May- start of the training year

E'Klaar and Greta Anderson enjoying the crust and the sun!

For the past month I have been working my way back into training gradually after my little month break in April. This year I made it a goal to stay active during my off period, so it was not nearly as painful as normal to jump back into the full swing of training. I still managed to get rocked by the end of the "annual start up camp", but I think that is impossible to avoid when you are part of the APU team.

My Claim to Fame- making the Deans List

Watching Reese throw down at a local bike race. Turns out, Reese Hanneman is a GOOD bike racer!

Last weekend we went on our final "spring AK crust cruise". This spring has been beautiful, lots of sun and awesome conditions for ripping around in the mountains. This means the snow is disappearing fast though. But my final spring AK ski went in the books for the best crust cruise ever. With the first 5k a groomed uphill track, once you pass the gate you are in full blow crust cruising mode. What this means is that you can go anywhere as you glide along the top of the un-groomed crust. Spending a lot of time on backcountry gear this spring, I was kicking myself for not nordic skiing up with my skis on my backpack and then jumping on the medal edges for the way down. Its amazing how fast you can get places on your nordic skis.

mmmmm.... AK!

Where the crust cruising begins- beyond the groomed tracks.

My final day of skiing I decided I was going to do something different, so I headed up the side of some mountain and decided to ski as far as I could, and see how high I could get. Along with Holly and Dillion, we managed to climb up the side of a peak and get pretty dang high. It was awesome, not to mention the ski down in the soft snow was amazing. For once it felt like I could make some turns on nordic skis, even without metal edges!!! Oh, and the sun was A-shining, so the whole time I was skiing, I couldn't stop thinking about how sweet my sport is, and how lucky I am to be able to do it in AK!

H. Brooks climbing the wall

Things got a little steep at the end....

Reaching the top of the pass.

But, now I am headed to Bend, Oregon for my first US Ski Team camp on snow up at Mt. Bachelor. I hear there is lots of snow, so hopefully the weather will behave and bring the sunshine out. From what I hear, the Canadian National Team will also be joining us, so it will be some fun times!

At this point my summer schedule is looking quite busy. Shortly after returning from my 10 day camp in Bend, I head up for my first camp on Eagle Glacier. Following that I take a quick 5 day trip to Park City, Utah for some testing as well as Rookie Camp (where you learn what it means to be on the US team along with all the other new US athletes). The following day after returning from Park City, I head up to the Glacier for the second June Camp. Meanwhile I will also be taking a summer class, so I will have my hands full. This pattern will continue for the following two months of the summer and then into the fall, so I have a feeling the training portion of this season is going to FLY!

From here it's 10 days of training with the US and Canadian ladies- I will try to take pictures and give some updates throughout the week.


mmmm, springtime in Alaska!!!! It's just too good. Not many places can you nordic ski all the way into middle of May. This spring I decided I was going to live a little more of a "true alaskan winter" and spend some more time doing the kind of skiing where gravity is doing most the work. I am super lucky though, many of my friends are really into backcountry skiing, so I was having to hold myself back from going and playing every single day. Trying to stay caught up in school, and fit in some work here and there.... I got a bit behind playing that much. The good news is, for the first time I had a pretty active spring, which means I am not nearly as out of shape as I normally am May 1st. That was my first goal for this year. In staying in shape through the resting period, I don't loose the first two months just trying to build my fitness back up.

Doing some skiing at Alyeska

Crust Cruising with the UAA crew

Beer Relay Fundraiser Champions- The Incredibles (Pete and I)

Skinning in the sun... too good!

