A very merry little break.

Christmas has gone and passed, along with our little break from the World Cup. I’m now in Switzerland gearing up for the second period of the World Cup which starts with the Tour De Ski.

Not much snow but lots of frost here in Lenzerheide, Switzerland.

Not much snow but lots of frost here in Lenzerheide, Switzerland.

Lenzerheide, Switzerland.

Lenzerheide, Switzerland.

Lenzerheide, Switzerland

Lenzerheide, Switzerland

The first period of the World Cup, which consisted of two weekends in Scandinavia and two weekends in Central Europe, came to an end right before Christmas. I had mixed feelings with how it went. Part of me is really happy and relieved with my racing but the louder voice in my head is slightly disappointed and very hungry for better results. I had one race in Lillehammer that I can hang my hat on. It was in the 4x7.5 km relay, most people don't check the individual leg splits, but I had the fastest second leg against some of the best classic racers around. It's hard to describe the way I felt during the race, what I think happened was that all the factors came together on that day and I felt light, quick, and in control the whole race. A third of a way through my leg I realized I was feeling great and my skis were equally as good, I knew that even though some of the guys around me had groupies and cars with their names on them, today was going to be MY day! I was handed off in 15th place, in a pack of about five guys. I skied away from all of them and was able to pass a few more teams and hand off in 5th place. We held that position for the majority of the race but got eaten up by a group just a couple kilometers from the finish. It was possibly one of the best races of my life and close to being a historic day for the U.S. Men.  No matter what the end result was, it felt awesome to be competitive with the best in the world. 

Me with the trophy that Liz Stephens found in the hall and awarded me.

Me with the trophy that Liz Stephens found in the hall and awarded me.

The snow situation in Europe right now, if you haven't heard, is very sad!!! There is almost no natural snow anywhere. Skiing on white little paths in the woods was the theme of the first period, I kind of forget what skiing in real winter conditions feels like. It sounds like all the snow has landed in Western U.S. Luckily the race organizers at all these venues work their butts off, so we haven't had any cancelled races. Also on the bright side, the mountain running is amazing!!

Running in the mountains with Marine on a recovery day.

Running in the mountains with Marine on a recovery day.

Marine with the Dolomite mountains in the background.

Marine with the Dolomite mountains in the background.

A black and white picture I took of some snowless mountains in Italy.

A black and white picture I took of some snowless mountains in Italy.

Over Christmas break I was able to visit my girlfriend, Marine, in her home town, Villard De Lans, France. It's located in the Vercors, near the big city of Grenoble. I’ve spent a fair amount of time there in the last few years in both the winter and summer. I’m starting to feel very comfortable there, almost like my second home and it's quickly becoming one of my favorite destinations. We had a great time celebrating Christmas with her family and just relaxing and enjoying the holiday season!

Christmas dinner with the Dusser family.

Christmas dinner with the Dusser family.

Marine and I.

Marine and I.

My christmas present from Marines parents, Bruno and Chantal was the corner section of their wine seller. My wine collection begins.

My christmas present from Marines parents, Bruno and Chantal was the corner section of their wine seller. My wine collection begins.

While I was there I competed in a night race that was held in town. The atmosphere was great and the competition was super fun! It was nice to be back in a low stress race where people were just there to have fun and nobody really cared about the results. Reminds me of when I was younger and I used to travel around the PNSA with my family. Of course, once I toed the line, the competitive side of me kicked in. There were still probably 10 or 15 pretty strong guys going hard. I was stoked to be competing for the win and to come out on top. The guy in second has become a good friend and training partner of mine, he has a strong resume including a medal in the last Olympics and World Champs.

Rossignol made a few of the top athletes some personalized racing suits.

Rossignol made a few of the top athletes some personalized racing suits.

Thats it for now! Thanks for reading, and like always THANKS SO MUCH for the support!


First Race Weekend

It feels great to have the first race weekend down in the books. I was trying my best to hide it, but the truth is, I was quite nervous the last month or so leading into this season starting. I had almost no idea of where my fitness was at after a less than ideal summer of training (injuries). The races in Gällivare didn't have a super deep field but there were at least 5 guys with World Championship medals competing, plus another 20 or so guys with World Cup experience. It's just the beginning, but I got a good taste of what's possible this winter.

Fresh corduroy on the trail everyday!! 

Fresh corduroy on the trail everyday!! 

