Monday, November 30, 2015

Ski Week in West Yellowstone

The staff at the hotel here in West Yellowstone refer to last week as Ski Week.  It is quite fitting as the town is overtaken for the week with an estimated 4,000 cross country skiers.  It is one of my favorite weeks of the year.  I usually arrived a week before ski week to get some time on snow and adjust to the high altitude.  The week before the festival, West Yellowstone is a ghost town.  Often I might be the only person in a 100+ room hotel.  It is fun to watch the town come to life, and a great way to start the ski season.

Without Caitlin and Lahti here I thought about adopting this guy for company
Thankfully I had my friend Duncan Douglas, otherwise known as Jacked Up Old Man to keep me company and train with for the first week.  Duncan turned 50 on this trip, but he still brings it.  We had a lot of fun training and living together.

A big group of juniors from Endurance United made the trek to snow and the trails in West Yellowstone.  I have worked with some of the kids over the summer and it is fun to see their training and technique work pay off.   We had fun working on our climbing, and even more fun practicing Tele turns on Tele hill.

All Smiles
The family and my support crew here in West Yellowstone.  These guys make the long drive from Washington each year to celebrate Thanksgiving, enjoy the trails and put in a ton of work helping me perform at these races. 

One of the first teams to arrive is Green Mountain Valley School.  I had a blast joining the group for some of their workouts.  It is also really fun that they are now being coached by Katrina Howe and Garrott Kuzzy.  2010 Olympian Garrott and I lived and skied together for 5 years with CXC and have many good memories together.

Sharing my Sochi Slideshow with the GMVS athletes

Working on no pole classic striding with the Duluth East team

Signing posters at the expo.  I still have the posters of the top US skiers of my childhood on my wall at home
Stretching before presenting
"Training Habits and Goals" to a huge group of 80+ Loppet Nordic Racing Juniors
Of course the highlight of the week is the first Super Tours of the year.  The first of a season of opportunities to see the benefits of a Spring, Summer, and Fall of hard work.
I had a good weekend with a win in the 15 km Freestyle and a 10th in the Freestyle Sprint 
I sure am Thankful to have the support of great sponsors and people
(like my brother hauling the Toko wax box home from the race)
A great week, became even better when the US Ski Team offered me a start in the upcoming World Cup in Davos, Switzerland.  The race will be a 30 km Freestyle interval start race at altitude which is one of my favorite races.  Plus, I get to see Caitlin again too.  We have both had our eyes set on Davos during our summer training.  Looking forward to the race, time to pack to bags for a flight over to Europe.

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