A Rower’s Winter in a Nutshell

14.Feb.2016 by Jamie Chapman

After spending more than a year away from Craftsbury training elsewhere, coming back to Vermont to start off the new year was a figurative and literal breath of fresh air. The dining hall coincidentally served my favorites for my first dinner back: salmon, beet burgers, and a newly improved snacks section. The food is fabulous, but my favorite part about Craftsbury is the great group of people. Even with my recent transient visits, it feels like a second family.

Checkout Ben Dann’s interesting approach to the deadlift: The Dann Deadlift

Despite a lackluster snow month in January, the grooming team kept the core trails and loops loaded with snow. I wore a big smile for the entirety of the first few skis there–happy to be sliding around again in my favorite place for winter training. We sprinkled some skiing, weights, and circuits into our erg work during January, offering variety to lots of kilometers on the erg.

The highlight of the month work-wise was getting to work and spectate the Paralympic Biathlon North American World Cup, held at Craftsbury at the beginning of January. It’s one of my favorite things about this place: it’s common to cross paths with world-class athletes on the trails, on the water or in the dining hall. I helped with the biathlon race for sit skiers and visually impaired athletes, who ski with a guide and use a laser rifle equipped with a sound accuracy system that beeps as they near the target. There’s nothing quite as motivating as doing erg pieces while watching sit skiers double pole up the hill past the gym windows. I had a celebrity moment at lunch when I sat with Oksana Masters, an inspiring athlete who has Olympic medals in both rowing and skiing and also cleaned up at the NorAm races that week.

The upper field during the Paralympic racing

The upper field during the Paralympic racing

A few short weeks after arriving in VT, I loaded up my car with team food (gallons of maple syrup, buckets of peanut butter, and other less important items), a few duffel bags, and my boat and trekked down to Sebastian, Florida, where we’ll be training for the majority of the winter. I could not have made it down with my sanity intact if it weren’t for cookies from my Princeton host mom, a CD from skier Liz, and Harry Potter books on tape from Kaitlynn. Stay tuned for updates from Canal 54 as we turn our dry-land fitness into water speed!

Catamounts doing a ski train

Catamounts doing a ski train