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Archive for the ‘Misc’ Category

Methow Valley Training Camp

16.Jul.2017 by Ida Sargent

The US Ski Team camp plan has fallen into a predictable pattern over the past few years, returning to the same training locations at the same times of the year.  This year as a women’s team, we wanted to mix it up and add a new location for renewed inspiration. So while I absolutely love summertime in Craftsbury, I was excited to travel to a new location with my US Ski Team teammates.  The goal was a shorter intensity focused camp with quality hard interval workouts together in a positive team atmosphere.  Our normal camps also usually become overly busy with sponsor and media requirements, testing, and other meetings and events and we wanted an opportunity to focus solely on our training without this simultaneous busy schedule.  So what better way to tune out distractions than to drive a few hours into the woods of Washington, turn down a dirt driveway, and continue for a few more miles before establishing our training base camp in two little cabins on the in the Methow Valley.  The training plan had hard intervals every other day interspersed with longer distance sessions that included rollerskiing up the pass and long runs in the mountains.  It looked intense on paper but without super high volume and the with benefits of the quiet cabin life, it was easy to relax and embrace the training and the company of the team.  Soon we were rocketing through one workout after the next.  We stayed in some wonderful cabins in Mazama that were mostly free of internet and cell service (I say mostly because Jessie Diggins still had service and setup a hot spot for us all so we weren’t quite offline).  Pete Dickinson, a PT who travels with the team in the winter, is the dad of Craftsbury Summer Training Group athlete Kelsey Dickinson, and lives nearby, set up a table on our porch for an outdoor PT and massage studio.  And our coaches, Matt Whitcomb and Tim Baucom, kept the fridges full of food and the training plan full of excitement.  Besides Sadie Bjornsen, who grew up a few miles from where we were staying, this was the first time spending any time in the Methow for the rest of us so we had a blast exploring new trails and roads and I’m already looking forward to another visit there!  If you haven’t been to the Methow Valley before, I would urge you to make a visit!  From the Dolomitesque spires of the mountain peaks to the crystal clear and freezing cold rivers and the countless miles of trails in between, it is a sunny outdoor playground!


Checking out the map on the first morning  as we learned our way around the Methow Valley.


To the mountains!


Tree huggers


Following Jessie and Kikkan on a long rollerski up Washington Pass.  Besides the intensity training, we did a lot of team technique work, helping each other make changes by sharing cues that we thought about and technique changes we were trying to make.  Then following each other during the workouts was a great opportunity to practice these changes.


Striding towards the snow!


Tim manning a feed zone in the middle of a rollerski OD.


Interval time!  Lots of head to head workouts taking advantages of different strengths and hammering together as a team.


Pain faces and grimaces nearing the end of our mock team sprint time trial


More smiles mid L4 bounding intervals courtesy to some much needed cooling efforts!  It was hot and sunny every day which was a nice change from some of the rainy weather at home!


Scoping the best route into the falls?


A rope swing into Patterson Lake that rivaled the rope swing at the Dreissigacker’s cabin.


The meadow in front of our cabins


Cabin life at its best!  Eat, sleep, train, and chill!


After an awesome camp, I headed back to Craftsbury which despite being nearly 3000 miles away, is surprisingly similar to the Methow Valley.  It’s a little greener due to a fair amount more rain and the mountains are not quite as high nor the lakes and streams as cold.  But all the trails, lakes, and quiet roads are perfect for summer training and adventures.  The spotty cell service tunes out a lot of real world chatter.  And most importantly, we have an awesome group of skiers and biathletes working hard together.  I’m looking forward to a solid block of training at home over the next month and a half!


Here’s the GRP ladies rolling in a train on a recent long rollerski workout

BKL Camp Week

4.Jul.2017 by Hallie Grossman

Last week, Caitlin wrote a post about a typical “week in the life” of a GRP athlete in June. This post is similar, but with a twist: a week in the life during BKL camp (a recovery/ easy week for some of the biathletes and a bigger volume week for the skiers).

Twice every summer, the junior coaches put together two Bill Koch League day camps for kids 8-12 and the GRP gets to help throughout the week. Last week, 18 eager BKL’ers, some part of our regular crew and some from further away, descended on the Center for five days of fun and training.


