off the highway, found a way under it, and found her way back to the airport, perfect timing to find Susan and Kaitlynn ready to be picked up!  It was great to catch up with Susan on the drive back, it definitely helped the time pass more quickly, and before we knew it, our adventure was over and we were back at the house in Craftsbury!

 

Norway photos

29.Jan.2016 by Ida Sargent
Perfect tracks for ks and ks

 

 

 

 

Extra blue classic striding

 

 

 

 

A few ski tracks across the pond
More amazing tracks
Sjusjoen cabin landscape
The view across the lake from Hotel Rustad

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jessie and Liz found a rest spot in the middle of a long ski

 

 

Our cabin in Sjusjoen
A visit to the Madshus factory in Biri which was really interesting to see the inner workings and the magic behind the ski production.  It was also great to meet the rest of the Madshus team.
Cozy cabin living

Feeling inspired

24.Jan.2016 by Ida Sargent

Late January and early February is an easy point in the winter to get bogged down and feel a mid- winter lull.  The excitement of the beginning of the season has worn off and you can’t even get jazzed up listening to Christmas music anymore.  The sunny anticipation of springtime hasn’t hit yet either brining it’s own excitement. For those of us living out of duffel bags in Europe, it’s that time when you get really sick of all the tshirts you have and you would give anything to be able to put your entire bag into a big washing machine rather than doing anymore sink launday. This is normally the time when I feel the homesick vibes or mid winter blues.  But luckily, this is not the case this year! I’m feeling more energized and fired up than ever before.  Maybe it’s just because I spent the day spent watching my teammates finish second in a 4x5km relay, followed by an OD ski getting lost on the hundreds of kilometers of trails in Sjusjoen, Norway finishing it with a hearty dinner of salmon and potatoes.  But it’s not just today that has left me feeling inspired!  2016 has taken off to a great start and I feel so grateful to be working hard chasing my goals and surrounded by many of favorite people!

Here’s a brief catch up of the past month.  January began with the Tour de Ski, 8 races at 4 venues in 3 countries!  I only raced the first five races of the Tour but it was an exhausting and fun series for me including two top 20 finishes, one broken ski, about 35km of racing, and watching two of my teammates win World Cups!  Sophie and Jessie are following in Kikkan’s footsteps and proving to us all that with hard work and belief our goals are achievable!

Fog rising at the start of the Tour de Ski in Lenzerheide

Classic sprinting in Toblach

Sophie wins a World Cup!

And Jessie does it a few days later!

Finishing my Tour with a broken ski and a creative javelin ski handoff from Jason Cork.

After I finished racing in the Tour, I stayed in Toblach, Italy for about a week with the other sprinters.  The Dolomites are an amazing area to explore!  There wasn’t much natural snow but a local marathon coincided with our stay and the organizers laid out about 50km of manmade snow for the event so we had plenty of trails to ski!

Post Tour recovery in Toblach with Pat

European sightseeing on our drive to Slovenia! It was fun to take the time to explore away from the ski trails and I’m grateful for all the travel that I get to do for my job!

From Toblach we travelled to Planica, Slovenia for a sprint weekend including an individual sprint and team sprint.  I did not pace the course well in the individual sprint and was disappointed with my race after fading in the final meters.  But luckily I got another chance the next day in the team sprint. I was motivated by my racing the day before and planned my attacks to move up in each round on Sunday in the same area where I had struggled on Saturday.  I was excited to race with Sophie and to have another opportunity to ski my heart out on a challenging but fun course!  An added bonus of the Slovenia weekend was having Eben, Natalie, and Pat there cheering!  I feel so lucky to have such supportive friends and family!

The Julian Alps in Slovenia

Training the day before the race with Erika, Sophie, and Chelsea.  Planica was one of the most beautiful venues I have ever skied in surrounded by the sharp peaks.  The trails were also very fun and challenging to race!

Soph and I jumping for joy after our 5th place team sprint finish!

Visits and cheers from Eben and Natalie!

Despite a low snow year in Slovenia they still skied this couloir shown to the left of the peak on the day after the races!  I can go fast on skinny skis but I think he’s the best skier in the family.

From Slovenia, I headed to Sjusjoen, Norway for some a training block before the Period 3 World Cups.  With so much racing, we don’t always get the opportunity to just go out and ski.  But the past week I’ve skied A LOT, taking advantage of the endless kilometers and perfect tracks here for some long ski tours and really productive training.  I’m looking forward to more racing again soon but right now I couldn’t be happier to be outside skiing and following my passion!

Cabins, snow and perfect tracks in Sjusjoen!

Life is good!

A Rower’s First Impressions of Craftsbury Winter

7.Jan.2016 by Maddie Lips

I’ve been rowing at Craftsbury in the summers since 2012, and I’ve fallen in love with the rhythm of summer in Vermont—hot, sunny rows followed by a dip in the cool lake, epic thunderstorms, ice cream on the dining hall deck. But I’ve never experienced winter at Craftsbury…until now!

Even though I’m from Colorado, I was warned that the winters are more extreme here, so I bought some muck boots and flannel-lined pants in anticipation. When I returned from being in Denver for Christmas, I immediately asked one of the GRP skiers, Hallie, to teach me and another GRP rower Liz the basics of skiing. All of Christmas break I’d been looking forward to learning a new sport and getting out in the snow!

Learning to ski is a humbling experience as an athlete, although I think my expectations of my abilities were sufficiently low to make me excited by my progress throughout my first attempt—and Hallie is a great teacher! It’s fun to share our sports between the two sides of the GRP team. Hallie had been a regular attendee of the community rowing program throughout the summer and had gotten pretty speedy out on the water, so it was great to turn the tables and try to learn her sport.

I had tried skate skiing once before Thanksgiving on the short loop of snow the Center made before snow started falling, and I had basically just pulled myself around with my poles, so Hallie made us start without our poles. It turned out this helped a ton, as I’m sure anyone who’s taught skiing before would know—those inside edges are actually super helpful!

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Caution: Rowers loose on the trails! Maddie and Liz in a lesson with Hallie.

Craftsbury is such a different place when skiing is the focus. I had always heard about how much more crowded the Center is in the winter at the height of ski season, but it’s a different story to see it and realize how incredible it is to live in a place that’s a winter destination for people from all over. It’s so fun to see national team skiers, college skiers, and little kids zooming around with their parents in tow…and of course, tall, gangly rowers trying to stay upright! See you on the trails!