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On Burnout, and Bye for Now

25.Apr.2017 by Heather Mooney

As long as I can remember making conscious decisions in my life, skiing has defined it. I loved it more than anything else, prioritized school and the rest of my life around it. It defined my friends, my high school and college choices. I know I’m incredibly lucky to have gotten to make those choices in the first place, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Until now, my biggest #firstworldproblem fear was burning out of skiing. I was scared that one day this thing that I felt so much a part of my character and my life, might not matter to me. And here I am, on paper “burnt out” of skiing. I ended my season in February, and don’t plan to start training for next season on May 1. As someone who used to live for race days, I now couldn’t bear the thought of bringing myself to another start line. The day after that last race in Ishpeming, I made it through one hour of our two-plus hour distance workout, and hated every minute of it, and hated myself for hating skiing on a beautiful day.

Somewhere in the years of training logs and excel sheets, a switch flipped. An infinite passion and excitement for all the details of the process gave way to an external force, driven by the numbers, results, the terms other people were operating on, not my own.  I lost touch with myself.  I didn’t know why I was doing it, and that became crippling. What used to be the thing I looked most forward to every day, training, was the one thing I couldn’t wait to have behind me. And as I slipped further and further, I looked farther and farther from outside of me to solve it. And as I struggled more and more, it only compounded itself, to the point where I don’t even know what the connection is anymore.

That’s really scary to me, not knowing. Yes, skiing is only a sport, but it’s the sport I’ve chosen to build so much of my life around. To think I’ve grown out of it, or don’t care about it any more, feels like I’m negating part of myself.  Maybe that’s part of growing up. Maybe I’ve changed. Maybe I haven’t.

I think skiing is still a part of me. But I have a lot of work to do to find where it begins, and why.  I hope it brings me back to being an elite racer, because that is what I’ve valued for so much of my life. But I have to give myself the opportunity to be okay with that not wanting to make the Olympics. That’s the only way I’ll be able to see where my heart wants to go with it. Then, when I see the why, whether it’s pursuing world cup starts, or graduate school, or designing trail maps I’ll be able to do it from my whole heart.  When I’m there, the hard things will be fun again.

In my parting, I’m immensely grateful to all off the Craftsbury community. To everyone who has shared an interesting conversation, supported me when I was down, pushed me in intervals, picked me up off the pavement (literally), offered a friendly smile, thank you. If there’s a place that’s an example of skiing mattering beyond our enjoyment of it, it’s here. I feel so lucky to have gotten to be a brief part of it. Thanks for making it so hard to leave.

Once a monkey always a monkey.

Spring Testing

6.Jun.2016 by Heather Mooney

by Ben Lustgarten

Although it is only June, the second official training month of the new season, the Craftsbury Green Racing Project has been conducting extensive physical testing in May. The tests include the Canadian Strength Test, an uphill running time trial up local Mt. Elmore, a VO2 Max Test using a Concept2 Ski Erg, and a MOXY Test using a Concept2 Ski Erg. These tests will give us a very solid baseline of information that we plan to build on throughout the training season.

“Hit the ground running” is definitely a good phrase used to describe the Craftsbury GRP training this year. This hard effort and high intensity testing allows for a shorter “break-in” period of sometimes lackluster training in late spring and early summer that plague some Nordic skiers out there. It also increases the early focus, while providing individual goals for each skier to get to by the next testing block.

The Canadian Strength Test is a common standard for Nordic skiers to use. For those of you who are not familiar with the test, it is very easy to replicate if you choose to add it in your own training program to see if you are getting stronger over time. The test is as follows: perform as many pull-ups as possible in 1 minute, 1 minute rest, perform as many sit ups as possible for 1 minute, 1 minute rest, perform as many push ups as possible in 1 minute, 1 minute rest, perform as many box jumps as possible in 1 minute, 1 minute rest, perform as many bench dips as possible, 1 minute rest. The final score is calculated by adding up all of the numbers as they are except for pull-ups: multiply your number of pull-ups by 3.

