Training at Altitude

For these past two weeks, the APU team has been in Park City, Utah for an altitude training camp. With the Olympics in Sochi taking place at a high altitude venue- we have made it a goal of ours to focus more time and energy at being efficient and comfortable training and racing at altitude.

For the past two week we have had several different focuses for the camp.

#1- Footwork!
Having spent the majority of the past year and a half trying to figure out my feet, I dedicated these last two weeks to the "Canyons". Zuzana and Erik F have been working on a plan of strengthening my feet through uphill hiking. In Anchorage, I call this the "bear march", because I start at the base of Anchorage and march my way up to the hills... often encountering bear poop, bear tracks, and sometimes bears. The Canyons in Park City were a whole new story! Not only are there far fewer animals, but it is an alpine slope, so there is a gondola you can ride down for free! These past two weeks I finally got to do some intensity on my feet, something more than running from the crunching bushes in Anchorage.
Holly and I rocking the 2XU recovery socks... trying to avoid the elephant feet after bounding intervals
Tyler hanging out at the base of the Canyon Gondolas

#2 Distance
Through the course of the two weeks, we split our energy between intensity and distance training. Distance training is always fun in Park City because you are surrounded by deserted roads that go forever into the mountains. One of the important things about distance skiing at altitude is learning to move efficiently. With less air, training can often require more energy. It is fun to play around with different techniques, and different movement patterns to exert the least amount of energy for as long as possible.
Tom Kelly photo

#3 Time Trial- Practice Racing
Our second to last day of camp we had a Practice Sprint Race. Erik Flora and Sam Sterling drove around for 15 hrs, searching every canyon within 60 miles of Park City to find the absolute perfect course. (little traffic, wide roads, and big hills) Generally we would do our time trials on the Olympic Courses in Soldier Hollow, but they are currently repaving it (which we are all super excited about). After driving around for a combined 15 hrs, Erik managed to find a PERFECT course. His goal was to simulate the Olympic Sprint courses in Sochi- and he succeeded! With nothing but fumes left on our second to final day of camp- I sure did manage to put myself in the hurt zone! But- that's what it is all about!
Tom Kelly Photo- Chasing the girls up the "A Climb"

#4 "Other training"
A couple afternoons of the week, we get to do our own training; some less focused training that doesn't involve skis on our feet or intervals on our mind. Noah Hoffman was nice enough to let me borrow his bikes for the two weeks I was there. Having never hit the mountain biking trails in Park City- I was in HEAVEN! There are so many awesome trails there- with great climbing, fun dissents, and a healthy amount of technical riding. I had tons of fun getting to know the trails of PC. Thanks Hoff!!!
Kikkan and Rosie after a sweet OD bike ride
Rosie and I at the top of Park City Resort

#5 Team Time
This year we have gotten a whole new batch of boys on the APU team. Many of them I have been around, and even been on a team with in my past; but it has been tons of fun to get to know them better and spend some team training time with them. It is fun to see how much energy and excitement this new group of men have! They are all around the same general age, and have been "biggest competitors" with each other for the past eight years of their lives- but it is amazing to watch them come together, push each other, and share their strengths with each other. This camp is the first time I have gotten to spend an extended period of time around them; and I am super fired up for them!

Teammates making some awesome meals!

Kale Chips!

NOW! Back to Anchorage for a month before returning back to PC for our final altitude camp of the training season!


These past ten days have flown by! For ten short days, I got to spend some time at home, in the Methow Valley. Every time I go back to the Methow, I fall back in love with it a little more. During my high school years, it was easy to forget how amazing the valley is; with all the great training, and small town living. So, as you would imagine, ten days wasn't enough!
Mom jumping into Rainy Lake after a warm training!
Mom and I in the North Cascade Mountains that I miss so much!
It was great to get some family time. I only get to see my parents and sister about two or three times a year, so it is always fun to spend summer hours training and playing in the water with them! My mom is super fit, so she happens to be the best training partner ever. Not only that, she is up for everything! Even an occasional aqua jog, or an uphill only hike. I also got to go for a great ride with my dad, who also manages to stay super fit building houses 12 hours a day! I sure know where I get my good blood from!

Some awesome family time!
Mom's garden that just keeps growing larger every time I visit!
The Bjornsen girls!
Mom, set for her first trip overseas this winter to watch World Juniors/ U23s in Val di Fiemme
Happy Birthday MOM!
Kaley and her newly announced "fiancé" Congrats you two!
It was great to do some different training than I normally do at home. I grew up mountain biking only, so it was also fun to do some new adventuring on a road bike in the Methow. One day I biked from home up to the top of the North Cascades and then back up to Cutthroat, where my mom had run from- which was sweet! Turns out the North Cascade Highway isn't as flat as I was thinking!

One of the highlights of my trip was the Fast and Female Power Hour, "Skate Skiing in Skirts". It was so fun to see some of the local girls, and also the girls from Leavenworth! We had a fun ski, and even kept ourselves from overheating by plunging into the river half way through. In honor of "Dancing with Diggs" in our past Fast and Female events- we got our dance moves on during our ski in our skirts. We were laughing about what the tourists visiting town and driving by were thinking watching us ski by. We had a lot of fun though- so thanks so much to all the girls that showed up! You girls all looked great and you are doing some awesome summer training!

