Former biathlete, current coach….all round nordic enthusiast!

An elite athlete competing in the sport of biathlon: nordic ski racing combined with marksmanship

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Success in Minnesota!

This year's December trials trip to the Iron Range of northern Minnesota was successful! After three days of racing in Coleraine at Mt. Itasca I was named to the U.S. team racing at the IBU Cups in Estonia and Russia at the beginning of the new year.

Here's a run down of the last two weeks of my road trip.

***Click on any photo to view them all larger in slideshow format.

West Yellowstone, Montana:

After spending a wonderful few days in Sun Valley, ID Seth and I drove back to Montana for NorAm Cup #2 in West Yellowstone. When I had left a week and a half before the ski conditions were less than awesome but by the time we returned the trails were great. We were welcomed by cold weather but my races went really well anyways. With a small women's field (just two) competing I took first in both races, shooting (1,1) in the sprint, and (0,0,1,0) in pursuit. It was a great way to finish off the first part of my trip and a good confidence booster heading into trials in Minnesota.

Here are some pictures courtesy of spectators in West:

It was really cold the second day: you can see in the photo on the right that I have a buff pulled up to protect my face and ears from the cold wind while skiing. 

The photo on the right is from the second day: you can see the orange duct tape I put on my long underwear to protect my legs from the cold. 

Women's podium from both days. Barbara (2nd place) is a National Guard competitor from Utah.

Coleraine, Minnesota:

After a long day traveling from Montana to Minnesota we found great conditions on the man-made snow at Mt. Itasca. We had three days of racing included in the trials: a sprint, a pursuit, and a mass start. In the first race (sprint) I shot (2,2) and finished third. I was less than happy with the shooting but skied well. In the second race (pursuit) I shot (1,0,2,2) and finished second. My prone shooting went really well but I struggled on the race in both standing stages, dueling it out with Hannah (see photo below) and not coming out on top. In the final race (mass start) I shot really well (0,2,0,0) and again finished second behind Hannah, who also had a good day on the range, missing just 3 shots. 

Dueling with Hannah on the range. Hannah and I have raced and skied together since we were J2s (14/15 years old) so it's neat to be going on another trip with her. 

Skiing into the range...

Chasing Hannah out on the course someplace...

On our way to the airport after the final race I got the nod for the US Team's January IBU Cup races in Estonia and Russia. Thus, after my shortest Christmas visit home ever, I'm back in Fort Kent taking advantage of the snow. Last night I went for a short ski to shake out the drive up from NH. 

Lots of snow in Fort Kent...

Lit trails in Fort Kent: even solstice darkness can't keep me off the trails!

Unfortunately going to Europe to race means that I won't be here to visit with my elementary classes (nine classes this year!) when they get back to school after their holiday break. The good news is that I got a new computer for Christmas (the fan in my old one quit) so I'll be able to post updates more often and I will be sure to let everyone know where to find results. 

Friday, December 7, 2012

To Sun Valley and back again.

Since my last update we've been to Sun Valley for a few days and now we're back in West Yellowstone for a weekend of racing before we head for Minnesota. Minnesota will be the final leg of this road stretch before I head home to NH for Christmas. 

Here are the highlights of my last week in photos:

***Click on any photo to view them all in a larger slideshow format. 

Raleigh and I caught teammate Annelies Cook live on BiathlonWorld TV during her Individual race on the World Cup.

Bernese mountain dog get-together in downtown Bozeman during the Christmas Stroll. 

I got to visit with some family, including these two little cuties, Sophia and Faith. 

After a week in Bozeman it warmed up, rained, and the snow melted. Seth and I saw my teammates off on their way east and then we went on a road trip to Sun Valley ID where rumor had it we'd find some good skiing. Here are some pictures from the drive. A lot of it was flat and desolate.


Entering Howe, ID. Not much there. At all. 

We made a pit stop at Craters of the Moon, outside of Carey, ID. It's a National Park where the landscape was formed by volcanic calderas. 

And then we found the snow! We stayed with a college friend of Seth's in Hailey, ID, just south of Ketchum. A few miles north of Ketchum we found great skiing on the Harriman Trail. Further north things were burried deep at Galena Lodge. I will definitely be going back there some day!


Their groomer was wide enough to groom a classic track and a skate lane wide enough for two all in one pass. 


Galena Lodge on the right.

Check out the snow piled up on top of the fence in the photo on the right!

Lots of snow....someone must have a sore back from all that shoveling!

It's snowing here in West Yellowstone now so hopefully it'll follow us east over the next week and a half! Tomorrow: my first biathlon race of the season! 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

West to Bozeman and on to SUN VALLEY!

A few photos from my last ski in West Yellowstone on the plateau. It was stellar.

After a week in driving up to ski on the plateau in West Yellowstone my biathlete teammate, Raleigh, and I decided to migrate to Bozeman, MT with our cross country counterparts. Bozeman hosted the next three Super Tour races on the cross country circuit but more importantly, they had better snow. Had being the key word here. Click on any photo to view them all larger in a slideshow. 

Awesome conditions on the plateau. 

Raleigh practicing "recovery eating": don't waste too much energy moving food from your plate to your mouth!

We drove up to Bozeman on Tuesday. Wednesday was a training day and then on thursday some of us, myself included, raced a skate sprint at Bohart Ranch. In a cross country sprint everyone does a qualifying round where they ski the 1.5k course as fast as possible. The fastest 30 skiers move on to elimination heats. Having not done any kind of XC sprint event in a few years I didn't have very high expectations given the tough field competing. I qualified 30th but got eliminated in the first round. My brother Alex qualified 6th in the men's event and skied through all the heats to a 4th place finish in the "A final".

Alex (L) and I skiing the sprint races. 

Last night I got to visit with family at the Bozeman Christmas Stroll on Main Street. My dad's cousin Chum and his wife Sally live just outside of town in Belgrade. Alex and I met up with them and their son Chad and his family for dinner. Chad has two daughters that are absolutely adorable daughters, Sophia and Faith.

Sophia (L) and Faith are all smiles!

Chum and Sally took their bernese mountain dogs, Stella and Murphy, to a berner gathering a local shoe store in Bozeman...there were a whole bunch of dogs there. 

The conditions at Bohart deteriorated quickly after thursday's races prompting the organizers to move the final two races up to higher trails that were holding onto snow a little better. Saturday was a classic sprint and Sunday was mass start classic; 10k for women and a 15k for men. Saturday I trained on my own and missed most of the racing action but I got to watch both the 10k and 15k on Sunday. The races were exciting but the dreary sight of snow melting put a bit of a damper on the day.

The first long uphill during the men's 15k classic race. 

Given the deteriorating conditions we've decided to change our plans yet again. Initially the plan was three solid weeks in West Yellowstone. We got one. The second plan was to stay the last two weeks here in Bozeman. We could stay here but there's not much skiable snow left so we're rethinking that idea. Tomorrow all of my teammates head east again but Seth and I are heading south to Sun Valley Idaho. They've gotten about four feet of snow in the last week and have more forecasted to fall in the next few days. I've really excited because I've never been there and all the photos I've seen today look like they have some pretty outstanding ski conditions right now. (Check out the Sun Valley link to see photos of the amazing conditions where we're headed).

Check back soon for another update on Sun Valley!