We had two races, a classic sprint and a skate 15km. The atmosphere was pretty chill which was a nice way to start off the season. I think everyone was pinning it and giving it their all, but doing it with a little less stress. I felt really good in the classic sprint and finished 8th. I made a few tactical errors early in the semi finals that I think costed me from moving onto the finals and a shot at the podium. The distance race wasn't quite as good. It was an individual start 15km skate, I had a nice fast start but lost the drive I needed for the middle 5km. I didn't meet up with any other racers on the course, which made for a long race.  I still finished 10th, which was a surprise. I felt strong and efficient, the small technique adjustments I've been working on seem to be paying off. I think I'm just in need of some more hard efforts to get the engine running at full capacity. I'll have plenty of opportunities coming up soon.

Picture from the race.

Picture from the race.

Now we're on the road again. Road trips are fun but my legs are feeling a little stiff after being in the car all day post race weekend. Either way it's pretty sweet to be able to road trip in northern Scandanavia. I spent the first few hours talking with my buddy Bird, more formally known as Kris Freeman :) .. He's an awesome dude. He's been on the World Cup circuit for the most part of the last 15 years and has been in the top 10 countless times. I can learn a lot from an experienced old buck like him.  His stories plus the good view makes for another fun day. It's -6 Fahrenheit and pretty clear, but there is only 6 or so hours of light up here so if you blink you might miss your chance at seeing the sun. 

View from the backseat. Frozen window and a reindeer.

View from the backseat. Frozen window and a reindeer.

 

Next stop is Ruka, Finland. This weekend is the opening weekend of the World Cup. We have three races; a classic sprint, a 10k skate, and a 15km classic. This will be my second time racing in Ruka. I'm not quite as experienced as Bird or the other World Cup veterans, but it's always an advantage to have experience racing a course. A lot of the venues I will be racing at this year will be ones I have raced on before. Most of the guys that are getting podiums have lots of experience at all of these venues. I'm not an expert on this sport but it seems like the more you train, the more you race, and the more experience you get- the better your results get...  

 

Thanks for reading, and as always, THANKS for the support! 

View from hotel

View from hotel

It was cool living up on the hill above town. The long sunrises and sunsets were really pretty.

It was cool living up on the hill above town. The long sunrises and sunsets were really pretty.

Gällivare

Hello friends, family, and blog readers,

Its been a while since I've done an online update so I should start by giving you a quick recap from my summer and fall...

To sum it up in one sentence; my sister got married, I ski trained a lot, I got closer to finishing my degree at Alaska Pacific University, and I had a TON of fun between it all! Here are a few pictures:

I tried to spend more time in the mountains then indoors. 

I bought some binoculars which has been a game changer for running off trails. Here is a picture of me trying to find a safe-ish looking route for the morning run.

Now onto current news; I'm in Gällivare, Sweden. I flew over here from Alaska a few days ago. It's a few ski lengths above the Arctic Cirlce, which means it's slightly darker and colder then most of the world. Since we arrived it has been nothing but perfect. The snow has been falling most of the time and the piston bully has been keeping the trails in top form. 

This is my first time to Gällivare, so it's been pretty fun and exciting to see the new area. About 8,000 people call this place home. We are staying right outside of town next to the nordic tracks and the downhill ski resort. A few times it has cleared up and I've gotten a good birds eye view of town.

Here is a picture I took from in front of our hotel last night:

And here is a picture of Sadzarue on our evening walk.

 

The ski trails here are no joke, they are hilly, twisty, and fun. They have been making artificial snow to add to the natural snow. I feel like I haven't seen this much snow in a couple years, it's a great feeling!

This is a picture of one of the snow guns:

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Here are a few pictures I took while skiing around with my teammates. Notice our new Stars and Stripes suits. 

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The Rossignol ski service man, Simon Caprini showed up yesterday. He brought me some new boards and has been helping me get my fleet ready to go for this season. It's been really fun working with Simon and Rossignol, the skis are great and the service is unbeatable.

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That is it for today. I'll try to keep you all updated throughout my season. I can't promise a lot of writing but I take lots of pictures so I figure I might as well share them. 

As always thank you all for your support. This sport takes a lot of help from family, friends, and the community. I wouldn't have made it very far without your help.

December

Congratulations everyone on making it through the year 2014. It wasn’t a bad one for me, in fact it was probably one of my better years so far.