Talking with the girls about "spreading the love and dominating the world". 
Skiing in skirts!

Lydia getting her "dancing with Diggy" on!
It has been so fun getting to know the Leavenworth girls and watching how much fun they are having! These girls drove 2.5 hrs to come join, the day before they left for a three day camping trip! You guys rock!

It was great to spend some time with family, visit home, and see a couple good family friends. I only wish I could have more time to stay! I am now in Park City, Utah with my APU teammates doing an altitude block. Thank god for my heat training these past ten days! It is hard to adjust back to western summer temperatures after spending so much time in Alaska!

Fast and Female Power Hour in Winthrop!

Calling all ladies, young and old for the Fast and Female power hour event, "Skate Skiing in Skirts". 4pm at the Mazama community center on Thursday, August 8th. Bring skate skis, a skirt you can ski in, a bottle of cold water, a helmet, and a bundle of energy! We will learn some of my favorite skate drills, techniques, and methods of having fun on wheels all summer! Everyone is welcome!

North American Womans Training Alliance Camp!

3rd Annual NAWTA Camp completed!(NAWTA=North American Training Alliance) For three years, the North Americans have been putting our heads together and working towards getting better and better among the international world. There are so many neat aspects of these two weeks that we spend together. First, we have started a thing where we invite a guest that doesn't necessarily fall under the "North American" category. Last year we invited Saarinen, a top skier from Finland. Even though I was only able to participate in the first day of the camp- I brought away many new lessons from her experience. This year, we invited one of the younger World Champions among the Norwegian team, Astrid Jacobsen. Astrid was incredible, she was so open and willing to teach us what she has learned over the years. The Norwegian team is a dominant force among the nordic skiing world; so it is always so interesting to hear the dynamics of their team, how they set goals, how they work together, and what all the skiers are really like off the trails.
Thanks to Kikkan for supplying us with some great seafood from her new sponsor- Alaskan Seafood!
My first true King Crab

It is especially fun for me to get to know Astrid because of my very first international experience at World Juniors in Slovenia. I was 16 years old, I had never been on any form of vacation without my parents, I had never been overseas, and I pretty much didn't know what any food was besides pizza and burritos. Needless to say my first World Junior experience was to say the least, "EYE OPENING". As I skied around the manmade trail in Slovenia in the middle of a cow pasture, I was surrounded by people from all over the world warming up so fast I felt like I was standing in place. My first reaction was fear! Tears started to role down my cheek, so I put my glasses down and pretended I knew what I was doing! I was the VERY last starter in every race, so I learned from the start… there was no-where to go but up. One of the things that stood out to me most in that first international experiences was the Norwegian star, Astrid! I watched her as she won races, walked around in a zone of focus, and looked so chill and relaxed. Since that very first experience, she has always been a reminder of "my start". She started as my hero, but as I entered the international circuit, she became my competitor. That is why this camp has been so fun for me. I have gotten to know this girl that I watched in awe eight years ago. I have gotten to know her focus, her open mind with training, and her incredible team spirit!
Astrid and the US Ski Team girls (minus Soph) Matt Whitcomb photo
Turns out she is a tough one too.... raspberries from sliding on the ice in the morning
So with this new guest, the National Team girls (minus Sophie Caldwell- we missed you!), the APU woman's team, and some of the top juniors and development skiers from around the US- we put together two great weeks of training. The first week was in town including roller skiing, hiking, biking, and all the dry land options you get. I am still working on getting my feet in working order, so I substituted in some different training, but got to participate in the majority of the camp! (Huge difference from last year). The last day of our dry land camp, we took a trip out to the Valley where the Alaskan REG camp was going on. After spending the day training with them, we dined in the sunshine and had some Q&A with the local juniors. It was fun to ask Bettina Gruber(another guest who joined for the dry land portion, from Switzerland) and Astrid a few of my own questions. As we discussed with the younger juniors about what it means to believe in yourself and work hard; it brought goose bumps to my skin to review how important the leadership and teamwork has been among the National Team. I learned that the Norwegian Team operates in a very similar manner- finding ways to push each other, but also support each other and believe in each other!
Giving a talk with the REG athletes- Brian Fish Photo
Rosie, Jo and I at the top of Hatchers
Zuzana Rogers doing a house visit, teaching me how to tape with a Sharpie Diagram
Bunch of girls, hanging out waiting for the Glacier! Holly B photo.
From there, we headed up to Eagle Glacier for by far THE BEST WEEK I have spent on the glacier. All but one day, we had sunshine and awesome conditions. Last month I traveled up with the APU Team, but had to come down after one day because my feet were not healthy enough to be spending so much time skiing in soft conditions with no option for "cross training". The NAWTA camp, the snow firmed up a bit as the glacier snow began to come through (which tends to be more firm). Besides the change in snow, the most important part that made the week of training on snow possible was the support of Zuzana Rogers, a local Physical Therapist! I have been working with Zuzana for the past year and a half, through many highs and lows. She has been so positive and helpful through the process. 
PT at the top of the mountains!
Zuzana joining us for a sunny ski- Colorful Zinc was a hit this week!
Since the beginning of the summer, Advanced Physical Therapy, the clinic Zuzana works for, has started sponsoring the APU Team. It has been huge for all of us. Zuzana took it one step further though, and volunteered her time to work all day, and all evening up on Eagle Glacier this week. With many of the girls at camp working through some small feet issues, Zuzana spent endless hours keeping us going. Thank you so much Zuzana! Thank you also to Michael Henrick, who joined us for some body care the last three days of the camp as well!
Kikkan and I doing some ice water/warm water body care after every training session!
The group on a clear day- Matt Whitcomb photo
Some days the weather was wild...
Some days too warm for clothes!!
On our fourth day of camp, we had our annual “Sprint Relay Competition”, where we make teams of four and we race around a 1km track tagging off to each other, practicing many different aspects of sprinting. By turning our usual speed workout into a little competition, things get more exciting. We come up with team names, we smack talk each other, and we get good practice with the ever-important exchange/tagging. To make things a little more exciting than usual, four helicopters full of media arrived to watch the fun and games. Erik Flora had built a jump into one of the downhill’s- so we got some practice with our “big air”. The media groups were not just there for our Eagle Glacier Sprint Workout though; they were there to check out what we do, and what it looks like. Local radio stations, TV stations, and Newspaper stations got to get a little taste of how we train, what the living conditions are like, and how this week of training was going to get us one step closer to winning a medal in Sochi. It was fun to sort of show off the set-up, and see their excitement as we raced across the snow. There were some great articles, pictures, and news broadcasts that came from the little visit. Kikkan and Holly were the big stars, but there was some good APU recognition as well.
APU/USST ladies- Matt Whitcomb photo
Getting some air time on the jump- Matt Whitcomb photo
Here is a video from our sprint relay- The very brightest pink shirt is me
Helicopters arriving mid-workout Zuzana Rogers photo
One of the best parts of the glacier is the constant focus on ski technique. With rollerskis on all summer- you sometimes get lazy with your classic kick and take advantage of the "perfect ratchet kick"
Day one of the sun.!! Liz Stephen photo
Girls getting after it! Matt Whitcomb photo
Helping Holly make her famous Glacier Tuna Salad! Anchorage Daily News photo
Middle of the day is often filled with lots of technique analysis with the coaches. Anchorage Daily News photo

