After an exhausting senior week and graduation, I was able to spend 2 days relaxing on the Cape and 2 days at home unpacking and repacking before I headed north to Alaska. After having raced here 3 times over the past few years, I vowed never to return to this state. Unfortunately for me, there are a lot of cross country skiers in Alaska and some very good ones at that and after experiencing the power of a team at Dartmouth, I knew I wanted to ski for a club that had a big and talented team. This ultimately lead me to choosing to move to Anchorage and start skiing for the Alaska Pacific University Ski Team. This is not the typical college program that I experienced at Dartmouth. The school is tiny and does not have any NCAA sports. The ski team is the only team here and is basically a club team that is supported by the university so we do not have to succumb to all the NCAA rules and regulations about age, amateur status and the like. The team is quite large and spans a great age range and abilities, but for the most part, it is a very elite team with incredibly talented skiers. I am living in a house on campus with 3 other teammates and I will be taking masters classes in hopes of getting a masters in education while pursuing racing full time.
So far Alaska has provided me all kinds of firsts and new experiences. To start with, Anchorage is the biggest city I have ever lived in and so even though its small by most peoples standards, it feels quite large to me. I have never carried a house key with me in my life or locked a door so I have had to adjust to the little things like that as well as things like not going places alone at night and those general urban area safety rules. However, Anchorage is still in Alaska and it is crawling with moose and bears, both of which I am terrified of. In my first week here, I was charged my 2 moose and watched a teammate get stomped by one and have had to turn around numerous times to avoid such encounters. All my teammates have promised that these were strange and unusual incidents and that most moose just keep munching the trees while you ski by. I am skeptical, but hope to get used to their presence as I have yet to train alone solely out of fear of the large creatures.
As I am now foremost a ski racer and secondly a graduate student, I will be updating this blog at a much more frequent rate so please check back weekly to read about my adventures in AK. Additionally, I am free from the NCAA and am hoping to make it as a "professional" skier so any and all forms of support are graciously welcomed. Don't hesitate to email me with comments or questions.