Author: Kat

Fall is here and winter won’t be far behind! This morning we had a good frost on campus and the forecast shows a week of consistently cooler days heading our way. These last two weeks have been busy. Garrott joined us on Monday, September 21, our first day back after our trip. Our first week back was lighter on the training front to allow for recovery after Italy. 
Cooling down after some specific strength intervals during our first week back. The weather has turned decidedly cooler now and swimming hasn’t been part of our post-workout routine since this beautiful day. Might just be that this was the last swimming day of the season…
Our second week had an intensity focus with the schedule modeled after that of this year’s US Nationals in Houghton, MI. We did a classic rollerski time trial on Tuesday, a sprint simulation on Thursday (it was supposed to be Wednesday but with sickness going around campus like wildfire, we pushed it back to allow a day of recovery), and a mass start skate race on Saturday with a crew from Mansfield Nordic Club.
Frosty lines on the lower soccer field. 
There’s been some fun training as well….on one of Garrott’s first days with us we played lacrosse on rollerskis in the parking lot at Sugarbush. It was tons of fun and will have to be repeated! 
Elliot striding up the last hill on Plunkton as he finishes his 10k classic time trial last tuesday. 
Lizzy working on her striding in the parking lot at Sugarbush.
Elliot working in the gym….single leg squats with solid form and balance. 
Forrest chasing Elliot up the first hill of our grueling course during the final round of our simulation. Forrest took the win but Elliot was hot on his heels across the line. 
We’ve had no shortage of gorgeous fall weather…just one of many beautiful sunsets these last two weeks. 
On Friday we visited the Ketchel farm to make cider and enjoy a home-cooked meal. Here’s Garrott watching Lizzy pick the best apples from the top branches of the tree. 
The Ketchels have a very well-preserved old fashioned cider press that takes two people to operate it and a few more to replenish the apples as they’re crushed, empty the cider collection tub, and remove the pressed apples after each round of cider-pressing. A great team activity! 
Our batch turned out quite large and it was neat to see how the apples from different trees altered the color of the cider. The first apples we pressed were from trees up the road from the Ketchel farm and yielded much lighter cider.
Given our small group size we’ve been trying to integrate with the alpine teams where possible. 
Here’s Lisa playing a balance game with some of the alpine girls this morning. 
Carl and Rowan (an alpine racer) during strength practice this morning….two tall thirteen year olds! 
Lizzy pushing to the finish in Saturday’s 5k time trial with Mansfield Nordic. 
Tanner finishing up. He was a bit disappointed immediately after the race but perked up when we discovered that he’d taken over two minutes off his previous time back in August! 
Walker was under the weather this week and had to take the week easier than initially planned. Luckily he did a very good job listening to his body’s needs and got over his cold quickly, enabling him to join us on Saturday for an easy ski while the rest of the crew raced. 
Forrest hammering to the line for the win in the 10k group. 
Elliot showing some good technique at the end of a solid intensity week. Nicely done!
Our crew standing with the gang from Mansfield Nordic Club after the time trial….ready for Mad Tacos! It was great to have the athletes from MNC join us….the more, the merrier! 
Garrott and I are laying out plans for the next few weeks as we lead up to our November camps in Lake Placid and West Yellowstone. We’ve got a solid training block coming up with lots of volume and intensity but as always, a strong focus on fun! 
It’s almost time to start making paper snowflakes and watching the forecast obsessively for that wonderful white symbol! Only five weeks till we leave school for our fall training camps! 

Author: Kat
After a long travel day back to Vermont yesterday I’m writing this from the comfort of my dorm room back on campus at GMVS! It’s good to be back in Vermont although waking up at 5:30 this morning (when it was 11:30) in Italy was a rough way to start my day! The laundry’s already washing, my skis are unpacked and the last of my photos are uploading so here’s a quick update on our last adventures in Italy. 
On Friday morning we walked down to the Sports Oberschule (the sports school) in Mals and met with one of their English classes. The kids grouped up to write action-filled stories (in English, so our kids were dubbed the “dictionaries”) using three words or phrases that were pulled from a hat. The stories ended up bring pretty funny, especially given that the whole class had to act out the actions as they were being read. 
Carl working with his group

Tanner recording his groups story. 

