December 17, 2014

What Goes Up Must Come Down

Of course, it's impossible to be living on a cloud for an entire race season. After finding my groove in West Yellowstone and really making it count in Bozeman, I came crashing down. I returned to Park City to find not a drop of snow on the ground and to come down with a cold. Well, at least if I can't train due to illness, I'm not missing out on any good skiing. But still, that double whammy is a hard one to contend with. While there are bits of skiing up high, training on snow machine roads above 8,000 ft with traces of a cold is truly not an ideal way to prepare for U.S. Nationals. I came to a point where I had to decide to suck up my pride, to choose what made the most sense from a training perspective, and to strap on those dreaded rollerskis that I left here after October camp thinking that if I left them, then there would have to be ample snow to train on. As I smacked my poles into the hard, cold, and wet pavement, I wasn't terribly excited or particularly motivated. It took me awhile to find my groove and I began to think, every World Cup I have done, I have noted that my double pole is particularly weak compared to the rest of the field. This is a hard one to keep in my head because when I race domestically, I don't notice this and I often see double pole as one of my strengths (see last post). But, with period 2 World Cup start rights in my hand, I was able to remember many times when I was just dusted on a flat or a finish and alas, I found my silver lining. I may have to put in some hours on rollerskis, but I have also received the opportunity to continue to build my strength in double pole.

It seems ski racing, and really life, requires finding and capitalizing on the silver lining (thanks First Aid Kit and David). It's not an easy thing to get your mind to do and something I am always working on, but a skill that I think will help me not only become a better ski racer, but a better person.

I don't have any pictures because it was truly too sad to take a picture of rollerskiing in December and I forgot my phone on the days when I have found little slices of heavenly winter in the mountains.

Here's to wishing for snow for everyone and to finding that silver lining for every misfortune.
Happy Holidays!

December 9, 2014

When Everything Works

I have raced at Bohart a number of times and every time I left feeling some sense of despair, like things just didn't go the way I hoped. As result, I dreaded racing there. This year was no exception as we rolled up to the venue the day before the race to find more of an ice skating rink than a ski course, something of a nightmare to me. We waited and let the sun do it's job, warming the tracks, only they went from ice to slop in a matter of minutes, another dreaded snow condition. As I skied around the course, I felt great and I quickly realized that I have put hours and hours of skiing and training in these conditions (thanks Eagle Glacier) and it was actually completely and totally fine, everything was fine. I was feeling incredibly fit and I was going to race no matter the conditions and I was going to have good skis because we have awesome, hard working techs and everything was going to work out.

Upon arriving the morning of the race, the conditions were back to being more on the icy side, but something that was manageable so I strapped on my skis and I just went. I found rhythm, I found speed and power, I was focused, my skis kicked up the hill, flew down the hill and everything went well. I won the qualifier, which I believe was my first time doing so. That was a big boost to me, but also painted a lovely target right on my back for each every sprint round raced, making the my nerves on the high side. I was really confident in my fitness however, I just let myself go and become immersed in my own skiing each round, finding some hidden power I didn't know was in there and advancing to the final with relative ease. Last week, I used the same strategy and then failed in final so I will say, I was unsure if this was the right strategy to be taking. As I lined up for the final, I thought I just felt too good to not try again so off I went, focused on making each stride as powerful and strong as possible until I made it to the high point of the course where I glanced back to see I had a gap. I focused then on skiing smooth and relaxed all the way back to the stadium where I had the chance to really enjoy a sprint race victory.

As soon as I finished, I felt the anxiety for the next day's race, a mass start 10km on a course full of challenging downhills, my absolute least favorite thing! We got to the race the next morning to find some more terrifying ice. I became so worried about just making it around the course, I didn't even think about how I was going to ski, where I was going to make a move or anything, all I wanted to do was survive. Now, this seems a little silly and definitely a little dramatic, but at the time it truly felt that way and I was more than a little consumed. The race started and off I went, skiing with trepidation across the icy tracks. My teammate Chelsea took charge and really just took off. I wasn't sure if she was just finding her groove or if she was going for the win from the gun. I wasn't sure if I wanted to try to catch up to her or just continue trying to survive. Luckily, I know Chelsea, I know her strengths, and I have a rather competitive side in me and my mind took over, caught up to her, and I began to focus on the race itself. Of course, there still had to be a winner, ice or no ice, of course I still needed to finish the race, and of course I am experienced enough to make the best of the situation. Chelsea is a great downhill skier and was smoking me on every downhill. She also happens to be really fit and a great uphill skier. Shoot, how on earth am I going to try to win this race? As we finished the first lap, we had a sizable gap and the field and I had to figure out quickly, how I was going to put my best effort forward. While there are a number of climbs on the course, I felt most of them were quite gradual and given the ice, quite fast meaning I could actually double pole most of the them, ah ha, my mind was still with me and I had my plan. When the course flattens out, go like hell and hope for the best. I went and I got a gap into the long and treacherous downhill section, but I wasn't sure it was enough. I had to conquer my fears of downhills and at least try to not to loose everything, but also try not to fall. I lost time on the downhill for sure, but I also made it to the stadium alone, where I could safely double pole across the line for my second win of the weekend!