Below, Mike Gibson demonstrates strength testing protocol for pullups and pushups:


Most Nordic skiers are familiar with an uphill running time trial. Nordies love to just get in that pain cave and test how mentally and physically strong they are, so what better way than running uphill as hard as possible? The Craftsbury team uses local Mt. Elmore, which is more an adequate for searching the depths of the pain cave. As calculated by a Polar V800 training watch, the uphill running time trial is 3.03km long and has 372 meters of elevation gain. It takes between 16 minutes to 23 minutes to complete depending on the age and ability of the athlete. The first half of the run is on a dirt road, while the second half is on a hiking trail. The last few pitches are exceptionally steep, making most runners debate about doing a fast hike or continuing to run. Sometimes putting pride aside and hiking actually is faster and less exhausting.

The VO2 max test was done in our coaches testing laboratory on a Concept2 ski erg with the PM5 monitor. We used the pace function of the ski erg to do a “step test” for each athlete. With a heart rate monitor on, breathing mask to calculate oxygen intake, and muscle oxygen saturation monitors taped on, the athletes started at an easy pace and every 90 seconds increased the pace. For example, start at 2:20 for 500m pace, then after 90 seconds go down to 2:10, then 2:00, then 1:55, then 1:50, etc until the pace cannot be maintained. This will create a max effort and thus max VO2 result. Here is a link to the VO2 max test for one of our athletes:

The MOXY test is also done with a Concept2 Ski Erg with a PM5 monitor. With heart rate monitor, breathing mask, and MOXY monitors taped on, the athletes performed three 4-minute hard intervals with only 1 minute of rest in between each one. The pace was supposed to be relatively consistent throughout the test, so the first interval felt ok, but the third 4-minute interval wax extremely challenging to maintain. The MOXY monitors the oxygen saturation in the muscles. The test is supposed to measure how much oxygen is delivered to the muscles, and how well the muscles utilize that oxygen. A VO2 max was also taken from this test. Here is a link to a video of the test:

June continues a solid training program as we welcome three college athletes who will be training with us for the duration of the summer. Stay tuned for more updates from the Craftsbury Green Racing Project! And if you are not already, follow us on Instagram (@greenracingproject) and Facebook (Craftsbury Green Racing Project) for more information and pictures!

Cedar is Fossil Fuel Free*!!

12.May.2016 by Heather Mooney

For the past two years, Cedar has not used any oil for heating, although oil burners still remained installed in the building. Last week, the final oil burning furnaces were removed, as well as all of the plumbing, a symbolic marker along the path to carbon neutrality at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center.

Cedar has been heated by the central heating system–fueled by wood, solar hot water, and waste heat from the snow making generator–but until last week, the three oil burning furnaces still were hooked up, such that they could be turned on as back up (although they never were). Two pipes fed Cedar’s heat system, one from the central heating system, and one from the oil furnaces, with a valve that recently has remained turned off. Now without the oil furnaces, all of the distribution remains the same, just without that input to the system.

Last week, Eric, Lucas, and Ethan pulled all of this out,  leaving an empty room in the basement that used to be devoted to the oil heat operation. The plumbing will be given away, and some of the tanks will be repurposed for solar hot water at Elinor’s House.


“The grey thing in the front is one of three big oil burners that provided the heat and hot water for Cedar. The round tanks behind it were used to store heat from the oil furnaces, some of these tanks are what we will reuse for solar.”-Ethan

*When we make snow, we do use fossil fuels to run the generators. So by using waste heat from the generators, it does still have a slight “fossil trail”.

(Ethan contributed reporting and photo).

A Green day on the GRP

7.May.2016 by Heather Mooney

Like the summer training we do, a lot of the work we put in now towards Outdoor Center projects will pay off in later seasons. As we finish up our first week of “official” training, we’ve gotten going again on a few of these tasks, such as the raspberry fences that Caitlin, Emily and Alex put up this afternoon!




This morning, not pictured, but also in the vein of spring time work for later-date benefits, we helped with a community work day, mulching blueberry bushes at our neighbors’ farm, Browns, followed by collecting trash for Green Up Day on one of our rollerski roads in Greensboro.

Along with trees finally starting to bud, and the grass beginning to grow again, it was a very “green” day in Craftsbury. Tomorrow we’ll round out the week of training with a running time trial up Mt. Elmore.

“Alex Howe contributed reporting, and pictures”