Lizzy had a big group. 

Elliot played dictionary and translator. Each group had one Italian-speaker and one German-speaker so translating to English got confusing on occasion!

Forrest (L) and Walker with their groups….somehow they got assigned to the groups of girls!
After a quick trip back up the hill for lunch, a change of clothes and some equipment packing we headed off for our afternoon adventure: skiing up the road to the Stelvio Pass from the Italian side. The older boys got dropped off of the edge of the valley in the outskirts of Prad while Lizzy, Carl, Tanner and I started skiing just above the first switchbacks. It took us all about 2.5 hours to ski through the 48 switchbacks to the top of the pass. 
A visual of our ski, elevation gain included. 
Once we got up a bit we had constant views of the mountains. 
Carl leading Tanner, myself and Lizzy up the hill. 

Carl, Tanner, Lizzy. 

Lizzy and I striding out of a turn. 
Partway through our ski the older boys and Justin and Jere (in the van) got separated from us when a small rockslide closed the road for an hour. We figure it must have happened just after Lizzy and I passed through. Carl and Tanner were ahead of us so the four of us got to the top just as Justin and Jere made it up after rallying to catch up! It was pretty chilly when we weren’t moving so the older boys had to take shelter in the van and their puffy coats while the road was swept clean. 

Jere’s view from the passenger seat. 

Some fancy cars at the top of the pass. 

Kat and Lizzy skiing over the top. 
Lizzy…happy to be done! 
All her clothes on and her lips are still purple! 
All the photos from the older boys on this ski were taken on Justin’s phone and camera so I’ll have to try and snag some of those from him. He’s also creating a short highlight video from our trip that I got to preview yesterday…it’s pretty sweet so stay tuned for it’s release! 
After our ski we headed back to town for dinner, shared with some of the local teachers, packing and bed! Our shuttle to the airport picked us up at 5:30am on Saturday for a smooth and easy ride to the airport…it’s always easier when someone else is driving. Our flights went smoothly and we made it back to Vermont last night right on schedule. 
The highlight of the 8.5 hr transatlantic flight…United serves ice cream!
Boys…happy to have just one flight left between them and Vermont!

The Green Mountains! 
The next few weeks of training should be nice. The temperatures are forecast to be more fall-like and we have Lisa (an Italian biathlete from the Sports Oberschule and the Martell Valley) here to enjoy our workouts with us. Tomorrow Garrott Kuzzy joins the crew. He is our new nordic director and we’re all psyched to meet him and move forward with fall training here at home in Vermont! 
Stay tuned! 
Today’s author: Forrest
Today we completed our annual mountain bike in Italy. Each year it is a little different. This year we had good weather except for one part. After we turned the final turn in the unia schlucht wind hit us at 70 Miles per hour. Along with the wind was rain that felt like needles piercing any visible flesh. The older boys (Walker, Forrest and Elliot) started earlier with Justin and Jere. We climbed a pass and were rewarded with a 15 k downhill. Then we biked towards a town at the bottom of the unia schlucht climb where we met Lizzie, Kat, Tan-man and Carl. Everyone did well climbing. I was personally surprised by how well everyone did. After getting through the brutal wind and rain from the unia schlucht to the top of the schlenig we stopped for some drinks and then had an epic 4000 ft decent back into Mals. 
 Top of the big climb for a rest.
 A cat we found on our way up. He loved attention. 
 Liz and Jere working hard. 
 View of the unia schlucht.
The “big Boys” and JB at the unia schlucht entrance. 
 The whole crew taking a selfie.
 View from the unia schlucht
 Walker loves Italy. He is probably going to move here. 
 Carl coming up to the unia schlucht entrance.
 JB throwing up a peace sign. 
 Jere loved taking pictures throughout the trip. Here he is near the top of the unia schlucht.
 Liz getting towards the top.
 The view
 Pretty crazy thinking we went through there.
 Happy Jere, Happy Liz
Whole crew.
 Dont slip. A view of the first turn in the unia schlucht.
 View from unia schlucht
 Some of the boys.
 We all walked our bikes…
 Its a long way down.
 Stoke is high!
Carl and Liz enjoying dry clothes and refreshments before the decent. 
Dinner tonight was personally my favorite of the trip. Five courses of delight. Everyone is tired now, most sore, but the energy is high. Tomorrow we will go to engish classes at the school and wrap up our trip with a ski up stelvio. 