As I reflect on the weekend, of course, I am happy to have won, but more importantly, I am really happy with the strength of my mind. There were a number of less than ideal things happening, but they were happening to everyone, they were uncontrollable, and they day had to go on. I was able to find positive focus on the things within my control and amazingly everything worked out. And really when it comes down to it, who can complain about racing when it's 40 and bluebird? Not this western girl. So finally, I won against Bohart!

Teammies, o how I love them!

10km Podium

Racing up the big hill in the sprint final

Sprint Final

Sprint Victory

December 1, 2014

Racing Begins!

I arrived in West Yellowstone about a week ago and it's one of those places that feels like you never felt as soon as you arrive. Overly excited to ski on some nice snow, I quickly changed and headed to the trailhead, remembering instantly all parts of the trail. I have been coming to West Yellowstone for Thanksgiving since I was in 8th grade and I have amazingly only missed two since then. I actually largely learned how to ski here when I was in eighth grade so this place always holds a special piece of my heart. I did, however, forget just how busy the trails can be having not come last year. There are thousands of avid skiers of all ages and abilities that flock here from all over the country to enjoy the early snow, equipment demos, and clinics put on over the course of the week. Running into someone you know around every bend of course brings feelings of joy, but also frustration as it feels like training takes twice as long when everyone wants to catch up. I suppose I am also a little faster now, making getting around people more of a challenge. Needless to say, it's great to see such enthusiasm for the sport!

While most people are focusing on putting in hours and hours of on snow time, us elite skiers are actually focusing on toning the hours back and getting our bodies race-ready. West Yellowstone holds the first races of the year, which always brings an extra set of nerves and anxiousness as there are so many unknowns. We started with a sprint, which adds an extra element of nervousness as sprints can be rather unpredictable even at the end of a season. The course here really emphasizes a lot of my weaknesses so I really worked on skiing well, rather than fast. It was a good tactic and I actually surprised myself with how well I thought I was skiing. I feel like I made some good improvements over the summer and I pleased to see them applied in a race setting! I skied a good qualifying round, placing third. The heats started off well as well. I won my quarterfinal without too much stress and skied well in semi-final as well, winning that round as well. I was psyched to have the confidence in my skiing going into the finals. There were a number of timing issues delaying the race for some extended periods of time, making it challenging to stay warm and psyched up for racing. For some reason or another, I let it get to me and found myself sluggish off the line, fighting for the end of the pack. I am still lacking in tactfulness during races and struggled to pass people. I did my best up the last hill and into the finish but could only pass one person, ending the day in 5th. It wasn't what I was hoping for, but I felt good about how I was skiing so I did my best to keep my confidence up.

I enjoy individual start distance races the best because I actually enjoy being in my own head and racing my own race. It is a very good strength of mine. I used my strength to start hard and attempt to maintain that pace throughout the race. It worked and I eeked out a win by just 8 seconds, over a very talented junior who is sure to keep us older girls on our toes in the years to come. I am pleased with the weekend for a number of reasons. First, it seems like a big victory just to be here racing, let alone be in contention for winning after the fall I have had. I have to continue to remind myself of that and continue to take each day one at a time, working hard to make that day the best it can be. Second, I feel my technical improvements really showed in the races. For the first time in my life, I don't think I lost time on turns or downhills!

We are spending a few more days training here before moving on to Bozeman for the next set of races.

Hanging out in our new race suits, thanks Craft!

Packer getting after the turkey

Skiing with teamies

Classic, under the arch photo

Check out our new uniforms!

Our coaches adorable kids

Thanksgiving feast

Racing time

Lots of racing

and more racing

My semi final heat

November 11, 2014

Hit the Panic Button

Every year I say I will do less procrastinating and get things done ahead of time so don't feel stressed before leaving for the season, yet every year at some point in November, I panic.

