The first race

Hey everyone! As you all know, yesterday was our first race here in Stowe. It was a big deal for everyone, but for me it was something a little more crazy–it was my first Junior Nationals race ever.

Most races I do, I get super nervous for. But for the 5k classic yesterday, I wasn’t nervous at all. It was a different emotion taking over my body: pure excitement and thrill. The environment we were in before the race was incredible. The best junior nordic skiers in the country were right there around us, the boys were racing, there was cheering and music playing, there was glitter being spread onto the faces of athletes about to race, there were coaches waxing skis until they were absolutely perfect, there were hugs and people yelling to their friends, “You’re gonna kill it!” and, “Go for it! Go fast!” And then, before I knew it, I was in the start and watching the clock count down to 1. There were cheers for a minute but then I was out on the trails skiing as fast as I could go.

For me, these races were never about my result and only about me having a ton of fun and going my absolute hardest. And that’s exactly what I did. Skiing back into the stadium was incredible. People were clapping and yelling my name and it all pushed me up the last hill and made me smile. As I crossed the finish line I skied up to Claire who a had finished a little before me and I have her a huge hug and said, (while jumping up and down) “OH MY GOD WE JUST FINISHED OUR FIRST JNS RACE!!!” And from from here, let the adventure begin.


Junior Nationals 2014: Day 1-5 Traveling, Skiing, and Racing

On Friday the 28th we flew from Reno to Vegas to Albany with various delays and ended up spending the night in NY and driving to Stowe. Later that day we went on a short skate ski to preview all of the courses for the week and the snow was super fast and perfect. The next day we went on a classic ski on the course for the next day’s race.

Monday, the day of the first race, I was able to sleep in a bit since my race didn’t start until 1:40 which was pretty nice. We arrived at the venue shortly after 12 to music playing and lots of people running around. The race was cold and hard, but still fun. I ended up in 44th which, for my first ever JNs race, I’d say is pretty solid. After the race we went back to our houses and rested up. Today we got up and went for a classic ski around tomorrow’s sprint course. Tomorrow we have the 1.3 kilometer classic sprint which should be a very exciting day for all of us!

And So it Begins

Hi Everybody!
It’s hard to believe we’re already four days into this trip. It feels like we just got here. The conditions are great here in Stowe, albeit a little chilly out. While the thermometer reading is already low, the added humidity makes for a freezing combo.

We’ve had a great couple of days despite that. After a long two travel days, we had a great, well rested ski yesterday followed by an amazing opening ceremony. We got to parade down the main street of Stowe with all the teams. For a few minutes we got to feel like the real Olympic teams in Sochi doing the parade of nations! We found an awesome flagpole in our basement and waved our California/ Far West flag high. We then walked back to the Ice Arena and got to hear the granddaughter of the recently late Maria Von Trapp speak, along with several other distinguished Stowe-ites and Vermonters. We even were entertained by Rusty, a native of Stowe portraying what he called “Old Vermont”. He entered the arena driving a zamboni and swigging maple syrup! Needless to say, it was quite the performance.

Today was the classic interval start race. 10 kilometers for the U20/U18 boys, and 5 kilometers for everybody else. The course is very hilly, starting off downhill, and climbing back up and descending twice, before going to the low point of the course. From there, its a roughly 1.5 kilometer slog back up to the top of the course and the finish. I was really excited for this race. I felt good and I knew exactly where I wanted to hammer the hardest. As it turned out, I took the first lap a little too hard and I ended up slowing down significantly on the second lap. Still, I left it all out there and even though I was pretty far off my results goal, I had a good race.

As always, there have already been some flag related shenanigans between us and the PNSA crew. With their three houses being less than 300 feet apart from our main house, it was only a matter of time. PNSA, however, made the mistake of leaving their flag on a low part of the roof of one of their houses. Skyler and I seized the opportunity and found a 16 foot long pole in our basement. We used this pole to knock their flag off of the roof and into our hands. As it stands, we are still in possession of the PNSA flag, and I’m fairly confident we still have our own flag.

More news from Stowechi will be coming soon


(Photo creds to Stacey Herhusky) :)


Reeling in For Departure

We are now only 3 days out! Friday. Friday will be the day all us athletes and coaches depart for Stowe. Its a day many have been looking forward to since the conclusion of last years JN’s! Last Saturday we had our CNISSF State Championships. Following those races we had our JN team meeting. Being a part of FW, we are all very fortunate to know everyone on our team even outside of skiing. In other divisions, people don’t know everyone. This is definitely one of FW’s strong points. I like to think of FW as the US Ski team. Our team in a way has the same dynamic and in the past both have not performed as well. I do feel that this year we are at a strong point in the history of FW. This week, everyone is focusing their training to peak in Stowe next week! Today we did some classic rollerskiing intervals down in Colfax for some Low elevation training! We will also do one more set tomorrow and then lay low before our races!

Sam and AmbrosePre Intervals

Recently I made a video recapping last weekends races, and some past training! Check that out here!

Far West Far Best!


2014 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 2014. The Team and 8 coaches head to Stowe,Vermont from February 28- March 9th
Thanks to all who participated in the races this season.
Way to Go Team!

U16 Girls:  Kyla Burrill, Hannah Halvorsen *, Eleanore Hamilton, Elizabeth Larkins, Claire Lang-Ree, Quinn Lehmkuhl*****, Bri Parker, Jenna Rohlf
U18 Girls:  Savannah Blide, Elise Hardy, Camille Hartley*****, Amanda Kirkeby, Danielle Nivinski, Bria Riggs, Tara Gallant *****
U20 Girls: Laurel Fiddler ****, Katrin Larusson***
U16 Boys: Ryland Belisle, Trace Calvin, Casey Jobe, Brandon Herhusky, Connor Kusumoto, Skyler Mullings
U18 Boys:  Carson Bold****, Julien Bordes, Peter Carroll, Aaron Deeter, Peter Holmes *, Dylan Syben, Evan Vomund*****, Sam Zabell
U20 Boys:  Shane Christian, Patrick McElravey **

* = Pre-Qualified on Basis of U.S. Scandinavian Cup Criteria
**= Pre-Qualified on basis of Top 20 Junior at U.S. Nationals
***= Pre-Qualified on basis of top 20 College Rankings but declined due to NCAA selection
****= Accepted via Petition Process
*****= Qualified, but declined competing at JN’s

Complete JN standings.

2014 Junior Nationals

USSA Junior Championships
March 1st-March 8th, 2014
Stowe, Vermont

Sunday March 2nd Opening Ceremonies
Monday March 3rd: Classic Interval Start Competition (5k /10k)
Wednesday, March 5th: Classic Sprint Competition (1.4k )
Friday March 7th: Freestyle Mass Start Competition (5k /10k /15k)
Saturday March 8th: Freestyle Relay Competition (3 x 3k relay); Closing Ceremony and Awards Banquet