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Archive for November, 2013

A White Thanksgiving

28.Nov.2013 by Clare Egan

snowyfield This holiday morning greeted us with sunshine and extra blue skiing at the Outdoor Center. (A happy Thanksgiving INDEED.) Algis Shalna spent his Thanksgiving morning coaching Ethan, Mike and me at the mini-range, and while we did combos and range loops, the rest of the trails were busy with skiers from UNH, Williams, Harvard, and Garret Kuzzy’s “Pan-Nordic” ski club conglomerate.

As skiers work up an appetite, the Dining Hall staff is whipping up a feast! Jon has had the turkeys in the smoker since early this morning, and Chef (magician!!!) Kim listed about 17 other dishes we’ll be devouring come about six o’clock this evening. As you can see, the dining hall looks very inviting all dressed in white:

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Happy Thanksgiving from the GRP & The Outdoor Center!

Snow Is What Skiers Ski On

27.Nov.2013 by Jake Barton

The day is Wednesday, November 27th, the day before thanksgiving. A holiday that most skiers never get to fully enjoy with their families and friends because we are always in some remote part of the country trying to find that first snow and get in some good racing before the peak of the season. The idea of missing out on a mound of juicy turkey and piles of delicious pie may sound bleak to many of you but we skiers persevere by getting to ski on fabulous trails such as the ones in West Yellowstone. The conditions out here are nothing less than perfect.  The weather has been in our favor all week with temperatures in the 20s and 30s and blue bird skies.

So scenic

So scenic

There is little more that a skier could ask for. With this being said, there is one thing that gets under my skin when I am out enjoying these perfect conditions…… The MASSIVE hoards of people all over the trail. Like moth to a flame it seems as if every able body who knows how to ski has assembled on the trails here in West Yellowstone. When you do find yourself alone on the trails, it is a moment of sheer bliss…..but a short moment.

A rare glimpse of an empty ski trail out in the wild

A rare glimpse of an empty ski trail out in the wild

The masses seem to be growing exponentially with each day. Today in particular due to the fact that there was a Biathlon race this morning.

Hoards of people skiing around and cheering for the biathlon race this morning.

Hoards of people skiing around and cheering for the biathlon race this morning.

I know it is too much to ask for to have perfect ski trails all to myself so I have come up with a few important rules to follow while skiing in order to avoid potentially lethal collisions with these wild packs of skiers.

1.Ski with a group of the biggest men you can find. For example we have 4 men on our team who are over 6 feet tall. This is a good start. Most people we play chicken with out on the trails eventually get out of the way….Unless maybe when Skyler (Big Baby) Davis comes barreling down the trails at us.

2.Ski with purpose. I have found that most people get out of the way if you are skiing with some kind of purpose or right of way. For example it is widely known that a skier who is doing intervals has the right of way over someone who is just cruising around aimlessly. This fact can be used to our benefit.

3.Ski with direction. Everyone knows the gut-wrenching feeling of speeding towards a person in the same track and you both instinctively step out of the way of the other person…..but wait you both stepped out on the right!!!! noooo……..awkward crash with stranger. This is why you need to ski with purpose and authority. Make your decisions clear.

4.Make loud noises when you ski. This may sound bizarre but it is the only way you can tell is a person is cruising around that same blind corner that you are.

5.Always have an escape plan. There is always going to be that massive group of skiers standing in the middle of the trail over a blind downhill. You must be ready.

Classic...but we had to stop in this circumstance because Pat was having trouble keeping up with Pete and I....naturally

Standing in the trail like a bunch of jabronies. We had to stop in this circumstance because Pat was having trouble keeping up with Pete and I….naturally

As I make this list, I am slowly realizing that most of these correspond with how you should act when encountering a wild animal. Which is fitting because we are only minutes from the entrance to Yellowstone Park. So I guess my final words of advice would be to treat mobs of skiers like you would a bear…..an angry, hungry bear that wants to viciously maul you and eat you alive.

Signing off for now…..I hope this will not be my last post.

JB

 

 

The 3 Stages

27.Nov.2013 by Andrew Dougherty

After a week of sickness in Vermont, I heard that my team had gone skiing for the first time of the season without me.  The next day I was miraculously all better and we skied up there every day for the next 5 days.  Early to mid-November skiing is apparently a treat for the East so I was pretty psyched to be able to take advantage of it before it melted.

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Ski trail at the notch near Stowe, VT

I went through all three stages of the first ski pretty quickly:

Stage 1: Initial elation. This is jumping out of the van and seeing a skiable trail for the first time in months, clipping into your skis and powering through the first few minutes of the ski.

Stage 2: Creeping disappointment. This is when your ears, toes, and fingertips start to freeze from the wintery temps and you are breathing much heavier than you expected. All summer you’ve felt a little awkward on rollerskis but you smugly reminded yourself that it all comes together on real skis. But here you are in your element feeling so awkward with your extremities numbing and core overheating and your hips that you’ve worked so hard to get forward are right back where they started. ‘I remembered this being way more fun,’ you think. In severe cases this can even lead to rethinking your big decision to ski for a living. This stage can last up to an hour.

Stage 3: Ultimate nirvana. You’ve shed an appropriate amount of layers and combined with the blood flow of exercise you’re finally maintaining a consistently comfortable body temperature. You are getting used to the longness of skis and finally find that rhythm.  Your body has adapted already and you get a giddy feeling usually followed by borderline delusional thoughts of the possibilities this race season has in store. The second-guessing, the doubts, the questions you asked yourself about your current life path on all those sweaty scorching rollerski sessions are all put to rest a hundred times over.  Your Olympic dream, after steadily dimming in fits and starts over the summer and fall is all at once rekindled.

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Ski trail at Craftsbury, VT

A week before traveling westward we were back to rollerskiing and running in the mud.  But the staff at the COC have been hard at work making snow so we were able to enjoy a 600 meter loop/lollipop the last day in the East.

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All stocked up for the week

At last, we are in West Yellowstone for our first week of races.

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Perfect ski conditions in West Yellowstone

It is easy to start each workout in Stage 3 now with absolutely perfect ski conditions here.  Hundreds of skiers are in paradise with the biggest concern being to not get too excited and train too much before the races this weekend.  IMG_0996

We are staying in a house in West Yellowstone, nearly within sight of the trailhead.  We almost have a home court advantage with the Craftsbury sprinter and wax trailer here with us thanks to our assistant coach Nick making the long drive.  With the big races only 2 days away we are all trying to stay calm and collected despite everyone wondering to themselves ‘How fast am I?”

 

Beito to Ruka

26.Nov.2013 by Ida Sargent

A Norwegian troll that I found in the woods.

We had beautiful weather all week with sun almost every single day

Mountains above Beitostolen

It was fun to put on a bib this weekend and start a couple races.  It usually takes me a little while to feel normal racing so I was glad that we had a few warm up races to get settled in.  Our team had some great results this weekend and I think we are in a great place heading into the World Cup season.

The sunrise leaving Oslo yesterday morning

And the sunset in Lapland a few hours later.  The sun sets at 2:07pm in Ruka, Finland today so we have some dark days ahead.

Yesterday we traveled from Norway to Finland and will be opening the World Cup season this weekend in Ruka, Finland, which is a ski area just south of the Arctic Circle.  Ruka is notorious for being cold and dark but I love racing here.  The uphills are long and steep, the downhills are fast, the condos are nice, and we usually get a couple hearty meals of reindeer over the course of the week.  It also recently snowed here so there will be lots of fresh powdery snow and great skiing conditions.