About Chelsea

Far West Nordic Farm Team member. Sugar Bowl Academy.  Originally from Alaska I am now living in balmy Truckee, Ca and getting softer by the day.  After skiing for four years at the University of Nevada, Reno, I graduated with my BS and stayed.  Mountains are my home and the more time I spend in them…skiing (in every form), biking, hiking or climbing…the happier I am.  I am excited to be part of the Farm Team and the opportunities it presents, thanks Far West!   and then it snowed…

The Good Life

Yesterday was my first day back in Tahoe after a couple weeks…and oh how it is fun to be back.  I have absolutely loved racing this season and it is something I want to continue.  But it is so fun for me to be with the juniors (mostly because we have such similar levels of maturity).  They have been such a source of inspiration for me, in the beginning because they were such intimidating critics… and now their childlike enthusiasm for my racing.   And, simply, they make me laugh about every two minutes and I do love to laugh.

A message left on my phone from a couple boys after I was 2nd in the BMT (in reference to prize money won and the fact that I find hummus so delicious)-

Boys: “Um, so I hope you’re happy now.  Now that you can buy. All the hummus. You can eat. Mmmm.  Call us back.”

Me:  sitting in my room, alone, dying laughing

And then when I went to meet the kids for a ski, of course I am late and in a rush because I missed the email and instead just assumed we were skiing at Royal Gorge, when really we are going to do downhill practice at Sugar Bowl (where I might add it is blowing snow sideways and rather wet).  Late, I ski up and meet them wearing, idiotically, tights and long johns.  Jeff suggests I go put warm-ups on but I insist that I’m fine because 1) I am stubborn and 2)I already feel guilty about being late.  I end up, quite literally, freezing my bum off.  (I should mention that skiing downhill runs with a bunch of Nordic kids, on Nordic gear, is incredibly entertaining, to say the least).

When we get down I am absolutely shivering.  Brilliantly Evan says to me-“Chelsea, don’t you wish you weren’t so stubborn”….umm let me think on it.

Then in the afternoon I got this urge to go running behind my house in Glenshire; it’s always beautiful in the late afternoon.  Though snowing on the summit yesterday it was warm and sunny all afternoon in Glenshire…this means that all morning the old compacted snow was corning up and then by the time I went running it started to freeze.  Of course I started to punch through, not too bad at first…but then really badly.   At some point I find myself half an hour out, muttering angrily to myself like a crazy person.  As I look down at my ankles-now bright red and beginning to bleed, I think to myself, now this is karma.

The reasons karma got me:

1) I generally find snowshoes silly and tend to think (smirking to myself)…who on earth ever actually does that of free will?

2) When I went to Rossland, B.C. to race in December a couple of us went running on the ski trails in the evening after traveling.  Matt, weighing a bit more than me, was punching through significantly more than I.  And I of course just giggled devilishly to myself.  (I have the unfortunate and childlike instinct of laughter during inappropriate situations and at others benign misfortunes.  I’m not saying I laugh at grisly accidents…just during serious lectures and what not.)

3) I started punching through, deep, five minutes in.  I could easily have turned back.  But I convinced myself that it, at some point will get better.  And half an hour later when it isn’t I refuse to go back the same way, because, how boring does that sound, right? I am bull headed.

Yes Evan, you are right, sometimes I wish I wasn’t so stubborn.  These foolish moments will not change…I’ll do it again in two months I am sure.  This I am not concerned with-it’s the many years I stubbornly refused to put my heart into learning to properly classic ski- these are the moments (years) of stubbornness I regret.

The good side of stubbornness is persistence I suppose.  I may be tough to convince sometimes, and often I am indecisive and impulsive but once I know what I want, I go after it with fire and determination.  That’s how I feel about racing right now.  It’s something I think I haven’t had in awhile-and it’s amazing.

Hopefully these kids are learning along with me…the toughest part of coaching for me is, am I getting to them?  I hope I am.  Why is it that now all of a sudden I am ready to learn, that I have such a desire to learn, that I am truly learning from my mistakes?  It’s not as if I’ve read a wildly enlightening Oprah self-help book, there was never an ‘aha!’ moment…how do I spur this drive in them?

I think it must be a place that they all will reach on their own, whether now or later, in skiing or another part of life.  In this department I think I can only share my passion with them and hope that this, in a small way, helps them discover their own.

Cheesy, maybe, but how I feel.