A lot has unfolded and happened in the last month since I have started phasing into my new season. For one, it has now been exactly a year since I joined the "Big Blue APU". I couldn't be happier that I joined this squad, and now I managed to convince my brother to jump onto the wagon and ski for APU as well.- so its going to be fun! For the past week we have been training hard in our annual "start up camp" Start up camp normally consists of two-a-days with lots of intervals, lots of skiing hard, and lots of soreness and stiffness. Last year I was nearly in a wheel chair by the end of the week of training with the new team, so this year I knew what to expect going into it... which is why I tried to bridge my seasons together more by keeping my fitness up during my rest period. But, of course, I still managed to put myself in a world of hurt all week. You know you are doing the right thing when showing up to training is more than just another day of work. It's amazing, every day, regardless of how wrecked everyone is, everyone is always smiling and ready to throw down when they show up for training. I think thats what makes this training group so successful. The energy within it is always positive, so it's hard not love it.

ADN Photo- nice article Beth wrote here:

The second big thing of my spring is being named to the National Team. I am super pumped about it. I think the National team has something great going on now. With lots of focus on young development, I think they are determine to build from the ground up and make something really happen in the future. It's also awesome because we have our little rabbit, Kikkan Randall to watch and aim for. Being named to this team means joining in with some of the fastest girls in the country periodically throughout the summer and fall and getting in some good training. This year, the woman's National Team, the Canadian woman's National Team, and some of the top APU ladies are all going to join up for a week of training up at Eagle Glacier. I don't think those girls know what they are getting in to. I have this feeling they are going to fall in love, and before we know it, everyone is going to want to be moving to Alaska. Anyways, I am super stoked and honored to be representing not only APU now, but also the US. Unfortunately, as always in this sport, there is not much funding out there, so being on the B-Team means covering most of our own costs. So I am still always looking for support.

Which brings me to my last point. For the past month we have been working our butts off planning and putting together an awesome fundraiser for the APU team to cover racing costs for the season. We will be putting on an auction with lots of sweet items including trips to hawaii as well as bikes, skis, artwork and much more. If you are in the Anchorage area, come out and check out what we are about! More than just a fundraiser, this is also a celebration of all the great successes we have had this year including USSA club of the year, coach of the year and athlete of the year. We are always looking for people to join the family of support and help us reach great levels. So, if you are around Anchorage, the event is May 10th starting at 6:30.

From here until May 20th, I will be training in town and starting up summer school before I take off for Bend, Oregon for my first US Ski Team Camp for 10 days. I think this year I am going to see if I can ski every month of the year. September might get a little tricky, but I am determine to make it happen.

Eagle Glacier.... better believe it!!

Thank You

I just wanted to give a little thank you to all the people that made it possible during this last ski season. As I wrap it up and start gearing up for the next season I have had some time to think about the people that really helped out this year. With a new team, new location,new training, new races, new focuses, and new goals- there were many people that were involved to make it possible.

First- Thanks to my team. APU has one kick ass group of athletes getting it done. These guys know how to work hard and have fun, and I am happy I get to be part of it. I am going to miss some of these guys moving on, but new blood is moving in soon :)

Second- Thanks to all the coaches. Erik Flora is amazing.. I have never seen someone work so hard, be so enthusiastic, all while having a great family. That dude is amazing. Also thanks to the US coaches who I have gotten to work with in Europe for the first time this year- once again a fun, hard working group of people that love to watch where the US is progressing to now. And last thanks to all the previous coaches that have helped push me to where I am going from here.

Third- Thanks to all my equipment, gear, and product sponsors. Fischer, Salomon, Swix, E'KLAAR Headwear, and Hammer Nutrition. Making it possible to get it done!

Fourth- Thanks to all my friends and family. It always makes it that much more special when you have all the people you care about rooting and cheering you on. Thanks for all the nice notes and cheers!

Fifth- Thanks to all the fans. It was fun to see and feel all the enthusiasm in Norway for my first World Cup and then World Champs. We need to increase the awareness and enthusiasm for the sport in the US and we could make it similar here some day hopefully. But those twenty voices you hear at Nationals on the course do make it special!

Sixth- Thanks to Alaska. This place rocks for training. Glacier skiing in the summer, early snow, and amazing spring skiing. Alaska is the place to be a ski racer!

Seventh- Thanks to APU. For schooling and the ski program. You guys are the ones actually making it possible.

Eigth- And last thanks to everyone who supported and donated to me this year. I appreciate your investment in my dreams and your support in my goals.

