3rd Annual NAWTA Camp completed!(NAWTA=North American Training Alliance) For three years, the North Americans have been putting our heads together and working towards getting better and better among the international world. There are so many neat aspects of these two weeks that we spend together. First, we have started a thing where we invite a guest that doesn't necessarily fall under the "North American" category. Last year we invited Saarinen, a top skier from Finland. Even though I was only able to participate in the first day of the camp- I brought away many new lessons from her experience. This year, we invited one of the younger World Champions among the Norwegian team, Astrid Jacobsen. Astrid was incredible, she was so open and willing to teach us what she has learned over the years. The Norwegian team is a dominant force among the nordic skiing world; so it is always so interesting to hear the dynamics of their team, how they set goals, how they work together, and what all the skiers are really like off the trails.
|Thanks to Kikkan for supplying us with some great seafood from her new sponsor- Alaskan Seafood!|
|My first true King Crab|
It is especially fun for me to get to know Astrid because of my very first international experience at World Juniors in Slovenia. I was 16 years old, I had never been on any form of vacation without my parents, I had never been overseas, and I pretty much didn't know what any food was besides pizza and burritos. Needless to say my first World Junior experience was to say the least, "EYE OPENING". As I skied around the manmade trail in Slovenia in the middle of a cow pasture, I was surrounded by people from all over the world warming up so fast I felt like I was standing in place. My first reaction was fear! Tears started to role down my cheek, so I put my glasses down and pretended I knew what I was doing! I was the VERY last starter in every race, so I learned from the start… there was no-where to go but up. One of the things that stood out to me most in that first international experiences was the Norwegian star, Astrid! I watched her as she won races, walked around in a zone of focus, and looked so chill and relaxed. Since that very first experience, she has always been a reminder of "my start". She started as my hero, but as I entered the international circuit, she became my competitor. That is why this camp has been so fun for me. I have gotten to know this girl that I watched in awe eight years ago. I have gotten to know her focus, her open mind with training, and her incredible team spirit!
|Turns out she is a tough one too.... raspberries from sliding on the ice in the morning|
So with this new guest, the National Team girls (minus Sophie Caldwell- we missed you!), the APU woman's team, and some of the top juniors and development skiers from around the US- we put together two great weeks of training. The first week was in town including roller skiing, hiking, biking, and all the dry land options you get. I am still working on getting my feet in working order, so I substituted in some different training, but got to participate in the majority of the camp! (Huge difference from last year). The last day of our dry land camp, we took a trip out to the Valley where the Alaskan REG camp was going on. After spending the day training with them, we dined in the sunshine and had some Q&A with the local juniors. It was fun to ask Bettina Gruber(another guest who joined for the dry land portion, from Switzerland) and Astrid a few of my own questions. As we discussed with the younger juniors about what it means to believe in yourself and work hard; it brought goose bumps to my skin to review how important the leadership and teamwork has been among the National Team. I learned that the Norwegian Team operates in a very similar manner- finding ways to push each other, but also support each other and believe in each other!
|Giving a talk with the REG athletes- Brian Fish Photo|
|Rosie, Jo and I at the top of Hatchers|
|Zuzana Rogers doing a house visit, teaching me how to tape with a Sharpie Diagram|
|Bunch of girls, hanging out waiting for the Glacier! Holly B photo.|
From there, we headed up to Eagle Glacier for by far THE BEST WEEK I have spent on the glacier. All but one day, we had sunshine and awesome conditions. Last month I traveled up with the APU Team, but had to come down after one day because my feet were not healthy enough to be spending so much time skiing in soft conditions with no option for "cross training". The NAWTA camp, the snow firmed up a bit as the glacier snow began to come through (which tends to be more firm). Besides the change in snow, the most important part that made the week of training on snow possible was the support of Zuzana Rogers, a local Physical Therapist! I have been working with Zuzana for the past year and a half, through many highs and lows. She has been so positive and helpful through the process.
