|Our friend Jacob Myerson from CSU at the tip-top.|
|Hans just summited Kilimanjaro but he came up Camels Hump anyway, helping to guide the top group with our camp stalwart Dylan Grald. Here Hans stands at the summit with some strong Ford Sayre boys, George Voigt and Sam Merrens.|
|The whole gang at the top: skiers from Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, and of course Vermont.|
We’ve been back from Italy for a week now, and we’re settling into a routine that will carry us all the way through to November’s trip to West Yellowstone. This is arguably our most focused block of the year academically and athletically: we have an opportunity to make big gains in both arenas.
It’s a good time to think about where we’re going: part of moving forward is reflecting on where we’ve been. What’s worked well and where do we need to be better?
Many of our skiers have made serious goals for the races at US Nationals. In order to prepare, we’re skiing a simulated Nationals week, with three time trial efforts: a 10km skate, a skate sprint day, and a classic distance race. For the first day of this week we drove up over the gap to go meet up with Cam MacKugler and his Frost Mountain Nordic team for a 10km skate TT. I had a vision of Cam bending a Swix Star at the Bolton Eastern High School Sprint when I was in 9th grade (2005). I won’t tell you how long it took me to dredge up this photo, but the display of raw power is worth it.
|Reunion of sorts – Coach Beckwith (WJC ’99) meeting Peter Schlickenrieder (WJC ’89) – Moving Planet Day 2011|
The past few mornings I have been waking up early enough that I might be rivaling past Middlebury College Coach, Terry Aldrich in his zeal for the dawn. This pattern lends to a feeling of courting a day — certainly being ready for it — and being unmistakably ahead of your colleagues (or in my case, athletes) in exuberance by the time they wake up. Bottom line — as the GMVS XC Ski Team is nearing the end of our first altitude camp of the 2011-12 — the Head Coach is fired up!
Today was a special day, not only because the kids got an excellent day of training on snow along side the Italian National Team, but because they got to link their passion to a bigger issue. Today is a worldwide day of unity and awareness, drawn together under the name, Moving Planet — with the goal or reducing dependence on fossil fuels, looking to alternative energy sources and promoting a movement towards a world with 350 part per million of CO2. We had a day we will never forget — one with snow, contemplation of our place in the world, and physical experiences (read, play) that link us to the planet in a respectful way.
Speaking of days I will never forget, on the eve of competing in World Junior Champs in 1999, in Saafelden, Austria — I witnessed the then fastest man alive, Peter Schlickenrieder duel with the fastest Austrian sprinter in a night sprint. The town had shut a street and lined it with snow — for a single ski race that lasted no more than a few minutes. Sprinting as an event did not really exist yet, this was an exhibition to help launch the Junior World Champs, and I was blown away by this man V1’ing in a yellow suit at what-seemed-to-be the speed of light.
|Coach on an off day in Innsbruck.|
Return to courting the day … here I am with the kids, watching them ski along side Olympic Champions, Spanish, French, and Swiss Junior National Teams and the Sud Tirol Coach points to a man who looks to be dodging his forties rather well, “this one is Schlickenrieder…” I am enthused explain in my broken Deutsche-English, my memory of this phenom of a sprinter. “He has made silver in Salt Lake in the Sprint.” I watch him pass and dream a bit.
Near the end of the workout I spy Peter propping his skis against the Stelvio sign and snapping a picture for his sponsor, Salomon. I offer to help this idol of mine from years past — “Would you like me to take a picture with you in it.” Boom — I’ve broken the ice and am now talking to an Olympic Medalist! It takes me a minute to convey my story, but yes he remembers the sprint, and is flattered I have made the connection.
|Inspiring views surround the valleys of the Sud Tirol.|
We not only talk of ski racing, but also of the significance of the day and how Nordic Skiers are spokesmen for the environment. He shares that he believes his homeland, Germany, is a world-leader in photovoltaics. Most days he says he doesn’t have time for photos and chat, but he is very affable — offering that he is making a “revival” nearly ten years after taking the Silver Medal in the Sprint at the Salt Lake Olympics. I am stoked and feel a real connection to this man who only existed before in my mind.
|It all starts with play — and a desire to try really hard at something.|
|The view from our hotel — past castle ruins and into the Ortles Range.|
|Looking out the Martell Valley after our roller ski the other day. 20 kilometers and some 4000 feet of climb.|
Shortly after this meeting I gather our team with the Sud Tirol Regional Langlauf team for a photo that makes me proud. I explain the cause of Moving Planet and have a Swiss skier explain to the German-speaking-Italians what the significance of the day is and what we are supporting with our photo. We are bringing together two continents and five countries under one cause and linked by the sport of cross-country skiing. Pretty inspired indeed.
