Pictures from Norway

Here are a couple pictures from our past training days in Beito. We trained here for 3 days following the race because it is a nice low key, low stress area with great skiing. Temperatures have been super cold, which has made for some amazing classic skiing!! Skating sounded like such a bad idea every day with such slow, soft snow.... so I have been sticking to the classicing :)

Tomorrow we leave for Drammen where we will be competing in World Cups Saturday and Sunday. Finally, my first world cup start!! I can't wait. Saturday is a 10k classic, Sunday is a skate sprint. The team will be picking up the APU group, (Kikkan, Holly, Lars and Erik) which I am super pumped about because it has been so long since I have seen these guys!

Soaking in some Sun with the Frosty Weather- Scott photo

Beautiful Beito View

Norwegian Nordic Love

Valentines Ski with Tadlet- frosty cold!

Tad and Jessie doing some easy skiing on course

Beito Living

At this moment I am sitting on the couch listening to some chill tunes with my feet up, soaking in some sun in Beitostolen, Norway. I must say… don’t think life could get much better at this moment! I am a lucky person to be involved in such a sweet sport! For the past 3 months I have moved from house to house, venue to venue, and country to country racing- and I am now truly starting to appreciate it. Some of the first countries were a bit uncomfortable and extraordinary, which left me with a bit of a homesick feeling… but lately I have been getting super lucky!

I have always liked the traveling part of ski racing. I think many people struggle with switching beds so often, and living out of a suitcase- but for me, I love it! I love how many different lifestyles we get to live, all the sweet places we see, and all the cool people we meet. If we raced similar venues every weekend, and traveled to simple places… it would be boring! I like constantly switching it up every week. I have to admit though… there are a lot of times I wish I could just have a switch of clothes. Wearing the same 3 shirts and 2 sweatshirts for 3 months is a LONG time!

Jessie and I in the stadium

Last week classes started back up for me at APU. All the courses I am taking this semester are online courses...but don’t let the word “online” fool you. Class still meets at a specific time, just “online”. What this means is my 7PM-9PM classes in Alaska meet at 5:00 in the morning Norway time. Because we don’t have internet directly in our room, I set my alarm-clock for 4:45 in the morning and wake up and head down the hill for class ☺ Good fun! The good news is I only have this for 3 more weeks here twice a week… so I think I will make it. But it is nice to have schoolwork to consume my time again. I always miss that stress when I am without it!

Yummy Norwegian Food

The past two days I have been racing here in Beitostolen for some Norwegian National Cup races. Many of the national team members are here, mostly the sprinting team, but lots of speedy people! It has been super fun though to see what racing in Norway looks like. I have always had an image in my head, but it is even more impressive then I imagined. Yesterday 890 people started!! That is sooo many skiers!

Stadium full of people

So Friday was a skate sprint, which went pretty well for me. I was 4th in the qualifier, and then moved down a bit in the heats. The heats were interesting, as the course was short- and there was no room for passing- so the order at the end of the first straight away was the order coming across the finish. In my semi-finals, I didn’t have the best start, so I came to the end of the straight away in 5th, and crossed the line in fifth…. which meant I moved down to 9th place for the day. The other US girls also did very well. Jessie Diggins got a bit tripped up in her semi’s, so wasn’t able to move on, but Ida got fourth in my heat and moved on as lucky loser- to finish the day in 5th.

Leading my quarter finals heat out of the stadium- Thanks to Scott for the sprinting photos!

Yesterday was the 5k classic, which also went very well. Once again the US ladies were packed in there for the top places. I came in 4th, about 36 seconds off the leading pace, with the other US ladies close behind in 8th, 11th, 16th, and 20th I believe.

Today I opted to sit out the 15km skate race to prepare for next weekends world cups and then world champs. I heard though that the ladies kicked butt again. Think Mo and Liz were 2nd and 3rd and Jessie won the juniors race. Its fun to see everyone on their game right now- think we will be bringing a strong team to Oslo, which will make that week so much more fun!
We train here a couple more weeks and then head back towards Oslo, to Drammen where I will enter my first World Cups next weekend!! Can’t wait!