Long overdue, a rambling recap

First on the December agenda were the Supertour races in Rossland B.C.   The races were good experience for me, particularly the sprint seeing as I absolutely dread sprinting.  Mostly I think it is because I am generally a terrible sprinter, which translates into me never training for, or entering in them…a downward spiral.  Earlier this year I (more Jeff) convinced myself that it is something I desperately need to get better at-so I’ve resigned myself to entering them at every opportunity.  This however does not mean I am at all comfortable with them, I made the sprint heats in the last spot (only after juniors were taken out) and was ridiculously nervous.  I do not think I have been that nervous since I was caught skipping 9th grade Honors English three days in a row.   The other races weren’t bad but also weren’t incredible, after coming off having the flu I felt slow and tired even before the races. No matter how confident I feel in my capabilities, I am somehow always put on edge by a result that I am not thrilled with, even if I know I wasn’t feeling great.  There is nothing like my seeing my name where I don’t want it to be, to make me question myself.

The trip was very educational for me in the discipline of (keyword) harmless, but thoroughly entertaining, pranks.  I have to say some of the SV boys were just thrilled to teach me, through example.  I hope to do my part and pass on this educational material to the SBA and Far West kids through, of course, example.

After an amazing time at home in Alaska (though utterly frigid), I made my way to Maine.  After a couple of late nights we arrived to find ourselves skiing around a smallish mud pie.  Despite initial impressions the Chisholm Ski Club volunteers proceeded to do an incredible job.  I wasn’t convinced that there would be distance races, but we were all pleasantly surprised with great 2.7 km loop of hard coarse snow.  After a less then stellar classic sprint the week much improved, a solid classic race and a strong skate, it was nice to see a result that reflected how I felt.  And the skate sprint, well it’s coming along.

Though I am nearly 24 I often feel like a teenager, learning so much about the sport and myself every time I race.   I’ve always hated dealing with equipment (too tedious for me, and there’s no immediate gratification), but I’m realizing how important it really is (duh I know).  I’ve said it before but I think it must have something to do with being on my own-the only person held accountable is me.  I’ve realized that if I am going to do this-make skiing a priority and actually have hopes regarding the sport- I want to do it right.  I don’t want to be a pretty good skier; I want to be a great skier.  It won’t happen overnight but I do know that I can’t do it on a pair of classic skis that I can feel drag beneath me.  I may be grasping this concept a little (quite?) late, but… there’s no time like the present.  Here’s to taking charge and growing up, bit by bit.

Northbound

Well somewhat north.  I have just arrived home in Alaska for a short stay over Christmas.  The past week racing in Canada has been interesting, and I’ll ramble about it soon, but not now.   As I sit inside with my cup of tea I look out to see a bit of a winter wonderland.

I saw the token hippie Nordic skier stride down the snow-covered road on my way up the drive.  It cracked me up a bit to see long dreads whipping about beneath a fuzzy knit cap, classic Girdwood I suppose.  I do love seeing people from every walk of life wandering around, from those skiing on old three-pins to those on the new feather weight, gold plate base turbo skis.  At the end of the day we ski for ourselves, not only for a win someday (not that I would be particularly disappointed with it).  When I’m all alone and revering every moment, the simple stillness interrupted only by the curious squirrel and wandering snowflake.  Or the occasion I get to ski with someone who I’ve missed sorely and I spend the entire ski (and coffee afterwards) out of breath from too much chatter and laughter.  It’s every day that I feel more fortunate than the commuters creeping through traffic at 8:00 am and again at 5:00 pm.  Poor guys.   Mmm, to be out there day after day.

Off topic (again), I know. Standard.  But that’s how my mind usually works…drifting  (sometimes jumping) from moment to memory… and so on.

When Life Gets in the Way

Ahhhhh! This is how I feel about myself right now.  With my stuffy nose and sore throat I feel like the little elf in the Puff’s tissue commercial.  Being sick is the most irritating occurrence…well it seems so at the moment.  The past few days I have been stuck inside bored OUT OF MY MIND.  With all this time to think I end up sitting around cursing myself with a strong desire to throw a child-like tantrum.  Luckily enough this frustration has come full circle and I’ve realized I should be grateful for how good life really is.  Like Matt I had to decide against racing this weekend in BC, I was not thrilled.  But when it comes to racing (and life) things never seem to go exactly the way you plan.  There is always something, whether a sore joint, an odd pain, a procrastinated term paper and so on.  Deal with it you big baby (me to myself).  If my complaint is that I’ve got a cold this week, I suppose things aren’t bad at all…

So here I am hoping that I can simply make lemon aid from these lemons, or maybe somehow eggnog since it is the holidays and it’s delicious.  Or maybe I’ll learn Italian this week, since I secretly (and very much) wish I lived there  (though I’ve never been anywhere in Europe).

