A good start to the season

Hello hello! I hope everyone’s Thanksgiving week has been wonderful. I for one had a great time getting out on the snow and enjoying my first few skis with some awesome athletes!

Over the last three days I led the local Thanksgiving training camp here at home, and it was really great. I hope the athletes had as much fun as I did. For me, it was my first four “real” skis, so it felt awesome to get out there and get things going.

We started off with a double on-snow day on Friday. We took advantage of the new snow and cold temperatures for a nice long classic ski in the morning. We did lots of drills and went back to the basics, focusing on getting our fundamentals right to carry over through the year. We worked on balance, body position, maximizing glide and efficiency and more. I have to say I was super impressed with how well everyone was classic skiing. They looked like they had been skiing for months already! It was great to see. For me, classic skiing felt surprisingly natural and good. Unlike past seasons, I really felt in my element right away, and it made me super stoked for some classic racing. After lunch, complete with plenty of hot chocolate and whipped cream and a little bit of rest, we hit the trails again for a skate ski — my first of the season, but the third or fourth to most everyone else. Again, the focus was on technique, and again I was impressed with everyone’s progress so early in the season. We ended the day with some short relays and a game of ski tag, and I have to say I was not prepared to have to go so fast in order to keep up! I was worked!

Saturday brought a bunch of new snow (as if we needed anymore…?!), and we set out for a classic ski in the powder. It was somewhat of an adventure, but everyone made the best of it, getting in some distance and still putting in some quality technique work, despite blowing snow and chilly wind gusts. We were all relieved to get inside and get some hot pizza, and consume hot chocolate in even more mass quantities than the day before. We were all set to go ice skating at Northstar in the afternoon, only to find that when we got there, there was too much snow on the rink to skate! Bummer! But again, we made the best of the situation, and the athletes got involved in some serious snowplay/ intense snow ball fighting/ fort building out on what is normally the ice rink, but in this case looked more like a mecca of snowplay.

This morning, for our final workout, we did another nice long skate ski, complete with some fun relays. After the mess of snow yesterday, it was great to come out to freshly groomed tracks and blue skies, though the morning was pretty brisk. After some more drills and everyone’s favorite, no-pole skiing, we headed off to get some distance in before meeting back up for some extreme speed relay action. The ladies, myself included, took on the boys in some head-to-head speed action. We couldn’t quite pull off the upset, so we decided to change it up. The boys, always up for a challenge, took us on again in a relay in which they doubled poled and we skated, and we managed to take them down. In the finale, we did a combi relay that consisted of backwards skiing, double poling on our knees (Savannah’s creative suggestion), and frog hops. This time, we REALLY took the boys down, thanks to Savannah’s surprising expertise at the double-pole-from-the-knees technique. It was a fun end to a great weekend.

Thanks to all the athletes for working hard, smiling, and just doing an awesome job. Based on these three days, I think it’s more than safe to say that you guys are going to have an awesome ski season ahead. I can’t wait to watch!

Snowing and Blowing in West Yellowstone

After a long drive on Saturday, we had a really pleasant day of skiing Sunday. On Monday and Tuesday we had the benefit of fresh snow everywhere all the time, overnight and throughout the day. Things were on the windy side. The trails are mostly well-sheltered. Double training sessions each and every day.

Wednesday we had one really gnarly day of cold weather with a high of -1°F. Then temperature dropped by about 10 degrees around lunchtime. Ouch. That doesn’t happen in California. That was our first day that we skied once instead of twice.

I signed up for the classic sprint race (1.5km Thursday) and the skate distance race (15km Friday). I picked these races reasoning that I need to improve at classic skiing and sprinting and that I would probably have my best shot at scoring good points in the skate race. I placed 71st in the classic race, which confirms that I need (a lot) more work in this area. I made a strong effort though and I can’t wait to skate it up tomorrow. Critically, my lungs feel good after racing in the cold weather today. See results for today’s classic sprint and skate sprint.

Sugar Bowl Academy’s Jeff Schloss noted that many of the other athletes suffered more frostbite in today’s race than Far West athletes, which is remarkable because we come from the warmest skiing region in the country. And everyone is healthy after 5 days of high-volume training and racing!

Coming up are the 10/15km skate race Friday and the 10/5km classic race Saturday. Results will be at Summit Timing.

Still not much snow in Reno

As I heard updates from the Tahoe region about how much snow was falling this weekend I began to wonder why none of it had made it down to Reno. It was a strange weekend. We saw the clouds socked in on the mountains to the west, and figured it must move on eventually eastward to blanket the Biggest Little City in a white quiet clean snowstorm. Not the case. There was only a couple inches from this weekend’s snowstorm. I made the most I could out of it. Elias and I took out our rock skis to Rancho San Rafael  park and did a little free skiing on saturday. We were mostly skiing on grass, but it was still a very enjoyable experience. Regrettably, there are no photos from this session, but I do have a picture from the previous day’s bounding intervals in the foothills.

Level 3 Bounding intervals above the Biggest Little City in the World.

Cheers,

Gus

Early Season Tips

With the fresh snow fallen and grooming imminent, here are a few tips to help make the transition from fall training/roller skiing (yuck) to snow (real) skiing:

1. Make sure to refresh the fundamentals before you spend too much time on snow. Check body position- forward lean, hips forward, and knee and ankle drive/angle to name a few. Make sure your fundamentals are in place so you start the season with a solid foundation.

2. Don’t go too hard. It is exciting to be skiing, but simmer down and make sure you are level one. It is very easy to ski a little too hard the first couple times out and get overly tired. Skiing is harder than roller skiing so remember to relax and make sure you are skiing easier than you think you should. Your body needs time to adjust.

3. Make sure to ski easy on snow 7-10 times before doing intervals/intensity (short speeds are okay). Skiing motions and speeds are different than those of roller skiing; your body needs time to remember what skiing feels like. You will be well served to spend some time finding your bearings on snow before trying to put down the hammer.

Go out and enjoy the start of winter

MG

Skiing on snow already?

First, I am thrilled to be representing Far West Nordic this winter. I look forward to delivering some great results this winter.

Second, the junior training schedule has classic skiing on snow for today’s workout. This would be awesome if it happens. There is only way to find out.

I can’t wait for a snowy and bloggy winter.

Senior Team Run

Far West Senior Team enjoying a gorgeous fall day running Sugarbowl to Squaw