The Continental Cup season has come to a close with the finale going down in Russia last weekend. As I mentioned before I went to that event with Ben, Jared, Grant, and our coach Tomas. Other than Ben I haven’t seen the other boys all that much this season so it was great to spend more time with them. I have also never been to Russia before so it was cool to travel to a new country. Most of the traveling that we do in Central Europe is fairly similar to the US in regard to the culture, cuisine, etc. Or perhaps I have spent so much time in Europe it starts to feel very similar to me, but Russia was different. For starters they have a whole different alphabet that I can’t even pretend to understand. We were also very far East, so far that we were technically in Asia. Naturally our travel there was not ideal, we took two red eye flights and then a bus ride on very bumpy roads to finally reach our hotel around 8am (after leaving GER at 5pm the previous day). We all went straight to our rooms, set alarms so we wouldn’t sleep to long, then proceeded to sleep right through them we were so tired. Check out the map below of where we traveled to.
For the final weekend of Continental Cup Competition’s we had a three day event, starting with a 1 jump 5km race. The venue in Russia is extremely windy as well adding to the mental challenges each athlete is facing on comp day. With the first day only being a 5km race it isn’t possible to make up as much time on people in front of you during the race, you end up skiing with the people you jump close to. It turned into a fun race, both Ben and I ended up in the same group of about 6 or 7 athletes jockeying for positions throughout the race (I believe we finished in 15th& 18th). On the second day of comps was a 1 jump Mass start 10km. This is different from most days as we race first thing in the morning, and it’s a race that turns into mayhem for the first bit. I started right in the middle of the group and it was a wild first lap of people trying to move forward, getting their poles stepped on, getting cut off and spending too much energy. Nordic Combine skiers are not experienced mass start racers so when all 57 athletes line up together everyone thinks they should be at the front. A lap or two in however the race works itself out, at that point its quite fun as you are really skiing with people who actually ski your pace. Towards the last lap or two it starts to get tactical as I was in a group of about 20 skiers and everyone wants to finish at the front, thanks to our awesome wax techs and good line choices I was able to make well timed moves on the last lap and have a strong finish (18th). We then have some time to rest and refuel before the jumping portion later that afternoon. The jumping is then based on how you raced, so the fastest skier jumps last with no deficit. Each athlete behind him has a certain amount of minus points based on how far behind you finished in the race. I finished a minute back from the leader so I had ‘-15 points’ that was subtracted from my jump score. FIS then does the math and works out the winner after the jumping, it is an interesting way for a competition to go for us. I am always used to finishing a jump and then mentally preparing myself on how I am going to race of that, instead that was it, fun but different day.
On the final day of competition we had a 2 jump 15km race. I had never done a 15km Nordic Combined race so I was psyched to try something new. About an hour before the start of our race the weather gods decided to start snowing on us, not a good thing. All of the wax techs were scrambling to figure out what would be fast or at least faster than everyone else because man was the snow slow. It felt like a brutally long race especially on the third day of racing, I had also gotten a bit sick from the travel day to RUS and had been fighting a cold all weekend. It was fun to push myself in a slightly different way though, you have to be really smart about how hard you are going and make sure not to blow up early on because it is a rather long slow course to have no energy on. Overall the weekend was fun, great team, fun comps and something new, if you want to check out results click here.
I am now taking a few days off with friends in Davos, SUI before we head to the final competition of the season in Schonach, GER. I will post more on that later, I also have some big news coming in regard to the future (all good things!) so stay tuned!
My first World Championships was an amazing experience that went by incredibly fast. I was in Seefeld for almost two weeks and it was a whirlwind. The town itself is one of my favorite places, perhaps in some ways it reminds me of Steamboat, at least an Austrian version of Steamboat. Tons of snow, ski resorts, beautiful mountains and an incredible ski culture, all of which are right up my alley. I had a great time being with the whole team for the first time this winter, when we are all together the team atmosphere is awesome, everyone has fun and supports each other! This was also a big event for USA Nordic as it was the first World Championships that we showed up with full teams and a great support staff, and it went wonderfully! It is super fun intermixing with the ski jumpers as we don’t see them that often during the winter, watching them compete and just having familiar faces around at meals and hang time makes it fun!
