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First Time at JN’s

So far, this has been an amazing experience, and I know it will continue to be fantastic. I remember when Junior Nationals were at Aburn Ski Club. I was sitting on the sidelines of this corner, watching in awe at how fast they were moving, and with such ease they could go around that corner. And at that moment, I knew I had to race at JN’s. And I told myself as soon as I am old enough, I need to go out there and be apart of this competition. And here I am. I think it’s still sinking in that I’m here. This is an experience that I will remember through out my life. Thank you Mom and Dad for sending me here, and thanks to every volunteer who helped in the qualifying races! It is greatly appreciated by all of us!


A Good Week So Far

It’s been a great week so far in Fairbanks, AK. The week started out relatively warm, being about 30-32 degrees Fahrenheit on our first day of skiing. However, its gotten much colder since. It was about 5 degrees this morning while skiing. The skiing was very, very slow this morning with such cold snow. I would almost have been satisfied with the kick I was getting for a classic race even though I was on my skate skis. All the same, it was fun. I really like Birch Hill as a ski area. The pitching, turning trails are really fun and exciting.

We’ve been doing a lot of fun activities here as well. This afternoon we visited the Permafrost Cave. It was built during the Cold War by the US Army testing and experimenting for how to build tunnels in Greenland. The tunnel itself goes to a depth of about 90 feet underground. In there, there are frozen (not fossilized) bones of all sorts of Pleistocene mammals such as wooly rhinoceros and mammoths. There are also areas where plants and other roots come down through the ceiling of the tunnel. the permafrost itself is permanently frozen ground, which makes a loud metallic sound if you tap on it. To keep it from thawing because of people doing work in there, the entrance has been blocked off and the tunnel has basically been turned into a giant refrigerator.

The flag battle with PNSA has been much lower key than last year. They stole our flag on Sunday by telling the front desk that they were Patrick and getting a room key, and then storming his room with the entire team. I stole their flag from them on Tuesday by just grabbing it out the hands of one of them.

Rad Racing Relays

First race check. Far West was turning heads as we blew through the course yesterday. But moving forward we have the relays today. The course is fast and short. We have several strong teams in each division. Some Nordic lingo for you, the person who starts is called the scrabler, and the person who finishes is called the anchor. I will try and tell you the teams but I don’t remember the exact order of them, sorry.
J1/0J boys: Peter, Shane, Patrick… Evan, Aaron, Peter…Alex, Brandon D., and a guest appearance from Alec.
J2 Boys: Dylan, Julian, Sam… Casey, Skyler, Brandon.
J2 Girls: Hannah, Amanda, Lizzie…. Savanah and two fast New Englang girls
J1/0J Girls: Joelle, Camille, Skyler… Katrin, Bria, Danielle… Raylene, Elise, Kyla

The races don’t start till 11. For us the girls don’t go till after 1:30 so Ray and I are enjoying our morning with some hot mint tea and entertaining our selves with bracelet making and a bit of homework. The temperatures have dropped significantly and us Cali girls are missing the sunshine.

Look for pictures later of some smiling, glittery faces. :)

First Race Recap and Relay Day

The first race of the 2013 Junior Nationals was an extremely successful day for Far West Nordic skiers. Coach Holly Whitney calculated that 27% of our 26 racing athletes were in the top 10. In the J2 boy’s race, a 5km skate, Dylan Syben took 10th place and Julien Bordes skied his way into 8th place. In the J2 girl’s competition, also a 5km skate, Hannah Halvorsen had an amazing race, might I mention that it was her first Junior National race ever, with the end result of a 10th place finish. The J1/OJ men also had an amazing day as they skied the difficult course twice in order to complete their 10km skate race. Patrick McElravey raced his way to 9th place overall; in the OJ category he was 5th. Peter Holmes also had a great race, finishing 25th overall and 5th American J1. Finally, the J1/OJ girls had great races too. With a stand out result, Katrin Laursson was 7th overall and in the J1 category she came out on the podium with a bronze medal. Overall it was an amazing day for our amazing division. We turned some of the coaches heads from other divisions and made our mark!
A quick side note: There is an amazingly fast Norwegian team here racing along side us Americans here in Fairbanks. Most, if not all, of them skied to top 5 finishes, but some Americans could still hang with them! This goes to show that American Nordic skiing is really coming along, not just at the top level of the World Cup, but also at the Junior level. Let’s keep up the good work!
So after a very exciting first day of racing, we get to ski again today and do some relay races. Every individual on each three-person team races 3.3km, so the relay is a 3×3.3km. Far West has some speedy teams that can earn some very valuable Alaska Cup points. So keep your eyes glued to summit timing as we race hard in these very-far-below-freezing temperatures!