|Kinda makes you want to smile!|
|Two hours on snow makes this one smile.|
|This guy too — first day on snow for 2011-12 ski season.|
|The view down into Switzerland.|
And for my play … well there is nothing I like better than going downhill on skinny skis — it sort of crosses the barriers of two worlds for me — and take me back to the beginnings of skiing for me and the sport itself. Because of the recent snow — there are snowfields and bands of drifts that make a decent of several thousand feet possible. I packed the kids in the van with Evan and pointed to a far switchback — “meet me down there.” The ski was as adventurous as I had hoped, complete with crust, corn, rocks, grass, and some striding through a knee deep lake. This is it!
been taking some amazing photographs. Evan Dethier soaking in the
Italian sun and getting in a little coaching workout.
We finally had a solid thunderstorm this afternoon–which was nice, because it cut the afternoon heat. We are now two days into the first Session of summer camps. We have a great group from around New England and New York.
Yesterday we took a hike up the Clark Brook Trail to summit Mt. Roosevelt with poles. The trail takes you up to the backside of the Breadloaf Wilderness and there is a sweet view down into the valley where I like to drag the team in the winter for Adventure skis. Lots of moose, groomed trails and not too many snowmobiles…
My good friend Sean, his wife Erika and cute-as-a-button and now talking daughter, Aspen live near the top of the valley. The graciously let us grill, swim and hang out at their house–one of the best views I have seen in VT!
Today was classic technique with several stations focusing on striding, Double Poling and dryland imitation. We had a video feedback session after lunch and a follow-up / fun session in the afternoon which led us the Sugarbush’s smooth and safe parking lot, where we had some quick slalom runs and enjoyed nice views as the thunderboomers started materializing over the Greens.
We also got in two swimming holes in the Valley–like Sugarbush says, “it’s better up here.”
“Everyday I see my dream, Everyday I see my dream.” Not only has this line from the song by LMFAO been played throughout the house we are living in, but it has also been a personal theme of mine for the camp so far. The song is in no way directly related to skiing, and honestly this is one of the only lines I can remember, but it has been stuck in my mind. Being on snow brings the upcoming season into focus, and highlights all of my goals and dreams. Achieving these dreams is where the work begins.
Everyday we train our hearts out trying to make every improvement possible. A quote from an article I read about a month ago on a US Ski Team member’s blog has stuck with me, this question asked by a coach of an athlete is something I think about every night before I go to bed now. “What did you do today that will put you on the podium in 2010?” I adapt this quote to fit my goals for this season, steering away from an Olympic podium finish, to a top 30 finish at Junior Nationals in Truckee California this spring. Knowing that I have done something that will better my skiing ability, and thus achieve my goal, is a great feeling while reflecting on the day.
Torin Koos, one of my ski heroes, said in an article he wrote, that he trains “To get myself into a place where I’m in the start gate of the Olympic A-Final and know with every fiber of my body I am ready to fulfill my dream, my destiny, my potential – That is my goal.” The focus of my attention is to the final part of the quotation, being ready. I think about this before every hard workout, imagining myself achieving my goal, knowing that with the right amount of work it is possible.
A three week training and race camp is just what I think the team needs to start off the season. I know for me, it is putting my mind into a ski specific state, where everything else seems distant and less urgent. I spend much of my off time prepping my skis and checking updates on the NENSA and Faster Skier websites. But most of all, “Everyday I see my dream.”
There isn’t a ton of snow, but the skiing up higher on the mountain is great and you can’t beat the views and the feeling of the Western air.
Moral is high and we are psyched for the season. Stay Posted!
Tomorrow the team is tackling the infamous Moosilauke Hill Climb in New Hampshire.
Thanks to Kaitlin Fitzgerald for finding this picture in the depths of Facebook.
- Andy Newell
- Camels Hump
- Climate Change
- Cross Country Skiing
- Fast and Female
- GMVS Ski Team
- Mad River Glen
- Range Roll
- Roller Skiing
- Rollerski Race
- Ski academy
- Summer Ski Camp
- time trial
- US Ski Team
- West Yellowstone Ski Camp
- xc running
- XC Ski
- XC Ski Camp
- XC Ski Training
- XC Skiing