December 31, 2012

US Nationals 2013

The US National Championships are being held at Soldier Hollow this year. Here is the schedule for anyone interested in seeing what this is all about and what I spend all my time on.

Jan. 2 Wednesday CLASSIC SPRINT

10:00 AM Men's Qualifying Round
11:00 AM Women's Qualifying Round
(time trial format in which top 30 move on to the elimination heats)

12:30 Elimination Heats

(time trial format race)

10:00 AM Women
12:00 PM Men

Jan. 6 Sunday 20/30 KM MASS START CLASSIC

10:00 AM Men's Mass Start

Women's will be held after the completion of the Men's race


10:00 AM Men's Qualifying Round
11:00 AM Women's Qualifying Round

12:30 PM Elimination Heats

All results can be found here:

Follow the links to US Championships or look under the results under the race tab on the left hand side.  There will likely be live timing for these events on this page as well.

I will do my best to update this with changes!
I hope to see everyone there!


I arrived home to white! A wonderful early Christmas present. While there is not quite enough snow for perfect skiing everywhere, there was plenty to make due. With Nationals being held in Utah, there were a handful of people who came out early to get accustom to the high altitude so I got to chose from many different training buddies throughout the holidays! Most of us participated in the Wasatch Citizen Series  race as well. This is a local series that provided me my first race opportunities back in 8th grade. It's great to see the events so heavily attended and to be able to connect with the supportive community here in Utah. Here is an article about the race:

Patrick and Charlie arrived just in time to get festive for Christmas!

Rudy, not happy about being festive...

Our unconventional aspen tree 
Stockings ready for Santa

Charlie and I made a gingerbread house which was one of our favorite xmas activities as kids

I conned Patrick into decorating cookies with me

The dessert I made for xmas eve dinner, complete with 1.5 lbs of chocolate in the ganache/frosting, just to my liking!

Patrick and I attempting to ski off all those treats!

Happy New Year to everyone and Thank You for all the support in 2012!

December 17, 2012

World Cup Week!

I just finished a solid week on the World Cup. It is really nice to get introduced to the World Cup  in Canada. While they do use funny money and that silly metric system, they speak English, have the same food, same stores, and are of course friendly people. This takes a lot of the stress of out traveling and being on the World Cup. Canmore is also one of the most beautiful places I have raced. the mountains and big, there was plenty of snow and the sun was shining making for a great week.
Awesome panorama of the venue taken by my teammate Lauren Fritz

Sunrise from our hotel! Lauren Fritz Photo
I stared out my week with a 10km classic mass start on one of the hardest courses I have ever skied. It was just a 3.3km loop so we had to do it 3 times and it featured a beast of climb that tested everyone, no matter how good they were feeling. Mass starts on the World Cup are intense! People start fast and only speed up from there, its really chaotic in the back of pack. I struggled getting going with aggressive pace so I found myself unable to hang on to the group I would have liked to ski in, but as the race continued, my legs worked with me and kept me going strong. I didn't have quite enough to get into that pack ahead of me so I spent the second two laps dangling off the back by myself, never an ideal place. It is always easier to ski in a pack getting the benefit of a draft and someone else's pace making. However, I held strong and I managed to finish 35th, which I was satisfied with for my first distance World Cup. I learned a lot in the race, figured out where my greatest weaknesses are and figured out some things to work on leading into the next race. We had some great results as a team though. Kikkan 6th, Sadie 25th, Holly 30th, Ida 31st, Kris Freeman 14th, Noah Hoffman 22nd, Erik Bjornsen 36th.
Mass Start up the steepest of climbs. Rob Whitney Photo

The front of the pack cresting the hill. Rob Whitney Photo

Cruising on up the hill. Rob Whitney Photo

Boys skiing fast. Rob Whitney Photo

As you can see, girls don't mess around with cat and mouse games, they just push push push making the pack get really strung out just 1 km into the race. 

Saturday was sprint day. I was originally not scheduled to race the sprint since I didn't qualify in sprinting, but illness hit the team pretty hard this week and people were coming down with colds right and left so the afternoon before I got the nod to test out my sprinting skills. I haven't been able to find that fast twitch in me this year so I did my best, but didn't have the speed to make the rounds, finishing the day in 39th. But once again, my teammates did great. Kikkan 2nd, Ida 10th, Sadie 22nd, Sophie 23rd, Andy Newell 5th, Skyler Davis 24th.
Trying hard to get the sprint speed...