For the first time ever I got to start my ski season over here in Europe racing on the World Cup circuit. I’m used to following the World Cup circuit from back in the U.S. I must admit I wasn’t great at watching the races live but I almost always checked the results within hours of the finish. For some reason I always had a feeling the U.S. Ski Team was racing so much in the first part of the season. Now that I’m the one over here I felt like the first period zipped by. Luckily right now I’m enjoying sprint racing and distance racing equally so I got to start every race, total that was nine starts. Looking back at the nine races I felt like I learned something from each one and I’m overall pretty satisfied. Of course I would have preferred to have won at least a couple but I’m a patient person. Most guys ski on the World Cup for years, some even a decade before they get their first podium. I feel like I have a lot to accomplish in my lifetime so I don’t want to wait a decade but somewhere in between would be nice. 

Sometimes I feel like a beginner over here on the world cup so I thought this picture was fitting. This is my family and I when I was a real beginner.

Sometimes I feel like a beginner over here on the world cup so I thought this picture was fitting. This is my family and I when I was a real beginner.

The last part of period one(early season) races were held in Davos. Davos is a great place, a lot of the American team has spent long stretches of time there; doing preparation camps or just taking breaks from the World Cup. I spent three weeks in Davos two years ago before the World Championships in Val Di Fiemme. I really enjoy Davos, although this time wasn’t as winter friendly as last time. There wasn’t quite as much snow as there should be at this time and so the skiing was limited. Usually you can ski right from our hotel doorstep. This time I did a lot more running from our hotel, which as most of you know I enjoy running so it didn’t bother me to much. I was able to find some pretty cool single tracks to explore. Here are some pictures from Davos:

The hotel the U.S. Ski Team always stays at. The owner is a super nice guy and makes sure we feel at home.

The hotel the U.S. Ski Team always stays at. The owner is a super nice guy and makes sure we feel at home.

It's a very pretty place...

It's a very pretty place...

Swiss style house

Swiss style house

After the Davos World cups, and the end of period one on the World Cup, we had a two week break. I spent that time in Villard De Lans, where my girlfriend is living. I’ve visited Villard the last couple of summers. It’s in the French Alps and feels a lot like the Methow Valley where I grew up, so it was the perfect little place to get some R&R, rest and recovery. There are a lot of top level winter athletes living there too, so it’s always easy to find some good training partners to show me around. Here are some pictures from my time in France:

Villard De Lans

Villard De Lans

Town

Town

It's a pretty fun town to wonder around..

It's a pretty fun town to wonder around..

Lots of narrow allies..

Lots of narrow allies..

Grenoble is very close, just a 45 minute drive down a narrow road. This picture is taken right before the road drops into town.

Grenoble is very close, just a 45 minute drive down a narrow road. This picture is taken right before the road drops into town.

It was really fun to celebrate Christmas in France, little different then an American Christmas..

It was really fun to celebrate Christmas in France, little different then an American Christmas..

WAY MORE FOOD! 

WAY MORE FOOD! 

Marine

Marine

Sadie joined me for the last few days, it was sweet to finally introduce her to my girlfriends family and to show her around the area.

Sadie and Marine

Sadie and Marine


Lillehammer

I’ve heard so many stories about Lillehammer, it was nice to finally visit the nordic skiing mecca.  My experience was similar to some of the others I have heard, great ski trails and great food. We were in Lillehammer for only 6 days and of those 6 days we were racing 3, so I actually didn’t get to explore the area as much as I would have liked to. 

The city is next to a huge lake, lake Mjøsa. I'ts actually the biggest lake in Norway although it isn't very wide across.  There is a bridge right out of town and the picture below is taken from that bridge.

As you can see from the picture Lillehammer is on a hill. The race venue was somewhere near the top and we were staying at a nice hotel about half way up the hill. It was just a short walk from the hotel down to town and I was able to make it down there a couple of times. There was a street that was blocked off to vehicles and lined with stores. The town was pretty well dressed with Christmas decorations, it was super pretty and it definitely got me in the christmas spirit. Norway tends to be a pretty expensive place so I kept most of my money in my pocket and just enjoyed the views.

The venue was spectacular! The trails were wide, the tracks were hard, and the fans were loud! It was hard not to have a fun time skiing out there. I also like hills, and this course had plenty of them. The race track felt like a mix between screaming fast downhills and steady uphills. On a course like this it’s important to feel fit or your going to loose a lot of time, really fast. Luckily I feel like my fitness has been steadily coming up the last few weeks and I was at a good spot this weeekend, so I was very happy with my results.