PS An absolute must-read:  Bill Bryson’s Notes From A Big Country.  Brilliantly hilarious.   Of particular note is the article Your Tax Form Explained.  Not exactly related to Nordic skiing, but isn’t it that laughter is the best medicine?

Happy racing!

Notable Tidbits of West Yellowstone – the sort of thing that makes me smile to think about

It is often easy to get caught up among race bibs and pumping adrenalin in a trip such as the West Yellowstone camp, and fail to remember it in all its glory.  It is these rather prosaic occurrences that made the trip so memorable.

-Parents various chocolate goodies (packed for the kids, pillaged by me).

-The horrified look on Jeff’s face after accidentally dousing my face with wax remover (and the many future instances in which I can use this to my advantage).

-Anonymous’ two massive, probably painful, not-so-graceful diggers.  Champ.

-The peaceful afternoon classic ski away from the crowds of West Yellowstone.

-The moment in a dirty gas station somewhere in Idaho when one of the boys proclaimed to me, after using the women’s room due to long lines, that “Girls  have it so much better, the bathroom’s way cleaner, and [they] even have those shiny little tables to put coats and purses on.”  Note: by “shiny little table” he was unknowingly referring to the diaper-changing table.

-Seeing the kids progress in leaps and bounds over such a short period of time.

-My almost successful attempt to consumer 4 saltines in a minute, more difficult than one might think.  World Poker Tournament watch out…Jeff is a betting maniac.

-The point when I let go of my insecurities about racing and realized that it is all quite simple-just go.

-The incredible amount of food consumed by teenage boy athletes.  By incredible I mean that at each meal the boys ate enough food to feed all the Lions in the Denver Zoo (there are at least 7).

-The girls endurance and perseverance in hostile take over situations- you make me proud.

-The tireless individual who shoveled ALL night outside the Super 8 in Wells, as I laid awake cursing him.  (As it turns out-a torn bill board)

-Probably the best classic skiing that many of the kids have had the privilege to enjoy.

-Hearing Glen and Jeff laugh boisterously from across the noisy dining area.

Thank you to all who helped make this trip happen.  It was an enormous success in my opinion.  We had awesome training and racing.  To Glen, Ben and Jeff- that was wonderful.

Happy Turkey Day

Happy Turkey Day from beautiful West Yellowstone!  Racing here in West is awesome; snowy and perfect ski weather.  I am, however, slightly jealous that I wasn’t in Tahoe to witness the massive snowstorm.  The great part…the fact that I will return to winter with great skiing without having to do any shovelling, who wouldn’t be excited?

The Hypocrite- “do as I say, not as I do”

Disclaimer: I am not a blogger, tweeter or even a frequent status update-er, by nature.  I am just trying it on; so any blogging faux pas I may make in the future-I claim ignorance (and innocence)!

I have recently begun assistant coaching with Jeff at the Sugar Bowl Academy.  It has been incredibly fun and I find myself seeing the training mistakes I’ve made in the past or my still lingering bad habits in technique showing up in the kids skiing.

Naturally I try to nip all this in the bud with “hips up”, “when you slip, stand up”, “if you are feeling sick or have an injury, take 1 day now rather than 1 week later”…etc, so on and so forth.

A few days ago I was bouldering inside, had a heel hook, it slipped and I slammed my ankle quite hard against a hold.  It was sore but not bad; no swelling or bruising… I thought nothing of it but it became apparent the next day when I tried to put a skate boot on that something was not right. It was unbearably painful.  Long story short(er), I proceeded to ask the advice of my roommate, who is an Athletic Trainer.  At some point during my explanation to her on how the pain was persisting, she asked, “well have you iced it?”  I probably don’t need to tell you that I had not, in fact, the thought had not crossed my mind.  Had it been anyone else, especially one of my athletes, I would have immediately hounded them about rest and ice.   To say the least, I am a hypocrite.  I can make myself train until the cows come home. However, I loathe waxing skis or dealing with the mundane details of ski and boot fitting.  I despise taking time off for sickness and injury, not to mention I need a coach to tell me when to take time off, just as my SBA athletes must be told, “keep your hips up”.  Although in theory I am well aware of the equal importance of these activities to training hard, in practice I am poor at best.

It is something I am making an effort at-practicing what I preach. Wish me luck.  Excuse me, I need to go find a bag of ice.