December 1, 2011


Shoot, school got the best of me, or rather my free time this past month. With the term ending December 5th, but my last day in Alaska being Thanksgiving Day, I had my work cut out for me. Finish school early or on the road is nothing new for me, but packing up and leaving for 5 months is! In the last month, I have come up with a preliminary race schedule that involves spending time in between race series at home in Park City both because I love the western sunshine and because travel in and out of SLC is much more affordable than Anchorage. Check out my race schedule page to get the low down on all my race appearances this winter.

Our race season was scheduled to start November 18th in Fairbanks, but in true Fairbanks fashion, the highs for the week were around -30F, no joke. That place is COLD! So we quickly bagged that plan and invited University of Alaska Fairbanks down south to have an informal race between UAF, University of Alaska Anchorage and APU. It was a balmy -4 in Anchorage, the legal cutoff for racing so we knocked heads a little and got our feet wet racing. The cold is always interesting to race in because it is very hard to get a read on how the body feels, as it just feels, well, COLD! Either way, you get some good lung burn and some sore muscles making it good practice.

Next, I frantically finished my classes, got everything squared away in Anchorage and headed south to West Yellowstone. This place has been my Thanksgiving home since I started Nordic skiing. Nordic skiers from around the country flock to this small town, otherwise flooded with snowmobiles, in south western Montana to get some early season snow and racing. It is always fun to catch up with friends and see all those skiers you haven’t seen since March! I was lucky enough to have my family and college roommate drive up to join me for Thanksgiving! Mom cooked a great feast as usual and we had a wonderful time!

West Yellowstone marked my first real weekend of racing with points and money on the line. I did something I have never done before and flew in the night before the race. Anchorage sits at sea level and West Yellowstone is about 6600’ combined with the many hours on a plane and stress of traveling, this is not something usually recommended, but with school getting in my way, it was my only option so I gave it a shot. Let’s just say, I have gained a new sympathy for all those low landers who continually complain about altitude in the West… I was feeling the thin air, but was able to wrap my head around racing and push myself as best I could. It was great to get the first race jitters out and ski on some new boards. I finished the weekend with 2 top 10s, not a bad start to the season. 

Enjoying that incredibly western sun in West Yellowstone, MT
Courtesy of Becca Rorabaugh

Our very nice house in West Yellowstone
Courtesy of Becca Rorabaugh
My new me! I have traded in my green snowflakes for some blue.
Courtesy of Matt Whitcomb
  Our team headed to Bozeman, MT on Monday to meet up with the rest of our team and prepare for another set of races there this weekend. As we drove north, the snow vanished and we were greeted by spring time temperatures in Bozeman. Unsure if the races were going to happen, we hesitated to unpack and settle in anxiously awaiting the official decision. On Wednesday, with a few inches of snow overnight, it was decided that the races would happen in some fashion. We were lucky enough to be able to ski on a north facing canyon early in the week until we got a little storm.
We have been very fortunate with our living situations. We are staying right across from the ski trails in Bozeman in some incredibly nice houses out-fitted with hot tubs, surround sound, a million channels, and beautiful views! We are out of cell service which is tough for some, but after spending some time in New England, I have learned to do just fine without. 

Skiing up Bozeman Creek, making due with what little snow there is!
The races will go on! Saturday and Sunday, we will be racing in some form or another before packing up and hitting the road for the VERY long trip to Silver Star, BC! Check back for a race report on Bozeman! Thanks for following!