2.17.17 Where the Trail Take Us
Hi MYSL skiers!
Skiing with Mom and Dad.
I’m writing to you from a small but cozy little town called Vålådalen in the mountains in Sweden! I’ve been here for the past two weeks, training and getting ready for the World Championships. You’ve probably watched the Olympic races on TV, but did you know that the year before and the year after the Olympics, we race at the World Championships and it’s almost exactly the same as the Olympics? There are 6 races (a skiathlon, a sprint, a 10km individual start distance race, a team sprint relay, a 4x5km relay, and a mass start 30km distance race) and just like the Olympics, all the best skiers in the World are there to compete. In Europe, it’s almost as big of a deal as the Olympics but in the US, most people don’t know that the competition stakes are that high! This year, our World Championships will be held in Lahti, Finland, starting February 21st. I plan to race in 5 of the 6 races, as long as my body doesn’t get too tired in between.
If you want to see what it’s like to get ready for a World Cup race, watch this fun video from “Inside the Fence” as they follow me around before a race in Norway last season!
Waxing my skis for training.
In order to race my fastest at the World Championships, I decided to go straight from the World Cup races in Falun, Sweden, and drive to Vålådalen so I could be in a quiet town with great ski trails. All I have to do here is train a lot, eat a lot and sleep a lot! But the best part was that I invited my boyfriend and my parents to come over and join me, and they were able to come! My boyfriend Wade came to see my race in Falun and then we did a road trip across Sweden, and we had to stop for reindeer on the road twice!
Reindeer in the road.
Reindeer farming here is pretty big, and all the reindeer had little tags on them so you know you need to leave them alone, because they belong to different farmers based on the color of their tags. It’s a crime to kill a reindeer that isn’t yours, so you have to be very careful driving on the icy roads when it gets dark because you might have to stop at any moment! At the top of the mountain by the cabins where we are living, there is a hut and fences where they herd the reindeer in the spring and count all the new calves. They tag the baby reindeer and then let them go into the forest again, where they wander around all winter. That’s when you can really call it “free range”!
Wade had never skied before so I got to teach him how to ski in between my training sessions, and it was really fun to see him learn the sport and enjoy being on snow. Besides skiing, I also did some running and twice a week I lifted weights in the gym. It’s important to be strong as well as fast on skis!
Teaching Wade how to ski.
Then my parents arrived, and it was so special for me to get to go on a ski with them. I usually don’t get to ski with my parents because by the time I come home in late March or April, the snow is gone! My Mom and Dad taught me to ski and then we joined the Minnesota Youth Ski League when I was old enough to have my own little skis. I have really great memories of making friends and playing tag on skis! My parents had a great time getting to ski all 30km of the trails here, and I got to show them all the best parts of Vålådalen, which included the heart-shaped waffle maker at breakfast and lunch.
Strength training twice per week!
Happy skiing, and I hope you’re enjoying time on snow with your family because I’m really enjoying mine here!