Monday, April 21, 2014

A Day in the Spring

Welcome to Spring: back to normal class schedule, extra day light, running and biking (plus ball sports and other coordinated activities). As 8:00 classes come calling, the once focal training block has moved to the afternoon, and ensuring 100% completion in all classes becomes a priority. Since the nordic skiers are generally pretty good about staying up to date in class, we can all focus on more important things, like enjoying spring training! 

Some of the things that we can look forward to this spring: using our newly acquired football skills, mountain biking at Pine Hill Park, getting back into running shape, improving beach muscles in the gym, kicking a kickball as far as possible, the next calzone day, and sunshine. And, if you are Jack Elder (our lone lacrosse representative) lots of lacrosse. 

Here are some shots from today's football game and afternoon job/strength. 

Football line-up.

Riz has a cannon...!

Lovely campus, and some excellent athletes. 

Pushups and reach-unders. 

#beachmuscles. 

Russians. 

Bench press dudes- KG with some big weights.

The Witkowski siblings! Ana... do you really trust your spotter?


So, check back in and see what fun we can find this spring!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Season Wrap Up

Race season is over for all of our skiers, but there is still good snow for spring tours. This is a time to relax, review and start making plans for next year. We are on vacation so the blog will be quiet for awhile, but here is a very short recap of our season.
We had a very young, eager, fun team this year. Our on snow season started at Mte Ste Anne in early December and races started up just before x-mas. For the older SMS students, the season ended with a great trip to Europe. It was great fun following the exploits of our SMS T2 teammates as they raised the bar for the US in international competitions throughout the winter. Our highschool team raced all of NE and the World! On many weekends we had groups going in 3 different directions depending on what races we thought would be best for each. If you judge the season by the amount of smiles, we did a fine job; this was a great group.

Every year we have the same result based goals for our team. These include getting a top 10 at the Olympics or World Championships,  a top 10 at the U23 World Championships, a top 10 at Junior World Championships, a top 10 at the USST U18 Scando Cup races, extending our streak of at least 1 skier being named to the World Jr team and at least 1 gold medal at Jr Nationals. Obviously a J3 will not be getting one of these results right now, but everyone is part of the team and we are all stronger through our collective efforts and support of each other.
So...here is how we did:
Olympics: Jessie D 8th in Skiathlon, Sophie C 6th in sprint (best ever result by US female).
U23's: Jessie D 2nd in sprint (best ever result by US female).
World Jrs: Patrick Caldwell 10th in Skiathlon (top US result for the year).
U18 Scando Races: Katharine Ogden 8th (top US result for the year).
World Jr Team members and Junior National Gold medal streaks both extended to 18 straight years.

Wow...add to this the fact that Andy N, Simi H, Jessie D and Sophie all went to the Olympics and  finished the year in the World Cup red groups, all 8 SMS T2 skiers placed in the top 10 in Sr National races, Katharine Ogden won all four distance races for juniors at Sr and Jr Nationals and Adam W was undefeated this year as a J3 and you have lots of stuff to be proud about.

GOOD SMILES, GOOD RESULTS, GOOD YEAR. Thanks to everyone for being a part of it!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

News from Europe!

Even though we are finally enjoying the comforts of home, family, and sleeping in, Europe is still on our minds... at least for me. This may either be because there hasn't been a blog post in over a week (slight lack of internet in France), or because we just finished the most amazing skiing, cultural, and team bonding trip of the year. Either way, despite the lack of updates and parental contact, the second half of the trip remained great. We continued to adventure around Europe, hop into some very high level races, and to rely heavily on our host's good English and Tess & Tegans good french (thank you guys!)

To sum up what you missed.

We left Italy's Passo Lavazè, and drove toward France. We left post race, and made it to a small town underneath Mt. Blanc, and spent the night there.

Then, we went through the 11km tunnel under Mt. Blanc, and popped out in Chamonix, France! We spent a few hours wandering around the popular town, and then continued to our destination near Les Rousse, France. The hotel-motel was nice, but 'nice' in a kind of dirty, smelly, and internet-less way.

