Hey everybody! I just wanted to share an article about the U.S. Nordic combined team and what we are doing to raise money for this upcoming season. The article talks about a trip that the team will take to Aspen in August for a training camp and fundraiser. If you are in Aspen the 14-18 you can join the U.S. Nordic combined team on some great runs, bike rides, and at our fundraiser. Attached is the link for the article.
I can't believe that it is almost August! Time flies when you are having fun. I wanted to catch you up with my training since the 4th of July. After training and competing in Steamboat, I returned to Park City. My goal for the next month was to really focus on my jump training. I have definitely had some good days of jumping, but I need to step my level up and become more consistent. Over the weeks I have been working hard and although it has been frustrating, I am slowly making progress. This past week has been very busy. Monday marked the first day of the Springer Tournee camp. Springer Tournee is one of the biggest competitions of the summer. Ski jumpers and nordic combined skiers from all across the country have come to compete. Two days ago, the coaches organized a day where the national teams coach the younger athletes. Each national team athlete get 4-6 kids that they coach. I had a great group of young athletes and was really impressed by their hard work. In the morning I coached my kids on the HS68 and HS100. Even though I only had 5 athletes, I didn't really understand how hard of a job it is to coach. First you have to remember what color suits they are wearing so you don't send the wrong kid down the jump, as well as remembering every jump. This is important so that you can give each jumper feedback before they head back up to the top. Needless to say, it was really exciting to see the kids jump. In the afternoon, we took the kids to the gym for testing. We tested there agility, speed, vertical jump, and broad jumps. I was really happy with my group. Each athlete put 100% into every test and their results were phenomenal. I cannot wait to see the progress that each of the kids make in the next four years.
Now I am focusing on the competition this weekend. Saturday morning is a competition on the HS100 followed by a cross country race in the evening. Sunday is the U.S. ski jumping nationals on the HS136. There are a lot of good ski jumpers and nordic combiner's on the start list which will make for a great weekend!
It has been a while since my last update so let me get you caught up with what I have been up to. About three weeks ago, The U.S. Ski Team put on a bike race at the Sundance Ski Resort. It is called the Sundance Sufferfest and yes the name speaks for itself. It is only about 8 miles long but you gain almost 2,000 feet and it is one of the hardest time trials that I have done. I did pretty well and finished with the 6th fastest time. It is always a fun race to do with other ski team members and afterwards we all get to eat brunch at the Sundance Lodge.
After the Sundance Sufferfest, I drove to Steamboat Springs for the 4th of July competition we have every year. I started jumping pretty good in Steamboat and was making some good improvements. On July 2nd, we had the Fishcreek time trial and it went really well. I had the 3rd fastest time and this really boosted my confidence because I haven't been roller skiing very well the past couple weeks. On the 3rd, we had a jumping competition. I jumped ok, but had bad style and didn't get the result I was hoping for. Then on the 4th we used, the jump from the 3rd for the sprint race down main street. This is one of my favorite competitions because I get to ski in front of friends, family, and many people who have never seen the sport of nordic combined. I had a great race and skied up to 5th overall and had the 3rd fastest time. Following the race, we had one last jumping competition, this time a long standing. A long standing is an elimination competition where the top half of the field with the longest jumps without crashing, move on to the next round. I had a good first jump and made it to the second round. Unfortunately, my second jump wasn't good enough to make the 3rd round. All in all it was a great 4th of July competition and I had a lot of fun. After the competitions, they named the 2014-15 U.S. Nordic Combined Team. The "A" team is Taylor Fletcher and Bryan Fletcher, the "B" team is Brett Denney, Adam Loomis, Ben Berend, and myself. We also named a "C" team this year with upcoming athletes, Jasper Good, Aleck Gantick, and Nicholas Madden. We have a strong team this year and I am honored to be named with all these incredible athletes!
After the 4th of July, I went home to Aspen for a couple days to see friends and family. It was good to take a little break from training and regroup mentally. One of the nights for dinner, my family, several family friends and I went up to the Maroon Bells for a picnic dinner. It was just what I needed.
I was only in Aspen a couple days before I had to head back to Steamboat for another training camp. Jumping went well again and we did another nordic combined competition. I skied really well and finished 2nd with the 1st fastest time. I was really happy with this result and it boosted my confidence for the upcoming competition in Park City in a couple weeks. It was a successful camp, and I made some good improvements on the jump that I hope to take back to Park City.
I have only been back in Park City for three days and I have continued to train hard. Yesterday was my VO2 skate and double pole max test. I did really well on the skate test which I was really happy about. My double pole test didn't go very well, but I think I was just tired from the first test in the morning. I feel like I am in great form right now and hope to build on this as the summer continues.
I hope everyone is enjoying their summer and I will continue to post blogs in the upcoming weeks!
Hi! My name is Michael Ward. I am a 23 year old from Aspen, CO now living in Park City, UT to continue my career as a Nordic Combined athlete. I am on the 2015-16 US Nordic Combined Team and am honored to live and train with the best in the world.