So far my norwegian experience has been quite the adventure. Having never been to Norway before, I have failed to really use my brain, but instead run around in awe with my my eyes wide open. Nearly 60 hours into my trip now... I am just starting to loose the buzz. This country is amazing. I feel like I can't stop looking around, and being in love, and simply not getting enough of every moment. There are nordic skiers everywhere! EVERYWHERE! Not only is everyone really nice, but they are all pretty, and they speak so nice. I have always enjoyed the sound of the norwegian language- there is nothing that reminds me of speedy skiing more!

So my first day with my brain turned off turned into quite the adventure. In my two activities of the day, one skiing, and two exploring downtown- I managed to get myself extremely lost- both with Jessie Diggins (who I believe is in the same state as me at this point). The skiing consisted of me strapping on some classic skis and taking off on the "Norwegian Highway", which can simply be described as a classic trail, tracked three tracks wide, with approximately 500 skiers on it.! Thinking nothing off it, I set out on my skis, chatting away with Jessie, and loving every moment of the perfect tracks, great terrain, and beautiful skiing. About an hour into it I decided it was time to turn around.... but what I didn't really realize is that during the past hour I had taken maybe 20 turns, all of which I didn't pay attention to... and not only that- I had no idea what the place was called where I started. All norwegian words have lots of j's, k's, and i's in them so its hard to even tell them apart. After asking nearly 10 people, all of which sent me different directions, I decided to just head in one direction and hope to god it would eventually take me there.! To my surprise 30 minutes later I started recognizing some of the trails!! I had made it home.

One of the many signs that make no sense!

Thinking I had figured it all out- I laughed it off and forgot to really ask what the place was called where we were staying.... which was my first mistake when Jessie and I headed out that afternoon for Oslo on the train system. The older girls told us "go on train 3, stay until the last stop, and you will make it home". Trying to keep things exciting, Jessie and I tried to escape buying tickets, and just be sly. After being tourists, snapping lots of shots, hitting up all the souvenir shops, searching for the norwegian bjorn borg underwear, and buying some good chocolate- we set out for home. Following the signs to "3" we jumped on a train that did not look anything like what we started on. Realizing this just as the train started moving, we were stuck... and the ticket man was walking towards us. Somehow we escaped the madness and jumped off as quickly as we could at the next stop. Turns out that train was headed towards Trondheim... which is a long ways away from Oslo, and our hotel! Running around for about 30 minutes asking everyone where to go, when we didn't even know what the name of the place was called quickly became pointless. Finally, when Jessie and I became super panicked, I spotted a woman wearing ski boots. Trying to describe to her what hotel we were at... we finally figured out we were on the underground train station, and we should be on the above ground... who woulda known there was two separate things!!

OSLO! National Theatre

sooooo Jessie and I slapped hands and headed in the right direction. Let me assure you, the first thing I did when I got back was ask the name of where we were and say it in my head 20 times to assure that I knew it!! Sandsvan!

Unfortunately we left the next day though....!!

We are now in Beitestolin for the Norwegian National Cup races which start tomorrow. Skate sprint, 10k classic, and 15k skate. Competition will be stiff, as always when norwegians are involved. Word is, there are close to 800 starters... should be good fun! We are staying in this sweet hotel with all the Norwegians, so I get to sit and eat dinner across from Astrid Jacobsen! Good fun :)

More to come soon!


For the past five days I have been in Meribel, France getting in some altitude training as well as resting the mind a bit. I have been on the road since November 19th, so for me it is important to have a small break in the middle of such a long series of races to rest my mind from the constant stress and pressure of ski racing. Living on the road is tons of fun- but when you are surrounded by a group of people doing the same thing… you are constantly thinking ski racing 24 hours a day.

So last week was special in the fact that I not only got to chill out for five days- but I got five solid days of sunshine! Whenever you are in the mountains in France- you can count on good cheese, rock hard tracks, and great sunshine!

Jo and I on top of the world- Mont Blanc in the background

Every morning I would wake up to nice solid hard tracks at the Nordic venue, which made for some great skiing! After eating some lunch and chilling out for a bit I would go out for a second time, but instead of putting nordic skis on I would strap on the heavier equipment and head up to the mountains for some backcountry skiing. It was so amazing! The people I was staying with are super good skiers, so they introduced me to the world of “off piste”…. Beacons, skins, steep slopes, and lots of speed. On one of the trips we took, we ended on the Nordic trails where we had to ski about 2km back to the village. Thinking

I could show them how it was done…. I was amazed to find out skate skiing is very different when you can’t move your ankles and you have short poles! You would have never known I was a Nordic skier based off of watching me try to skate in the alpine gear! That is HARD!