From Fairbanks With Love

All 27 athletes and 7 of our 8 wonderful coaches have made it to Fairbanks, Alaska. Despite of the early arrival at 1 am, everyone was excited and enthusiastic to start our week of racing and fun.
Today the team started with breakfast and a classic ski at Birch Hill Resort. Luckily, Fairbanks is going through, as Mark Nadell might put it, a “heat wave” so the temperatures were more than bearable. With warm weather and great hardwax skiing, the whole team was in good spirits. Plus, we all learned that our very own Far West native, Joanne Reid, skied her way to the top of the podium at the NCAA Championships. WAY TO GO JOANNE! Hopefully we all use Joanne’s victory as a way to motivate ourselves this week and throughout or skiing careers. Far West may be a small region but we can still kick butt!
In the coming week we all have our biggest races of the season. I say lets get pumped, race our hearts out, and show the rest of the country what the west coast is made of!

A special thank you to Katrin and Raylene, our lovely senior girls, for the gifts for the girls team! A picture is posted below.

Well here we are!

Well the team and luggage has all made it safely to Fairbanks! We even got some glimpse of the aurora last night! Headed off for some breakfast then course inspections! Should be a good first day here in AK!

The Eve Before we leave

As I finished packing up for our departure tomorrow I though about BLOGGING, that thing we have to do. As I thought about it I felt a great title for a blog would be The Eve Before We Leave, it just sounded so cool, sadly I really have no Blog to follow this rad title. So my next post will have to be my first real post.

Fairbanks Before the Swarm

I flew up a few days before the team to scout out Fairbanks, preview the courses and get used to the cold. We had gotten in around ten and did not get to see much of the town or the Wedgewood Resort. When we woke up the temperature was a nice -2 degrees thankfully we did not start skiing until 11 and the temperature had warmed up to about 15 degrees. This temperature was ideal for skiing as the snow was fast but it was still pleasant to ski. All of the courses had been marked and after a few wrong turns I had gotten used to how they had marked the courses and managed to ski the rest of the courses without error. My first impression of the courses is that they are very difficult and out of all of the places that I have skied and competed, this is by far the most technically challenging both up and down. While I was skiing all of these courses it was very hard to be going slow, (everyone will be stoked) it is very easy to recover as well as breath but this in turn means that it will be very easy to be going to hard even if your heart rate is low! So no matter who is in front of you, behind in another group or that good looking guy or girl take it slow and take it your pace because your muscles will feel it! Back to the courses the five kilometer interval start which will kick off our Junior National Championships is a great course, after watching Logan Hanneman’s video of the course ( which is 95% correct) I did not truly give credit to how he skied the course, it is a lot steeper both up and down then it appears in the videos so keep that in mind. The course itself is fast even going at a slow pace I could feel the speed in the snow. The first downhill will be the place to be, it takes you down with quite some speed, only to spit you out into a tight turn (which did not help that it had not been groomed with about ‘2 of snow). Since all of you guys will be up here soon I will not drag on about the course and Fairbanks itself. Just know that the courses will be great for us, will ample time for recovery and hard hills which our high elevation lungs will help us through. This Junior Nationals for the people who are here for the first time, is going to be a great and different experience, for the people who have been before this will still be a special one. So Get Stoked and Ready to Ski Fast! See you guys here soon.

I just LOVE packing!

I think the most stressful part of this trip is the packing! Your struggling to remember if your forgetting anything, we surely can’t turn around and get it. Skis, check. Boots, check. Poles, check. Race suit, check. Gloves, hats, socks, headbands, buffs, check. I hope everything is getting into this bag. Looks like the Xbox will be staying though :( Oh well. Surely, this won’t really be the most stressful part of the trip. Will it?

2013 Far West Nordic Junior National Team

This season there were 7 Junior National Qualifiers. Junior racers had to ski in 4 of the 7 races, and have a QUALIFYING time in 3 races, including both a classic and a freestyle (skate) race.
Pending acceptance of their spot on the team, the following are the athletes that qualified for the Far West Nordic Junior National Team for 2013. The Team and 8 coaches head to Fairbanks Alaska from March 8-17th.
Thanks to all who participated in the races this season.
Way to Go Team!

J2 Girls:  Hannah Halvorsen, Amanda Kirkeby, Savannah Blide, Lizzie Larkins, Kyla Burrill, Jenna Rohlf**, Tara Gallant**
J1 Girls:  Bria Riggs,  Camille Hartley, Katrin Larusson, Raylene Chew, Madison Kwasny**, Elise Hardy, Skyler Flora, Danielle Nivinski*
OJ Girls: Joelle Romo
J2 Boys: Dylan Syben, Sam Zabell, Julien Bordes, Peter Carroll, Casey Jobe, Skyler Mullings, Brandon Herhusky, Ryland Belisle**
J1 Boys:  Peter Holmes, Shane Christian, Aaron Deeter, Evan Vomund,
OJ Boys:  Patrick McElravey, Alex Koptyko, Branden Deeter

* = Accepted via Petition Process
**=Qualified but did not accept