National U16 Camp by Lizzie Larkins

National U16 camp

Far West Nordic juniors  Julien Bordes, Hannah Halvorsen, Lizzie Larkins, Dylan Syben, and Sam Zabell just returned from Marquette Michigan where they spent a week training with the top J2s in the country at the National U16 Camp. Read Lizzie Larkin’s account of the week… 

First things first, I just want to say a huge thank you! Thanks to all my coaches, my family, my fellow Far Westies, Far West Nordic, Auburn Ski Club, and every person who helped me get to the National U16 camp! The support I have been getting has been amazing! Lastly, thank you to National Nordic Foundation for putting on this camp and making Junior skiing in the US higher quality. Thanks again everyone!

I just returned from the National U16 Camp, which is a training camp that gathers the top J2’s in the Nation to train and learn from one another as well as highly experienced coaches. This year, it was held at Northern Michigan University in Marquette, Michigan. Hannah, Dylan, Julien, Sam, and I represented Far West up in the U.P.

It’s not that often that you get to walk through the Reno airport with a ski bag (filled with roller skis) when it’s 85 degrees outside, but when you do, it’s a real treat! The cool thing is that there were 46 other Nordies from all across country getting the same puzzled looks that I was. However, these aren’t your average Nordic skiers, these are the best J2 skiers in the Nation and let me tell you, these kids mean business! They are all ripped and outstanding athletes. It was a little intimidating, but when I got there and started meeting people, my nervous feelings disappeared completely.  I was having fun before I was even unpacked. It didn’t take long for me to realize that everyone was there for the same reasons: to train our butts off, have fun, meet new people, learn, push one another to a higher level and of course, the never-ending dorm food.

j2 campBesides the food and the social aspects, we were definitely training hard! We did hill bounding, ski walking, moose-hoofing, intervals/speeds, an ultimate frisbee game, a long distance double pole on roller skis, a really fun skate agility course (I have never seen anyone do a 180 on roller skis like Hannah did, it’s wicked impressive!), an interesting hill climb up Marquette Mountain, a trail run, the ‘dreaded’ Canadian Strength Test, a skate technique clinic, a classic team relay, and a long, scenic run along Lake Superior. We also cliff jumped, played tons of team bonding games, watched Sharknado and Honey Boo-boo, had some karaoke sessions, explored dark rooms, put A LOT of Nordic skiers in a Ford Flex, swam in Lake Superior which is a warm 52 degrees, roller skied around the Northern Michigan University campus (to and from dinner as well as in the dorms), and did much, much more!

We clearly experienced some unforgettable adventures, but we also were inspired not only by one another, but by the presentations Bryan Fish and Rick Kalapa gave. The information they were giving us not only could help us win a sports debate about Cross Country skiing, but it also gave us skills for whatever path we decide to take, whether we’re on the US ski team or pursuing our dream job.

Overall, it was an amazing week and it flew by! I learned so much, made a ton of new friends, met incredible people and skiers, and I found even more passion for this sport, which I didn’t think was possible! Pictures and more posts can be found on National Nordic Foundation’s Facebook page.

Thanks once again!

Lizzie Larkins