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!
France is a country that I haven’t spent much time in thus far in my career, so I was glad the town of Chaux-Neuve had a good amount of snow to properly experience the area! Living up to expectations there was an endless amount of delicious French cheese and fresh baguettes almost everywhere you go. In fact when we showed up at the venue the first day each team received a block of local cheese as a gift. On our first day in France we skied on awesome new trails for me, I mentioned this in my last post but it was such an awesome ski I had to bring it up again. We followed that up with a training session on the jump hill that was quite fun. We had excellent conditions and I had a fun time jumping a hill we don’t spend much time on.
The competitions in Chaux-Neuve are well known for the amount of spectators that show up to the events and how excited they are. It is somewhat surprising because when you show up as the town itself seems to be off by itself, not that close to anything other than super small farming towns. But as soon as the weekend rolls around it seems like every family (especially the kids) from the surrounding region come out to watch, and they cheer loud, no matter what. The announcer gets so hyped up during the competition sometimes you think he is introducing a basketball team at the NCAA Championship game, then a French athlete goes and man does it get exciting. At times he literally makes me want to cheer out loud for whoever is next up. During the races there are fans lining the majority of the course especially the hills, and they cheer super loud, by name. It surprised me the first time actually, some random group of people were cheering for me by name all the way up a brutal hill, and they don’t care whether you are in 45thplace or 1stplace. As you may be able to tell, the atmosphere last weekend was super fun! I also was able to make another step forward in my personal performance, while it may not have showed at the end of the day on the result sheet I made progress I was happy with. Below are some photos from the competition weekend!
I am now back in Slovenia for a few days after a long drive from France. I spent a few days training and recovering here before the next competitions in Norway this weekend. We are staying in apartments these couple days so it is very nice to be able to cook for ourselves and have a quality place to spend time. Slovenia got a little bit more snow from the last time I was here which makes for much prettier mountains. As always, stay tuned for more!
Travel is the name of the game during the winter so it’s a good thing I enjoy it! Upon my return to Europe I spent a short week in Slovenia with Ben. We got a few days of great training on the ski jumps in Planica. In all the time I have spent in that area of Slovenia I have never seen the small town of Kranjska Gora so busy. It seemed like every family with young kids came for a holiday ski trip, it was actually kind of cool to see the town brimming with people and fully open. Typically when we are in town all of the shops and stores aren’t even open, although we had to wait a rather long time in line at the grocery store as it is quite small.
After Slovenia we drove to Munich where we met up with my teammate Jared Shumate who joined us en-route to Otepaa, Estonia. I had been to this town in Estonia two years ago but it is not a country I have spent much time in, so I was excited to go again. I kind of forgot how far north it is, I don’t think we actually saw the sun while we were there. They did have tons of snow and put on a great competition! Taylor met us when we arrived in Estonia as well, it was fun to have a four man team at a competition once again. In the competition’s in Estonia I made some positive steps forward for myself and had fun racing on a hard course. We stayed in this Villa type of hotel that actually opened just for the competition weekend. It was right on this frozen lake and a very beautiful winter scene with all the snow and Christmas lights! If you want to check results from that weekend click here, below are some photos from the event as well!
Our team then split up a little bit, Jared and one of our wax techs traveled to Finland for competitions while the rest of us made our way to Predazzo, Italy. It took us a while to get to Italy, however on the final drive we chose to stop near the end and go for a distance ski on the beautiful Passa Lavaze. The comps in Italy did not progress the way I had hoped, something that frustrated me. However I was in a beautiful valley with incredible mountains to enjoy. The town itself actually had no natural snow which was a bit weird. They did have a long track of man-made snow going all the way up the valley, it is known as the Marcia Longa Trail. There is a 70km marathon style cross country race all down the valley later in the year. So they were working hard to snow that and had piles of man-made snow all over the place in preparation. Even though there was no natural snow we were able to go on some beautiful and fun skis up the valley, check out some photos from that below!
I am now in Chaux-Neuve, France after a long drive from Italy through the St Bernardo tunnel. The tunnel is about 5km straight through a massive mountain from Italy into Switzerland, it makes for a very scenic and cool drive to do. We have a fun competition coming up this weekend in France known as the Triple. This event is typically in Seefeld, AUT but because Seefeld is hosting World Championships this season Chaux-Neuve is the host this time around. It is a three day event, the first day is a 1 jump and 5km race in which everyone races. Then the top 50 finishers from day one do a 1 jump 10km race on day 2, and the final day is only the top 30 finishers from the day before, competing in a 2 jump 15km competition. Each days results compounds on the next day making for an interesting and fun event! If you want to check results you can click here, otherwise follow my social media or home page for more updates! Below are some photos from our ski the first day here in France!
It has been a busy December but a fun one for sure. After Lillehammer I traveled back to the US to compete on home soil. Something I don’t get to do very often so it is a special weekend for me. I wanted to share more about that and how it feels for my team and I to get that opportunity. Before we traveled to Steamboat for the competitions we were in Park City for a short week. We got some great training and fun skiing, the team got out on a fun backcountry ski, check out photos of that below.
After our week in Park City we drove over to Steamboat for the Continental Cup weekend. Because of how well our team performed on the Continental Cup circuit last year we had additional spots giving the opportunity for some younger skiers to test their skills on the international level. This is key for developing athletes and something that played a huge part in my development, it gives athletes incredible motivation to see where they stack up and continue to improve their level. For myself, competing in my hometown is very special, and one of the few times I have the ‘homefield advantage’. Steamboat put on an amazing event that all of the athletes were pleased with. Before the comps we had an evening skiing with some of the younger kids at the Winter Sports Club followed by an autograph session including all nations. It was awesome to see so many young kids totally pumped to be getting signatures from my team and all nations, there was a ton of energy in the room! The first day of competition was a typical perfect weather (rather cold) day at Howelsen Hill making for a great event. I didn’t have my best jump but was in contention enough for it to be a super fun race. We raced under the lights just after 6pm and man was it cold. It was almost comical watching all the athletes try to stay warm leading into the race as we were all changing. It was a super fun race right off the bat, after a few laps a large chase pack had formed in which we had several US skiers, while Taylor Fletcher had broken off the front (he skied away for the win!). It was a wild race, I lost a little steam at the end but had a solid day finishing in 9th place.
On day two Steamboat delivered again with perfect weather, and not quite as cold. Again I had an ok jump that put me into a very similar position to start the race as the day before. We raced in the evening again under the lights and a great crowd came out for the race making for a super fun atmosphere. Very early on in the race a large lead pack formed, it was almost 15+ skiers deep at times and we had 4 US skiers in the mix of it (myself, Taylor, Jared & Ben). It was super fun racing in the lead pack with three of my teammates in front of our home crowd. Thanks to our wax techs we had awesome skis and we able to get some good recovery on the flats and keep the pace high climbing the brutal hills. The lead pack started to pick up the pace and it ‘thinned’ out to about 10 skiers going into the final laps. At the very end of the race the paced got boosted and I did everything in my power to hang on as long as possible, I didn’t have enough juice to stay near the podium but I was able to finish in 8thplace, a solid finish to end the weekend. We also had 4 US skiers in the top 10 and 5 in the top 30, a great showing for our team. Overall this was an awesome weekend with tons of support from the home crowd.
I am now back in Europe for a few short days of training before I head to my next World Cup competition in Estonia next weekend. I am really excited for the new year and feeling good about how it will shape up. You can watch my team and I compete via the NBC Gold Pass here and you can always check results here. As always follow my social media for more up to date posts and media!