Because of the "midnight sunshine" in Alaska... our bunk beds turn into "princess beds", a fort that I would have dreamed of sleeping in when I was 7 years old!
Taking a roped up trip down into the crevasse the first afternoon to listen to the flowing water underneath! Glacier Studies 101!
By Saturday afternoon, everyone was exhausted and ready for a little rest from training for a while. With two great weeks of training together, it was time to rest, recover, and spend some time enjoying each others company. After every NAWTA camp, the national team girls have made it a goal to have a little side trip for fun and relaxation. This year, Holly treated us to a few nights of fun at her cabin that she is building in Hope. It was so fun to see the work Rob and her have put into it- and it got me inspired to one day build my own house! One day...
Astrid "manning" the fire
With that I am now quickly catching up and packing my bags for the next training block. For the next month I will be spending 10 days training in the Methow, enjoying some family time before I take off for an altitude training camp in Park City with the APU team for two weeks. Following that I return back to Alaska for the start to the fall semester of school.. how can the summer already almost be over?

With incredible weather, great training, and fun company- NAWTA Camp was a huge success! Thanks to everyone who helped make such a great two weeks! 
Zuzana taking advantage of the weather and the location for some afternoon body work
Kikkan- always making sure she gets the best parts of video!
Who knew this NCAA Champion in Alpine could be so good at nordic too!
USST coaches Matt Whitcomb and Jason Cork really getting into their selfies mid ski!
Tired coaches- down for the count!

Exhausted, taking a rest at the top of the hill on this fine bed!
Mikey Matteson..... making the tool shed his own!
A motivated train of girls- getting one step closer! Matt Whitcomb photo

Summer is HERE!

What is summer in Alaska? I didn't even know it existed. I can remember about 3 total sunny weeks that I have experienced in Alaska where I break out my shorts and tank tops. That's why it's always such a miracle when the heat makes its way up here!
Mikey and Rosie enjoying some sun time at the market!