Spring Series- Sun Valley

The last week I have been soaking up the sun like every other "normal teenage/college student" is during their spring break. Although mine has been a bit different....! My spring break was spent at 7,000 feet, covered with snow, and lots of racing.

Starting November 19th, I have been racing, racing, racing weekend after weekend. This is the first season I have been able to hold things together for so long. While I was in Oslo, which was my last racing series before Spring Series, I felt like I could float while I was racing. I finally had that peaking feeling that everything felt so good. It actually felt awesome to push so hard. Buttttt, those feeling never go on forever, so this last week was a bit of a different feeling. The altitude mixed with my body feeling pretty tired made for some fun levels of pain. In several of the races I actually felt the screws come out and the wheels fly off!!

Kikkan fueling up during a LONG week!

With the sun shinning, and the fun atmosphere, luckily my stoke level was able to stay high. I was very happy with what I have gotten to do already this season- so this week was nothing more than the icing on the cake.... so in this situation- it may look a bit messy, but it still tastes good :)

Joining up with the APU team again was awesome. I sure missed them over the middle section. There is something about this group that is unique. The way everyone works together and is so happy for everyone else- its a special thing for sure. The wax techs and coaches were amazing. Even though it was spring series- which normally represents a more laid back atmosphere- those guys were out there all day hammering away and having "waxing education". I am convinced it is their two weeks to get in really good shape so they can go home and kick their wife/girlfriends butts!!

This years spring series followed a "tour" schedule. Which means all the races were added up to have an overall tour winner. This makes for a fun atmosphere- as everyone is constantly competing for an overall winning place, so there are no slacking days. The first race was a 2.5km prologue skate race. I am not going to go into too much detail.. but lets say I went out like it was a sprint race.... and that simply lasted for about 1.4km. That is approximately when I hit the wall at 90mph and Nat Hertz managed to take a pic of my face expression. From that you can see my newly discovered level of pain!!!

Nat Hertz Photo

The second day was a 10km Classic Mass start. With how tired I was, I had the original plan to race the first 3km as hard as I could where there would be a prem for the first person to cross at 3k. 100$, and I could suffer for the remaining 7k. But as the race started, I had the feeling I might be able to compete for a good spot for the entire race... but that plan fell apart about half-way through the race when I slowed to nearly a walk and pretty much had to use my hands to manually pick up my legs to move up the rest of the hill. Once again I had that "new level of pain" feeling. By the end of the race, it was almost fun..!!

The following day we had a day off, where I managed to do little more than go for a walk and lie in the sun by the pool, sleeping, sleeping, sleeping. With two more days left I held on for dear life. The following day was the sprint race. With freezing temps over night, our qualifier consisted of a roller coaster ride around an ice skating rink. There were about two points during the race that I was actually concerned I was going to break something. It was CRAZY! Luckily the sun came out, the clothes came off, and the snow managed to turn to slush. Thats when things got exciting for me. With so much time spent classicing on the glacier last summer... this snow felt almost comforting to me, because I was so used to skiing in it... but it sure made for some tricky wax conditions. It was fun to be handed a different pair of skis between every heat which you either didn't recognize or had never really skid on before.... just hoping they would do the job. In the end everything turned out ok though. You either had good kick, or good glide- so in my case I had some good glide. Good enough that I was able to finish 4th for the day, second American. Fun, fun!

Dave Wheelock Photo

Nils Ribi Photo

Nils Ribi Photo

The final day was the ski up the alpine hill. All week I would look out our hotel window at the top of dollar mountain and get nearly sick to my stomach. Imagining racing up that thing, when I was sooo tired just made me tired thinking of it. But knowing it was the last race of the season gave me a little extra energy to find excitement in it. I got to start dead even with Chandra Crawford, who was dressed as Lady Gaga for the final race. As we switched leads back and forth for the first 3/4 of the race- during the final 6 minutes I began to really struggle. I was once again loosing the wheels- but this time, I was loosing my spare wheel too. When I finally crossed the line I dropped to the ground instantly, gasping for air. For the next ten minutes I lay there like a dead person as race officials took my skis and poles off. Little did I know I was laying next to my teammate who was going through the same feelings as me.... but much worse. Fitz was so out of it that she wasn't able to walk or hold herself up- so she was escorted down the mountain in a burrito emergency sled.