Nordic Skiing in the morning

"off piste" in the afternoon

Now its back to the racing in Norway. More updates to come.

U23 Championshipts- Otepaa, Estonia

Apologies for this taking so long to get written. World Juniors/U23s is always a super busy week, with races every single day for a week straight. This year I was lucky enough to get to enter all the races- so nice busy schedule for me in Otepaa, Estonia this last week.

The first race of the week was a 10k Skate, which I came away from not super pumped about the result. Between Nationals and U23's there was a big 3 week break, so I needed a race to start waking the body up and reminding it how to race. Temperatures dropped super low the day of our skate race. When we arrived at the venue it was -20C (-8F), which is colder than the legal limit. Between when we arrived, and 2 hours later somehow it "warmed up enough" to have a legal race- though at points during the race, I was doubting it. Ironically enough, I don't travel with long underwear. Not sure why- but I am just not used to skiing in it.... which means the night before the race I had to put the search on for some long underwear.!! Thanks to Heather Mooney for saving my legs!

Warming up and warming down in our down jackets

The sprint race was a bit better. The result may not have showed much, but I had a strong qualifier race earlier on in the morning before later entering into the heats. Unfortunately during many of my opportunities to make strong moves in the quarterfinal- I was blocked out, and didn't get to ski to my full potential. The good news is I know that it is possible to ski with these top girls, so I am pumped for the many more opportunities I have in this next month of racing in Europe.

Blowing kisses to the crowd- Jessie took this photo while she was watching me on TV at the hotel. All the races were broadcasted in Euro Sport!

The final race was the 15k pursuit race. I like this race because it takes all my strengths, weaknesses, likes and dislikes and mixes it into a racing stew- which could go any direction. One thing continues to hold true for every pursuit I have entered. More times than not I have a strong classic leg, skiing it like its the only section of the race- and then during the skate leg I hold on for dear life. This year, I held 14th place for the entire race before the final climb, when a train of europeans came charging from behind. Unfortunately, I just didn't have the juice left in the tank to hold onto these girls as I sprinted all the way to the finish, coming in only 2 seconds off the pack- with a final place of 17th. Finally I was pleased with one of my races- as I felt like I skid that race as well as I could that day.

skate leg

classic leg

As usual, I came away from U23's not quite reaching my expectations- but in the many years I have raced over here in Europe, I have figured something out. You can't expect to come to Europe, and enter three races, and have the best races of the year. Quality comes with quantity over here. In order to race among these girls- it is important to have persistence. Each race I enter, the more comfortable I feel, and the stronger I get. Just as my season started on the domestic circuit- the best way for me to reach my potential is to race into the races.

From here I take a week altitude training block in France before I head to Beitistolin for some FIS races, then Drammen for my first World Cup starts, and then soon after World Champs will begin. Lots more racing and lots more fun ahead of me.!

Thanks to the coaches and wax techs for making it possible to have a great week of racing. You guys rock!!

Ski Room

Ski testing on the non-race days with the coaches

Thanks to Nat Hertz for many of these skiing photos- and for keeping the US updated so well on fasterskier!!!

Finland Pre- Camp

This years U23 and World Junior pre-camp is in Vierumaki, Finland- a "National Sports Institute" about 25 miles outside of World Cup venue, Lahti. For the past four days, we have all been trying to figure out what exactly goes on in this little "village" we are staying at in the middle of nowhere. The trails are great, rolling and flat- perfect for keeping the jets firing low before the week of Championship races next week. From what we have concluded, this seems to be a popular summer resort where people come to golf. With the trails winding in and out of the golf course, and all the surrounding condo's, golfing must be the main focus. There also seems to be many students running around that appear to be involved in various sports while also taking classes. From the looks and sounds of it, skiing, swimming, track, maybe gymnastics... body building... who knows!

Night skiing in Lahti is awesome!

