Sunday, July 27, 2014

A week on the edge...of Eagle Glacier, AK

Even Eagle Glacier can be beautiful on a rainy day!
The past two weeks have been some of the best of the summer so far. The second week of the USST/ APU camp in Alaska brought us all up to the Eagle Glacier where we had the opportunity to put in 27 hours of on snow training. Opportunities like this come at a premium but are worth every penny and every bit of effort! The Eagle Glacier is home to the Thomas Training Center where APU has been putting in the time with on snow camps for the past 14 years! (this was Kikkan Randall's 14th year up on the glacier!). This was my second trip to the Glacier and my first time being there with all girls!

Girl's Camp simply the best
What a great opportunity to gather a large group of focused, motivated and driven women all striving for the same goal; to be the best at what they do (XC-Skiing) in the World. With such a big group of women all sharing the same goal you would think the atmosphere would be competitive and tense after so many days skiing in circles and living in tight quarters on top of a mountain in Alaska. However, I was shocked at how the energy was completely the opposite! 

Training for the day brought to you by Rocky and Bullwinkle!
Each girl brought a different element to the dynamics of the group and everyone seemed to embrace each others talents by bonding over the moment. This camp was by far the most fun I have ever had at a training camp. 

Becca gets her art on!

Erik gets best smile award for all of her photos!

NMU Alumi - Rosie Frankoski '14 and myself '04

Sophie's master-piece

Holly Brooks, myself and Brian's mini gator!
I am usually pretty intense when it comes to my training, recovery and rest during training camps but up on the Eagle Glacier it seemed as though everyone was on such a similar page that every person enabled the entire group to train better, eat better and recover better! Wow! A "team" atmosphere in an individual sport is the best recipe for success!

Great group ready to get even faster!

A lot of the credit for this environment is obviously due to the coaches at the helm. They have worked hard to foster a cohesive group of US Athletes who seem to make history every weekend throughout the winter. A lot of credit also goes to the older athletes who have paved the way and brought up the next generation of athletes to their own level of success. Kikkan Randall has lead the way for the US since she entered the international racing circuit but she has also been instrumental in getting the next group of women, and those who will follow excited about the sport.

USOC Coach of the Year Erik Flora. After this camp I know why!

Coach Matt Whitcomb and Holly Brooks

Kikkan leading the way

While in Anchorage and on the Eagle Glacier I had the opportunity to ski with (behind) Kikkan and follow her effortless power and try to mimic her movements. Kikkan along with Liz Stephen, Jessie Diggins, Holly Brooks, Sadie Bjornsen, Sophie Caldwell and Ida Sargent have all been top ten in a World Cup! Even at 33 I am star-struck to be training and staying with them.

Celine Brun-Lie (our guest from Norway), Jessie Diggins, Sadie Bjornsen and Sophie Caldwel

The camp featured a lot of good moments to get to know each other through cooking, story telling, endless ski clean-up and of course hours spent skiing together. Attending this camp was not only a great opportunity for my skiing but also to get to know the ladies I will be traveling with on the World Cup this fall. 

I brought Basel the basil plant up to the glacier for some gourmet appetizers

One of our fabulous Dinner spreads

Diggins always had the highest energy!

Now back in Minnesota I am riding the excitement from my trip and passing on the energy and enthusiasm to the local Loppet Nordic Racing ladies I train with. We have a tough week planned and I am looking forward to it!

The LNR ladies chilling after a hard workout and a pancake feast!

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