Today’s blog post written by Walker Bean

Roller skiing up the Martell is one of my favorite workouts that we do in Italy. It is very tiring,
extremely pretty and a classic. We got out to the Martell valley by 9 in the morning and it is
about a 3 hour ski up. It was skate this time and now that I am not a J2 I had to start a few
kilometers farther down the road and that made it roughly 32 kilometers to the top. The entrance to the valley is guarded by a small hill with an ancient castle on the top, behind it you can see strawberry fields lining the inside of the valley. 

Elliot taking a break from the climbing.

Walker still feeling good about more uphill skiing. 

The views are great as you wind up into the valley seeing the apple and strawberry farms terraced into the sides and the small towns on the road. We met Andy, an Italian Biathlon coach who lives in the Martell, he drove one of the vans up the valley to keep an eye on us as we roller skied our way up. The air was cool and slightly rainy, the perfect weather for a long uphill ski because it keeps you cool but you don’t ever get cold. We stopped for snacks several times on the way up and we got a great chance to sample some of the apples and strawberries from one of the stores. The fruit was about as fresh as could be asked for and was simply amazing as is most of the food here. 

Forrest working hard. 

Lizzy and Kat skiing together.

Snack break….local strawberries and apples. 

Carl and Tanner after one of the tunnels.

They managed to get dressed in matching clothes and totally denied that it was on purpose. 

The older boys chasing Justin up the final climb. 

Walker pushing through the switchbacks. 

Toward the top of the valley there is a biathlon range and track that are some of the most fun roller skiing trails that I have been on, they are steep with tight corners and a good flow that makes it feel rolling and fast. From the biathlon range we skied up 10 switchbacks to a beautiful glacial lake. The lake has that icy blue color to it and I have always wanted to take a swim but I have never gotten the chance. The road follows the edge of the water around the side of the lake until it reaches another river on the far side from there the road keeps switchbacking up the valley. The road is extremely steep sometimes reaching a 14 percent grade, by that time it felt like whenever you put your ski down and expected it to move it just wouldn’t. At the top of the road Justin, Forrest, Elliot, and myself skied all the way to Rudy’s snack stand at the very top, just across the river from an old abandoned hotel. Even having skied on Stelvio the day before, I don’t think I have felt as tired as I did on top of the Martell in a long time.

The crew posing in front of the snack shack at the top. It was cold up there! 

Andy and Justin sharing a thumbs up!

Once we were all done skiing we loaded up into the van and went down to a restaurant
part way down the Martell, there we got to see a great accordion performer and a great meal.
There was even some dancing from Andy and Kat. They served us pasta and stuffing-like
dumplings followed up by a pasta made from spinach that is a regional delicacy. Our lunch
dessert was a home made apple strudel and some home made ice cream which were amazing but tiny. From there we said goodbye to Andy and went back to the hotel for a much needed nap.

Andy showed us this overlook on the way down to lunch. It was gorgeous despite the rainy, cold weather. 

The lake that’s formed by the hydroelectric dam. That water looks cold! 
Today’s blog post is brought to you by Carl with photos from Justin! 
Today the team headed up to the Stelvio glacier for the second time. We drove up the Swiss
side where there were barely any cars and got up to the tram at 8:30. The tram had not opened so we were stuck in a the line for 45 min. The journey up to the loop was cold and windy and the clouds hadn’t cleared yet. By the time we got up there it was already 10:30. 
The skiing was great and enjoying it with us were four Italian skiers from the national team including Fredrico Pellegrino. Then we had lunch at a hotel at the top. It was pasta with red sauce… This afternoon was a rest time for homework and games. For dinner we went to Lampl and for an appetizer we had a ricotta, spinach, and ham calzone. For dinner we had pork and mashed potatoes and for dessert we had the traditional kaiserschmarren, a doughy pancake with jam and powdered sugar.
Tanner skiing by the Italian “camp”. 