The last day called for a pursuit, which means we switch from classic to skate half way through the race. This is stressful for everyone! Racers have to test classic and skate skis, then make sure all their skate equipment is in the box in the stadium and all the classic equipment is with you for the start then in the middle of the race you have to not get too frantic switching gear and make sure you grab all the right stuff. This is also stressful for the wax techs because they have twice as many skis to prepare. All this adds to the nerves so needless to say I was  a little nervous and checked to be sure I had all the right equipment at least five times before the start. In the U.S. we never race this format so I have only done a few pursuit in my life and none have gone that well.

I got a much better start and did my best to hang tough in the classic portion climbing that massive hill 2 more times. I had a good transition and felt remarkably good on my skate skis. I have really put a lot of effort into working on my skate technique and it seems to finally be paying off. I held really strong in the skate, but skied with a lot of trepidation and ended up in a big pack at the end, finishing 38th. Another strong day for the U.S. Kikkan 8th, Ida 14th, Holly 28th, Noah 8th, Kris 10th, Tad 28th!

Classic Leg. Rob Whitney Photo

Noah Hoffman crushing it. Rob Whitney Photo

And the mouth open race face......working on my turning technique and downhills. Rob Whitney Photo
It is challenging to ski with confidence on the World Cup, you are skiing the world's best and not only are they fast, they have all the best equipment available. It takes a great deal of confidence to push the limits and attempt to make a move on people you know are fast. I suffered this fate immensely, skiing with the fear that I couldn't successfully put a move on the pack I was skiing with and instead settled in only to loose the sprint finish. This takes years of World Cup racing to develop this confidence and the skill to know when to make a move. I am hopeful to get more chances to race the World Cup this year, working on my confidence as a racer and always working on my skills.

As for now, it's homeward bound for the Holidays! I am thankful to get to be home for a whole month! U.S. National Championships are taking place at Soldier Hollow so I hope to have a good cheering squad! Here is the schedule so everyone can pencil it in to their day planners now!

Jan. 2nd Classic Sprint
Jan. 4th 10km Freestyle
Jan. 6th 20km Classic Mass Start
Jan. 8th Freestyle Sprint

Thanks for following!

December 12, 2012

World Cups

If anyone is interested in watching the World Cups in Canmore, here is the info:

Thursday – December 13, 2012
11:00Women's 10km Mass Start
12:30Men's 15km Mass Start
Saturday – December 15, 2012
10:30Sprint Qualifier
12:30Sprint Heats
Sunday – December 16, 2012
11:00Women's 15km Skiathlon
12:00Awards Ceremony (at race site)
12:30Men's 30km Skiathlon
14:15Awards Ceremony (at race site)

(all times are MST)

I am racing Thursday and Sunday, but the U.S. will have big teams in all the races. You can watch Live on the USSA Youtube channel:

or you can stream Eurosport through:

or you can watch live timing here:

December 3, 2012

You win some and you lose some

After a great start to the season in West Yellowstone, we migrated north a few hours to Bozeman, MT. We were staying up Bridger Canyon where cell service is non-existant and internet was pretty much hopeless so trying to get anything done was just silly. So now I find myself sitting in the Bozeman Airport with a to-do list longer than my childhood wish-list to Santa Claus. My classes end this week so I have a plethora of projects to keep me occupied in the next few days. But back to the racing...

We started on Thursday with a skate sprint, a make-up for the race we couldn't hold in West Yellowstone. While there was some snow in Bozeman, it was marginal and the weather forecast was not in our favor. Barely reaching below freezing every night and occasional rain showers, left us a course with the occasional grass patch, rock, and mud puddle. However, the race did happen and I was pretty excited about the course with a big hill, no technical downhills, and a newfound confidence in my skating abilities after my victory in Yellowstone. I qualified in 7th, enough to move on to the rounds where I tend to excel in the head to head racing. Skate sprint heats start with a double pole zone of up to 50 meters in which we must keep our skis in the prepared tracks using only our upper bodies to propel us. This is because skating takes up a lot of space so most ski stadiums aren't big enough to have 6 lanes wide enough for everyone to skate from the start without obstructing one another. Anyway, this is great for me because I am a big girl and a strong double poler so I got myself right out in front of my quarterfinal. As the tracks ended and we were allowed to start skating, I did something, what I'm not exactly sure, but before I knew it, I was on my butt on the ground with my skis turned backwards. I was turned around enough that it took me a little while to realize what had happened and get myself upright. My coach saw what happened, went sprinting across the field and started yelling to just go, I could catch them. Knowing that things happen in sprint races and there could be another crash, I took off in pursuit of the 5 others in front of me and actually caught and passed 2 people before the big uphill was over. Unfortunately, the other three were far enough head I couldn't even come close to them. The course was less than three minutes long making any bobble a costly error let alone a full on crash. Knowing that only the first 2 to finish move on the semi-finals, I was helplessly distraught and crossed the finish line only to collapse in Sadie's arms in a pile of tears. Somewhere between the embarrassment of taking myself out in a race, a World Cup start on the line, and my new found love for skating left me more discouraged, upset, and frustrated than I have felt, maybe ever, after a ski race. It was just not my day and a tough one to take at that. Race Report HERE
The girls final consisting of most of my best friends! Sophie took the win with Sadie close by in 2nd. While its really hard to watch a race unfold that I took myself out of, it was also awesome to see my friends kill it. Sophie is one hell of a beautiful skater and she skied the most perfect race. Fasterskier Photo 