Fitz and I totally out of it. Holly managed to take this picture as we lay there with our eyes rolled back/half dead

Yes Fitz is in there!

I am just trying to imagine what all the alpine skiers were thinking as they watched these crazy people ski UP what they normally rip DOWN. Then watch us drop like flies to the ground right as we crossed the line. I am sure it is an imagine they will get a good laugh out of for a long time!

The final day in Sun Valley consisted of a Fast and Female event, this time run by Chandra Crawford AND Kikkan Randall. With the sun shining, and lots of excited little girls it was tons of fun!

Fast and Female Instructors.

Now I am back in AK where the snow is coming down and I am catching back up on "regular person life".

Thanks to everyone who supported and helped me have the best year ever. I couldn't be happier where I am, doing what I am doing! All I can say is I am one lucky girl!

My first 30k!

Yesterday was the 30k National Championships here in Sun Valley.... which is about twice as long as I have ever raced before. Going into this race I have been a bit worried. For the past two months I have been pretty much doing race after race allowing for not much "training". What that means is I can't remember the last time I skid 30k in one session... let alone skid more than an hour and a half in one session. I have done plenty of long sessions over the year- but I was struggling to wrap my brain around racing 30K AT ONE TIME! I think my teammates were actually getting annoyed of me asking "what should the pace feel like? Should I be in pain? Should I be suffering as early as 10k?" Not to mention we are racing at altitude, and the course has more than enough climbing- so that threw the experience even more curve balls. The answer to all these questions was different from person to person. But the one piece of advice that seemed consistent with every person was that a 30k is like reading a book- you have the good chapters and the bad chapters. You may feel like crap at 20k and feel like a champ at 25k. You may start cramping really bad at 27k and still manage to finish with a hard punch. In order to get the whole story, you have to read through all the chapters... there is no skipping.

Skiing in the lead pack for the first half of the race- Nat Hertz photo

So this is exactly what happened. I went in with a blind eye and had a ball!! I decided I was just going to try to hang onto the lead pack for as long as I could. This year I have been working a lot with my distance racing and things have come a long ways since last year. There is still a lot more to work on- but yesterday I finally got to try it out. The first half of the race I got to ski with a group of 6 girls. Kikkan, a swedish girl skiing at Utah, Diggins, Holly, and Morgan Arritola and me. As we approached the steepest pitch of the last long hill on the second lap I wasn't able to hang on any longer. The good news is one of my other teammates, Fitz was also just off the pace of the lead pack- so I got to ski the remaining two laps with her, before she ditched me in the final climb on the last lap.

Pack still together on the first lap- Dave Wheelock photo

It was fun though. There is a lot that can happen in a 30k, and your head can take many directions of thought. From "holy crap- now I know what they were talking about when they said your muscles would cramp", to "I can't wait for that coke feed", to "one last time up this hill Sadie, you can do it". Good fun- I am excited for more tries!

Today we have a day off, and then tomorrow the true Spring Series starts. 2.8k prelim, 10k mass start classic, day off, Classic Sprint, and then the final day will be a race up the alpine hill.

Doing some training with the ladies in the sun.

Five of the APU girls, and Chandra Crawford are staying together at the Sun Valley Inn. We have been having lots of fun entertaining ourselves between the races. It is always fun at the end of the year to "enjoy the experience" a bit more. With less pressure on the racing, and more focus on the celebration, you are able to soak in the sun and truly live it up!

YES- sunshine!

Pre-race dinner w/ our bath robe gowns

Keep the sunshine coming!

Sun in Sun Valley!!

