Some of you may have read about it or seen on social media that we were unable to compete last weekend in Ruka, FIN. This was definitely a bummer for eveyone but the wind gods didn't have us in mind over the weekend. The weather could not have been better from the day we arrived until the day before the competition. When qualification and Official Training day rolled around the winds had picked up a considerable amount and we were unable to get any rounds of jumping in. We then took to the cross country course to test our fleet of skis for the upcoming winter and hope for better wind conditions the next day. The morning of the first competition (Saturday) there was still a strong wind ripping across the knoll, however the officials kept pushing it back until they finally decided they would try to get a round of training off. I was the first person to start as bibs 1-5 had chosen not to jump. To say the least it was a little bit nerve racking sitting on the bar with the winds whipping around, myself and one other jumper took a jump before they cancelled the event for that day, a bummer to say the least. We went out for a short ski that afternoon hoping for better conditions the next day. Again on Sunday the wind gods weren't on our side with another day of strong cross winds ripping across the hill. We were unable to get anyone off the jump when they decided to cancel the second competition of the weekend. All the teams were bummed but Nordic Combined is an outdoor sport and sometimes Mother Nature has other plans. In the afternoon we got together with the NOR, SLO, and SUI Nordic Combined teams and did a small 10km 'mock race.' It was great to get a race on snow under my belt and even though it was not an official competition it was the first time I skied in a race with World Cup caliber racers other than my teammates. You can check out a short clip of the race and the scene in Ruka that FIS Nordic Combined put together last weekend, check it out below.
I am now in Lillehammer, NOR another amazing town on the World Cup circuit. Here Nordic Combined will try again to hold the World Cup opener for the season. We arrived late Monday night and got the opportunity to jump on Tuesday morning. It was the first time I have jumped this hill and it is a very fun hill for sure! It could not have been a better day of jumping with clear blue skies and minimal amounts of wind. Later that day Taylor, DJ, Adam and myself drove up to the Sjusjøen cross country trails. We started a bit late and about 30min into our ski it was completely dark. We committed to skiing one of the bigger loops and managed to miss the turn heading back to our van and descended way below where we wanted to be. After several stops at signs and debates on whether or not we should turn around we came to a fork. The trail had basically come to a road with a classic track along the side. We got on this trail hoping it would take us where we need to go. Right when it really hit us that we now needed to find a way back to the van as we had now been skiing for 2hrs and our extremities were getting cold we came across a friendly Norwegian outside his cabin. He was nice enough to save us and give us a ride back to our van at the Trail Head. It was a cool adventure and we were lucky it worked out as well as it did. Yesterday we skied at the cross country venue where we will be racing this weekend, it will be a hard but very fun course. For the schedule of events for this weekends competitions you can click here to check them out. If you ever want to check results or see what is going on in the Nordic Combined world you can always go to FIS Nordic Combined's home page! I am very excited to compete this weekend, be sure to check back next week or look at results on the link above to see how it goes!