11.25.17 Hugging Santa's Reindeer!
Hello MYSL skiers! I hope you’re getting excited for winter and the ski season, because I sure am! I’m writing to you from Rovaniemi, Finland. It’s right on the Arctic Circle, and it’s known as Santa’s official village and airport! We are staying at a hotel called “Santa-sport”, and there is a 9 kilometer ribbon of snow in the woods to ski on. It’s man-made snow that they store in a big pile all through the summer, and a few weeks ago they spread out the snow on the trails so skiers could be out skiing in early November! Today it was snowing so we might have more “real snow” on the ski trail soon.
Our World Cup races begin on the 24th of November. We will race in Kuusamo, Finland, which is a 2.5 hour drive away from here. On the drive up to Kuusamo, we will pass a lot of reindeer farms. There are reindeer just wandering around by the roads the way you see deer in Minnesota, so every year we see a lot of them!
Our first races are a mini-tour, which means that we have three races right in a row: friday is a classic sprint, saturday is a 10km classic individual start race and sunday is a 10km pursuit start skate race. If you don’t race the first race, you can’t start in the second race, because on the third day they add up the times and podium bonus seconds from the first two days and that’s how they start the third race. For example, on friday I might finish 15 seconds back from the winner. If I finish 30 seconds back from the winner the next day in the 10km classic, then the day of the skate race I start 45 seconds after the person leading the tour because that’s where I’m at in the mini-tour race. Whomever crosses the line first at the end of the last day wins the entire tour! It’s a little more complicated than a normal weekend with two individual races, but it’s also a lot of fun.
Before I left Minnesota, I was still roller skiing, running and lifting weights to train for skiing. I wasn’t able to get on snow, so I worked hard in other ways to make sure that my muscles were strong and ready to ski! I also had a lot of fun cooking dinners and hanging out with my family. One really fun new thing I did was go ice skating with my boyfriend. I hadn’t been on ice in a long time, and it was hard to balance doing something new and challenging for me! I think it really helped my balance and body awareness so that when I got on snow again, I wasn’t as likely to fall down.
So, my challenge to you over the next few weeks is to find some fun activity to do with your parents that will challenge you! Try something you’ve never done before, or something you haven’t done in a long time. Not only will you have fun, but it might test your balance and make it easier for you to feel comfortable on skis when you get on snow this winter!
I’ll give Santa’s reindeer a hug for you,