This is my sixth World Junior/ U23 trip, but this is the first time we have ventured up to the northern scandinavian countries, so this is a bit of an exciting change for me. There are for sure some differences. The food is a bit different... they like their stinky fish, orange potatoes, reindeer, and their bread and butter. Even more than that, they like mixing all of that together and making a wonderfully scary looking dish. From what I can tell, Finish people are very helpful, and friendly, but they don't smile much. I have heard from some of the junior girls they are having a competition to see how many people they can get to smile back at them.

Delicious mixture of food for lunch!

Last night we had our infamous Name Game after everyone had finally arrived in Europe. There are some new faces on this trip, which makes this game all the more exciting. I learned some fun stuff- turns out Amy Caldwell has a pet that resides in a separate state from her home. David Norris seems to have had a crush on Amy Glen before ever meeting her. Ida Sargent talks about beating off dinosaurs in her sleep, and Tad Elliot has a hot younger sister.

Ida steals a bike

Today we headed up to Lahti to ski on some of the World Cup courses, as most of us had some sort of intensity workout. If you haven't seen hills before, I suggest taking a sunday stroll around that thing! It makes Yellowstone look like peaches comparatively! There were lots of different things going on out there though. Some sprint simulations, speeds, L4 intervals, drop-ins, L3 work, pursuit change practice and much more. I can tell you for sure, there was no easy skiing going on though. Aside from Fish, who was video-taping, I think everyone else got a good chance to shake the legs a bit! 

Them breakfast Wheaties didn't quite give me the confidence to fly today... another day!

Skiing out of the Stadium- check out that stadium behind me!

The Lahti stadium is like the Mecca of skiing. It is incredible. Based around the three ski jumps towering above you- you feel like you are in a movie. The stadium sits in the middle of a huge set of bleachers on either side, and climbs out in two different directions- both visible to the spectator in the stadium bleachers. I would love to do a race here- I bet the fans are incredible!

Out-lunging the queen of Lahti

We are staying in the same hotel as the Canadians for this pre-camp, so we challenged them to a bowling tournament a couple nights ago. I have two words... WOW and wow. There are some people on this team that should stick with their sport. But there are some on this team that ROCK at bowling. It was insane! After some steaming, competitive matches- I do believe the Americans came out ahead!

Bowling Tournament- Reese H. photo

We are keeping ourselves entertained though, and thats whats important! Spirits are high, and people are stoked! As the races approach quickly, everyone is dialing down their training- and getting ready to throw down. I think we have the potential for something sweet to happen this year. In the meantime everyone is training well, eating good, and staying healthy! 

Kinzey and Joanne smiling away

Sunday we make the trip over the Otepaa, Estonia- which includes a two hour boat ride over the Gulf of Finland. From there on out its race prep, and then the racing. YEHAAA!

Finland, Estonia, France, Norway, OSLO!!!!

Wow, its time for the Championships!! From here on out, its the big stuff. After finishing my first block of preparation races, I am now headed into the european block of racing. Right now I am sitting in the Portland, Maine airport waiting to start my journey to Helsinki, Finland for a preparation training camp before U23 World Champs. It's a bit sad to split from my team after living in close quarters with them for the past 10 weeks- but also fun to see them all go their different directions for racing as well. Some of them I will meet up with as soon as U23's, and others I will reunite with in Oslo for World Champs

This year, U23's and World Juniors take place in Otepaa, Estonia. The fun part is there is a World Cup the weekend before, so by the time we arrive- organizers will have everything nice and dialed, and courses will be perfectly skid in! This years group of US racers is a unique bunch. This will be my sixth year going on this World Junior/U23 trip, and this is by far the strongest bunch I have headed over with. I think there are great things that could happen- which is super fun to go into the Championships feeling like! I will be meeting up with several of my teammates, Reese Hanneman, Kinzie Loan, and Becca Rorabough overseas- which is super fun!

After US Nationals I got the word that I qualified for the World Champ team in Oslo, which is SUPER exciting. It has been a goal sitting in the back side of my head all summer and fall, but with the new program switch I wasn't sure how it was all going to work out. I couldn't be happier though, and I am super fired up to get into my first big race! All my norwegian buddies keep telling me that is is going to be the race I remember for the rest of my life. Oslo is the center for nordic skiing, so having the World Champs there sounds like it is going to be quite the celebration! I can't wait!! I will also be accompanied by my teammates Kikkan Randall (who just won a world cup yesterday), Lars Flora, and Holly Brooks as well as my coach, Erik! Wahoooo!