Carl, clearly in his element. 

Two of the Italian national team skiers. 

Walker and Elliot taking one of the switchbacks. 

Forrest through the downhill turns.

Walker through the downhill….

And Elliot through the downhill. 

Lizzy and Kat skiing up. 

And a rare moment of clarity. Today we were really socked in and could rarely see the end of the switchback we were skiing on, let alone the rest of the loop. 

Elliot and Walker working together. Along with Forrest, these boys got some solid volume in today. 

Group shot with Italian national team members Frederico Pellegrino and Simone Urbani. Pellegrino has three world cup victories to his name and Urbani is an up and coming talent for Italy.  

Walker chatting it up with the Italians. 

Author(s): Kat and then Elliot’s summary of yesterday’s mountain biking adventure. 
Today we woke up to rain and low clouds. We had a slow morning of homework and downtime followed by a bunker tour with two local historians. Armand, the lead guide, shared the interesting history of this region from WWI through WWII, explaining not just the history of the bunker we toured, but what led to the construction of them (there are more than 20 just in this valley alone) and why the locals choose to carry on with Tyrollean traditions and speak German instead of Italian. 
Getting the background history from Armand (translated by Jere) before heading into the bunker. 
The bunker Armand took us to sits on the hill above the neighborhood that our hotel is in. It was a short walk but we stopped several times to learn about the events that preceded the bunker construction. The bunker itself was really neat, albeit dark, damp and cold. The locals largely disassembled the interiors, removing just about anything that’s not held in place by concrete and keeping them all locked up to reduce the incidence of vandalism. Until Armand mentioned that there are over twenty bunkers in this valley, I wouldn’t have guessed. Only about eight of them are very visible. The others are overgrown with foliage or hidden by trees on the hillsides. 

The view from the top of the bunker looking out over Mals. 

In the bottom floor of the bunker where the soldiers slept. It was two stories with walls 6 meters thick. 
It was interesting to learn about how the Tyrolleans were forced to integrate with the rest of Italy after WWI. Anything German was forbidden. The language couldn’t be spoken or taught, names were changed to Italian equivalents, gravestones were altered, and traditional Tyrollean attire was banned. All public offices had to be held by southern Italians. Obviously the citizens, whose families had lived here for generations before, were incredibly resistant and proudly carried on with their German ways where they could. School teachers secretly taught children German language and customs (at the risk of being shipped off to prison) especially in the high mountain towns that were less closely observed by authorities. Today this area is still German-speaking and if you were to ask a local where they’re from, they’d probably tell you Süd Tyrol instead of Italy. They still hold the German dirndl and lederhosen as their tradition dress, and carry on with Tyrollean traditions. 

Outside…this was the most exposed part. The majority of it was covered in dirt, vines and foliage. 

More translations from Jere after we came out. The entrance is just to the right of the man (Armand) with the umbrella. 