Some much needed practice in the driveway!
Some new training combinations with the sun!
While we were at our camp in Bend I kept seeing pictures from Anchorage of people skiing in shorts and sports bras and I was worried I had missed my opportunity, but sure enough- when I got back, summer was still here!
Pete Kling at Eklutna Lake

Some sweet little side rivers in the mud.
It's almost like the beach!!??
As amazing as the sun is in Alaska, it also has its challenges. I always get this feeling that when it is sunny, I have to be outside as much as possible. I want to do my training outside, eat my meals outside, do my homework outside, and do any form of activity outside.... but that doesn't work so well. You end up just falling way behind in everything besides training. So, for the first week I was what you call "a sun bum". I was biking down to the lake after dinner. I was listening to my class in the lawn outside, and I was even converting many of my gym workouts into "outside activities". After a week though, I realized summer was here to stay- so I have gotten better about being productive.
Alaskan Rodeo. My second cousins are all amazing at this. One of them is National Champ, so it was fun to gain an understanding for their mad skills! Tanner, you are impressive! Bareback! Yikes!
My past two weeks have been one of the happiest two weeks I can remember. As an athlete, your world revolves around training and health. When health goes out the door- forcing you to change your training to great degrees... your happiness walks right out as well. As much as I tried to be positive last summer- I struggled to find my joy. This summer has been different. I have learned to gain control of many of my chronic injuries, and I have started to make improvements. The combination of the sun, my gaining health, and my adventures the past few wakes have put me in a happier place than I can remember.
Sitting in the river ice bathing... oh yeah!
OUCH! Blisters :(
I have also been getting to spend some time with my young buddies. When I moved to Alaska- a family my sister had been babysitting for in Bozeman suggested I meet a good friend of hers from growing up. It has evolved into a part time babysitting job, and a second family. Johnna and Mike have two young kids that are the cutest things in the world. I started babysitting them when Reed was 3 months old and Molly was 2. Needless to say, Reed didn't like me for the first year of his life since I got to teach him how to drink out of a bottle and operate without his mother for a few hours. Three years later; they are now becoming grown up and even cuter. With all the sunshine lately, I have been having tons of fun spending time with my little buds!
Molly and Reed ripping around on their bikes
This year APU started working with a Physical Therapy Clinic that has been keeping our team operating. Like any other sport, elite skiers spend hundreds of hours a year building and beating down our bodies. We train hard, and do all we can to recover hard. In the majority of other sports, there would be a "recover team" working with elite athletes to help make sure we stay functioning. This year Advanced Physical Therapy has signed on to fulfill that position. Many of us have been working with head PT, Zuzana Rogers for the past couple of years on our own dime, as well as the masseuse, Michael Henrick. This year, the owners of APT have been so generous to start sponsoring our team. It has come at the most ideal time when little injuries have started creeping up on the majority of our team. The effect of this new sponsorship is going to be huge for our team! It will simply take professionalism one step further to allow all of us the best chance at reaching our potential! So thank you so much APT, Zuzana and Michael for getting this started!
A very generous APT owner with my World Champs bib.
Michael Henrick- the best Masseuse int he world!
My roomate, Rosie has been suffering from a little planters, so we have been getting after our adventuring on a bike. I feel like I need to start making a section in my training log, "Adventures of Sadie and Rosie". The great thing about  being on a bike is you can go anywhere. You aren't limited to lack of breaks (like roller skis), and you move pretty darn fast! Anchorage is a huge town, that has many little hidden roads and neighborhoods throughout it. It has been great to get to know some of these little secret "oasis's" and areas! We have also encountered some fun wildlife and interesting people... all parts of spending time in Anchorage!

Rosie- a proud Liberty Bell High School Honor Role Student!
Fitz- rocking her naked biking jersey!
Believe it or not- this is in Anchorage!
here moosy, moosy!
Earlier this week, we had our GALA fundraiser, which is the main fundraiser for APU as a University. The skiers are fortunate enough to be part of this, where we auction off a dinner cooked by the mens and woman's team as one of the live auction items they offer. The GALA also provides a sweet opportunity to get to know some of the people of our community. Erik and I got to hassle Mayer Dan Sullivan for a while, get to know some of the employees of Shell (one of which skid for University of Washington- who knew that ever existed?), and spend some time with my biggest supporters, the Carlile Crew. It is always fun to get all dressed up and spend some time meeting people at a Circus Olay party! Thanks APU for including us in this evening!

The scene!
Rosie, Fitz, Erik and I
Holly and I in front of a shiny Carlile truck
So after two weeks of summer in town; we are now headed up to the Glacier for the week. Weather is variable, so we will likely be back in typical summer glacier time. Some good days, some bad days, and some days you just can't see further than one foot in front of your face. It will be great to get back onto skies and log in some solid kilometers of training! I am actually looking forward to getting back on snow. We are lucky in Alaska with things always changing, you never manage to get bored!

Getting some nice color in our food!
My snazzy new running shoes- thanks Salomon! Hope it doesn't get rainy any time soon!