Wrapping up my US Tour and moving onto my European Tour- here we go!! Time to board the plane!!

Living it up in the Olympic Training Center

Womans Team departs Maine

One last minute good luck kiss from Olympic Medalist, Billy Demong

A Week to Remember

Last week was a week to remember for more then one reason! By the end of the week I had more "first times" then I think I ever have experienced in one week!

First Times-

1. Traveling to Senior Nationals with the APU Group- This pretty much sets the mood for all my first times, and is the most important key! This group of skiers and coaches are incredible. The way that everyone works together, and pushes each other throughout the week is hard to put your finger on and even describe. I think the chemistry among the group is the unique part to allows this to happen. There is not a single person on this team that is bringing down the energy. Every person gets out there race day and throws down- whether that means racing, or cheering for their teammates. One of the most rewarding things about this, is when you have the opportunity to stand on the top of the podium on any given day- you have 30 other people standing there with you, giving you the high five. The next day your teammate will be standing in that same place, experiencing the same feeling. It makes all the hours you put in training alongside all these people worth it!

2. New Years Celebration- for the past 6 years, I have been traveling to Senior Nationals right before New Years, so I have never once had the opportunity to celebrate. Normally my night consists of sitting and watching "America's Next Top Model" on Tv- or reading my text books. This year, the girls house decided to throw a dress up New Years Party. We got all dressed up and sent out invitations. It turned out being tons of fun, even if we didn't stay up until the "New Year", but it was still the most excitement I have had on New Years in my life!

3. Arriving at a Venue with No Snow- well maybe we can call it a couple inches... lets just say I was disappointed to not bring rock skis! Regardless, it was incredible what race organizers pulled together for every race! It added some fun to the mix of racing, and in no way affected any of the racers opportunity for success! Thanks to the Black Mountain Crew!

top of the course day before the race

4. My first Podium- In my first Senior Nationals race of the year, the classic sprint, I finished 3rd American- allowing me to stand on the podium at National Champs... I couldn't have been happier, let alone, my roommate, and teammate, Morgan Smyth was standing in second, and the great H. Brooks stood on top! Katie Ronsse also took fourth, so APU swept top four Americans!

5. Sweeping the Podium as a Team- I already said this, but it is a true first! Standing on the starting line of the A-Finals, with three of my teammates was a unique feeling. I knew that 300 days of the year, I train endless hours with these same girls, and it was all worth it!! Thanks to the coaches and tech's for making this possible!!

6. First National Championship Title- Honestly, this still hasn't quite sunk in- but it was one of my favorite firsts! With the 10k Classic consisting of four laps of a 2.7k course- I went into the race with a plan. A plan to race it like I would a mile on the track. First lap for rhythm, second lap pick it up, third lap push the pace, and fourth lap race from the heart. My plan kinda fell a bit to pieces when I took out the first lap at a faster pace than I expected with all the excitement. So I would say more of a pattern made of push the pace on the first lap, push the pace harder on the second lap, and race from the heart for the following two laps. Going into this week I would have never guessed I could win a distance race, I had my money more on the sprints- but this was the best part!! Once again, one of my teammates accompanied me on the podium, congrats to Morgan for second!! Wahooo

7. First Time I Have Seen Such an Incredible Performance- Saturday's race was amazing for a bazillion reasons. First, I raced my heart out every heat of the skate sprint and after cresting the last hill in first during the A-Finals, I was passed by two girls right before the end. This is one of the things I need to work on, race tactics! Even though it is most comforting to lead a race, and control your competitors, tactically it is stupid. The same thing happened in the classic sprint. Drafting is way better in second or third coming down the last hill than in first! Third times a charm with this lesson though, next year I will come prepared to race it smarter. But beside that point, one of the girls I have been racing with for years, Jessie Diggins, had one of the most unbelievable performances. For one, she is not a sprinter, and she won the race. And for two, she fell on the top of the hill and somehow still managed to win the race! Congrats to Jessie!!