This afternoon the skies cleared and we ventured down to the local track for some running intervals in the sun. The crew did 200 meter repeats at pacing chosen to work toward improving their personal 3k PRs. When we get back to Vermont we’ll be doing a 3k so this was a good workout in preparation for that test. 
Dinner was one of the best yet. Our appetizer was a platter with various meets, cheese and sliced fresh cantaloupe. The main course was curried chicken, green beans wrapped in speck (bacon-like meat), and white rice. Dessert was a delicious white ball that had a raspberry sauce. It was incredibly creamy (and fattening I’m sure) and turned out to be made mostly from cottage cheese (much to Carl’s disapproval). Desserts are much anticipated at this point….we haven’t had one yet that wasn’t amazing. 
Tomorrow we are heading back to the Stelvio for another day of skiing. Hopefully the conditions are good despite this morning’s rain. The webcams up there this morning looked like it wasn’t cold enough for snow but the forecast is calling for some accumulation tonight. After skiing we’ll have lunch at the mid station (between the two trams) before returning to Mals for the rest of the afternoon and evening. 
Elliot’s coverage of yesterday’s mountain biking adventure: 
Forrest, Justin, and I met at the bike rental shop by the train station at 8:00 am. There we met
with our guide, the shuttle driver, and 5 other german mountain bikers all decked out with
downhill pads, fancy bikes, fancy clothes, and looking like pros. We were all wearing regular
shorts, long sleeve shirts, and regular shoes. I thought that we were going to be way out of our element. Once we got into the van and began to drive all the germans started chatting and laughing and of course we thought they were making fun of us, after all we looked like huge jerrys. We drove up into Switzerland, through Val Müstair, the town the Dario Cologna is from, and up into the mountains. finally we got to starting point of our ride, on top of the Offen pass, surrounded by fog and unable to see more than a hundred feet in any direction.

We started riding on some rolling and bumpy terrain and it was immediately obvious that
the german riders weren’t in fact pros, 3 of them were actually pretty slow. We made our way
along the side of the mountains at the top of the Offen pass with a very steep slope down into
fog on our right and a very steep slope up into fog on our left, basically a very bad place to fall. Before long we came out into some high mountain fields with cows and a road up into the mist. We followed the road and eventually came to a small farmhouse, with a friendly seeming dog outside. Our guide started to play with the dog and suddenly it got very aggressive and began snapping, and we left as quickly as possible without aggravating the dog further. Then we continued through some cow fields until we got to the first real downhill of the ride. It was steep, bumpy, and lots of fun. the ride pretty much continued like this along the side of the mountain with some uphills, some downhills, and lots of mostly flat. Eventually we got to Lü, the town we started our mountain bike at last year, and not long afterward the fog began to clear up.
We rode down into the valley and into Val Müstair, and then up towards Stelvio a bit and
after the a little rolling terrain we had the sketchiest and most difficult downhill any of us had
ever ridden, even Forrest. It was super steep, super tight, super sketchy switchbacks with a
giant cliff and waterfall on one side. Most of us walked every turn, and not a single one of use
could ride the whole thing. The waterfall was spectacular though, and once we got to the bottom we stopped and admired the terrain for a bit. Then back down into Taufers, the town on the border between italy and switzerland, where we ate lunch at a cool restaurant. We all had pasta, and the portions weren’t quite as large as most of us would have liked. After lunch we rode down the bike path a ways and then started riding along the river and along a cool irrigation canal. the canal was very old and overgrown but very cool. then we started up the biggest climb of the ride, about half an hour of slight to steep uphill. As much as we liked the uphill, the German’s liked it even less. then we made it to the final descent, a long and gradual downhill that was very fast, very fun, and very long. then we got down into the valley and rode along the bike path to a cool cafe in Prad. The ride took us about About 7 hours, about 5 and a half hours of riding. It was a long and very fun day.
Today’s update comes from Lizzy. Our group split in two today and the group that mountain biked was out for most of the day so I’m going to let Elliot go to bed tonight and share a summary of their adventures tomorrow. 
From Lizzy: 
Today we had breakfast at the usual time and then Justin, Forrest and Elliot went on a mountain bike adventure while the rest of us went hiking. Jere dropped the hikers off at the trail head with instructions to follow the Eselweg trail from Taufers to Laatsch. The trail would take us up a ways and then across on a ridge until we descended into Laatsch. After Jere dropped us off he drove to Laatsch where he had planned to hike up the trail until he met us and then hike back down with us. 
Carl found a door that must be for a hobbit when we first started our hike in Taufers…
Katrina, Walker, Tanner, Carl and I started out walking up a switch back road that headed up towards a castle ruin and then along the ridge. We were on track until we reached a fork in the trail, and having no map we decided to follow the trail that said Laatsch, even though it didn’t match the description that Jere had given us. We ended up going back down switchbacks, and then meeting some German-speaking locals at a hut along the trail who told us not to go the other way (the way Jere had planned for us to go) because it was too dangerous. We kept going down, and then took a left on a narrower trail that lead us through a pasture. At this point we were sure that we would not be meeting Jere like we had planned. We found another sign that pointed us to Laastch, this time going back up the hill we had just come down but on a different trail, and then along the ridge and eventually down to Laastch. We met up with Jere in Laatsch who had gone up the trail until he got to a part that was completely washed out by an avalanche and been forced to turn around. Luckily everything worked out; It ended up not being a bad thing that we took the wrong trail because the one we had planned to take had been washed out by an avalanche, and we were able to find some wifi and text Jere when we got to Laastch who had been looking for us in the van. 

