Since getting back from Park City Camp, Anchorage has yet to get any snow. Of course, when every skier is looking for moisture, the sun finally decides to show in AK. With no snow, the temperatures haven't hesitated to resemble the typical Alaskan weather at this time of year. As temps dropped down into the single digits, rollerskiing gets less fun! Pounding freezing cold pavement isn't exactly the nicest thing for your joints. But, with a little extra clothes, and a longer than usual warm up- we made it happen.
One day we were rollerskiing at a local park, where all the ducks have decided to reside around a half frozen pond. They also have chosen to poop all over the trail. So, aside from the trail being half frozen, our skis were also being stopped and tripped up by frozen pooo. It provided for some laughing, a little swearing, and fortunately only one fall that didn't end up too bad.
|frozen poo and lots of ducks!|
Last weekend was also the annual APU ski swap, where all the elite athletes pass down our great equipment to the younger generation of skiers. This is one of the neatest qualities about this elite/junior/devo team. A great pair of skis never leaves the team as someone grows out of them, it just keeps living down the chain. The ski swap is also a time that Kikkan takes the opportunity to clear out her closet and raffle off all her stuff to the young kids. This is one of the most exciting things I have ever watched. Kikkan manages to accumulate some pretty awesome gear, so the kids get called out by number, have 10 seconds to pick something on the table, and then the next person goes. It's a pretty awesome thing Kikkan does- and I am sure that 90% of those kids mark the day on the calendar, it's that exciting!!
|Kikkan and the surrounding group!|
|Marit Flora with her awesome new hat made by one of the skiers on the Swedish Team.|
|Oscar Flora with psyched on his new get-up!|
On that same day we had one of the young devo team boys and Rob Whitney put on a fundraiser run for Mary Robicheaux, a young devo on our team that got hit by a car while she was biking. Mary has been in the hospitals for the past two months as she is learning to walk again. She suffered a fractured skull, many broken bones in both legs, a broken spine, and a tough road to recovery. She has been amazing though as she has continued to improve from day to day with a whole lot of heart. Anyways, one of her friends, Luke Jager headed up a running race for the community. He set up a little 5k course that weaved over logs, through trees, around in circles... you name it. It was pretty fun. It was amazing to see the community come together, with around 300 participants, who managed to raise $14,000 for Mary's recovery.
|Some boys with some awesome outfits and great spirit! |
|Some of the APU skiers at the race.|
|The Skhoop Goddess, and some of my greatest supporters. Osa and John Lapkass|
So, this leads to last weekend. On Wednesday last week, I headed up to Fairbanks for a little on-snow time. Since Fairbanks has about 3 inches of snow, our team was off to find it. This weekend is also the First Tracks Camp, where all the skiers of Alaska group together for the first "on-snow" camp of the season. It is pretty awesome, they all get to chase all the elite skiers around during training, and then there are a bunch of talks set up from Nutritionists, Health Specialists, NCAA skiers and coaches, and the World Cup Team. With everyone in the same place, everyone gets to take advantage of the others around them. This is the first time I have attended one of these First Tracks Camp, but it is pretty amazing. Thanks Matt Hajdukavich and Challenge Life Alaska for an awesome time!
|The First Tracks Crew with the bright colored instructors in front. Holly Brooks photo.|
|Dozens of 3 foot long Subway Sandwiches each day. Thanks Subway for donating them! Best after skiing lunch.|
|Thanks Dave Edic for letting us crash at your house!|
|Happy Halloween Cake!|
The final day, we celebrated Halloween and dressed up in costumes for our ski. I was doing intervals this day, so it meant throwing down pretty hard in a pink onesie suit with a white cotton t-shirt on top. It provided for some entertainment though for sure. Kikkan and Holly also organized a "world-cup field" for the final day where they brought all their race suits from other countries they have accumulated, and then raffled off who got to wear them the final day. The kids also got to wear world cup bibs on top, so it was pretty hilarious to watch the "foreigners" skiing around.
|Kikkan, Holly and I feeling the spirit.|
|Ripping out some intervals in the silly get-up.|
|The World Cup Field! Holly Brooks photo.|
|We also managed to squeeze in a Fast and Female event the final day. Thanks Becca for organizing. Here, a Fast and Female cheer!|
|After some fun Zumba dancing, stretching it out!|
So after four days of sweet skiing, we had to head home for some good "home time" before leaving for the winter. This is also the hardest part. Trying to get your life truly organized before being gone from your home for potentially 5 months!! Yikes. In the mean time, if you see me on the side of the road dancing... I am just doing the snow dance!! C'mon snow.