, , ,

Italy: Day 5, 6 and 7

After several days on the road during prime photo-uploading hours, here is a three day update!

Thursday (Day 5): With some cloudier weather settling into the valley we decided to stay closer to home, doing a morning track workout with the local cross country skiers followed by an afternoon strength workout in the gym. It was nice to have a bit more down time between workouts, as we didn’t have to drive to or from our training venues. The track, which circles the local soccer field, is right across the street from our dorm. The gym is part of the Sport Oberschule and is a short 10 minute walk up the hill.

Processed with Snapseed.

The boys doing a little jogging with a couple of our Italian friends.

Processed with Snapseed.

Carl and TK pushing through some 200m intervals.

Processed with Snapseed.

Greg and Elliot working together.

Processed with Snapseed.

Nick taking on the local contingent.

Processed with Snapseed.

Alex running with some Italian ladies.

Processed with Snapseed.

Warmup technique and activation exercises led by one of the Italian coaches. That’s a BIG group of skiers!

Friday (Day 6): Today we ventured over (and under) the mountains to Livigno for some rest day exploration. To get there you drive into Switzerland via Val Müstair and take a tunnel under a mountain. To encourage visitors to make the drive up to the remote valley Livigno don’t charge taxes so the shopping is all duty free. The tiny town, surrounded by alpine ski slopes and also home to fantastic nordic skiing, is full of shops and restaurants and was nice to wander around. I don’t have many pictures as it was another dreary day.

img_5693

An entire wall of cuckoo clocks in a shop definitely geared toward tourists.

img_5694

Carl found enough Nutella for the whole team for the rest of the trip. No, he didn’t buy it.

On our way home we took a different route, climbing out of Livigno toward Bormio, where we spent another hour+ exploring narrow hillside cobblestone streets. Unfortunately much of Europe shuts down from 12:30 – 3:30 each day so many of the shops in Bormio were closed while we were there. We did find a grocery store to restock our snacking supplies and a few of the boys made a quick trip to the Ski Trab factory for t-shirts and a drink belt.

img_5731

Rena, Olivia, Lisa (our Italian exchange student from last fall) and Carl taking in a cobblestone square in Bormio.

img_5732

Rena and Carl in Bormio.

Saturday (Day 7): Today we hiked the Uinaschlucht with our Italian hosts in a group of about 30 people. Some of the local coaches were kind enough to shuttle all of the vans so we all (coaches included) got to complete the point to point hike. Unfortunately we had cloudy/dark weather again so views were very limited through our hike, resulting in few photos taken. Here’s the link to last year’s bike/hike for a better idea of where we went.

img_5712

Olivia taking in the foggy view from the most extraordinary part of the trail.

img_5714

A hut on the way off the mountain heading toward Schlenig.

img_5726

Sam heading through the last meadows before finishing up the hike.

After hiking much of the group made a quick turnaround and headed back out with the Italians for some mini golf down valley. Elliot is apparently the best mini golfer in the whole group, finishing with the highest score overall. Tanner and TK hung closer to home with Kat and Sam, watching part of a local soccer match, getting gelato, and a quick run to the grocery store to stock up on chocolate. We closed out the day with a great pasta dinner followed by study hall.

Tomorrow we are participating in a testing event with the local ski program at the track and soccer field complex that includes some strength testing, several running tests and a rollerski agility test on matched skate rollerskis without poles. It will be interesting to see where we stack up!

Good night from Italy!

, , , ,

Italy 2016: Travel and Day 1

Gruße aus Italy! (Greetings!)

img_5192

After a long travel day we’re finally in Italy and had a great first day exploring. We flew from Montreal, connecting in Nice, France, before landing in Zurich, Switzerland, where our hosts picked us up. Nice looks amazing and I think a few of us wouldn’t have minded a long enough layover to leave the airport and explore the shores of the Mediterranean for a few hours.

Processed with Snapseed.

Flying over the Mediterranean coast on our way into Nice.

When we arrived in Zurich we discovered pretty quickly that there was a miscommunication during some point in trip planning, as our hosts weren’t there to pick us up! For some reason they thought we were arriving at midnight, not noon. That left us with a few hours to burn exploring the airport which, lucky for us, has a shopping mall in it!

Processed with Snapseed.

The ladies found traditional Süd Tyrolean attire in the mall!

