We were sad to wrap things up at our Craftsbury camp yesterday. I was very proud of our group for their effort, teamwork, and senses of humor. All the coaches commented on how much fun the camp was. The athletes seemed to just want to stay as a group and our meals went on and on with nobody wanting to leave. On the bus ride back they didn't put on their headphones but instead shared stories of the trip all the way back to campus. Yesterday after breakfast we spent an hour on the sprint course (1.6 km races) that some of the athletes will be racing on in a month. We talked about tactics for the different stages of a sprint event. We discussed drafting, moves, and taking advantage of a skier's strengths while mitigating weaknesses. In this picture four of the skiers demonstrated how a skier like Calvin could get boxed in before having the chance to make a move before the finish line.
After working on tactics we did one last quick strength session on the big kids' jungle gym. We are focusing on upper body strength and having the athletes do lots of dips and pull ups. there has been a growing emphasis on upper body strength in Nordic racing over the last decade and we want to be the strongest athletes on the course!
From strength training we went back to our rooms to pack up and change into skiing gear for a quick ski on a small horseshoe loop that the groomer pushed out for us. At Craftsbury they use a method where they build a large pile of snow in one area and then push the snow out onto their course with a Piston Bully snow machine. We did some drills, warmed up and then had a relay race to finish camp.
Finally I just want to thank our amazing coaching staff. Kathy Maddock and Alison Weber were a huge help to our skiers and fun to share many laughs with throughout the camp. And a special thank you my wife Lisa (pictured below) who handles so many of the logistics of the team operation. Among other things, she has been working all fall to make sure that all 34 of our skiers have two sets of equipment and the necessary clothing for the season. We are psyched and ready to go!