The end of my time here in Europe this summer is getting closer to being over and I am shocked with how fast the time has gone by. When we made the decision this spring to spend an extended period of time in Europe I was extremely excited but of course I had some apprehension as it is much different from what I have done in the past. We do spend about three months in Europe during the winter but that is different (at least in my mind) because we are traveling every week to a new place and competing every weekend. It's a very focused mindset and most of the time I don't even pay attention to how long I'm over here because I'm on the road so much I never actually feel settled in. So when we decided to rent an apartment in Slovenia for about a two month period starting in September there was a lot going through my mind. I always benefit from getting more jumps in Europe, in that aspect I was really excited. On the cross-country side I had never really spent a long period of the training season in Europe, long enough that is to go through a full cycle of all our training 'weeks.' Then there was the idea that I would be living in Europe, something I always thought would be an amazing experience. I was curious what our living space would be like and what quality of food we would have access to. I was mostly excited about what was to come but there were small questions floating around in the back of my mind.
Last week my team and I took a short three night trip to Ramsau (AUT), one of my favorite towns in the summer and winter. When we came back to our apartment here in Planica (SLO) I got the feeling that I had gotten home, a feeling I usually only get when coming back to the US. This was a cool realization for me and most of us here. Our set up has worked out amazingly and all the questions I had were put to rest. We have been able to do a great job at eating very healthy and have found that the stores we go to have food more fresh and natural than I typically find in the US. The quality of food hasn't even crossed my mind after the first week of living here. Our apartments have plenty of space and we have all settled in. The time we have spent here has flown by and I have really enjoyed it. Training here has been awesome, the jumping has been extremely fun to say the least, and very constructive. I have had a very positive experience with the cross-country side of our training as well, the amount of new 'territory' we have been able to take advantage of is amazing. Everyday we go out to train I'm still a little bit shocked that I have the opportunity to call this my home for the two months (ish) we have spent here. My summer had lots of ups and downs and was full of several key learning experiences that I will benefit from moving forward. The time here is defiantly a highlight of the past year, the group we have had here has been super fun. Our base group consisted of myself, Adam, Ben, Grant (Andrews), and Koby (Vargas). We have also had Stephen (Schumann), Ben (Loomis), Taylor, Beckett (Ledger), and Tucker (Hoefler) join us for different lengths of time. It is awesome to see how great we have all gotten along and enjoyed this experience as a whole. I am so grateful to have had this opportunity, and to have a place that actually feels like home so close to all of our competition venues. Below are some photos of what we have been up to, also check out my Multimedia Page for some videos of training as well!