Tanner sitting in a window at the castle ruins….Kat had to catch his smile while he was talking because he refuses to smile for the camera. 

Looking up at the tower…from this angle you can’t really tell, but it’s split on the right side and leans into the mountain (away from the camera in this shot). There’s a metal ring two thirds of the way up that’s been added recently to add support. 

The view of Taufers (where we started our hike) from the ruins. 

Another view of Taufers from our hike. 
When we finally ended up on the last part of the trail that took us down into Laatsch as planned. It would have been quite the view on a clear day. 

Some pretty tired smiles but relieved to finally be done with our hike! 
Those of us who went hiking had a easy afternoon, some relaxing in the hotel and the others exploring Glurns which is a town nearby. 
Tomorrow morning we’re going on a tour of a WWII bunker with a local tour guide. It should be both educational and interesting! The valley here is littered with bunkers but all the ones that we’ve been able to get close to on running or hiking trails are locked up tight, so we’re all excited to finally see what’s in there! 

Author: Kat
Today was a partial off day. We took a slow morning, eating breakfast at the normal time but staying at the hotel until 11:30, allowing abundant time for homework and catching up on some much needed rest. After an earlier lunch (we’ve been eating at 1pm) we drove down to Prad (a short drive down valley) to see their traditional celebration of the end of summer. They dress their cows up and heard them down from the high mountain pastures through town. 
This was the lead cow…she had a lot more flowers than the rest and didn’t seem to psyched on holding her head up after her owner stopped leading her. 
The cows all had ceremonial bells that were huge. While we were there the farmers took some of them off and replaced them with the normal sized bells, as the cows were clearly displeased with the extra weight and loud ringing that ensued with every little movement. It was quite loud! 
A wreath and a HUGE bell!

Some of the cows had wooden plaques that told about their role within the herd or on the farm. This one had horns pointing in different directions!

This one’s plaque says “Gruß von der Alm”, which basically means greetings from the alpine pasture. 

Another big bell and a neat wreath that was kind of shaped like a heart. 

One of the farmers took a huge bell off so we asked if we could see how heavy it was….here are Carl, Justin and Lizzy with the farmer and his huge bell. 
We also got to witness the ceremonial whip snappers….guessing there’s a more specific name for them, but that’s what we’re calling them for now….Lizzy calls them “whipper snappers”. They have these fancy whips that have ribbon or frayed rope on the tips. When they swing them they make a loud gun shot-like sound. The group is really good and “snaps” in rhythm….pretty amazing. 
After leaving Prad we went to visit these castle ruins above Glurns. It’s called the Lichtenberg Montechiaro. It is still owned by a lineage of counts that took ownership of it back in 1513. 

The view from the entrance back toward the side of the valley where Mals is….not a bad view!

Jere enjoying the view from the entrance to the tower. 

Carl and Tanner enjoying their morning off. 

Carl, sitting in the bottom of what used to be a fireplace. 

The view toward Mals. 

The castle. The building on the left is currently being reinforced with steel posts and braces but it being Saturday, we didn’t see any of the workers on site, only their power cord and some tools. 

Elliot perched on a wall with a great view behind him. 

The interior of the castle.