I was very lucky to come back to Anchorage and have snow to ski on! It is a skier's dream to be in 70 degree weather dryland training one day, hop on a plane, and be able to ski on snow the next. It's maybe one of the best parts of calling Anchorage and Park City home. Not only could we ski, we could ski in town, making for less time driving and more time getting things done. Living the dream, if you will. Two weeks of getting our feet under us, working on technique, practicing going faster, feeling really cold, and loving our real sport was amazing. Then came Typhoon Nuri......While we sat in our beds hoping to wake up to feet of snow, the thermometers were making our hope something of a far off dream. With temperatures in the 40s, Nuri got the best of us bringing the wetter form of precipitation and wiping out our snow in just one night : ( From dreams to nightmares, just like that.

Needless to say, there is always a silver lining.  We can run and find alternative forms of working out with some creativity. I have an opportunity to catch up on my trashy TV shows while biking on a trainer, to get in tune with my inner fish, and maybe even to hit up some Zumba and work on my dance skills. In addition, we have already done all the hard work for the year, so we can take the opportunity to catch a little more rest or in my case, get a little more studying in.

Which brings me to the panic...November brings this anticipation of racing, nerves come in, doubts start to form, excitement strikes, and everything just seems more emotional. In addition, I am beginning my thesis project to complete my Masters of Arts so I am frantically trying to get all the things done that I need to be physically in Anchorage in order to do. It's been some time since I have written a big paper so I also spend a great deal of time in the library, groaning, trying to recall how I could have possibly been able to bust out a paper before midnight the night before it was due. College certainly makes you efficient. Suddenly the realization that I have less than two weeks in Anchorage before leaving for 5 months hits hard, making me look for that big red panic button to push that brings in a crew of people to help me get everything done. Dream on Rosie...

In other exciting news, I am the proud recipient of a grant from the Women's Sports Foundation. This is a big one for me. Not only was I selected out of female athletes from all sports, I had funding cut from other places so I really needed this grant. It is a wonderful organization and truly, without such grants, I would simply be unable to do this. Check out their webpage to see all the cool things they support and read about all this year's grant recipients.

Last but not least, it's full on fundraising season and the National Nordic Foundation is in the final days of their Drive for 25 fundraiser. This fundraiser is about getting lots of people involved in supporting development of cross country skiers in the U.S. by asking many people to give $25. If you are interested, here is a link to my page:

Enjoying some skiing in Girdwood. These were new trails to me and they were awesome!

Halloween at practice

Following Sadzarue on a gorgeous day

When it's clear and sunny and there is snow on the ground, things just don't get better

Halloween! Sadie was cheese, Jess and I were troll dolls, something I had many of as a kid. Luckily I am to old to trick or treat so I didn't have to go outside!
We are actually going back to rollerskiing tomorrow...Going from skiing to rollerskiing is actually a skier's worst nightmare, but that's why I have teammates and somehow we will make it through and probably even have a good time doing it. It's just 2.5 weeks until we start racing!

October 26, 2014


I am rafting down a beautiful canyon. There are occasional surprises around the bend, but nothing that stops the boat or causes more than a solid adrenaline rush. I am pretty deep in the canyon when a big storm hits and suddenly the water starts moving much quicker. I am rapidly loosing control of the boat as the current pulls it down stream. As I begin to enter a narrow part of the canyon, the waves ahead look huge and I can no longer see the rocks or holes to avoid. I am quickly realizing that there isn’t much I can do. I must let the river take me. I hit a large wave and as the boat comes off the wave, it slams a rock underneath immediately flipping. As I surface, all my belongings that have fallen off the raft surround me and I can see the raft further downstream. I am in a full panic, getting tossed and turned by the rapids as I try my best to stay strong and fight the current. Just when I thought I had made it through the worst of them, another wave would pull me under. All that training and racing wasn’t for nothing. I am able to find just enough strength to get to shore. That is only the beginning though. My boat is downstream stuck in a mass of branches coming from the shore and all my belongings are still floating downstream. I feel like I have been through a washing machine. I am disoriented, confused, lost, alone, and wondering how I had so little foresight to not see this coming.