Camp begins at 9am sharp, with name games and ice breakers. Kids then broke into two groups, one heading to the local roads for rollerskiing and the others staying at the Center for some agility practice via an obstacle course. Because kids like competition, there was a competition for the “best cheerer” as part of the obstacle course. Throughout the week most workouts and activities ended with a healthy dose of water time. Kids don’t seem to care whether it’s hot or cold- the water’s always fun!

Playing “World Cup.” Apparently it’s, “everyone’s favorite game.”


Descending Elmore

Hike day! The crew headed to Mt. Elmore for some fire tower views and slippery rock scrambling. The morning concluded with swimming and lunching at Lake Elmore, which was unfortunately cut a bit short because of imminent thunderstorms.The afternoon drew out everyone’s hand-foot coordination skills, with a slightly rainy kickball tournament.

Despite BKL camp being in full swing, the GRP athletes were still engaged in training weeks of varying volumes and other work projects. The weekly Tuesday Night Race (this week at Hosmer Point) still went off without a hitch.

Tuesday Night Race dip at Hosmer Point. It’s wonderful to see the community come together on a weekly basis for this event.


Wednesday morning gave kids an opportunity to shred the mountain bike trails. These kids are speedy! While the campers were biking, some of the GRP did a skate speed rollerski workout. In the afternoon, the group was split in two: half canoeing and half doing biathlon.

Amelia showing us how it’s done on the range, while wearing an awesome pink skort.

Though I have not done a lot of biathlon with the BKLers, it is really cool watching them shoot. They are all supportive of each other and offer bits of  encouragement and suggestions. They do a great job parroting coaches’ snippets of advice to their peers (and I’ve noticed the same thing with mountain biking skills), which shows that kids really are listening and taking in what you say.

Wild strawberries make any uphill journey sweeter.


Orienteering in the morning (while some of the GRP did rollerski intervals) then in the afternoon, the groups flipflopped, giving everyone the chance to canoe and do biathlon over the two days.

Rain drops didn’t deter anyone from a spirited relay race.


Adventure race day! Before the race began, I did a 2k on the skierg as part of our testing regime which happens throughout the summer and fall. With the 2k complete by 9am, it was on to the races!

Here’s a smattering of pictures from the adventure race. I won’t go in to much detail because I don’t want to give any of our secrets away! But know that there was a lot of smiles and planning/ plotting and water involved.

“We are a human conveyer belt”

Lava lava everywhere

Alex working on sight alignment with a camper

Cooperation is key here


Rope swinging then make-your-own pizza is a BKL camp tradition. Kids get creative with pizzas of all sorts, including crowd favorites of pesto and sausage then some lesser known treasures like simply garlic and olive oil. This year,  many of us learned what “mochi” are and a few campers got really in to making mini pizzas.

Mini pizzas for days

Hungry kids devouring their creations



The campers wrapped up their week with a lip sync competition, which is pretty hilarious with a group of 8-12 who have some very different opinions on singing and dancing.

Some were in to the signing. And some were not.

Though the camp was done, the training week wasn’t quite over…

Saturday brought an OD rollerski/ run workout with a roll from East Craftsbury to Lake Willoughby then run over Mt. Pisgah for most.

Rollerskis can take you a long way…(Caitlin Patterson’s camera/ Pepa’ picture taking).



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.

Biathlon Season Review

15.Mar.2017 by Alex Howe

I don’t post enough, I’ll be the first one to admit that. But, here it is. The whole season.

We started our winter season with a GRP pre-trials training camp in Canmore, Alberta.  Canmore is an awesome place to start the season because they do an amazing job preparing an early season loop.

Team training in Canmore.

The training center in Canmore saves snow all summer, then in early November they spread it on one of their smaller loops including the biathlon range. Teams from all over North America head out to take advantage of getting on some early snow before the racing season starts.

Emily training in Canmore.

We got in some good training with a bunch of volume and several good interval sessions. The last weekend of our camp we raced in the NORAM Cup, which is a great way to work out all the kinks and remember what racing feels like.


After the Canmore camp, the team traveled to Grand Rapids, Minnesota for trials. Coach Sam found us an awesome house on the lake just south of town and we settled in for some cold temperatures (which I have heard is pretty common out there). I had also heard plenty of stories about racing at Mt. Itasca, and let me tell you, they are all true.

Mass start at Mt. Itasca.

It is cold. Fleet supply is awesome. It is cold. There is a staircase on the course. It is cold. And you do change into your ski boots in a trailer.

