For the past ten days, I got to go home to the Methow Valley and spend some time with my family for the holidays. Skiing is challenging, because once you get to a certain level... you no longer have the time to be able to go home for the holidays... but instead you spend Christmas in some hotel in Europe waiting for the approaching Tour de Ski.

So with the Tour de Ski in my future, I am truly cherishing every Christmas I get to go home and spend some time with my family. This year, my sister was able to come home as well, so we had a full Bjornsen Family Holiday. With it snowing nearly a foot every day- Christmas was truly in the air.
My Mom and I enjoying the powder and beautiful day!
Family Time
My sister brought home her boyfriend to join the holidays too!
These ten days were also a time to squeeze a few "home activities" into the schedule. First was some meetings with the local media. Cross country skiing is a challenging circuit to follow, and between all the different races in a new country with a new technique every weekend.. then all the points, etc., it becomes challenging to follow. Some of the local media has been good at trying to follow, but we wanted to take time to sit down with a few of them to explain what exactly we are doing and how. Both the Methow Grist and the Omak Chronicle put together great articles about what we are doing, and the goals we are chasing.

Methow Grist
Thanks Karen West for putting in all the effort over the past years.

Omak Chronicle Article- I can't find it online, but this is an idea. Thanks Al for taking time as well!
The other thing we got to do was put on our annual Cascade Challenge Camp. This year was exciting with nearly 50 kids who were fired up to go skiing and learn about some of the important steps of becoming a ski racer. I was impressed with how kids were even more receptive this year than last. We tried to switch things up with new activities from the previous years. Starting out with a ski, some drills and a few games; we then came inside and learned a few key lessons. Erik started with talking about post workout nutrition, and the importance of fueling your body with good stuff. He then went on to give a wax demonstration and teach the young skiers how important it is to take care of you skis. Then I went on to explain the importance of setting goals and writing them down. Each kid got to set a personal goal, write down the steps in reaching those goals, and of course the challenges and obstacles. It was fun to see these kids come up with goals like keeping their room clean, or try not to read during class, etc. These are all important goals to have as a young child.
The majority of our group
Erik letting one of the young boys try.
Some good old Power Bars!
We finished with a little trivia about the US Team and its recent success. Erik and I have been collecting extra small items for this very purpose, so a couple kids got to leave with new racing suits, jackets, and pants from the National Team. And finally we had autograph and poster time at the end.
The Dietz girls rocking the World Cup Bibs!
I just recently got this picture in my email. Jules has been rockin this bib all day every day... even on the slopes. I love it!!!
Thanks to everyone for coming out and making it an enjoyable day. I still remember the days that Heidi Rhinehart used to ski with me for just 10 minutes, and how much it inspired me and meant to me. And now, her kids were participating in my camp... so I love how what comes around goes around. It is truly rewarding and special for Erik and I to share with the young skiers what we do, and how we got there! Soon enough, they will be doing the same thing for the next generation!!

Getting some posters!
Max and his new uniform.!! He knew the location of Erik's first World Cup race, so won this prize!
Erik giving a talk after the ski
So after a quick, packed ten days of family time- I am now at the next venue, here in Park City, Utah for the National Championships. Races start in two days, so we are starting to gear up for race time! Last year I was on the sidelines due to a Christmas bug I caught... so I am pretty stoked to feel healthy and ready to start racing!

Happy New Years to Everyone! I hope the new year brings lots of health and happiness.