November 30, 2015

Ruka Triple

The World Cup started with a bang with a 3 stage mini tour in Kuusamo, Finland. Kuusamo is close to the Arctic Circle and with some combination of where the village is in relation to the hill and the numerous snow guns in action, there is almost always some moisture in the air and not a whole lot of sun. But Kuusamo has it’s own beauty with long steep climbs and rip roaring descents and fortunately plenty of snow given the warm temperatures we experienced.

This weekend was a bit like the first week of college where everything gets thrown at you at once and you have to figure out a way to piece through it, learn quickly, and keep things moving.

The first day was a classic sprint, with an infamous steep hill into the stadium that often makes or breaks races. I didn’t quite find what I was looking for up the hill and missed out on the heats, but it sure got the ball rolling and helped me to think about what I need to work on in the coming weeks. We did have four girls makes the heats and Andy found some great speed finishing the day in 4th!

The next day, 5k skate, brought some mist and warm temperatures plus another infamous downhill where my teammate Noah Hoffman broke his ankle last year. I had a solid race, finishing in 35th with again, two teammates inside the top 20!

The last day was a pursuit start 10k classic in which we start based on our rank of the previous two races combined. In this manner, the first person across the line wins the whole mini-tour. I like this style because it allows me to start with people of similar ability and let me focus a bit more on the girls I am skiing around. It turned out to be a wax tech’s nightmare with a light freeze over night after the rain a some new snow on top. This is very tricky to find kick and every girl out there struggled so it was a matter of finding ways to make things work. This is where skiing on snow differs so much from rollerskis as the kick and glide on rollerskis never changes so you are never forced to adjust your technique for the given conditions. As a result, I learned so much throughout the course of the race, trying different things over and over until by the last lap I had found something that was working quite well. I ended up finishing the tour in the same place I started, 34th, making for a solid weekend and a good start to the season. Sadie kept up her speed and finished the in 14th leading the USA.

It’s been a weekend full of reflection with all the lessons of racing and skiing coming rushing back to me as I moved through all the races. This is a great way to start for me as I hope to keep all those lessons in mind in the coming weeks and creep my way up the results list.

We are now headed to Lillehammer, Norway to prepare for the next weekend of racing.

Sadie and the giant snowman!

Racing! (Anatolii Tsymbalov Photo)

Sadie sprinting well! (Nordic Focus Photo)
Check out the snowbound podcast if you haven't already. I will be featured every week as I talk about the different experiences I have out on the race course so check back weekly for udpates: 

November 23, 2015

Arctic Start

After 30 or so hours of travel and 5 flights plus a 3 hr drive, I made it from Anchorage to Gallivare, Sweden. The travel day was long, but everything went well so I can't complain too much.

Gallivare is 100km above the arctic circle, however, I awoke to light shinning in my window the first morning. Knowing that I was so far above the arctic circle, I panicked, thinking I must have slept in until 11, knowing that the sun was rising around 9:30 in Anchorage before I left. I checked my watch to see that it was only 8. With all the timezone we traveled through, I wasn't sure if I believed my watch so I grabbed my phone and it too said 8. Still confused, I had to look up the sunrise and sunset of Gallivare before I could be sure it was actually only 8AM. I learned that the sun that day was indeed supposed to be up at 8:30AM, however, setting by 2:30 and loosing around 10 minutes of that daylight each day. The sunrise is relative as the sun just moves a little bit across the horizon before setting so I don't think I actually saw or felt direct sunlight the whole the week. Despite a lack of sun, the arctic has a unique beauty that I very much enjoy. There was lots of snow and great skiing, making for a good first week of getting our feet under us and shaking out the cobwebs.

There were two races over the weekend that the U.S. Team participated in as a warm up for the coming World Cups. I chose to just do one race as I was fortunate enough to be on snow in Anchorage before leaving.

The week was highlighted by visiting our old wax tech Peter's house in Gallivare and being treated to amazing food cooked by his family. The U.S. team also seems to be in good form taking quite a few podium spots over the course of the weekend. I felt satisfied with my race, but hope to get a little more speed in the coming weeks.