A New Season

May marks the beginning of a new season... the Olympic Season. This year the racing ran a little further into the spring than normal- so the start of the new training year began a little later as well. This meant that the "start" landed during Bend, Oregon for the past two weeks.
Liz keeping it real skiing in her undies!
Spending some time with the PNSA girls during our Fast and Female Event. Even PNSA girls make it to the top!
Dancing with Diggy time!
Fired up to spread the love of sport with the young girls!
For all three years I have been on the National Team, our first camp has been in Bend- where we spend the mornings skiing on Mt. Bachelor, and the afternoons dryland training in town. It is the ideal training condition, like we are living half summer and half winter. Unfortunately the sun didn't shine as much as usual this camp which sometimes left me feeling like it was the middle of the winter in some situations... but it was still fun!
Making time for TACO TIME!
Because it is May, this means we have less "focused" training and more training that has a goal of getting back into form. Workouts consist of mountain biking, jogging, swimming, yoga, roller skiing... you name it! May always leaves this team with a light fun atmosphere as we begin to wrap our heads around working another year towards our largest goals. This camp also serves as a time to keep my body in check. Every year I come to Bend, I walk away with injuries. I forget to listen to my body, and I simply overload. This year I decided to focus my energy on staying right below that level, and keeping my body in check. For the past year I have had tendinitis in my foot, which limited me a lot- but this Bend Camp, I dedicated my time to keeping my feet in a working manner. This sometimes meant taking the mornings to do a dry land combination when the rest of the team went skiing. Or it meant keeping the majority of my running in the pool as I work to build my foot strength back up. Whatever it was, I wrapped my head around it, staying positive and knowing that this year I would walk away from the week of training in a healthy place.
Team Mountain Bike Session
Who knew Erik Flora could ride a bike???

Kikkan demonstrating even the worlds fastest can run in the pool!
Many of our evenings we spend a lot of time going over team goals and schedules and what we look for out of the season. As a group we look at what we did well last year, what we didn't do as well, and how to make improvements. We also have a new member of the team, Sophie Caldwell- so we get to spend some time "showing her the ropes". Sophie spent the majority of the season on the World Cup with us last year, so she was well versed in how the team works.
Thank you OnePiece for sending us some suits!
US Woman's Team :)
Olympic Years are unique years, because once every four years you throw in every effort, every dream and goal, every ounce of energy into fighting for these three weeks of competition. Many times, you do something better than a previous year, or you set specific goals that you will do every day until the games. Four years ago, this is what I did. I dropped out of school, moved back home, and threw in my best straw. Through that process, I learned a lesson though. I learned that despite focusing 300 times more energy on a specific event- I didn't make my goal of racing on the Olympic Team. So, this Olympic Games I have a different approach. For the past four years, I have been making a consistent jump up. I ended last season with my first top ten on the World Cup and within striking distance of making World Cup Finals. Despite my summer of injury training- I made a jump. What this means is that even though it is an Olympic year, I am going to keep doing what I am doing. I am going to continue to focus all my energy on the small goals that I have made for the training season; more running, more classic skiing in variable conditions on the glacier, leg strength vs. upper body strength, etc. This isn't to say that I am not dreaming about the Olympic Games every morning I wake up, and every training session I do. I do, I DO! I have Olympic rings hanging over my bed with five small step training goals at the moment. The key is that I am not making huge drastic changes. I am doing what I have done best in the past- and continuing with that direction.
Diggy keeping it bright on the roads!
Skiing in the sun on our very first day!
Cupcake party after a long ski
Matt Whitcomb- YEAH BUDDY!
So with that- we are off to Park City for our annual "testing" before the season. This is where we check our strengths, assess our weaknesses and make sure we are healthy. It is always best to start the training season knowing what little things to work on, what vitamins and supplements we are low on, and what additional stretches to incorporate into our post-workout routine. Fortunately the forecast seems nice- so summer HERE WE COME!

Season End

It is official, the 2012-2013 season is over. The last period of this season has certainly been giving me a run for my money. Starting around the end of february, beginning of march; two things start happening. You begin getting more and more tired, and somehow races begin getting more and more packed in there. After my little mini tour in Italy, I knew this last series of racing in California was going to be tough.

Truckee Spring Series turned out to be incredibly fun. After all the worry of racing at 7000 feet, the lack of snow, the hard racing schedule, and the extra warm temperatures- it turned out to be tons of fun! The organizers did an incredible job of putting everything together including lots of social events, lots of extra challenging courses, and of course great weather. 

Our Fast and Female event from the beginning of the week.

Macbeth Photo
Macbeth Photos
Awesome Fast and Female Video Skyler Mullings made:

Supertour Series started out with 3 straight days of racing. A skate prologue, a distance classic, and then a classic sprint. After completing these three days, I was skeptical of what energy I had left in the tank. All three races I managed to make it to the podium- which left me starting the final day of the series in 2nd overall headed up the alpine hill. In my recent past, I don't have a history of being the fastest skier racing up the alpine slope. But this year, I was determine to improve on my past three years of hill climbing where I generally end somewhere in between 20th-30th place. 

