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A Letter From Alayna as she Heads to the World Cup!
Hi MYSL Skiers! As I write this post, I am sitting on an airplane on my way to Dublin, Ireland! Once I land, I will switch planes and travel all the way to Prague, Czech Republic…. Why am I crossing the Atlantic Ocean? Because I am on my way to World Cup races for the next four weeks! I am so excited to join my teammates, Jessie Diggins and Sophie Caldwell, in Europe so we can race our hearts out against the best skiers in the world.
Excited to represent Team USA with some of my best friends. (I'm bib 70)
In order to qualify for these World Cup races, I had to spend the last five weeks traveling and competing at races called Supertours. Supertours are the cross-country ski races in the U.S. that professional athletes compete in so that they can qualify for international competition. Starting in early December, I traveled to Canmore, Canada, Sun Valley, Idaho, and Houghton, Michigan in order to compete in a number of races and score “Supertour points.” The male and female in the country with the most Supertour points at the end of each month get invited to race for the US Ski Team on the World Cup for four weeks at a time. I can’t wait to get this adventure started!
Sprinting up a hill in Canmore with a few Canadians!
In the next four weeks I will travel to Czech Republic, Germany, Austria and Sweden. I will get to ski and race in all of these places, meet new people, try new food and hang out with a bunch of Olympic athletes!
However, getting to this point wasn’t always easy. It meant that I had to spend a lot of time in the summer and fall training for the Supertour races. I had to roller ski every day and spend my afternoons either running, biking, or lifting weights in the gym to get stronger. This was really fun to do when I had other people to exercise with and when it was sunny and warm outside. But I knew that if I really wanted to challenge myself and reach my big goals then I was going to need to keep training even when I was alone, and it was cold and rainy outside.
It’s easy to have fun running in the mountains with friends on a pretty, sunny day!
Training isn’t always pretty though, and sometimes you have to do it alone in the freezing rain.
Sometimes, I had to turn down my friends when they asked me to hang out or I had to stop watching a movie right when it got exciting so that I could get to bed early enough to be well rested for the next day. It meant that I had to spend extra time making sure that I was well-organized and prepared for the next day, even though I just wanted to lay down and read a good book.
Jessie and I taking the time to make sure we have a nutritious meal ready for us after training.
However, this process of training and then resting has become my life and I decided two years ago when I first became a professional skier, that I was ready to make these sacrifices so that it would pay off in the winter. My teammates are some of my closest friends and we have a lot of fun together! We push each other to be better athletes and teammates, and we support each other when things aren’t going well.
The Stratton Mountain School T2 Women’s team goofing off during a training ski in New Zealand last fall.
Last week, all of this hard work finally paid off. Everything came together for me for my races at the US National Championships and I was able to fight my way onto three podiums! I challenged myself every single day in the summer and fall, so that I was able to make a lot of improvements in my fitness and my skiing and qualify for my first European World Cup Races.
Let the fun begin! -Alayna