When the vans from Mals arrived we piled in and began the trek toward Italy. The weather was gorgeous when we arrived but quickly deteriorated during the drive. We stopped briefly for a late dinner on the road before venturing into the mountains after dark amid thunderstorms. We finally rolled into Mals around 10pm and found our accommodations. We are staying at a dormitory near the soccer field/track and will be eating breakfasts in our building while we have a short walk up the hill for lunch and dinner each day.

img_5210

Our building has a bridge over the road to a small parking lot where the vans we’re using  are kept. This is a morning view from the bridge. Not too shabby!

Today we woke up early for a 7:30 breakfast before driving up the Martell Valley to watch Lisa, a local Italian athlete who stayed with us for a month last fall, compete in the Italian Biathlon Rollerski Championships. It was fun to see her in action and exciting to also watch some of the Italian National Team members race around.

img_5199

Walker brought Lisa some Vermont Maple Syrup….she was pretty psyched about it!

img_5208

A view from the biathlon race course. There aren’t too many places around here where you can’t see big mountains in at least one direction!

img_5203

The crew on the spectator bridge cheering for Lisa.

Processed with Snapseed.

Dorothea Weirer, the top female biathlete from Italy. She’s consistently one of the top finishers on the World Cup so she gave us a solid demonstration of strong skiing and incredibly fast and accurate shooting.

img_5212

Weinerschnitzel for lunch!

After lunch back in Mals we made a quick turnaround and went for a hike just above town. The goal was an easy hike with poles to get our bodies moving after a long travel day. The mountainsides are steep here so we got some pretty amazing views throughout. There was some bushwhacking both on the way up and down, and a few of us got quite wet when a rainstorm passed through.

Processed with Snapseed.

A view on our way off the mountain. If you click on the photo to enlarge it you might be able to find Walker on the nearest ridge (look for his red shirt).

Processed with Snapseed.

Sam, Walker and Colin on our way off the mountain with a fantastic backdrop. This was shortly before the rain!

Processed with Snapseed.

One of the many cows we met today. Süd Tyrolean cows have it pretty good!

Processed with Snapseed.

A herdsman’s cabin that we came across on our way up the mountain.

Processed with Snapseed.

More mountainside friends, except these two were a little more friendly (and curious) than any of the cows!

After another great meal for dinner we’ve begun the task of staying up until nine to help our bodies adjust to the time change. There will be some homework, a quick meeting on tomorrow’s plans, and then a solid night of sleeping!

img_5213

Waffles for dessert….the kitchen has yet to disappoint! 

That’s all for now folks! Tomorrow we’re going to classic rollerski up Reschen Pass on the amazing bike paths and then go for a short hike in the afternoon.

Stay tuned!

, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

A little taste of fall….

Tomorrow we head across the pond for two weeks in Mals, Italy but before you see some amazing photos in the coming days, here’s a snapshot of our first two weeks of school!

Copy of IMG_4871

We kicked the school year off hard with a testing week. The shots above and below are of the group cooling down together after the 3k running test at Harwood High School track.

Copy of IMG_4870

You’ll always run faster when you’re racing against someone! So psyched to see these kids pushing each other without any prompting from coaches!

Processed with Snapseed.

Alex, a new team member and our newest nordie (she was an alpine skier last winter) trying out classic rollerskis. The Norwegian blood in her veins has her moving in good directions already!

Processed with Snapseed.

Carl looking way too happy for the end of an uphill double-poling test…maybe this shot was taken during the warmup.

Processed with Snapseed.

Walker working hard.

Processed with Snapseed.

Charlie psyched to be done with his first Plunkton double-pole test ever!

IMG_4856

A little recovery hike in search of views…we found them!

IMG_4992

Another afternoon hike up Mad River….

IMG_4977

Happy skiers

IMG_5125

Group roll on a HOT afternoon

IMG_5060

Balance and proprioception session with the alpine ladies. This balance work turned into dance…Greg and Elliot were awesome for sticking with the ladies right through the dance-off! 
IMG_5136

This view…probably one of the best along any of our regular rollerski routes. Never fails to impress.

Processed with Snapseed.

Rena taking the W in her first xc race of the season and her first in Gumby green! Go Rena!

Processed with Snapseed.

Brian, also in his first race of the season and first in (slightly brighter) Gumby Green and he ALSO took the W! Congrats Brian!

Tomorrow afternoon the majority of the crew begins the trek across the pond to Italy. Stay tuned for regular posts (pending good/regular internet access) over the next two weeks as we explore the trails, paths and roads around Mals, Italy! It’s sure to be an amazing experience!