Macbeth Photo
Classic Sprint Podium
10k Classic Podium
What this meant was that I woke up on day four of racing with a goal of holding my podium position for the overall mini tour. This would mean that I could only allow one person to pass me. With Liz Stephan starting a minute behind me, I was sure the second best climber in the world was going to pass me; but I just wasn't quite sure WHERE. So I put my Clydesdale stature to work and just took on the pain cave. The hill climb is a unique event in our sport. Fortunately we only do it once or twice a year; but it is by far the most painful experience of the year! You have to just put your head down and block our every feeling and thought from your mind. Unlike hiking or skinning where you can just get in a rhythm and go; skate skiing up an alpine slope is just tough! Shifting between coaches skating, V1'ing and an occasional double pole as you weave around the gates- up, up, and away- your mind is screaming nothing but "help me"!! To make this event even more exciting then ever; mother nature decided to take us for a little adventure. When we woke up to colder temperatures the morning of the hill climb, little did I know what was going on only a couple hundred feet above us. As we weaved our way up the slope, the wind started picking up stronger and stronger. By the top we were in a full on blizzard with gusts of 75mph. I felt like I was trying to summit Everest! In fact, at the finish line, one of the volunteers felt the need to actually hold on to Liz to keep her from flying away in the wind. It was wild!! Not only was it the most difficult hill climb I had ever participated in; but it was some of the most extreme weather I had ever been in as well. 

Macbeth Photos- climbing to the top!
Congrats to Kikkan and Erik B for winning the overall series!! Erik giving some kisses.
So, when I crossed the finish line still in third position; I collapsed in pure pain and glee! That is surely one ski race I will never forget. As I gathered myself and all my limbs, I stumbled down the mountain. When I came to the realization that I was purely exhausted, but still had one more race, a 30 kilometer race, I tried to trick my brain into finding a way to recover.

Skyler made another great video from the hill climb:

With one day off to recover from the SuperTour Mini Series, I went into the final race of the season, the 30 kilometer National Championships ready to just drain every last bit of my tank. It was clear my "check fuel" light was on- but I was going to go as long as I could. For 30 kilometers I fought through 5 inch slush, 55 degree weather, and a world of hurt to finish my final race of the season in 8th. Weww, what a year!
Finishing my season! Pure exhaustion.
This year has been a considerable step up. After spending nearly 90% of my summer training hours either on a bike or in the pool running- I wouldn't have dreamt of some of the things that have happened this year. I managed to increase my amount of racing by 40%, I won two new National Titles, I got my first top 20 and my first top 10 on the World Cup, AND my teammates and I came within striking distance of winning a team medal at World Championships. 

This has been an incredible year not only for me, but for the entire team. The American Team has put their fighting gloves on. We are determine as ever, and now we have some confidence to build through the summer leading into the Olympics. 

I just want to take the time to say thanks!

Thank you to everyone that helped me get through this tough summer plagued by injuries. The endless words of encouragement and positive vibes were so important! Thank you to all my coaches and teammates for working together all season, pushing each other, encouraging each other, and supporting each other. Thanks to my friends and family that came to watch so much racing this year. It was so fun to have familiar voices and faces at so many races throughout the season. Thanks to all my sponsors and supporters. Thanks for believing in me and my teammates enough to support our dreams! I am incredibly lucky; and I have you all to thank!
My family got to come to many of the races this year!
Thanks to Lauri and Karl for coming to cheer! Turns out Lauri is my second cousin once removed!!
And finally, thanks to APUNSC! This is an incredible club, and it is incredible to see how much success it has been able to breed. We just recently won the NNF Cup, which is the awarded to the team with the strongest performance at the National Level throughout the entire season. This is the first year our club has won it, but I think it is a huge sign of development and what our team has built. I am lucky to be a part of such an incredible force!
APUNSC team with the NNF cup
For now, I am off to Florida for some much needed rest and recovery. This is one of the most tired I have ended a season before, so I want to be sure to be fully rested for this next important year leading into the Olympics. By forcing myself to lie on the beach; I won't have all the "snow temptations" that I would have in Anchorage. What this means is that for the next ten days I get to spend some time getting to know my boyfriends family before going on to visit my side of the family. It is going to be so nice to catch up with all my family members that I haven't seen in a few years now!

Until then- happy spring to everyone, and thanks so much for the endless support and cheers throughout the season. It has meant to world to share with all of you!

Tour de Sadie

I can't think of any better way to describe my last two weeks other than "Tour de Sadie". After having a little more relaxing period for World Champs- I got back to racing with a bang. Starting with the World Cup's in Lahti, Finland.

Last year I had one of my best races of the year in the pursuit race in Lahti. At that point that meant coming in 31st... the closest to the points I had ever been. So, this year I went into the weekend with confidence. After having a less than successful experience at World Champs, I was determine to prove to myself I was in better form. I could feel my shape was there, but I knew that things needed to line up better in order to have the day I was capable of.

The first race was the skate sprint. After a 13th place qualifier in one of the most stacked fields I had raced against this season, I knew that I was in a good place. As I walked out to the my first quarterfinal heat, I took a look around me. To my largest fear, every person I would be starting my heat with had won a World Cup medal. Thank god to the immediate encouragement from my coach, Matt Whitcomb, I released my fear into the back of my mind. This year I have had many strong qualifiers, but not once had I finished that day feeling like I skied my quarterfinal to the best of my abilities. So today, I was going to lay it out there. This would mean laying it out there standing beside none other than Marit Bjoergen, Kowalczyk, and Anne Kylloenen. Standing on the line I started to believe in myself, not allowing the intimidation to get to me. After advancing as lucky loser into the semi's, I made a small tactical mistake in my semi's, and narrowly missed moving on to the finals. But what this meant was that I finished my day in 9th- not only my first top 10, but my first top 20! And this was just the motivation and confidence that I needed.