The second week of competitions was all located in Seefeld, the jump hill was actually a short run from our hotel. The jumping facility is located right next to the cross country venue which was very convenient. Right off the bat the jumping was better and much more fun on the hill in Seefeld. The number of spectators at every event was incredible, it seemed as though each event was close to being sold out. Sitting at the top of the jump before the competition it was awesome to see the spectator section pretty much full and very lively. I had a solid jump, one of my better ones the last few weeks which I was super happy with. Having a massive crowd cheering after your jump is quite fun as well! The race did not go very well for me, it was tough conditions and I wasn’t as primed as I had hoped. It was tough to swallow but I was able to look at the positive side from the day (my jumping performance at the biggest event of the year). Check out some photos below.
After our events I was able to spend some great time with friends and family who had made the trip to watch. It is fun being able to show my family a little bit more about a place that I spend a decent amount of time in. I was also able to watch some ski jumping teammates compete in a super tough competition. Before we left on the final day World Championships concluded with the 50km Cross Country race. It’s an incredibly impressive race to watch, my teammates and I ventured out on course and had fun watching amidst the crowd. It was fun to watch and especially cool to see in person as I rarely get to watch an event like that live. After World Champs we had a few days off before we were off to the next competition. I am currently in Nizhny Tagil, Russia where I will be competing in a three day Continental Cup weekend. I am super pumped as the team I came here with (Ben, Jared, Grant and myself) have tons of fun and it is a country that I have never been to! If you want to check results before I post next click here, otherwise stay tuned!
It has been a fun week or two since I was named to the World Championship team. After a short break in Park City I headed back to Europe for the second half of our pre-championship training camp. I traveled back to Slovenia with Ben and Taylor where we were joined by our coaches for the week leading into World Champs. We had awesome weather that was ideal for productive training. We stayed at the same apartments we always do, so we were able to cook for ourselves and spend time in a place we are quite familiar with. It was rather warm in Slovenia, however not warm enough for the snow to melt. It was really nice to get awesome training in the sun and almost spring-like weather. I made some good improvements on the jumping hill making for some fun sessions that my coaches and I were psyched about! We also had several intensity sessions on the cross country side of things in great conditions! Overall it was a productive and fun week, check out some photos below.
Earlier this week we then drove to Seefeld, AUT the location of this year’s Nordic World Championships! Seefeld is one of my favorite places on tour as it is incredibly beautiful and has great venues. We are staying at a hotel with the ski jumpers and Nordic skiers representing team USA which is super fun as we don’t all end up in the same place that often during the season. The views from everywhere in town are incredible, even right off of the balcony we can see incredible mountains. The week kicked off with Opening Ceremonies which was quite the Austrian party scene and lots of excited fans! Our first event was on the Large Hill in Innsbruck on the legendary Bergisel Ski Jump. We had a few days of training leading into the event to dial everything in. I was very excited for my first start in a World Championship event, I didn’t have a great performance for myself however it was still a fun competition day. At both the jumping and the cross country race there were tons of fans making for a super fun atmosphere! The cross country stadium was totally packed making the tough course fun to race on. If you want to check results click here, below are some photos from the first week.
We now have a few days off before we start training on the ‘Normal Hill’ located here in Seefeld. I am super pumped for another competition in a fun atmosphere and a great venue. One of the other things that I love about this event is the fact that all of the Nordic disciplines are together making it super easy and fun to watch fellow Americans compete! It will be another fun week so stay tuned for more!
In the last week snow has been in abundance everywhere that I have been, and man is it good to see. Our few days of training in Slovenia with fellow Americans had great snow. Slovenia actually had more than I have seen there in a while, it made for great skiing and fun jumping. A perfect lead up into last weekends competitions!