Homestretch w/ Jessie on the left coming in hot!- Stephan Mitman Photography

8. First Time Making the Alaska Daily News- Not only did we make the daily news, but APU skiers made the front page every single day of races! Thats fun!!! 

Stephan Mitman Photography

After all these firsts, I came away from the week feeling very happy with everything. Not only had I made my first podium, but I podiumed in every race. Thats a huge jump for me, and I couldn't be happier! Buttt, the year is early, and I have lots more ahead of me to set my eyes on! On sunday I take of for U23 Championships in Estonia, where I hope to do just as well if not better. The races are a Classic Sprint, Skate Distance, and Pursuit Distance. This years US team is going to be amazing. I think it is stronger than ever!

Kris Dobie Photography getting artistic

Thanks to the coaches and wax tech's for doing an amazing job last week! It is unbelievable to see how hard these guys work!

I am now in Lake Placid, New York hanging out for a couple more days until heading to Estonia. FUN, FUN!

Nationals Day 2- First National Title!

photo by Kris Dobie
Today was the second day of Nationals here in Rumford Maine- a 10 kilometer classic race. After walking around the dirt covered courses yesterday afternoon, I was incredibly surprised to see how much snow race organizers managed to get on those trails! Even with the limited snow, the 2.5 kilometer loops were lacking no challenge. What seemed like a course with one hill and lots of rest turned into a tough course that required you to stay on your toes and push every transition. 

I knew that in order to stand on that podium today I needed to be in a world of hurt, so I went from the gun and went like-a-hell, crossing the line in first place, 30 seconds ahead of my closest competitor, teammate, and roommate, Morgan Smyth. This is by far my best distance result, and to have that at Nationals is so fun! As a team we managed to take top two places in both the mens and womans field.. YEAAAHHHH! We also had many girls stacked in the top ten, throwing down a good showing.

It is incredibly fun to be part of this APU team. Any one of us could pop a good race and stand on the top for the day. I think that is what I enjoy best about it. When one person does well, it pushes the group to strive and reach to that same level. I have never been part of a team that functions so well together and gets along so well- I couldn't be more thankful I am part of it!

Thanks to the coaches for some bomb track skis and keeping us going!

Tomorrow is the 20k skate race, which I will sit out. Following that is the last race, a skate sprint on Saturday.. fun, fun!

Getting one of my first interviews :)

Nationals- Day One photo- during the heats

Yesterday marked the first day of 2011 U.S. Nationals here in Rumford Maine. I must say I have never raced on so little snow in my life, but race managers managed to throw together a super impressive race out there!

The day started with a 1.4km qualifier where APU woman had an impressive showing with six skiers qualifying in the top ten. I ended up qualifying second, behind Holly Brooks, and then close behind were Morgan, Katie, Fitz, Becca and Ky! The mens qualifier was stacked with APUers as well. Lars Flora won the heats, with Reese Hanneman close behind. Results posted at:

At 12:45 when the heats began, the snow was turning into puddles, tracks were disappearing, and the dirt was showing through. Regardless everyone threw down pretty damn hard and had tons of fun. Because the only snow that Black Hill has right now is placed on the sprint course, there wasn't many options for warming up on besides going up and down the short alpine run. This made things a bit tough- but everyone seemed to remain positive and have fun.

I went through the heats with the plan of attacking from the start and going from there. All my heats were pretty fun as I had between 2 and 4 of my teammates in each heat- which made me feel right at home :) By the A-Final heat when I lined up with 3 other APU girls, I was starting to feel the effort catching up to me. I was able to get out of the start quick and keep my eyes on Holly Brooks throwing down every last bit of energy. As I pushed over the top of the last hill I headed down the hill in second place. From there things switched around a bit with varying ski speeds before we put out every last bit of energy down the double pole finish. I crossed the line 4th, 3rd american.... which meant APU swept the podium!!! My first Nationals podium ever :)

Top 4 Americans!

Big thanks to the wax techs and coaches for bombs skis! And congrats to the boys squad for rockin as well!

Mike Matteson getting after it!

Races are postponed until wednesday because of the lack of snow... but good news is its supposed to cool down and they are going to start making snow. 

Here is a link to the front page of Alaska Daily News today!

APU Ladies Team