A video of QuarterFinals

Chasing down Kikkan in the Semi-Finals (Salomon Photo)
Enjoying some time in the leaders chair after the 10km
The following day we had a 10k classic, and again I had a PR, finishing 18th. With little time to soak it in, we jumped on a plane and travelled to Norway where we had a midweek sprint in the city of Drammen on Wednesday. Last year this was my last World Cup Race of the season, and also the first time I had ever made points. So, I went into these races with some confidence from the previous year. Qualifying in 26th, I was determine to move up through the field. Drammen has a unique atmosphere with the fans packing the streets screaming and pushing you on, making it extra fun. Unfortunately, I struggled to get my skis to work throughout the course, crossing the line and moving back to 30th place. While a little disappointed, I couldn't be for too long... because I would be racing three more times in the next four days.

Ran into Pete Kling up at Holmenkollen during my race prep.
Sophie and I having some fun in Oslo
Sophie, Rosie and I enjoying the ocean on our pre-race run!
So, thursday morning I woke up early and jumped on the air plane from Oslo to Innsbruck where I began my adventure through the public bus system and train stations with my skis and duffle. 12 hours later I arrived in Dobiacco for OPA Cup Finals and tried to prepare myself for the next race early the following morning. I knew this travel was not going to be ideal, but with this mini tour being at the end of the season, I was willing to put myself into the "hurt zone" a bit. I also really enjoying ending my European season with both a different group of people, and a different challenge. Winning on the day is possible, so instantly your mind frame goes in a different place.
A new group of people and our awesome waiter in Dobiacco (Lauren Fritz photo)
Bryan Fish photo
Many thanks NNF for making this awesome trip happen!
The three day tour certainly took on a new challenge. When warming up becomes a challenge, you have to dig to new levels during racing. Throughout the three days I finished both 3rd, 2nd and even won one race... which put me in second for the combined mini-tour effort. With 6 races in 9 days in 3 separate countries- I crossed the line in the final race exhausted and exerting every last drop of energy! I had completed my very own Tour de Ski. Some rest and recovery was in store!!

Standing on the top of the podium for the first time in an OPA race. (Lauren Fritz photo)
My huge chunk of meat I won!
So now with a little over two weeks until our finals series of races in California, I am spending a little recovery time in France with my boyfriend. I am trying to break up the usual training and get some "downhill" time in. It also means some time to catch up in school, catch up in emails, and catch up in life in general!
Pete, Erik and I on top of Meribel
enjoying some fresh powder
getting some uphill training as well, of course!
Enjoying some powder!
Every good day ends with some Hot Chocolate for Erik!
One more week of rest and then it's the home stretch. Five more races; A prologue, a distance race, a sprint race, a hill climb up the alpine slope, and then a 30k classic. The finish line is in sight!

Hiking up into the sunset!

Val di Fiemme

I am just finishing up my week of Championships here in Val di Fiemme... looking back on all the great moments. At the same time, I am going through the process of reviewing my week and thinking about all the things that went very well, and the things to improve for next time. I must say, I didn't have quite the Championships that I was hoping for, but in other ways- things were also very positive.
Matt giving us some pointers for the classic sprint (fasterskier photo)
As a ski racer you can never look at anything as a failure. If you did, you wouldn't make it very far beyond one year of racing on the World Cup- because this process is not very forgiving. The difference between an average day and an overly excellent day could be .15 seconds... one size larger boot. Or the difference between putting one too many layers of kick wax on your ski, or simply the difference between finding one more gear of energy for the last climb of the course. It is all so small, yet so important. So even though my two individual start races were less than my best, there were some very encouraging parts at the same time!
Salomon Photo- Racing through the stadium in the Pursuit

So in honor of moving forward in a positive manner; here are a few of the things about Val di Fiemme that I won't be forgetting.

1. Fans! After having my first World Championships in Oslo, my standards of World Championships fans was set sort of high. To my surprise though, these Italian fans lived up to the challenge. Maybe 70% of them traveled all the way from Norway... but regardless they were out there in full force. It was also special to have so many US fans as well. World Masters took place somewhere near here, so there was an extra bunch of familiar voices and faces out there that made it special!
One of the stands full of spectators! (Fasterskier photo)
2. Hills- Holy hills! This venue knows how to test your fitness, test your mental strength, and test your hill climbing. I remember many of my teammates warning me of this after they raced the final stages of the tour here last year... but I didn't experience the full feeling of it until racing. It was fun to test my hill climbing skills though.
UP we go- USSA photo
And more UP- USSA photo
3. Wax Crew- This week has been one of the most challenging weeks for waxing yet. With temperatures hanging around zero, and constantly changing... things get tricky and tough. The techs have been incredible at working hard and moving forward. The important thing to remember is just like an athlete, tech teams have tough days as well. Even if they are putting 100%, there will always be challenging days. So thanks techs for working your butts off and always staying positive.