The races were set up in a Mini Tour format, it was my first ever tour race on the World Cup. I really enjoy this type of format. We had three races in a row and the last day is a pursuit start. A pursuit start is when they start all the competitors based on their time back from the leaders in the previous races. I started 1 minute and 45 seconds back from the leader and in 53rd place. 

I climbed a few spots the last day and ended up finishing the tour in 39th place. I put together three races  that I was pretty happy with and I can honestly say I had a TON of fun! Of course I would have loved to win, but I have not put in the time yet. As my boy Macklemore says, it takes 10,000 hours…. according to my calculations I should be able to win in a couple years :)

Thanks for reading and for all your support! Now I'm in beautiful Davos, Switzerland. It's nice to be a little closer to the equator, little more sun down here. 

Finish land!

Ladies and gentlemen fasten your seatbelt because the ski season is about to start and things are going to get wild! This year, for the first time ever I’m starting my season on the World Cup. You could say I’m stepping up to the big leagues.

I made it to Finland a little over a week ago now. I met up with the rest of the U.S. Ski Team in a small airport in Finland and from there we drove up to Munio. Munio is north of the article circle and so there is limited amounts of sun right now. It feels like it goes from sunrise to sunset within seconds. The town pretty much consists of a gas station, a hardware store, a school, a hotel, and two grocery stores; which seems like one more then necessary. It wasn’t the most exciting place but we were just there to ski, so it was perfect. The hotel was sweet, it had a cabin like feel to it and it was located right next to the ski track. 

Most of the time we were there it was well below twenty degrees and foggy. The fog mixed with the cold temperature left a solid layer of ice on the trees which looked pretty cool! 

This is my first year skiing on Rossignol so I’ve been doing lots of testing. I’m super excited with the new boards, they are definitely a step up in speed and overall feel…. I guess that means I have no excuses for not racing faster this year. 

    Photo Credit: Engine Room Productions

On Tuesday we drove from Munio to Kussamo. I guess the World Cup has started here in Kussamo for a while, so some of the veterans on the team are pretty used to the flow of things here. This is my first time to the small resort town. I’ve only been here for two days so far but I really like it. I’ve skied around the race course a couple times now and I think I can say it’s the hardest course I’ve ever seen. The hills are big and steep, I’m pretty excited to get my stride on!

The stadium is spectacular! Today it cleared up for a while and I was able to snap a couple of pictures.

Like always it's nice to have my sister, Sadie with me. 

I'm really excited to be over here! It didn't happen over night, thanks for everyones support!

Cheers and happy Thanksgiving from Finland.

Question of the day: How much would you have to get paid to hit this jump?


Drive for 25

Fun Facts:

Alaska has had 55 donations.

         Alaska population: 735,132 people

Washington has had 37 donations.

        Washington population: 6.971 million people

If you live in Kentucky and you donated today you will be the first person from your state to donate to this great cause. That would give mad bragging rights!

 

I’m asking all of my friends and family to chip in 25$ to support U.S. cross country skiing. This money goes directly into a fund created by the National Nordic Foundation. NNF supports young cross country skiers and allows them to take skiing to the next level. If we all give $25 it’s going to make a difference and it’s going to make cross country skiing more popular in the U.S. and Kentucky!

I donated 25 dollars from here in Alaska.

NNF Donation page:

https://support.nationalnordicfoundation.org/fundraise?fcid=352703

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Snow-time

I just got back from an awesome camp in Park City. I spent two weeks down there training with the National Team. It was a great way to finish off my last big block of training before winter. Now I have a few weeks at home in Alaska. For the most part, I will spend my time preparing for the long season ahead. Getting my "business" stuff in order so I'm ready to be Europe and away from home for six months and also make the final adjustments to the body. These last adjustments for me consist of firing up all the ski muscles and doing a couple of fake races in the woods to make sure all the cylinders are working. Then I'll let the training load from the summer and fall settle a bit so I'm nice and fresh when I set foot in Europe. I'm very excited to see how my skiing homework has been going this year. It's been around 7 months since my last cross country ski race, so I'm the only one that knows how things are going. I look forward to showing the world what I've been up to. I feel like the training has been going well, but I want to let the results speak for themselves.

 

My first World Cup race is November 28th in Finland. I've never been that far north in Finland and I always enjoy seeing new venues!

