First of all Happy Thanksgiving from Ruka, FIN! Since my last update winter has fully arrived and I could not be more excited about it. In Park City the Utah Olympic Park (UOP) was able to get the k90 meter hill open for winter jumping in time for us to get two full sessions in before we departed. Park City got the gift of snow and we were able to get out on our skate gear multiple times before departure as well. This was extremely helpful in our final preparations in Park City before we left for the first competitions of the year. The first jump sessions felt great to get back on snow and get a feel for the winter equipment and conditions. It was amazing to be able to get some time on snow before our departure as the summer training activities are very similar but just not the same to being on snow in the winter. The ability to get on snow before we arrive at the first competitions is a huge help and makes the transitions to winter activities much smoother. Below is a pic of the skiing we were able to do while in Park City.
On Friday the 20th myself, Taylor, Bryan and Adam along with the coaches boarded planes and began the long journey to Ruka, FIN the location of the first World Cup competitions of the season. It was a lot of travel but worth it once we arrived, as soon as I stepped off the plane it was apparent winter had arrived! It was cold and there is snow everywhere, a winter wonderland! Here in Ruka we do not get much daylight, it is slightly brighter from about 11am until 2pm, the rest of the time its dark and the complex is light up by a large amount of stadium lights. We got extremely lucky and were able to get several great training sessions on the HS142m hill here. This hill is one of the larger jumps I will be competing on this season and it is a beast of a hill. It is known as one of the more difficult hills on the circuit. Therefore it was great to get the sessions we did in great conditions to get used to the hill before this weekends competitions. The cross country course here is a challenging course with two monster hills, one of which is the final climb into the stadium. We have been able to get out several times and get some time on the course which is great for me as this weekend will be my first race on the course here. I am extremely excited for the World Cup Opener this weekend and to perform my best! If you have not heard yet NBC will be live broadcasting our events and you can watch a live feed here. If you click on that link it should take you to a schedule, look for the FIS Nordic Combined events! This update is the beginning of my winter season Thursday updates so make sure to check back on Thursdays from here on out to see what I am up to and how the competitions are going. If you want to look for results before that go here, you can then look for the competitions venue I am at and you should be able to get to results from there!