Two weeks ago I was interviewed by Marci Krivonen of Aspen Public Radio. Marci interviewed me, along with other Aspen, CO Olympic hopeful athletes. Below you can listen to the interview. Enjoy!
This morning, I woke up to about four inches of "white stuff" on the ground! I couldn't believe my eyes because yesterday it was sunny and grassy. We were scheduled to have intervals down at Soldier Hollow but with all the new snow, we were eager to ski and took advantage. I grabbed my skis out of the garage, dusted them off, and went for a morning workout. Even though we were still getting our ski legs back under us, we went along with the plan and had our first interval session of the week. Needless to say it was really hard but I was happy we were able to ski. Now I am just hoping that the snow keeps falling!
I just got back from the final training camp of the summer. trained in Planica, Slovenia for five days and then travelled to Oberstdorf, Germany for the final five days of the trip. I had a successful camp and my jumping and skiing started to turn around.
I was in Planica with three teammates, as well as one of the Canadian nordic combined skiers, Wes Savill, and the National Training Group. One of the afternoons we were able to take a drive up a beautiful valley into the mountains behind Kranska Gora, Slovenia. The mountains are jaw-dropping. There is nothing like it in the U.S. It is probably my favorite place in Europe. Our final day in Planica, we had a competition. I had a better jump and started 2:30 behind the leader. There is not much roller skiing available in Planica, so we drove just 30 minutes to Villach, Austria for the roller ski race. Villach has one of the nicest venues and an amazing roller ski course. The race went really well. I made up a lot of time and finished with the second fastest time. After the race we drove to Tarvisio, Italy to check out the popular gypsy market. I did not by anything but some people came away with some hats and a classy vest.
The next day we packed up our van and drove to Oberstdorf where we met up with the "A" team. They had been in Ramsau, Austria skiing on the glacier and testing new jump equipment. The next few days we focused mainly on ski jumping. I really started to improve my jumping and started to get more confident. Our last day in Germany, we had another team competition. I had an ok jump but the conditions were very tough. I jumped 80 meters and started the roller ski race 2:32 seconds behind the leader, Todd Lodwick. I skied my best race of the summer and was able to grab the 5th fastest time.
The whole time we were in Europe the weather was amazing and training started to improve. It felt great to finish the trip on a positive note. I couldn't have asked for anything more. I am now back in Park City getting ready for the season and for the snow to start falling. I will keep you updated throughout the fall.
I last updated you from Steamboat Springs and am now writing from Planica, Slovenia! It has been a while since my last post so I will tell you about my recent training and travels.
After Steamboat, I returned back to Park City for the first intensity block of the year. Unfortunately, during the first interval session of the week, I crashed roller skiing and got banged up. I ended up cracking my helmet, tearing my clothes, getting some bad road rash, and bruising my shoulder. I was very lucky that I did not break any bones or have a concussion. After the mishap, I had physical therapy and did interval and steady states on a stationary bike and running since I could not use my left arm. I recovered quickly and finished the week with a roller ski time trial.
Early the next week I had my first jump session since Steamboat. It went surprisingly well since I hadn't jumped in almost two weeks. We then headed to Lake Placid, NY for U.S. Nordic Combined Nationals. Friday the team took training jumps in the afternoon and then went for a roller ski. The weather was perfect. Warm, sunny and the leaves were beautiful. Saturday was the first competition of the weekend. I struggled on the hill and did not get the results I was looking for. The following day was U.S. Nationals. I struggled once again on the hill and started the cross country race 2:32 back from the leader, Todd Lodwick. I had a much better result in the cross country race. I started in 17th and slowly picked skiers off. With half a lap left I passed 8th place. Unfortunately, he beat me in a sprint to the finish. I was happy with my cross country result but need to jump better if I want to be able to be a podium contender.
Monday morning, we drove to Albany, and flew to Europe for our last training camp. The team split up in Munich; the "A" team went to Ramsau, AUS to test equipment and the "B" team went to Planica, SLO with the National Training Group to train on the new ski jumps. I have been in Planica for two days and we have already had two jump sessions. We are here for a couple more days before heading to Oberstdorf, GER for the final 4 days.
I'll keep you posted
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.