Written by Kat

Greetings from West Yellowstone, where we’ve been since last Thursday! When we rolled into town the roads were deep, deep slush and temperatures were not conducive to creating quality ski conditions. Luckily things froze up right away and we’ve had four good ski days in addition to one off day for most of the team.

After the long drive from Sun Valley the girls were itching for some movement but with the ski trails and roads too wet staying inside was the best option, so they did some Zumba, which was hilarious. David Kent, we need some dance lessons when we get home!

We are staying in three condos within walking distance of the trails and one even has a garage so we can store and care for our skis inside (not that it’s gotten cold like in the past two years…..yet). On our way from Sun Valley we stopped and did another huge grocery shop and the kids continue to take care of the dinner planning and preparations. We have four meals planned where we will all eat together (each cabin will cook one meal and then we’re share Thanksgiving). Cooking for 19 is a big task so we’re not doing every night as a group.

On Friday we got going early with the first of our daily morning jog/stretch sessions here in WY. The roads, which froze solid overnight, were very icy and woke us up in a hurry! Our AM training session was a skate workout, starting with some capture the flag before heading out to explore the trails. Midday we were joined by Nathan Smoller, a guest for this camp but hopefully a future teammate at GMVS! In the afternoon we broke out the classic skis and did some double pole-only ski specific strength work. Friday evening was highlighted by the first of our all-team dinners, a delicious meal of fresh Alaskan salmon, salad, and potatoes. Pete worked for a salmon fishery last summer and got us a deal on flash-frozen fresh fish, delivered right to our door here in WY. It was amazing!

Morning stretching at the western edge of West Yellowstone.

Friday was also Rena’s 18th birthday so we got to do some singing and share some delicious cake that Emily and Ursula baked up.

Saturday morning we focused on classic speed work, stopping in three places along the 5k race course to get some sprints in. The first were drop-in speeds, starting at the top of a small downhill and trying to carry speed into an uphill. The second and third stations were both uphill, one striding solo in tracks and one racing head-to-head without tracks. We finished with sprint starts/finishes in the stadium, which by that point had filled with other teams. There are a LOT of skiers here for the West Yellowstone Ski Festival!

Another morning stretching session in a parking lot on the other side of town.

On Sunday most of the crew tested out the race course, skiing either a 5 or 7.5k classic time trial. We (the coaches) were pleased with the efforts made on the whole and are excited to everyone repeat on Saturday, this time with race bibs and competition!

Emily pushing hard toward the last few climbs on the 5k course.

Erik striding through a sunny spot during the 7.5k TT.

Tanner rocking the USST onesie during a solid effort.

Carl pushing hard during his 5k TT.

Peter must have lost a bet because the boys got him to do the 7.5k time trial while wearing TK’s retro Atomic onesie.

Most of the team took Monday off from training but a few of us went out. Conditions were great with the chilly temperatures setting the trails up for fast but firm conditions. We left late morning for a day trip to Bozeman. After lunch Colin took a small group to Montana State University (MSU) for a campus tour, while Kat took the rest of the team to Main Street to wander around. Before getting dinner at Mackenzie River Pizza (if you’re ever in Bozeman, it’s a great spot for dinner) we did another big grocery shop, stocking up for the rest of our stay in West Yellowstone, including Thanksgiving dinner.

Saturday’s trail conditions: perfect!

Guess the turkey’s weight: Olivia came the closest without going over, guessing 27 lbs when the label said 28.1. We will share our Thanksgiving dinner with the skiers from Ford Sayre who are out here, so we went big!

This morning (Tuesday) we had great conditions to start our technique session but temperatures warmed quickly and it was tough to maintain good kick without completely rewaxing.

Rena with Nathan, her former teammate at U32. All smiles with the beautiful trail conditions (before it got super sticky and slippery) and sunshine this morning.

Greg, flashing the pearly whites and Leki poles!

After we finished our technique work there was a quick novice biathlon practice session for those wanting to compete without any experience. Here’s Grace taking aim.

Tomorrow (Wednesday) morning part of the team will compete in the Novice Biathlon events while the rest of the crew gets in some skate intensity. In the afternoon we’ll get another strength workout in and hopefully be on the verge of having all of our schoolwork finally complete in time to celebrate Thanksgiving without study hall!

Friday will be an easier day with a pre-race workout in the morning and a jog in the afternoon before everyone puts on their first race bibs of the year on Saturday!

Stay tuned to our Instagram or Facebook pages for daily updates/photos.

Thanks for reading!

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