|PT at the top of the mountains!|
|Zuzana joining us for a sunny ski- Colorful Zinc was a hit this week!|
Since the beginning of the summer, Advanced Physical Therapy, the clinic Zuzana works for, has started sponsoring the APU Team. It has been huge for all of us. Zuzana took it one step further though, and volunteered her time to work all day, and all evening up on Eagle Glacier this week. With many of the girls at camp working through some small feet issues, Zuzana spent endless hours keeping us going. Thank you so much Zuzana! Thank you also to Michael Henrick, who joined us for some body care the last three days of the camp as well!
|Kikkan and I doing some ice water/warm water body care after every training session!|
|Some days the weather was wild...|
|Some days too warm for clothes!!|
On our fourth day of camp, we had our annual “Sprint Relay Competition”, where we make teams of four and we race around a 1km track tagging off to each other, practicing many different aspects of sprinting. By turning our usual speed workout into a little competition, things get more exciting. We come up with team names, we smack talk each other, and we get good practice with the ever-important exchange/tagging. To make things a little more exciting than usual, four helicopters full of media arrived to watch the fun and games. Erik Flora had built a jump into one of the downhill’s- so we got some practice with our “big air”. The media groups were not just there for our Eagle Glacier Sprint Workout though; they were there to check out what we do, and what it looks like. Local radio stations, TV stations, and Newspaper stations got to get a little taste of how we train, what the living conditions are like, and how this week of training was going to get us one step closer to winning a medal in Sochi. It was fun to sort of show off the set-up, and see their excitement as we raced across the snow. There were some great articles, pictures, and news broadcasts that came from the little visit. Kikkan and Holly were the big stars, but there was some good APU recognition as well.
|APU/USST ladies- Matt Whitcomb photo|
|Getting some air time on the jump- Matt Whitcomb photo|
Here is a video from our sprint relay- The very brightest pink shirt is me
|Helicopters arriving mid-workout Zuzana Rogers photo|
|One of the best parts of the glacier is the constant focus on ski technique. With rollerskis on all summer- you sometimes get lazy with your classic kick and take advantage of the "perfect ratchet kick"|
|Day one of the sun.!! Liz Stephen photo|
|Girls getting after it! Matt Whitcomb photo|
|Helping Holly make her famous Glacier Tuna Salad! Anchorage Daily News photo|
|Middle of the day is often filled with lots of technique analysis with the coaches. Anchorage Daily News photo|
|Because of the "midnight sunshine" in Alaska... our bunk beds turn into "princess beds", a fort that I would have dreamed of sleeping in when I was 7 years old!|
|Taking a roped up trip down into the crevasse the first afternoon to listen to the flowing water underneath! Glacier Studies 101!|
By Saturday afternoon, everyone was exhausted and ready for a little rest from training for a while. With two great weeks of training together, it was time to rest, recover, and spend some time enjoying each others company. After every NAWTA camp, the national team girls have made it a goal to have a little side trip for fun and relaxation. This year, Holly treated us to a few nights of fun at her cabin that she is building in Hope. It was so fun to see the work Rob and her have put into it- and it got me inspired to one day build my own house! One day...
With that I am now quickly catching up and packing my bags for the next training block. For the next month I will be spending 10 days training in the Methow, enjoying some family time before I take off for an altitude training camp in Park City with the APU team for two weeks. Following that I return back to Alaska for the start to the fall semester of school.. how can the summer already almost be over?
With incredible weather, great training, and fun company- NAWTA Camp was a huge success! Thanks to everyone who helped make such a great two weeks!
|Zuzana taking advantage of the weather and the location for some afternoon body work|
|Kikkan- always making sure she gets the best parts of video!|
|Who knew this NCAA Champion in Alpine could be so good at nordic too!|
|USST coaches Matt Whitcomb and Jason Cork really getting into their selfies mid ski!|
|Tired coaches- down for the count!|
|Exhausted, taking a rest at the top of the hill on this fine bed!|
|Mikey Matteson..... making the tool shed his own!|
|A motivated train of girls- getting one step closer! Matt Whitcomb photo|