All bundled up racing in Mt. Itasca.

Mother nature did not disappoint. It was cold. We ended up racing 3 of the 4 races that were scheduled because there was a forecasted high somewhere near -6 with wind chills around -18. The rest of the days we dealt with near zero temperatures, a little wind, and frozen fingers and toes. In the evenings we would jog to the end of the road with our down jackets on, quickly turn around, and sprint home. At the end of the week we were all very excited to be heading home to warmer weather and the holidays!


Shortly after the holiday break (which is one day according to Pepa), Emily, Hallie, and I left for the IBU Cup in Italy. The first weekend was being held up the valley from the tiny town of Martell.

View from the hotel in Martell.

The town is in the Sudtirol area of northern Italy, located just west of Bolzano. It is a narrow valley with hillside farms covering the steep walls on both sides. The farms are mostly small dairy farms, with a couple apple and strawberry growers mixed in. Each farm had a main barn connected to the house, with the livestock living under the hay mow. Even with the limited amount of sun that reached the valley each day, I was very excited to be surrounded by farms.

Biathlon range and stadium in Martell.

The venue was a 15 minute drive up the valley from our hotel, situated with the range against one side of the valley and a small ribbon of snow winding around through brown fields. Luckily the venue has snow making capabilities! The range had a river flowing through between the shooting points and the targets, and because it was at the end of the valley had some pretty strong winds that seemed to blow the whole time we were there.

Above the town of Martell, Italy.

The IBU Cup is very different from racing in North America, which was the only biathlon racing I had done up to that point. There are rigid guidelines of what you can wear, how many stickers you can have on your rifle, how big those stickers can be, and who can get into the ‘family club’ for free food. Racing at the IBU Cup has some major differences as well. There are far more racers, everyone is fast, everyone shoots fast, and everyone shoots well.


After getting rid of the butterflies in Martell, I traveled with the team to Arber, Germany. Bodenmais, the town we stayed in, is located in the Bavarian Forest in southeastern Germany.

Emily racing in Arber, Germany.

The venue was the first place where we raced on only natural snow, and it was snowy and windy the week we spent there. We were supposed to do an individual and a mixed relay, but due to gusting winds they canceled the relay.

Then we turned around and headed back to Italy for a week of training in Toblach. Right as we drove in we were excited to find that the skiing world cup was happening right there in town. We stopped by and got to see Ida, and watch the finals. Toblach is an amazing skiing town. They had almost no natural snow, but continuously were spreading man-made snow on 40+ kilometers of trail. There were ski trails through bare fields that went from town to town, covering miles of empty cow pastures in the process.

Watching the IBU World Cup in Antholz, Italy.

Once we were all well rested and had gotten some good training hours in, we packed up and took the long drive north to Poland for the Open European Championships. Duszniki, Poland is a spa town and attracts tourists from around the world. The town burns predominantly coal as a source of heat, which was a smell I had never really experienced before (Not a good smell). It also has one of the most well put together venues I have ever been to.

Racing the pursuit in Duszniki.

Everything from their wax rooms, to the course and range seemed new and well maintained.  We did another individual, a sprint, a pursuit, and a mixed relay.

After a fun week with lots of racing, we headed south to Slovakia for the last weekend of IBU races during the trip. Osrblie is a very small town that had a cluster of houses and a venue resembling a smaller version of Soldier Hollow.

Emily racing the pursuit in Osrblie, Slovakia.

Five weeks after we left, we arrived back home with more racing on the schedule. We had our next sets of trials in Jericho, and the following week in Lake Placid. Emily, Hallie, and myself qualified for two more weekends of racing in Finland and Estonia.

Kontiolahti, Finland was our first stop, just north of the city of Joensuu. Then venue is set on a plateau above a large lake. The race trails descend down off the edge of the plateau toward the lake before looping around and climbing several steep “walls” back into the range.

Kontiolahti stadium and range.

Emily racing up the “wall” in the pursuit.

Once we had climbed enough steep hills, we traveled south with all the other teams to Otepaa, Estonia for the last weekend of racing for the season. We finished the IBU season off with two relay races and two sprint races.

Otepaa, Estonia stadium.

Biathlon is a totally different game in Europe. Its amazing, frustrating, fast, and very accurate. I can’t wait to get back to training so next year I can get back over there and keep going toe to toe with those fast Euros!