Looking up into the tower. 

We brought our Kelly Brush Foundation banner along since today was the ride. We’re there in spirit! 

And another!

Walker exploring. 
This afternoon Kat took the kids on a short run and did some (torturous) playground strength just below a pasture filled with more cows on their way down from the mountains. We heard lots of cow bells during our circuit. Justin and Jere did some scouting and planning for tomorrow’s adventures. 
Tomorrow the group is splitting into two. Elliot, Forrest and Justin are going on a technical mountain bike ride with a tour group. The rest of us (who are less technically inclined on bikes) are going on a hike/run. The weather isn’t supposed to be awesome, but that means more snow up on the glacier! 
Stay tuned for another update tomorrow! 

 Today’s post is brought to you by Justin and Tanner.  Each day in Italy is a mixture of exuberance and thankfulness — the kids laughing, recreating stories from the past, and marching with open minds into each new day.  For me, this trip is special as my role with the program is changing — this dreamscape, the Sud Tirol, holds deep meaning and many memories — and I’m proud to share my knowledge and experiences with a fun loving crew.
 I’ll try to find a balance between my waxing nostalgic and Tanner’s fresh perspective.  Here he is navigating the alpine lanes on the way to the Stelvio ski track Wednesday.

TK – In the morning, we went kayaking on the Reschensee. We paddled
out to the sunken village and saw the half-submerged church. 
JB – This is the first year we’ve had a teacher in Italy — kind of ironic to have a fluent German speaker after seven years of language fun!  Work, work, work!

It’s been a few years since we’ve had nice weather and fit in a paddle on the lake.  The water is turquoise from glacial sediment and quite refreshing to the touch (you can see a little snow behind Lizzie).  This year the water might have been a bit warmer than when the Red Bull wake boarder slashed a turn on Evan, or when Ian went for a swim after being overcome by a jet ski wake.

Carl and Tanner were champs and made the whole paddle from the boathouse to the church.
TK – At the end
of the paddle, the big boys and Justin went swimming in the very cold
water. Katrina went running while the main group was kayaking.

TK – In the afternoon, the older boys and Lizzy went
roller skiing, and Tanner, Carl and Katrina played games and did core
with the younger Italians.
We joined the oberschule langlaufer’s for an afternoon training session on the north side of the Adige Valley.  The road climbing out of Schluderns clings to the hillside and is often just wide enough to squeeze two cars next to each other.  Zoom in on this shot to see what Vale is looking at:)
Although not quite as dramatic as the Stelvio’s switchbacks, this picturesque road climbs steadily and affords amazing views over the town of Eyrs, and up the Sulden Valley to the Stelvio itself.
TK – The older boys and Lizzy did 2 by 10-minute
Classic rollers intervals with the older Italian boys and girls. Tanner,
Carl and Katrina played Volleyball, did some balance building
activities and did some core.
Lizzie is working on her striding and it was great to have some new friends to chat with on the ski between intervals.
Forrest worked hard to keep up with Matteo Tanel’s cousin Matthias.  Today (Friday) he skied a few extra laps around the parking lot to log 3 hours of on time.  He is leading the team with his calculated style and serious flow.
Walker keeping it light and enjoying sharing stories with a few of his Italian buddies — the value of the trip goes up every time we can combine a workout.
The three boys skied the entire workout together — here is Elliot wrapping up the hour and a half climb with I think, an peace sign.
TK – Today we
ate at a new restaurant because the restaurant we have eaten at for the
first part of the trip was closed. We had Risotto for lunch, and Pork
for dinner.
JB – I think this was hazelnut mousse – or chocolate – but it was the best I ever had.  Forst Restaurant.
And I haven’t been on the blog for awhile so I’m going to jump around — this is today where I dropped the gang of in Tell, about 50km east of Mals.  Another activity we hadn’t done in a long time — skiing the radroute home.  Rad is bike and rad is also R.A.D.
I’ll never forget the ski Dev, Hans, Ryley and I did (2010?), where we missed our train stop and ended up in Meran.  We skied the entire way home, through a very long section of dirt, fighting the bonk for over five hours(not eating apples), and counting mustaches the entire way.
I shuttled the gang through a few of the dirt sections making a 30-40 kilometer ski for the gang depending on how long they skied.  Here is Lizzie skiing through a cool section along the Adige in Kastelbell.  Nearly the entire path winds through apple orchards and the gang this year was confronted with the same moral dilemma we had years ago, neglecting their hunger with the beautiful fruit literally dangling in front of them.