 

Here are a few pictures from the Park City camp:

Paddy Caldwell, the newest member of the U.S. Ski Team. Great addition to the crew!

Paddy Caldwell, the newest member of the U.S. Ski Team. Great addition to the crew!

I got to visit the Rossignols main headquarters in the U.S. This is my first year racing on Rossignol skis/boots and so far I'm blown away with the great product and service! 

I got to visit the Rossignols main headquarters in the U.S. This is my first year racing on Rossignol skis/boots and so far I'm blown away with the great product and service! 

Alaska Pacific University athletes Eric Packer and Scott Patterson skiing on the Soldier Hollow track, the 2002 Olympic venue.

Alaska Pacific University athletes Eric Packer and Scott Patterson skiing on the Soldier Hollow track, the 2002 Olympic venue.

Getting this winter started off right! Stopping around in the mountains behind Anchorage.

Pictures from this fall:

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June

It's mid June already, time is flying! I'm a back in full on training mode, trying to build a fitness that can take me to the next level. The last couple days the training load really caught up to me, my legs are fried. Luckily I have tomorrow off and then I'm headed up to Eagle Glacier for a week of on snow training. I made a short video from my three hour rollerski this morning. Here it is:

Disappearing For a Quick Month

You know you spend a lot of time away from home when being back feels like a vacation. Even though I have been busy lately it’s just so nice to be sleeping in my own bed, catching up on things, and spending every second of my free time outside.  Alaska has been absolutely beautiful this month. I feel like 99% of the time it has been sunny, clear, and really warm!

April was a month dedicated to resting. Being on the road all winter can be a little stressful on the mind and body. I had some results that made me feel like I was on cloud nine, with those results came some extremely disappointing races. All the excitement from the season though left me feeling depleted in March. The best way for me to prepare for my next season is to rest, refocus, and get amped.

I’m to the third stage already. I put in my time resting, which for me is not always easy. I had to turn off my race mind and do things that would give my body some time to heal. I spent some time in the backcountry, took a trip to Seattle to visit family and sponsors, and got a bunch of schoolwork done.

I think the best way to show what I did this spring is with some pictures so here we go:

I hopped on a jet plane and flew down to Seattle...

I hopped on a jet plane and flew down to Seattle...

Seattle gets some rain but when it shines it's a beautiful city!

Seattle gets some rain but when it shines it's a beautiful city!

While I was in Seattle I visited some of my sponsors and supporters.

While I was in Seattle I visited some of my sponsors and supporters.

It's expensive to race all over the world. Lund Engineering has been super generous and they are definitely one of my KEY components to reaching the next level. I made this bib for them to hang in their office. 

It's expensive to race all over the world. Lund Engineering has been super generous and they are definitely one of my KEY components to reaching the next level. I made this bib for them to hang in their office. 

I got to hang out with Rhodes and Betty Buttler, some new nordic skiing fans.

I got to hang out with Rhodes and Betty Buttler, some new nordic skiing fans.

They got some team Bjornsen shirts to bring to "show and tell".

They got some team Bjornsen shirts to bring to "show and tell".

It's been a while since I have gotten to play around in the Seattle so I made sure to hit up all of my favorite spots.

It's been a while since I have gotten to play around in the Seattle so I made sure to hit up all of my favorite spots.

Lots of cool art downtown

Lots of cool art downtown

My Grandma and Grandpa took me up the Space Needle when I was really young. It was great to experience it again!

My Grandma and Grandpa took me up the Space Needle when I was really young. It was great to experience it again!

We were really lucky with the weather.  Marine made sure to get 10,000 pictures…. 

We were really lucky with the weather.  Marine made sure to get 10,000 pictures…. 

Had to hit up Pike Place Market of course!

Had to hit up Pike Place Market of course!

Back to Alaska

Back to Alaska

The crust skiing was good in the mornings all the way into May.

The crust skiing was good in the mornings all the way into May.

Nothing beats crust skiing in Alaska. 

Nothing beats crust skiing in Alaska. 

Most of the mountains around town are snow free, so the mountain running is great right now!

Most of the mountains around town are snow free, so the mountain running is great right now!

Now its back to rollerskiing! 

Now its back to rollerskiing! 

and training hard!

and training hard!

Thanks for reading AND thank YOU for supporting me!  I'm on my way to Bend, OR for my first U.S. Ski Team camp of the 2014-2015 season, lets get this thing going! Time to reach for the stars and let everyone know what the U.S. is made of.