Friday was a classic sprint race for French Nationals: it was also the only time that Matt and I really needed to stress about kick wax/klister. This processes was made easier by teaming up with Dan & the Vail team, who had also made their way to France. Highlights: KO winning, and the US learning that the French youth can go very hard and fast.

On Saturday,we had a mass start skate race. Again, KO won, despite falling & going down the wrong lane, and Riz passed about eight people on the last lap. Jack's gutsy race featured him passing a bunch of people in the last lap too, as he went down the lane with a very fast group of skiers. Post race antics included Tegan, KO and Lafe charming their way onto a Poma Lift  and enjoying some sunny, tank-top norpining, an awards ceremony for France's senior stars, and night sledding down a surprisingly icy alpine slope.

Finally, Sunday featured a beautiful travel day, and adventure through Geneva. We took a couple hours to walk around, take water taxis, and see the important stuff, and then had a team dinner/desert. At this point, a motivated group took to adventuring, and returned to the lovely, inspiring old city in search of a romantic 14th century town square to enjoy hot chocolate with whipped cream while sitting under the warm orange blankets provided by the café. Needless to say, we found it.

Monday, we flew home, and that is where you find us now.

As I conclude with the writing, I regret to say that the pictures below are only my photos, and are missing the countless valuable shots taken by the 11 photographers on this trip. Hopefully I can get my hands on some of them soon....!



PASSO LAVAZÈ RACE
A picture from our walk along the obstacle/fitness course below Mt. Blanc. 
The high of my trip: Jack signing dozens of autographs for little kids, despite many of the racers being World Cup skiers for France/Italy/Switzerland. 

#biggestfans 

Watching the boys race. 

This is an alpine racer who jumped in the race, and was quickly off the back. Good thing his alpine friends didn't mind pushing him up the hills.  

KG! He was about 5-6 seconds behind this guy at the bottom of the hill, but saddled up and blew by him just before the finish. 

Lafeé skied an awesome, consistant race. He was steady, and never gave up. I think he likes the long stuff. 

The big guns. 

The start: about 80 very fast men. 


LES ROUSSE, FRANCE!

Jack in the classic sprint. 

KG 

Striding up the massive hill. 

Going under the bridge. 

Aw...!

KO Mid race

KO winning. 

It was absolutely hilarious watching her be interviewed, and hearing her amazing french accent blare all around us on the megaphone. "Ah, c'est tres vite?" 


SKATE RACE

Mass start!

So handsome in that yellow coaches bib

The boys

Another smart, consistant race by Lafé

The view of the back half of the race course. 

People lined the fences to watch the race: there was a great foot/beverage stand at the very top. 

Jack, skiing from under the bridge. 

Lafé

Post race water-spray-celebration. HUGE congrats to Jack for finishing his last nordic race as an SMS racer. He sure went out firing hard. 

Riz pushing hard. 

Cobb & her lovely braids. 

Tegan's braids also looked great. 

Witkowski! She had a smart, relaxed race. 

The Pip herself. 

Tess showing off her guns. 

KO, for the win. 

Her smile also won today. 

Stars and stripes!

Post race nutrients and joy. 

Tess gives her fierce post race model shot. Also a HUGE congratulations to Tess, who also raced her last nordic race as an SMSer! 

GENEVA!

KO...! Thats inappropriate. 

Riding the Poma Lift

Hitting sweet power lines

Skiing over the boarder of Switzerland & France (which happened about 4 times on this ski)

The Pizza ATM, as Matt calls it. 

Sitting on Lake Geneva!

Big buildings, little people. 

Team final dinner!

Post lake-side desert. 

During our evening adventure. 

Warm blankets, hot cocoa, whipped cream, and fun 'questions' games. 

Check out that fountain in the background!

Stats: the fountain shoots 132 gallons of water per second over 459 feet into the air. At any given moment, there are about 1850 gallons of water in the air. Wow. And, its beautiful at night. 

Too bad we missed this...... "School of Ku-Fun, Geneva." Next time. 

Thanks to everyone on this trip: it was such a blast, and I learned a lot about European cappuccinos. Many thanks to Matt for organizing this huge endeavor! We are all more cultured, experienced, and aware of global racing for it.