Oh how time flies when you are having fun, or busy, however you want to look at it. This summer I experienced both sides of that. The majority of my summer was spent in Fort Leonard Wood, MO and if I’m being honest was more on the side of flying by because I was busy, real busy. During Basic Training our days started at 4:30-5 am and lights out was a strict 9pm, the time between that was packed, and naps were a big no no, I learned that the hard way. On the flip side I have been back to my Nordic Combined life since late August and that time has flown by because it has been so da** fun. I definitely appreciated the life of a professional athlete before this summer, however I enjoy every part of it exponentially more now, the freedom is UNREAL.
After I returned from Army training this summer I spent about a month in Park City with my team getting back into training and the swing of things. It was great weather in Utah and my coach Nick built out a great re-entry into training for us. I enjoyed each day of training so much, getting back on the jump hill was especially fun, man had I missed it. Check out some photos from that time!
In September my team and I had a fair amount of traveling on the plan with lots of exciting things included. To start we made a quick trip to Steamboat for the Oktoberfest Fundraiser, it was a great turnout and fun to be home for a few nights! Then we packed our gear and started with a trip to the Mayo Clinic in Minneapolis. As always it was a solid trip, being able to sit down with our team doctor and participate in some more cool testing that the Mayo Clinic has come up with in order to help our team succeed. From there we flew to Austria for the beginning of our training camp in Europe. We started in Ramsau, one of my favorite places to train, we were greeted with classic fall weather. Ramsau served up both rainy, cold days and beautiful sunny warm days, all of which made for productive and fun training. We got to ski on the Dachstein Glacier several days, one of which was the best days I have ever skied on that glacier! While in Ramsau we visited the Atomic factory and got a very cool in depth tour of how they produce our fleet of race skis! Following Ramsau we escaped to the mountains for an overnight adventure and lots of time running in the mountains. Nick had an awesome route and plan for us, we were able to peak a beautiful mountain (Speckkarspitze) and scramble down to a warm lunch at a hut, we then had a 20km jog out the valley. We finally made it to Seefeld where we would be staying for the remainder of our trip. Check out some photos below!
After a few days in Seefeld Ben and I traveled back to the US for a weekend with the National Guard, the remainder of the Team spent a few more days in Europe before coming home as well. Since I have been back Park City has gone through the full Fall cycle, having snowed and been sunny and warm. Ben and I actually got to rip some turns after strapping skis to our packs and hiking up into the mountains, worth it! I have been quite busy since returning from EU with lots going on in the background. I have been able to enjoy some productive and fun training as well, this time of year is one of my favorites as winter is right around the corner!! In the next month my team and I will travel to Scandinavia for an early snow camp and Ben and I will be making big steps in regard to the National Guard, more on that next time, enjoy some more media!
It has been a fulfilling spring so far with lots of skiing and great times with friends and family! I have been able to spend lots of time backcountry skiing which is one of the biggest things I miss throughout the year and my favorite thing to do upon returning home. Of course Utah has delivered with some awesome weather and great conditions! I also made a trip to Jackson Hole for some awesome skiing and great company. The past few weeks have been the perfect time for me to spend the quality time with my family and friends. Below are some photos from my adventures!
I have very exciting news that I want to share as well, I have decided to make a more serious commitment to my sport moving forward! I have Enlisted in the Utah Army National Guard in a program call the World Class Athlete Program (WCAP). This program enables Olympic level athletes to pursue their sport at the highest level while supported by and representing the National Guard. This won’t be taking away from my Nordic Combined career, in fact it will help me in a tremendous way. I will now be able support my personal life for the long run. I will be doing this with my good friend and teammate Ben Loomis. In order to join this we will be going to Army Basic Training this summer, so I will be out of communication for the entirety of that. If you want to read more about this program click here & here. I am very excited about his opportunity and can’t wait to share more, I will be graduating in August and will post an update then!
The season has now come to a conclusion and it flew by. There were lots of ups and downs as all athletic pursuit’s do, but overall I had a great year and was able to make steps forward that I am happy with. Before the last competitions of the season Ben, Taylor and I traveled to Davos, SUI for a few days to hang out with friends and enjoy the beautiful weather. We were able to go on an incredible classic ski right outside the door of where we were staying which was a blast. It was a beautiful day for a ski up, we stopped for coffee at the top before descending back into town. It was a great few days of kicking back with friends and enjoying the Swiss lifestyle and cuisine, check out some photos below.
After our little visit to Switzerland we continued on to Schonach, Germany the location of the last World Cup competition of the season. When we arrived there were significant sized snowbanks and it was dumping snow, at that point it was looking good. However the day of official training (the next day) we woke up to what seemed like monsoon weather, it rained sideways all day and was incredibly windy. By the following day (comp day) the snow banks had disappeared and the only snow left was on the ski jump and the XC course. It was still a bit windy and real warm making for challenging conditions for everyone. I had a fun competition jump that I was psyched to end my season on. I started the race in 26thplace in the middle of a large pack of skiers. They salted the course which helped, however there were still spots with deep slush, these conditions are incredibly tiring and make for a long race. By the end of this season I was rather tired but was able to ski a solid race in challenging conditions, if you want to check results click here, photos below.
On the way home our travel plans finally lined up with a Bayern Munich Soccer game, that is the night before we left Europe. My teammates and I have been wanting to make it to one of these games for a long time so Ben, Taylor and I went to a game on our last night in Munich! After returning home I have been enjoying the wonderful snow we have in Utah with my family and friends, check out the photos below. I am now on my off-season relax & recharge break and I am enjoying every moment. My summer will look a bit different this year, stay tuned for more on that!
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!