The past two weeks have been a fun filled, packed, grueling, and amazing two weeks of training with the US Ski Team in Anchorage. It has been a few years since the team has made the long trip all the way up to Alaska, so it was so fun to have them back. There is nothing more exciting than sharing your training grounds with your teammates!
It was also the first camp that we have had the whole women's team back together (minus our young C-team additions). With Kikkan having her little boy, and some others being injured, we were missing getting the band back together for a while now. Fortunately, everything worked out, and we got to hammer out a variety of training with each other. This included a lot of rollerskiing, a lot of running, some bounding, weight lifting, and some good old quality relaxation. Miraculously enough, somehow, the weather was absolutely perfect for all two weeks. I must say, I have never applied so much sunscreen over the course of two weeks. Twice a day, every day, we were baking! No complaints though, it was amazing!
The second week of camp, we headed to Girdwood, and loaded up into helicopters, making our trip up to Eagle Glacier, where I have already done one week of training this year. Right from the start, the sun came out, and never left us alone after that. This meant for a ton of smiles, a little bit of sun poisoning for some people, and a freshly bronzed bunch. But.... one of those things that comes with the heat is the soft snow, of course. So I would argue we had one of the more challenging weeks of skiing up on the glacier. With slushy, deep, and soft snow.... we were forced to work extra hard every kilometer we covered. But, everyone did a good job of pacing the week long camp, and nobody walked away in a million pieces. It was impressive. There was still plenty of energy and smiles even as we finished our final 3 hour workout of the camp!
This year, our foreign guest was from Italy, Virginia de Martin Topranin. Virginia was awesome to have around, and we enjoyed getting to see some of the differences in each other's training routines. I was impressed with her ability to just jump in fearlessly, and excel in our environment. She even spent the first week without her bags and skiing in Kikkan's gear... always with a smile on her face and full of excitement! She even taught us how to make a famous Italian dish, gnochi, one evening. I did a lot of racing around her last winter, so I am looking forward to next winter when I am a little more familiar with her technique and style, and can comfortably jump in behind her in a mass start as if she was a teammate.
After two great weeks of hard training, I have 10 days off before heading back onto the glacier again, so I pointed my bags and momentum south and have headed down to Washington to spend some time with my family. I only get about 10 days a year now at home, so I am looking forward to doing some training in my home stomping grounds as well as spending time with my parents.