Eventually, I make my way down to my raft, only to learn just how tangled up it is. There are branches through every rope and crevice on the entire raft, not to mention the amount of debris it picked up on its way down there. It’s going to take a long time to get this thing untangled and the unfortunate part is that even when I get it free, I will still be missing many of my belongings that weren’t retrievable. I will likely pick up some as I continue downstream, items that got caught in the vegetation or were deposited on sandbars, but some are gone forever. There is no way to run the rapid again. It is not possible to row upstream and even if I could, it wouldn’t be possible to have the same conditions over again. The storm turned out to cause a 100 year flood that will likely not happen again in my lifetime, but it also altered the river, changing it’s path and altering the rapids. I have no choice, but to untangle the raft, gather all the pieces I can, and continue downstream.

I am rafting the river the life. In the past few months, I have rafted some class V rapids, one after the other for quite some time. I have always said that I learned more about myself and the way the world works in my freshman year of college than the rest of my life combined, but the past few months have crushed that. I have never felt so many different emotions, experienced so many different events, had so many thoughts run through my head, or had to draw on that much strength from others and from within. I don’t believe there is a way to “move on” from such events, only a way to try our best to accept, to learn, to respond, and to gain strength from. It is a process that I am learning takes a really long time. The good news is that I have already learned that I am not a quitter and I do not give up easily, some may even say stubborn.

I suppose the worst of times often bring a sense of thankfulness for certain things that you may not have seen before. I am forever indebted to my parents for teaching me the value of the outdoors. I would be hopelessly lost if I didn’t have an escape in training. Breathing hard and being surrounded by the natural environment has allowed for moments of clarity, for escape, for peace, and for meaning.  Family has always meant a lot to me, but when they are there for you immediately, when they are flying back and forth across the country to show their support, and when they don’t let you loose sight, your meaning in family grows a little deeper. I also learned that a true friend is a rare commodity and something that should be treated as so. I can’t believe how tolerant and patient my true friends have been. They have been picking up my pieces right and left and gluing them back on me. I have found true friends in places I wasn’t necessarily looking and vice versa. I am very thankful for those that have found one of my belongings and thrown it back in the raft. I am grateful that Park City is my home and that I was able to spend the last two months there. I was able to participate in the U.S. Ski Team camp as well, giving me 2 weeks of some tough training with my own teammates and fast girls from all over.

I am now back in Alaska, where I hope to spend a little less time processing the last year and more time working on my studies, skiing, and preparing for the season. In many ways, I feel more driven and committed to my ski career than in the past as it seems to be the only path right now that is more predictable, safe, and can give back what I put into it. I know already that every time I pull a piece of myself back together, I grow a little stronger. I am approaching the strength of a steel wall and that is something that I can use to not only be a better ski racer, but a better person. 

As you might imagine, I was unable and unwilling to keep a blog the past two months, and I hope I still have followers even without my personal promoter, but as ski season approaches, I am back on the horse and hope to have weekly updates of adventures, results, and hopefully lots of good news. I appreciate hearing from you as well, so please never hesitate to send an email or leave a comment. Here's to a bright future!

Fall colors at home

Enjoying some single track

Getting the last few days of biking in

Climbing amazing mountains

With one of my best adventure buddies!

My beautiful home

Enjoying fall in a blizzard

Running lots of miles with Char

Getting work for our magic PT, Zuzana

Doing some racing at soldier hollow

Enjoying the post-race feelings

Spending time with great friends

August 17, 2014

New England Time

I chose to make a training block this summer in the East to spend time with my extended family and to see my boyfriend. August seemed like the best time since I find August to be the rainiest of months in Alaska, but still summery in the East, allowing me to extend my summer a bit! I first made a pit stop on SLC to pick up Mom before heading to NH. While I was still trying to get some training in, we had a bigger task at hand. We were to clean out all the barns, yes plural, at my grandparents house to get one step closer to being able to sell the house. It was quite the project and my Uncle Sam, who is nearly a spitting image of Bumps, worked dawn til dusk, just as Bumps did everyday, for a week while my mom, me, and 2 other Aunts pitched in where we could. Bumps was not one to throw things out so we really found some treasures. We had no shortage of WD-40, bailing twine, baskets, buckets, watering cans, and thermometers. At the end of the week, we had a barn sale, which was hugely successful and gave us a great glimpse at the local color...We had people buying stuff of us Friday as we were setting up and by Saturday at 9AM, the advertised opening time, we had sold everything of good value. Let's just say, the locals around there love a good deal. Unsure of when the house will sell, I took some time to swim in the pond a few more times and collected a few more pigs as a keepsake.

