I recently traveled over to Europe at the end of August for a two week training camp with the U.S. Ski Team. This was our second camp in Europe this summer.
Our first stop in Europe was to Oberstdorf, Germany, one of my favorite places to train in Europe. They have top of the line jumping facilities and a great rollerski course, not to mention some of the most dramatic mountains and beautiful scenery in Europe. I arrived in Oberstdorf with the team and we jumped right into the swing of things. The first few days consisted mainly of jumping and easy roller skis, however on the second day, the Swiss nordic combined team joined us for a beautiful hike up to the Nebelhorn. The Nebelhorn is a mountain behind the town of Oberstdorf and a ski area in the wintertime. From the top you can see over the mountains into Austria or back to the farmlands of Germany. In short it was spectacular. We continued to jump almost every morning. I struggled on the ski jump at first, but started to make some improvement towards the end of the week. Our last day in Oberstdorf, we had a competition within our team. I was happy that I had improved on the hill and on the rollerski tracks but I know that my level of skiing is not ready for winter.
After Oberstdorf, we drove just two hours to a small town in Austria called Stams. I was really excited to have the second week of the camp be in Stams because the hill is great for training and I have jumped well here in the past. The day we got in, coach Greg Poirier and teammates Adam Loomis and Taylor Fletcher along with myself went for a hike/run from Stams up to a little cabin on the side of this massive mountain. The weather was beautiful that day, sunny and warm. The following morning, the team drove to Innsbruck for a morning jump session. Everyone was excited to jump in Innsbruck because it was a new jump for everyone except for veteran Todd Lodwick. Unfortunately we only were able to take three jumps because of the poor conditions. I didn't jump very well, but hope to go back and jump the hill again. The next week consisted mainly of ski jumping but we were also able to drive to Seefeld for a morning steadystate session. However, with all the jumping, I was really able to focus all my time on that aspect.
On one of the last days of the trip, we had an afternoon off and our new jump coach Marc took the team to a water park called Area 47 to have a little fun. I guess the only word I can think of to describe the park would be is awesome. The park had everything from high ropes courses, climbing walls, and volleyball courts to watersides, and blobs. I had a great time especially on the blob. Because I am the smallest person on the team we somehow came up with the genius idea to have the two biggest people on the team launch me. I ended up getting launched about 30 feet into the air, flailing like a little girl the whole time, and landed directly on my back (backflop). Yes, I got the wind knocked out of me but I was hoping it was going to be a good story. To my luck, one of my teammates filmed the whole thing (go to Photos page to watch). I had a blast and hope to go back next summer.
On the last day of the trip we had one last team competition. I had been jumping much better on the hill and knew I could improve on my previous result. However, I completely "shanked" my jump and started the race too far behind to move up places. On the bright side, my level of jumping improved a lot since Oberstdorf and I was happy with the progress.
I have been back in the states since last Thursday and have continued to train everyday. On Monday, I retook my VO2 max skate test at the Center of Excellence in Park City. I had taken the test about a month earlier but I had been really sick in the week leading up to it. This time I had a much better result, skiing for 9 minutes rather than 7:30 in the previous test. I also did a strength test on Monday but have not yet received the results. Monday afternoon I decided to go to Steamboat for a week of training with the National Training Group (NTG). I thought it would be a good idea to train with new faces and have a change of scenery. I will be in Steamboat until Saturday.
Again sorry for the delayed blog post. I will try and keep updating more often. Hope everyone is enjoying this rainy, fall weather!