The weather continued to stay warm with rain and the snow began to melt more and more everyday. We were forced to move the next races up even a little higher, up the hillside to find enough snow to ski on. Saturday brought us a classic sprint, something I have traditionally done well in. The course was relatively flat with only one hill which made everyone have to decide between using classic skis, that are slower due to the kick wax on the bottom but allow you to stride in a traditional classic skiing method or skate skis, which are much faster but force you to double pole the whole course. Being on the bigger side of the women's field and enjoying the double pole challenge, I was torn for some time, but ultimately decide to ski with traditional classic skis. I qualified 5th and won my quarterfinal giving me a birth into the semi-finals and seeking redemption from Thursday. Struggling in semi-finals in the past, I decided to ski aggressively from the start. It worked out and I made the final. My team had a killer day and 5 of us made it to the final, making only 1 girl in the final not from APU. While this is exciting, it is also challenging to race teammates sometimes. I knew my weakness was on the corners and downhill sections (and knew that was many of my teammate's strengths) so I made a plan to ski really aggressive at the start and try to be in the lead so I could control the corners and not let anyone pass me in my weak spot. This work just as planned, but as I swung into the last corner and began up the last hill into the stadium I skied far too passively and suddenly people started passing me up the hill. I tried to match their tempo but couldn't handle it, leaving me to struggle to the line in 4th place. On most occasions, I would consider this a strong race, but with the stakes so high (World Cup start rights), I am a little disappointed in myself. I needed to be on the podium to even stand a change of getting those start rights (why did I have to fall?!?!?). Race Report HERE
Start of the Final, 5 APU girls and 1 from Dartmouth, who actually spent the summer in AK training with us. I am the one with the white headband. Fasterskier Photo

The finish, Sadie taking the win with teammate Lauren lunging for second and Corey Stock in 3rd. I am the next one limping my way in. Fasterskier Photo

So I turned to the distance race, I was having good luck in distance racing with a win already under my belt. It happened to be my birthday and a 10k classic mass start, probably my favorite of all races, how could things go wrong? Well, still holding on to a glimmer of hope that I somehow made the World Cup sprint team, I was shot down hard as I was impolitely told minutes before that start I didn't make the cut. Having a goal come crashing down in front of you as you head to the start of the last race that might get you a spot on the team is really not ideal. I shed some tears and did my best to shake things off as I lined up for the start. The pace started out excruciatingly fast and I knew I couldn't maintain that pace. I truly feared all my hopes were dwindling away as I moved to the back of what was already a lead pack, to ski my own pace. As we came into the stadium for lap 2 of 3, I started to feeling more like myself and was able to counter an attack up a hill to secure a spot in what was now a pack of 4. I started feeling stronger and attempted to break away with another girl. We gave it our all to get away from the other two but plagued with slower skis, we were caught as we headed into the last lap. Not out of it, I made plan to attack as hard as I could on the last big hill. I did my best, but Sadie had more in her and took my move out from under me, skiing beautifully into the finish for the win as Chelsea and I duked it out for second. She got the best of me chasing Sadie down hard leaving me in 3rd. With a win and a 3rd place, I got my World Cup start rights in the distance races!!! Race Report HERE
Sadie leading out the pack, I am the one with the white headband and with boots with the black and blue APU suit. Fasterskier Photo

Coming through the first lap, fearing I was done for...

Getting back into it, here I am leading into the last lap. 

While I am still longing for the incredible feelings I had racing in Yellowstone and that satisfaction of winning, I am really proud of myself for staying mentally strong and not letting disappointment get the best of me. I have made skiing my main focus so trying to make some money and get the results I need to move up in the rankings, I have seen the pressure increase exponentially. I know I have never felt this much passion, put this much pressure on myself, or given anything in my life this much dedication as I have put into ski racing this year.

I am headed home now for a little R&R before flying to Canmore, Alberta to meet the rest of the U.S. National Team to compete in 2 World Cup races. These will be my first distance World Cup races so I am very excited. This is a huge opportunity for me so I am doing everything in my power to make my preparation flawless and take advantage of this opportunity. Now, pray for snow in Utah so I can train well!

I will be racing December 13th and 16th and results can be found here:

Thanks for following!