|Skiing in the sunshine (Greg Stafford photo)|
|kids biathlon race that was going on one day during my workout.|
Last year I did a shorter block and didn't really get a chance to ski many trails, or get to know many people; but this year I got to know more of the trails, the bus systems, and some of the nordic instructors. Little did I know there were trails everywhere, going all the way to the next valley over!! Trying to live the most "vacation" mode I could, I would wait until later in the morning to go out for my skis so I could enjoy the sunshine as well as a bit warmer temperatures. I also took the time to do some alpine skiing, seeing as I was living in the "alpine heaven". I actually made the decision that assuming you ski under control, and somewhat smart- nordics can learn a lot from some alpine skiing. We go down hills too- so why not become confident and comfortable with the idea!!??
|One of the ski instructors I made friends with in Meribel|
|Sun chairs on the top of the mountain- BRILLIANT!!|
|The one humiliating thing about wearing a US Ski Team jacket on the hill is you don't always live up to what people would expect a "US Ski Team Alpiner would look like" :) "yep, im actually a nordy".|
|Valentines Day, Jo and I skinned to the top of the ski resort and watched the sun set- not too bad :)|
|A little toast|
|Watching some night events.|
|So much snow in Meribel!! This guy has some digging to get his car going!!|
From there- the adventures started. As I was headed through the security line- just about to put my bags through, the entire airport lost power. After waiting for what seemed like forever, they managed to syphon the passengers through one "non-lit" security check zone- so luckily I made it to the other side. With all the monitors down though, I didn't know my gate number, so after going to the wrong terminal and then having to do a marathon race to the other side.. I made it to my plane just in time. As I loaded the plane and headed out, the pilot seemed to be on "french time", so running about an hour late. Part of my trip included going through customs in Istanbul, picking up my bags, rechecking them, and continuing on my journey. I knew all my connections were tight- so as we left Geneva way behind schedule, I knew I was going to be screwed for the day!! The minute the plane landed, I looked at my watch, realizing I had 40 minutes to: buy a Turkish Visa, get through passport control, round up my two bags, bring them to check in, go through security, and board my new flight. Turns out the Istanbul Airport is incredibly confusing, not many people speak english, and there is about a mile between the domestic part of the airport and the international. (the distance you carry you bags for re-check) To my luck, some incredibly friendly man from Pennsylvania, who does business in Turkey saw me franticly running and decided he was going to help me. He managed to guide me through the whole Visa process, help me round up my ski bag (which took forever to come out), ran with one of my ski bags across the airport, while I carried the other- and saw that I got to the plane.... with about 2 minutes to spare. At the last minute when I was re-checking in my bags and they were doing last minute call for my plane, I simply dropped my ski bag in the middle of the airport and ran for the security check. I figured there was no way I was going to get my bags anyways, but at least it had a tag on it, so it couldn't get too lost. (at least this is what I was trying to convince myself)
As I was sitting there, waiting for the two other Americans who were on the last connection flight I watched both my bags come out on the belt in disbelief!!! After all that chaos, and all those short connections, and all the hope I had lost with Turkish Airlines... somehow it had all worked out. All I could think was thank god for those random friendly people that decided to help me just out of pure kindness!! How incredible!! Also, thank god I didn't live that experience as a junior when I had no experience traveling. HOLY COW!!
So, I am now in Turkey- where I have seen very little. Arriving late didn't allow for us to see much around, and it has been windy, snowy, and storming since we arrived- so again I haven't seen much. What I can gather is; there is an alpine hill beside us, our hotel is very fancy, we are staying with the norwegians, there is a certain "lack of air", the courses seem fun, Turkish people drive with no rules and a strong use of the horn, I can't figure out a single word the turkish people are saying, it is a bit sketchy around here, we have a team full of new awesome juniors, and this trip is going to be one big adventure!!
|Venue view- with not a whole lot going on :)|
|Fun fact of the day- Gus has enormous feet!!|
More news soon when we get to see more!!
On another note, I got to watch the World Cup on TV today. Kikkan fell in the finals and still went on to finish 3rd, and Devon Kershaw pulled the most impressive finishing speed to win the race today!! Lots of screaming at the TV- sooo fun!!