Yes, you are right, this is too brown to be the east. Pit stop in SLC, picking up mom
I found some great running trails in the area, where I ran into 2 black bears on one run! The first one  ran away from me, but left me thinking how maybe I was silly to leave my bear bell in Alaska and to be most worried about deer flys and ticks in the east. After summiting some "peaks" I found tons of wild blueberries, which clearly explains the large number of bears before I ran into another bear. This one was content with the blueberries and didn't care in the least about me.

Map of all the great trails I found! I was running alone, without water, and therefore no phone to take pics with...
Side note...We all opened our bags of new training gear to find skirts...thinking maybe our coach had actually lost his mind, we were thankful to learn it was a mistake, but they were ours so we have embraced the skirts by instating mini-skirt Mondays into our training. 
Patrick helped us out with the barn sale and then we headed west for Stratton, where Patrick is now coaching. Many of my teammates from Dartmouth are on the team so it's great to catch up with friends as well. I am very thankful for them to be so welcoming and treating me as part of the team while I am out here. The Canadian Men's team is here doing a camp and junior camps have been going on so it's been a busy and hard week of training!
Talking to a captive audience of juniors

Practicing some sprint tactics

Trying to find my sprint (in the white)

Warming up with coach Pat on the bike

Boys showing off their 6 packs

Jessie and I talking to a group of juniors

Sophie, with her 6 pack too, showing us how sprinting is really done

Our cheering squad.

SMS T2 team plus me!

Working with juniors on some skills

It's blueberry season!

T-shirt signing

Crushing some distance on the plethora of awesome roads in New England!
I have one more week of training in VT before heading back to AK. It's really great to mix up the training. I am thoroughly enjoying the undulating terrain and numerous roads as well as time with friends! Thanks SMS T2!

August 5, 2014

Parents Week

Mom and Dad finally came to visit me in Alaska! It was a short trip, but I secretly love being a travel agent so we had a full schedule!

Day 1 we explored around Anchorage. Mom and I rode bikes along the coast before taking Dad to the fish hatchery to see many King Salmon making their upstream run in Ship Creek. We finished the day with freshly caught Sockeye Salmon and salad from my garden!

The following day we headed south to Seward, one of my favorite little Alaskan towns. Mom and I hiked to the Harding Ice Field, a 600 square mile ice field that makes up the majority of Kenai Fjords National Park.

On day 3, we were thrilled to wake up to sunshine, a rarity in Seward! We toured the Sealife Center, another favorite place of mine, before jumping on a water taxi to Bear Glacier. We hiked and then kayaked into a camp near the glacier where we spent the night. Mom and I kayaked all around the glacier and the icebergs that have broken off of it, taking care not to get to close as they break and move often. We were fortunate enough to be able to camp in big weatherports keeping us very dry during a night of rain. After a nice morning kayak, we headed back to the mainland where we then drove to Soldotna for a fishing adventure.

 I made Dad get up at 3AM to get to the Kenai River before all the people and then proceded to out fish him, winning our bet and getting myself a plane ticket home in the fall! I guess it was a better day for me than him, but fortunately Dad fishes for the fun of it, while I only fish because I love Sockeye Salmon. The Kenai is a big river and is very famous for the big run of salmon. Thousands and thousands of people head there during the month of July and early August attempting to fill their freezer or just get a great Alaskan experience. It is outrageously busy! Sockeye, much to our dismay, don't always come upstream at the same time, making fishing for them a bit of a guessing game, trying to figure out when the big run will happen. The 2nd run this year, for whatever reason, was quite small and not intense, hence our bad luck. After returning to Anchorage, I went on one last hike with Mom before bringing them back to the airport.

Kings stuck below the dam

Trying to jump

The dam was just too big and none were able to make it up. (see fish on right hand side of dam jumping)

Alpine Fireweed, an Alaskan classic

A small herd of mountain goats on our way to the Harding Icefield

Lots of views

Looking out at the icefield

Harding icefield and Exit Glacier

Selfie with Mom

Mom enjoying the views

Add caption

Dad makes it to camp 
Some really blue ice

Ice and Sun

Approaching Bear Glacier

The edge of the glacier. Mom and I witnessed the glaicer calve once!

Teetering Icebergs

Our Tent

Day 2 of kayaking brought some wetter weather and some really cool clouds

I found some jellyfish!

Catching Salmon

 It was so fun to have visitors! Thanks Mom and Dad for the fun times!