After arriving in Sun Valley late last night, we were awoken by quite the surprise. Not only was it no longer storming like it was on the drive up from Boise last night- but the sun was-a-beaming down! I have been to Sun Valley once before when I was super young, so I have never skid the race courses before, but we headed out for a sneak preview today. From what I have heard it dumped about two feet in the last couple of days, so the snow was soft- but the skiing was awesome! It was amazing out, warm enough to ski without jackets and pants- something I haven't done for quite some time now. I can't even remember the last time I did a workout without my jacket... maybe on Eagle Glacier last summer. This is why I love the west so much though, makes me miss home a bit :)

Our first race is the 30k on Sunday, so from now until then we will try to acclimate ourselves and prepare for the fun races later this week!

Stadium Access

Keep the sun coming!!

Teammate and Inspiration

What a great video by Kikkan Randall about skiing. It has been fun to get to know Kikkan over the course of this year from summer training to racing on the road with her in Europe. I truly am inspired by not only the way she skis, but also by who she is. I am lucky to be able to train along side her and learn from her as a racer and a person. This video is just a little glimpse into the life of "Chikkan Randall"

Thank You Norway

I am finally starting to catch up on life since just recently returning to Anchorage after nearly 4 months straight on the road. I feel like for the past month I have been in a dream... where everything is moving so fast and its just too good.

Some of the US ladies after races

During my two weeks in Oslo for the World Championships I was in such a daze that I struggled to really let my emotions catch up and feel how amazing it was. Once the week of racing started... everything started moving so fast that I couldn't keep up. I couldn't even describe anything from the week other than AMAZING. It is hard to put words to what it feels like to ski through a tunnel of at least 10,000 people screaming at the top of their lungs. The feeling is just amazing. All I could think was how lucky I am to be involved in the sport that I am.

Giving my autograph to my first fans :)

One of the german skiers and I joining the celebration out in the woods on our recovery ski

Fans, Fans, Fans

Great spectating from the roof of the athletes cabin

World Champs Womans Squad

The Norwegians are incredible. They are so passionate about the sport, they just love it. The majority of my races fell on days that it was so foggy you couldn't see much further than 5 feet in front of you. I imagined this would hold back some spectators... but with no fail all the norwegian fans were still out there screaming their faces off into the fog. I am convinced they had no idea who they were cheering for, or if they were even cheering for anyone. Maybe they just screamed straight for two hours. Regardless, they were still keeping the spirit going.

Warming up in the fog

Me on the big screen

Besides the sprint race I got to start two other races during the week. The 10km classic and the Team Sprint.

The 10k was awesome. I started bib 26, so pretty early. The course was by far the hardest course I have ever skid.. so I just went out and tried to ski hard from the start. I kind of knew there would be a point where I would blow up... but I was hoping the noise of the fans would keep me going. Which is exactly what happened. I crossed the line in first place as I came in before many of the lead skiers- but I got to sit in the leaders chair for a while, which was super fun. I have never gotten to sit in the leaders chair before, and yes it is just as comfy as it looks :)

A clip from the TV of me crossing the line in 1st place

Relaxing in the Leaders Chair

Two days later I got to start the classic team sprint with Kikkan. I have done one team sprint before nearly 3 years ago. I have to say this team sprint at World Champs was an entirely different race though. These girls went out my top speed sprinting pace from the start. Team sprinting is difficult because you have to race 3 times in the Semi-Finals. Then if you make the A-Finals, you do the same thing again, 3 more hard efforts. I was a bit nervous, knowing I would have to save some energy for such a long race. Semi-finals were great. Kikkan and I managed to gradually move up through the race and come in 3rd, moving us onto the finals. When the A finals came around 45 minutes later, I struggled a bit more. By the last lap of the finals... the wheels started to fall off. It was all I could do just to get to the finish to tag Kikkan. We still managed to finish 9th at the end of the day, which was fun. I think with more endurance training, this could be an awesome race for us. It sure is tons of fun though. Gives you six chances to ski right in there with some of the best sprinters in the world.

Kikkan and I with some American Spirit :)

Team Sprinting in the fog!