Leaving the beautiful mountain of AK

The view out the window

Erik doing some race prep

Sadie enjoying a ski

Jessie and Sophie sprinting

Celebrating Sadie's birthday

Morning in Gallivare

The Stadium (Hoff photo)

Sun shining over the horizon (hoff photo)

Baking in Europe provides a number of challenges converting measurements and translating ingredients at the store, but Jessie and I were successful in baking Sadie a birthday cake and Caitlin did some fine decorating!
The World Cup starts this Friday in Ruka, Finland! NBC will be airing and/or live streaming all of our races this winter!!!! Check out the schedule here:  I believe most races will be available on demand using NBC Live Extra, however, you may need to be a subscriber to NBCSN to be able to view. Live timing and results will be available at 

Additionally, I will be featured on a podcast throughout the season sharing stories of racing on the World Cup. My first episode can be found here:

November 16, 2015

Let the Season Commence

After an amazing month of training and adventuring in Utah, I flew back to AK to find a blanket of snow! We got on snow the next day and were able to ski everyday after that until my departure for Europe, now how is that for good planning! Nothing beats a month of sun and warmth straight to snow! And now for a photo stream to catch up on the last block of summer training.
Fast and Female Park City-teaching girls some ski bounding!

Turkey crossing on our way south for a little vacay

Nothing makes me happier than the desert!

We even witnessed a flash flood

Checked out some slot canyons

It was a bit wet so we had to do some swimming to get through the canyon

Hitting up the biking in Fruita to cap off a great week of fun!
Then we had 2.5 weeks of camp with the US Ski Team. I love rollerskiing up canyons in Utah! 
We got our uniforms and man did we make out well! Thanks LL Bean and Craft for getting us so well outfitted this year. 

Sadie was so excited she had to wear her long underwear home while lugging around our suitcases full of more amazing gear!

Back in Anchorage, we were busy skiing and also busy with fundraisers and special events. Here we are at a Special Olympics fundraiser.
APU held a sendoff and thank you to our donors before leaving. 
After a very hectic two weeks in AK, I finally boarded 5 different flights and made my journey across the globe to Gallivare, Sweden where we are adjusting to the time change, training, and getting ready for the World Cup Season to begin. We will be racing in some warm up races this weekend to be sure we are ready for the Start of the World Cup over Thanksgiving weekend in Finland. 
At this point, I do not know exactly which races I will be racing in or exactly how the season will unfold but this schedule will at least give an idea of what country we are in. I have much more time on my hands now that I am in Europe so I hope to be more consistent with updates. Follow my athlete page on facebook for more current updates

November 2, 2015

Tis the Season of Giving

Happy November!

With just two weeks left in the U.S. before I embark on a 5 month World Cup tour, life seems to get a little busy with everything from packing and cleaning to hours on 1-800 numbers straightening out insurance, credit cards, and cell phones. 

It's easy to get caught up in the excitement of this journey with 9 different countries and 40+ races, but planning ahead is always required. As an unfunded B Team athlete, I am responsible for 100% of my travel and racing expenses for the next 5 months. The World Cup costs $140/ day for room and board in addition to airfare, other transportation expenses, and travel incidentals adding up to $30,000 for the season. 

This is a hefty amount to raise on my own so I am reliant on different organizations to help me get there. The National Nordic Foundation is one such group. They work to fund the development of cross country skiing within the U.S. They fund projects like World Junior/ U23 Championships, OPA cup racing, and the unfunded B Team athletes. I have been on many trips they have supported including World Junior/U 23 Championships, OPA Cup, and most recently World Championships. The NNF helped me to cover all my expenses for the World Championships, allowing me to grow as an athlete, achieve my goals, and be in the position I am today-about to embark on my first full World Cup tour. 

I believe by asking for small donations to the NNF from friends, family, and supporters, I will in turn receive a much greater amount from the NNF in the end as they are in the midst of a big nationwide fundraising project. Their fundraiser, the Drive for 25, emphasizes the number of donors, not the amount donated. Please consider a small donation by clicking the link to my fundraising page:  

The fundraiser ends the night of November 12th, which also marks my last night in the U.S. Please follow me during my season through my website If you would rather donate directly to me and not the NNF, please do so through my webpage or contact me directly. 

Thanks for the continued support and here's to a winter full of snow!

Who wouldn't want to support this good looking and speedy bunch?