Group Effort!!- USSA photo
4. Records- While the week started off with much less than our best, the following days were filled with records, bests, firsts and everything else. Kikkan and Jessie set the mood with winning the team sprint for US Nordics FIRST World Championship Gold. That was one of my more emotional moments of being a ski racer. As I watched the girls ski their hearts out and cross the line first, emotion struck. As tears rolled down the faces of all the US group… I may have spotted a tear rolling down the Norwegian coaches face too. Finally, US is a force to recon with. Over the years as Kikkan has set an example of believing that we can compete, the rest of our team has started following along!
A team celebration after Jess and Kikk win the first ever World Champs Gold!! (Fasterskier photo)
Making records and having fun! USSA photo
Fasterskier photo
5. Sunshine- It is hard to not absolutely love every second of the day when you are out ski racing hard in the sun. Black suits sometimes make that experience a little more miserable than it should… but for the most part, the sunshine always brings out the best in us! If there is one thing you can count on in Italia, that is sun!
soaking in the sun! USSA photo
USSA photo
6. Team Spirit- The team “spirit” has been great throughout the week. The success of the team just spreads through our group. I think this is one of the things that is bringing us to a higher level as a team. Because one person’s success is contagious, it helps us all believe!
Jessie- you did it!!!
Matt, the ladies, and the medals!
7. Relay- Yesterday I got to participate in my first World Cup 4x5 relay. Since being a young girl, relay racing has always been my favorite. There is something about the different pressure, and your collective effort… it just gets me in a new level of energy… as with all the US ladies. Aside from being fun, the US Team managed to finish our best result ever in history. Although we were just off the podium, we were extremely stoked with a 4th place finish. This was a huge improvement from our last World Championship finish in 9th. With our goals set on a medal of course, we came away proud and pleased that we had reached 4th place! Everyone skied their hearts out, and our goal is certainly attainable in the near Olympic future!
Using the relay socks for the first time ever- Fasterskier photo
All of these things have made this Championship week incredible and memorable. With two more races to go, the 30 and 50k, we will be back on World Cup soon. Next weekend we will be racing a 10k Classic and Team Sprint, so some more exciting racing in the near future!
Salomon photo- Classic Sprinting
USSA photo

Here is a funny photo from the local paper. I have been hoping all week to get in there just once, but I wasn’t quite expecting this one. This is what google translate says:

What the Photo Symbol of the World
Let's say that the scene was the most beautiful and the American athlete of the relay this morning (yesterday, ed), shooting as he undressed. Sadie Bjørnsen has affected all of us photographers, the femininity and grace of gesture, of usual when it comes to the masculinity of athletes.

Thanks everyone for the cheers and nice emails this week. I really appreciate it!! A few more days here, and then off to Scandinavia!


One week in the Olympic Village, one week getting to know the Olympic Courses, and one week of figuring out the environment of Sochi! In this one week, I feel like I have learned a ton! Not only have I learned the race courses, but I have gotten to race them... and feel the true burn of what Sochi has!

Feeling the burn!
A lot of construction still going on EVERYWHERE! (Holly photo)
Over the course of the weekend, we had three races. A skate sprint, a pursuit, and a team sprint. The exciting news is I had a personal best on every single one of these races on the Olympic Course. Which means I walk away with a feeling of confidence, but also an understanding for what sort of improvements and skills I need to work on between now and the Olympic Games!
American Spirit!!
As far as the atmosphere here in Sochi, that was the true experience of the past week I have spent in Russia. It all begins with security and credentials. Credentials are like your magic carpet; you can't get anywhere without them. They are your pass for the five minute walk to breakfast, they are your pass to get to the race venue, and they are your pass to basically leave your house. At first, this seems annoying- but it is just part of the experience! And truly it is to our own safety. Sochi is about security. It is a wild and different scene here- like nowhere else I have ever been. Everything is new, everything is different, but in a good way. Based on the cameras perched every ten feet all across the top of this mountain, I feel safe! I didn't get much of a chance to experience the town at the bottom of the Gondola, but I am sure during the Olympics, we will hopefully get more time.

So much snow here in Sochi!!
Beautiful views right out the window of our cottage
Strength facilities are not so good yet... but you have to get creative sometimes (Hoff photo)
As for the racing, it was awesome. Every single person on our team had at least one shining performance! Starting with Ida making her first A-final, and Liz coming in 8th in the pursuit, and then both American teams winning their semi-finals in the team sprint and going on finishing the best results ever. It was a successful weekend for the Americans. What better way to leave the pre-Olympic venue the year before? It's fun, it's exciting, and we are all pumped! We are starting to truly believe in ourselves, and believe we can do it!
Me, crossing the line first in our semi-finals for the team sprint. (Hoff photo)
Ida and I stoked on hard efforts, and making history!! (Hoff photos)
chasing down those Russians and Norwegians!
So now, its back to Switzerland. We will have a short training block there, with one more weekend of World Cups before World Champs!