1.14.13 The Hill Climb
Think about what goals you’ve set for yourself this year, some big goals that might be a little scary or challenging at first, but will feel so good once you work on them! Maybe you want to ski a certain number of kilometers, or race a couple races, or ski every weekend all winter. Every time you go out on your skis, and practice, you are taking a step towards meeting your goal. It feels really good, right? I definitely think so, and my teammates are feeling the same way right now since everyone challenged themselves with the Tour.
The Tour had so many fun experiences that it’s hard to narrow them down! But I’ve picked out the best ones to share with you. The Tour started in Oberhof, Germany, then went to Val Mustair, Switzerland. From there it traveled to Toblach/Dobbiaco, Italy (the town has split names, one of them is German and the other Italian) and ended in Val di Fiemme, Italy.
One of the cool things was the tour buses. Some of the teams (Norway, Sweden, Germany, Switzerland) have wax buses where they keep all their equipment and the techs drive the buses from one venue to the next. But there were also a couple buses there just for the tour, and our friends the Canadians had one! It used to be rented by a rock star – Snoop Dog, in fact – and came with a British Bus driver who was super friendly and let us come on the bus to check it out. It had two tv’s for watching the races live and results, two bunk beds so the skiers could rest after their races, a living room with a table and small kitchen. It was pretty cool, and although the US team won’t be getting a bus anytime soon it was fun to check out the Canadian one.
Recovery after each race was very, very important – both mental and physical recovery! After each race I’d think about three things that went well and three things that I needed to work on, and write it all down. Then I would forget about it and focus on tomorrow’s race, because whether the race that day went good or not, there was not time to dwell on it! We also had to eat SO much food, it was ridiculous. I think I ate about three times as much as I normally needed to, just to keep my energy day to day!
And then our bodies got more and more tired after each race. You know how it feels the day after a race, or a really big ski, when your body aches and it’s hard to stretch? That’s how we felt towards the end of the Tour. We had a massage therapist on the road with us, and every day she would try to smooth the knots in our shoulders, legs and arms out, but by the last race my body was so tight after racing that it felt like someone had put rocks in my legs!
The last race of the tour is a hill climb up Alpe Cermis, a mountain that is an Alpine ski area. Think of the biggest hill you’ve ever skied down – maybe Buck Hill, or Afton Alps? – and multiply it by 10. Then imagine skiing up it! In parts of the hill it was a 28% grade, which meant that it was so steep even the best skiers in the world had to herringbone and walk up it, and the spectators on the side could run up the hill faster than we could skate. It was maybe the most painful race I’ve ever done, but once I saw the finish line it was all worth it. Everyone was so tired and happy at the top, it was like a little party on top of the mountain.
Skiers from around the world: In the Val di Fiemme stadium in Italy, there was a big group of skiers the same ages as MYSL kids, doing the same things you guys are! They were practicing their turns on the downhills and their tucks, they were working on learning V1 and going uphill, and they were practicing balancing. It was fun to see a “MYSL” group of kids all the way over in Italy! It definitely made my day.
Cool things about Val Mustair, Switzerland: The night sprints we did there were super fun, and they had huge globe lights in the stadium that lit it all up almost like it was 2 in the afternoon! But driving through the town was very, very scary. It seemed like the buildings came first and the road second, because it twisted around the buildings and was only about one car wide, and you could never see around the corner. But that didn’t stop the Swiss from driving super fast! It felt like we were on a rollercoaster when going through all the towns.
Cool things about Tobach/Dobbiaco and Val di Fiemme, Italy: The women’s race in Toblach/Dobbiaco was a regular 15km in the stadium, so we did 3 laps of a 5km course. But the Men’s race was much longer so they got to do a cool point-to-point race, starting in the streets of the closest town, Cortina, and skiing all the way to Toblach/Dobbiaco. It looked really fun, with road crossings and everything, like the Birkie! And Val di Fiemme is a beautiful stadium with a triple-climb hill and a fast downhill corner.
Training Tip: Racing in a new place can be sometimes a little nerve-wracking. If you have never seen the race course you don’t know what to expect, and you might be nervous about not knowing where the finish line is. At least, that’s what I thought when racing the tour! So when going to a new place, here’s some tips: first, look at the start area and the finish area, if you can. See where the line is drawn in the snow so you know where to go and when to stop! In your warm-up before a race, ski some of the course if you are allowed. That way, you will know if the snow is slippery, or soft, or fast. Then when the race starts, be confident and be looking down the tracks. Remind yourself that you are a great skier and if you just remember to look ahead at the course, you’ll be ready for whatever comes next – whether it’s an uphill or downhill!
Till next time, happy skiing! ***Jessie***