Jumping around again.. back to day one on the top of the Follakopf.  Here is the view of the last push to the summit.  The trail is right in front of me here.
It’s always easier to go up .. careful descent happening.

Pretty awesome view back down over Schlinig and further to Gluerns and Schluderns.

On the top.
Pretty nice scale here.
One week to go!!
Author: Kat
This morning we got an early and organized start, departing our hotel at 7:30 for the Stelvio Glacier. We drove up the Swiss side of the pass and then headed up to the glacier. To get to the area that is being groomed for nordic skiing we had to take two gondolas and then a long poma lift. 
Looking toward the base area and the road from the middle station where we switched gondolas. 

This is the view from the top gondola station. From here we walked down to the big mob of people just below center and proceeded to wrestle our way onto the poma lift. Forming neat and orderly lines is not a skill Italian downhill skiers possess. After riding this lift to the top we skied down the alpine hill to the right of the lift top and around to the right of the peak above the lift. Back in that valley there is actually another poma lift that we took up to the nordic trail. It’s definitely a bit of a logistical hassle to get there, but once on the perfect corduroy that was the nordic course today, all was forgotten. 

Rumor had circulated that Petter Northug was in the area and might be skiing on the Stelvio. The ticket salesman at the base lodge confirmed this and he was easy to spot as soon as we got to the trail. He wears a while warmup suit from his club team, Team Coop, which also features the FIS world championship colors. It was pretty easy to pick him out of the small crowd that was skiing around. 

Looking up at the nordic trail which switchbacks up and down this slope. 

Getting ready to ski….sunscreen, sunglasses, and some waxing. 

Lizzy skating. She spent some time working on minimizing the movement in her torso and hips. 

Forrest following Northug for a lap in starstruck awe with the biggest smile on his face. 

Elliot and Walker working through a lap together. 

Tanner working on gliding. 

Water break with an amazing view. 

Lizzy and Walker enjoying their surroundings. 

Elliot coming into a good high start position during some double poling. 

Tanner taking a break from skating with a visit to the track for some double poling. 

Carl working on glide and learning that it’s hard training at 10,000 feet! 

Forrest striding through one of the switchback corners. 

Walker following Justin for a lap. 

Tanner hamming it up for the camera….he was trying not to get caught smiling. My shutter finger was too fast for him this time! 

Forrest seemed pretty psyched with his workout and how he felt at altitude. 

Lizzy was all smiles after four laps around the track. 
I don’t think Carl stopped smiling the whole time we were up there! 

Northug was kind enough to let us take a group photo with him! (center with the while jacket on). 

After our group shots with Northug we did a little adventuring. Tanner and Elliot had to make sure the Mad River sticker was still in place on the lifty shack at the top. 
Waiting for the second gondola on the way back down to the base for lunch. 
We had lunch at the Tibet Restaurant. It’s an awesome building perched on the edge of a cliff overlooking the Italian side of the Stelvio Pass road. 

The final switchbacks of the Italian side (we drove down this way)…there are 48 of them. 
Tomorrow (Thursday) our plan is to kayak in the morning on Russian Lake (west of Mals). It’s the picturesque lake with the tower emerging from blue water that is always shown in advertising for this area. In the afternoon we will join the local teams for some running/bounding and agility (younger group – Carl and Tanner), and roller ski intervals (Walker, Forrest, Lizzy and Elliot). 
We’ve heard the weather back home is incredibly hot and humid. Know that we all thought of you today when we put on down jackets for the trek up to go skiing. The temperatures here have been cooler and pleasant!