As the week concluded, it was so sad to leave Holmenkollen. THinking back to two months ago, when I first got named to the team, so many people told me this was an experience I would remember for the rest of my life. They were right! Not only was it amazing to be part of it, and get right into the heart of ski racing- but it was incredible to watch everyone else. Skiing around the trails on recovery days with Kikkan and listening to everyone chant her name was just inspiring. I think besides their own norwegian skiers, Kikkan may be their next favorite skier. Also watching Bjorgen and Northug do their warm- ups around you and then going on to working their magic in front of your eyes... its just something you can't appreciate in full until you see it in person.

APU squad

Thanks to all the Norwegians for making it truly amazing- as well as all the americans who came over and cheered. Also thanks to all the people who sent good luck over facebook or emails, it was so fun to have so many people following!!

We took a trip to the Ambassadors house midweek. Here is World Champs announcer, and good friend Peter Graves with Holly and I

Ladies team

Introduced into the world of World Cup racing in Drammen, Norway- introduced to World Champs racing in Holmenkollen.... I think I may be the luckiest person alive :)

From here I chill out and train for 2 weeks here in Anchorage before going to my final week of racing in Sun Valley for spring series.

Joining the true norwegian style with my new Onesie

Thanks to all the coaches and wax techs for making the week rock!!

World Champs- Day 1

Yesterday was the first day of World Champs here in Oslo, which was the skate sprint. I am still in shock from the whole series of events that took place... I think it is still sinking in.

All the events here are being run mid-afternoon, so it leaves a nice long morning to sleep in, relax, watch some Glee, and shake some nerves before heading up to the venue. Going into these events has been really nice for me, because I have had the goal of simply soaking it in. Being my first world cup last weekend, and my first World Champs this week- I am living the full experience... just feeling the water out. This leaves little pressure- allowing me to ski my own races depending on where my head is the given day. It has been soooo fun!

Lars, Jessie and I in front of the kings castle downtown Oslo

Thursday night we had opening ceremonies downtown, which was lots of fun. Oslo is a very impressive city, with all the old, beautiful buildings. In my short time downtown Oslo earlier this month... where I managed to get myself super lost, I somehow missed all the cool things. So, this time I knew what I was looking for- mainly the kings castle. As we arrived downtown there were hundreds of school children, nearly 30 for each country participating in the Championships. Our kids were super fired up about the US and they had amazing english- so we had lots of fun predicting who was going to win all the races this week! I was impressed how many people lined the streets to watch us march through.... little did I know what was coming.

Yesterday was a whole new meaning of cheering and crowds. As I arrived at the venue, I tried to stay calm and avoid the large crowds.... but when it came down to warming up- there was no more avoiding it- no more hiding. As I skid around the 1.4km course time after time- I found myself skiing faster and faster. With such a hilly course, I would normally walk the hills for the first 20 minutes... but it was IMPOSSIBLE! I felt like the thousands of people in bleachers and lining the course were sitting watching me. There wasn't more then 50 skiers on the course... so I felt like I had the telescope on me. It was simply intimidating! Not to mention, if you happened to be skiing near a norwegian- the crowd would go wild.... even when we were just warming up!!


Petter Northug getting his cheer on for the USA

When it came down to race time- I was ready to go. Having a crowd like that cheering so loud makes is awesome. It makes you feel like you can't let up- because the spectators sure as hell were not going to let up!!! The qualifier went sweet for North America. We managed to qualify 3 canadians, and 3 americans- so we were super fired up. After a short break, it was off to the heats. Having never started heats in world cup- I was more excited then nervous. I simply had no idea what to expect. All I knew was I was starting with the infamous Kowalczyk as well as the girl that had gotten second in the World Cup last weekend... so I had my work cut out for me. As they introduced each of us one at a time at the line, it all hit me. I think if I would have had a few more seconds to wait there.. I may have shed a tear. But, before I knew it the gun was fired and we were off. Having a good start, I hit the corner right in with the lead pack... stepping in right in front of Kowalczyk. (which was my claim to fame for the day-maybe even for the next year). For the next three minutes it was a blur... I just went with it. Accelerated when they did, and tucking in behind when they did. Not surprisingly, when we neared the end I wasn't quite able to hold on to the lead pack- and crossed the line in 5th.. putting me in 24th for the day. More then the result I was blown away by the experience. It was simply unbelievable to see what "Norwegian Spirit" does to a race! It turns it into the Superbowl of Nordic Skiing. Just incredible!