At the end of our break in Slovenia we drove to Klingenthal, GER the location of the weekends World Cups! Klingenthal actually had more snow than I have ever seen there, typically there is barely enough snow to hold the comp, however this year there was tons, it was great to see. A short jog through the tiny town we stayed in after travel was quite pretty with massive snow banks and small little cabins lit up across the hills. Every place that holds a World Cup during the season has something special about it and Klingenthal has a couple. For one the hill is very large and a fun jump for some long flights! It is also known as a windy place which adds to the mental challenges each athlete has to deal with. One of the really cool things about Klingenthal is the amount of spectators and how excited they are. An incredible amount of fans come out of the woodwork to watch regardless of the weather. The jumping and cross-country venue are in the same location so all of the spectators carry on the party in-between the two segments! The atmosphere during the competition is extremely fun as the announcer is constantly leading the spectators in chants and cheering for each athlete, of course the German athletes warrant even louder cheers. Check out this video below of the crowd during the competition.
The cross country course is a hard but fun one, it is a super high paced race with some very technical descents working your legs on every part of the course. The conditions on the first day where super consistent making for an awesome competition. However on the second day, the weather rolled in and it started dumping snow and was incredibly windy. The jumping actually got cancelled due to the high level of winds, because of that we raced off of the provisional round we completed on Friday. The race was especially brutal because the snow was a lot slower and there was challenging winds in places that it hadn’t been a factor the day before. In fact, race times were minutes slower than the day before. I had another solid weekend, finishing in the top 30 again on the second day of the comps. On the second day myself, Ben, and Taylor all finished in the top 30, a first for our team this year! If you want to check results click here.
I also wanted to officially announce that I have been named to the 2019 World Championship Team! This is very exciting as it will be my first World Championships, and I am super pumped about the team I will be competing alongside! We have been working hard all year and are very excited for the biggest event of the year. USA Nordic made an official announcement of the teams we will be sending, you can read that here. Currently I am in Park City starting our pre-championship training. It is super nice to be recharging and resting while sleeping in my own bed, something I don’t get to do much during the season. The snow is incredible in Park City right now, and I am taking full advantage getting some awesome days skiing powder which puts a huge smile on my face! I will be heading back to Europe in the coming week for the next phase of our pre-championship training so stay tuned!
This past weekend felt like a quick trip to Norway as I am already back in Slovenia. The World Cup weekend was located in Trondheim, a very cool town. It is right on a river and our hotel was literally on the water. Although the sun wasn’t out for very long each day, the combination of a lot of snow and clear skies made for beautiful days!
Norway is one of my favorite countries that we travel to for several reasons. First off is the incredible Nordic culture that surrounds everything skiing. When driving through towns you see people walking around with their cross country equipment or getting on the local buses to head out for a Nordic ski before work, during lunch breaks, or really any time of day. There are so many trails to ski and with a good amount of snow everything was in perfect condition. It was rather cold in Trondheim, on the first day of skiing during official training it was kind of funny watching athletes ski down hills in a speed skater tuck with their hands behind their back because the wind would cut right through your gloves and freeze your hands. The jumping hill in Trondheim a very fun and big hill. We had challenging conditions throughout the weekend however it’s an outdoor sport and I was still able to have a great time. I have gotten to a great good vibe mentality on the ski jump and it helps me enjoy every jump more and more. I was able to maintain that through the weekend and put down some solid and consistent jumping in every round! Although the result sheet is not the sole factor on how I feel about my competition weekends I made a step forward in my career in Trondheim. I finished in the top 30 scoring the first World Cup points of my career. I was even happier with these results because my personal performance continued to trend in the right direction. The weekend was made even better because my teammate and good friend Ben Loomis scored his first World Cup points, Taylor also finished in the points, a weekend with all of us in the top 30 is a stepping stone for our team that we all we pumped about! If you want to check out results click here, photos below.
After Trondheim I traveled back to Slovenia and our apartments here in the town of Ratece. As I have said before it is very nice to be able to come back to this place, do laundry, cook for ourselves and get some great rest. The majority of USA Nordic happens to be in Slovenia right now and it was super fun to get a day of training on the ski jumps with tons of other American athletes. Our entire Nordic Combined team is in town right now and it is super nice to be able to catch up with everyone as we are all going a million directions throughout the season. I have another weekend of competitions in Klingenthal, GER before we take some time off from comps to start our preparations for World Championships, more on that later!