For the past five days I have been moving along in overdrive down in Park City for a series of tests and Rookie Camp. The first two days in town we spent the entire day in the US Ski Teams new central gym called the Center of Excellence. That place is amazing; it gets you fired up just walking in to the place! With pictures and banners posted everywhere of all the successful athletes, you can't help but get instantly excited. Not to mention there are famous people everywhere doing the same thing you are doing, just getting some work done.

A view of one side of the Center of Excellence

Warming up with Ida- getting a little inspiration from Ted in front of us :)

Jessie and I had a little fun in the foam pits where the freestyle skiers practice. Here I practice my swimming dive into the pit...


Starting day one, we kicked off with a series of treadmill tests, blood tests, concussion tests, and then the following day hit two more treadmill tests, strength tests, functional movement tests, physicals, dexo scans, body composition tests, and probably a few more that I can't remember anymore. The schedule was tight with only two days and six athletes to get through, so I felt like a lab rat for a bit, just jumping from one thing to the next. In the mean time I was trying to fit in school work and some outside training, since the sun was seriously shining.

Treadmill Max VO2 Testing

I have watched so many people do the max tests on the treadmill with rollerskis on, so I was anxious to complete my first VO2 max test, and rollerski on the massive treadmill for the first time.I was surprised. It was pretty easy to get used to the motions of skiing on a treadmill. At first it was hard to remember to keep your skis straight, but within a few minutes it felt natural like skiing on snow. We would warm up on a separate treadmill, sometimes with another person- and then for the testing period we would transfer over to the treadmill with all the tubes, computers and harness hook up. In order to ensure that we didn't go shooting off the back when we skid to maximum effort, they would attach a harness to your back, which would catch you when you went to a point of no return. I only got to try this out once, as the other two times I just grabbed onto the bar in front of me when I felt I could go no further. It is a funny point to go to maximum effort, because most times in races you know you have to keep going and finish the hill, so you hold yourself back from going to that place where you can no longer hold yourself up.

You had a team of about 15 doctors and coaches standing around the treadmill with each test either pricking your finger for blood, waiting to catch you when you fall, holding your breathing tube, reading your heart rates, running the machine, or simply just cheering you on. I swear the rest of the athletes in the gym that were not nordic skiers were all watching, thinking us nordic skiers are absolutely crazy! With a tube stuffed in your mouth, you are not able to talk, so Matt Whitcomb would just stand in front of us watching our face expressions for pain, and cheering us on. It was really a neat thing.

Matt encouraging me as I get in the zone during the test.

treadmill test 2

The other tests were hard in a different way. Strength tests measured our jumping power, or various mobility muscles, our stability muscles, and a few other. It turns out, all of us nordic skiers need a lot of work in that field. The concussion test was hilarious, as I felt like I failed it before I even need to be tested for a concussion. The rest of the tests were good, and it was fun to get a baseline measurement to see where I will progress from here. I have never had the opportunity to make many of these measurements, so its great to have all of this as a resource to us now.

Squat test- we push against this bar that is impossible to move to measure the force we put on the scale below our feet.

Vertical Jump Test

The following three days we attended a US Ski Team class session, otherwise known as Rookie Camp. In three days, I learned more important information than I could have imagined. There were 42 athletes attending, who have just this year been named to the US Team, so it was fun to get to know these other alpiners, snowboarders, mogulists and aerialists. I don't know much about any winters sports besides alpine, so I had tons of fun learning about these sports and what they do for training and competition. Besides that part of the three days, we also got to meet all the managers and various people that work in different areas of the US Team. A lot of times we communicate with these people over the phone or email, but we never know them by face, so I enjoyed getting to put a face to the voice or name. We also had media practice, met some trustee's, learned about USADA, learned about Nutrition, got to speak with some of the top athletes on the team, and hear their experiences, learn about US Ski Team marketing and fundraising, did some team building exercises, played some outdoors games, and simply learned about all the various resources offered to us when you are part of the team. Starting at 6:30 in the morning when we woke up, to about 9:30 PM when we would return to the hotel- we were on a role, one thing after another!

The Rookies

Media Practice- explaining our story with Benji Farrow, KC Oakley, and Robby Kelley

With most of us in training at this time of year, they wanted to take the smallest amount of our time, but educate us as much as they could, so it was a successful process- plus I got to know a lot of talented athletes just introduced into the team that will probably be super famous one day!

The bird-man towering over me on the bikes!

Park City was so nice when we were there, like 85 degree days, but because we were inside testing all day, or inside doing meetings for the majority of the day, I had limited time in the sun. Somehow I still managed to completely fry my shoulders during day one of rookie camp at our ropes course. When you become used to living in Alaska, you forget about sun screen sometimes.....

For now, I have a week of dryland training in town before taking my second trip up to the glacier for a week. One thing after another- there is really no way I could get bored doing what I do. It is great!!!

Hopefully I will have more pictures from Rookie Camp coming soon!