Looking over the stadium from the wax cabins

Nearing the end of my quarter-finals

Unfortunately Kikkan fell during the quarterfinals, wrecking her chance for the gold- but I think every person out there knows she would have been a true threat. It was incredible to watch her true sport shine through as she brushed it off and continued to say "it happens". Kikkan has never ceased to impressed me since the minute I joined APU 8 months ago! It has been incredibly fun for me to watch her win world cups first person. Not only because it is incredible to watch- but because she has proved it to me that champions are human. I have always looked at the norwegians and believed they must be from another planet.... they must be doing rocket science. But Kikkan has proved to me that its humanly possible. I train with her day in and day out- and she is not performing rocket science. She is simply working her ass off, and has been for years now. So as sad as it was to see her fall, she still is one of the fastest sprinters in the world.

Team APU

So with a strong start- the US is pumped for the many more races to come.

My next race will be Monday, which is the 10km classic. In the meantime, it is the womans pursuit race tomorrow, and the mens pursuit on sunday.

One of the camps out on the distance course

First World Cup weekend- Drammen, Norway

World Cup #1

Holly and I soaking it in

Last weekend I had my debut into the world of World Cup racing. Honestly I can't quite put words to what it was like. I think I may be the luckiest person alive to have my introduction into the world cup life in Norway. In a country where cross country skiing is the most important thing in every person's life... you can only imagine what would happen when a World Cup comes to town. To say it simple, 15,000 people set up tents, camps, and line the 5 kilometers of trail. I have been to one Seahawks game in my life, and I would compare the sound to that... only it is in another language- so the buzz has a different tone. It is by far the coolest thing I have experienced in my life so far though. I could get used to this lifestyle!

Watching the sprint race... along with thousands of spectators behind me.

World Cup Sprint group for the weekend- Jessie and I in our first World Cup sprints :)

The fans were incredible, but the athletes were even more incredible. I have watched hundreds of world cup races on TV and video's, and to be honest, I even considered it a chance to be able to ski with them for a bit. But when I had the chance to watch them ski in person... I was in awe. These girls are incredibly fast- they are MOVING! It is a whole nother league that I have never seen before. This is the most exciting part to me though. Now I "know what it looks like". It's super exciting to watch it, and now know what I am aiming for. The fun part about this year being my first in so many things, is I have no pressure, but I am just going out there and doing the best I can. I have to say, watching Kikkan win a world cup right in front of my eyes was so awesome! I have skid on a team with her now for a year, so I have watched her train, and watched what she does. It was awesome to watch the true "kikkanimal" at work. That girl is GOOD!

Kikkan on the big screen- showing some love for Subway

The only down part to having my first world cup experience in Norway... is the competition is about the hardest it gets on the world cup circuit. With Norway hosting the races, they get to start about 20 athletes in both the mens and womans fields. As everyone knows, Norwegians have an incredibly deep field of talent... so in most of my races- there were about 15 norwegians ahead of me. So... I learned quickly- results are not something to be studied in Drammen. The important part is I am in a good place going into World Champs... which actually starts today. They have late starts every day- so I am using my long morning to get some homework done and catch up with some things.

Soaking in some sun the day of the sprint race- awesome day!

It has been super fun to meet up with all of the nordic combiners, jumpers, and the rest of the nordic squad. We have quite the group of athletes over here! It is going to be a fun week of racing!

World Champs 2011 here we come!!!

Coach Bus taking us anywhere and everywhere we need. World Cup athletes get TAKEN CARE OF!

Team Norway Bus- I like to pretend these guys are all cheering me on :)