Last Saturday I headed up to Sun Valley with my family to race the Prarie Creek Classic. The course goes up, and then back down, the Prarie Creek drainage about 20 minutes north of Ketchum. The dual start format was sweet because I got to start with my brother and it put a lot of people out there at the same time. It was a blast flying around two laps of 7.5 k with my bro, passing master blasters right and left. I ended up getting beat by one of them though: Eric Jensen of Idaho Nordic. He got me by one second to claim the final podium spot behind two U of Utah skiers. The snow was perfect – which is hard to believe since Ketchum has almost nothing and Boise is dry. Getting pumped for the Boulder Mountain Tour next month on those same trails!
So this is a pretty crazy winter. Or can we even call it winter? Seems like there’s no snow anywhere. Boise is dry as a bone, and so is Truckee. But
for the past few days in McCall, Idaho with my family at the awesome trails at Bear Basin. Forget Rumford – this is where US nationals should be right now.
My brother Charlie (also known as Chuck Weed) who skis for Montana State, and I did an informal race with the Bogus Basin Nordic Team (of which we are both alums) and a few McCall Nordic Team kids on Saturday. Mass start, three laps of 2k. My brother Absolutely killed me in a sprint finish, but I take consolation in the fact that he never led, while I led the entire last lap. Also, he’s got about 40 pounds on me. I’m not trying to make excuses or anything. Thanks to Tuck Miller and the McCall crew for hosting the race and giving out sweet prizes: I got hand-sanitizer and my brother got a can of corn. My dad raced as well, winning the gummer division coming away with a can of black olives.
So most people are probably wondering where all the darn snow is. I just came home to Boise, Idaho for Christmas break and it’s as barren and dry as I’ve ever seen it – just like reno and the rest of the northern sierras. I guess a lot of the intermountain west is hurting as well. I’m sorry but I think I might have just brought a little too much of the east back out here with me. At least they don’t have snow back there either. Haha. Just kiddin.
But with my extra time I’ve learned to bake bread. I’m considering a long mountain bike ride on dry trails trails today as well. So there’s still a lot to look forward to even if it isn’t on snow.
Here’s how I wake up each morning: I’m greeted by our two feral kittens, begging for food on our back doorstep. My housemates started feeding them a bit. Now they’re hooked on us. They aren’t allowed indoors as part of our renters’ agreement, but we are going to get them “fixed” . They were wrestling tonight – soooo cute. For names I’m thinking Klister and Snowball. Or maybe Pedro and Carlos.
Happy thanksgiving y’all. I’m back in West Yellowstone, MT for the first time since high school and it’s just like old times. Totally awesome. I’m staying with my family but I’ve been able to train with the Far West juniors and other old friends. It’s like a giant ski reunion. The past four years at Colby our team spent thanksgiving camp in Quebec, trying to get some on-snow time and flaunt our turkey day pride in French Land. That was great. But its just not the same as being in West where everything is going down in the Nordic ski world. I think there are more people here than I’ve ever seen. Pretty sure the entire state of Minnesota is here in fact. I got in my first race of the season yesterday: a classic sprint followed by a skate sprint. Pretty fun to get back out there and dust off the old cobwebs. Not in too great of shape yet, but it was totally fun and a great workout. Going for the “racing into shape plan this year as a full-time grad student. Tomorrow is the 15k skate, then 10k classic on sunday. Oh yaa. Turkey. Football. America.
This weekend is the biggest fundraiser the UNR ski club: the UNR ski swap. Yesterday the UNR ski club helped set it all up. I enjoyed working with about ten other gray-haired guys to put together racks for ski and snowboard boots. The same set of boards are used every year, but each year they are put together a little differently and re-drilled, resulting in a bunch of plywood and pine boards that look like swiss cheese from all the holes in them. It was fun to watch each of these 60-something guys bark at each other trying to make the jigsaw puzzle of planks fit just right. “Now, I told you, those wide boards can’t go in that way!!” Too many cooks in the kitchen. Pretty incredible amount of stuff for sale, though. If you want a screaming deal on just about any kind of ski-related gear, it’s the place to go. I’m hoping to score a retro one-piece that I can rock up at alpine meadows – after training for nordic skiing of course.
This is how I met the UNR Ski Club:
I was new to Reno in September and didn’t know any of the trails. One day I was trying to mountain bike up a ridiculously steep trail that led up towards the giant “N”. I eventually gave up my futile attempt and turned back down. When I reached the bottom, I found August, Elias, Gus, and Jeff getting ready to do some bounding intervals up the crazy trail I was fiddling around on. August stopped me and said, ” are you a nordic skier, because nobody else would be stupid enough to try and mountain bike up something like that.” Nordies always know their own kind I guess. August invited me to join the UNR ski club and filled me in on where I could mountain bike without killing myself. And so began my introduction to what’s up in Reno for nordic skiers.