After weeks of unseasonably cold temperature and more rain than we really wanted, we finally got a hit of summer over the last few days, culminating with yesterday's 97 degrees and an ozone warning. Oof! But hot weather is no problem for a speed workout, since you aren't ever using too much effort. The crew at Harvard had an excellent workout, with a slight twist on the traditional 50m sprints - start position was lying on your back!
We're on the train heading back to Oslo from Lillehammer after a glorious week of skiing to close out the 2016-17 snow season for a CSU junior group that includes Elizabeth Anderson, Alex Burt, Kevin Telfer, and coach Rob (along with 3 CSU parents). We left Boston a week ago and the time has flown by.
After an uneventful flight directly from Boston to Oslo, we got checked into our hotel and explored the city on Saturday and Sunday. Here are Rob and the athletes outside the Oslo main train station on Day 1:
After a couple of days getting acclimated in Oslo, we arrived in Lillehammer on Monday morning after a 2 hour train trip, got checked into our accommodations right below the Olympic ski jumps, and Rob (almost) immediately had the athletes heading up to the Bierkebeiner Ski Stadium for a quick afternoon out and back skate ski.
After this, we had a daily routine of getting up early, heading down to the station with our skis, and then taking a bus up to the Sjusjøen area for 2-3 hours of skiing on what seemed to be endless, perfectly groomed cross country trails that still had about a 3.5 to 4.5 foot base with fresh snow still falling regularly.
All of the trail system is free (yes, free — no trail passes needed), and consisted of hundreds of km of regularly groomed trails surrounding the main trail that is used for the annual Bierkebeiner race. Every day we skied we had spectacular conditions, and Rob had the athletes doing stuff like a 32 km distance skate ski on which they were only on the same trail for the first and last 2km (with a waffle break in the middle). At this time of year, they're only grooming hundreds of km rather than the nearly 2500 km they maintain at the peak of the season, and it was never a problem finding new and challenging routes.
Below are a few more pics of the group and the trails:
Side trips included the Norwegian Olympic Museum, the Swix Concept Store, and the Olympic Ski Jumps:
We are spending our last night in Oslo at a hotel right below the Holmenkollen Ski Jumps and Ski Museum, which we will visit before heading out to the airport and back to Boston.
Lillehammer and environs truly is Nordic skiing heaven, and it will be hard to go back next year to the variable snow conditions of New England. What spectacular skiing on a trip that we hope is one of the first of many.
The Eastern High School Championships were held last weekend at Mt. Top in perfect midwinter type conditions. Clearly that didn't stop the Mass Team from their usual end of season photo op! Massachusetts finished 3rd and CSU had some great performances highlighted by James Kitch taking the top spot in the mass start classic race on day 2 and Mass taking relay win as well as 7th and 9th on day 3 loaded up with all CSUers. Congrats on some great racing!
Lots and lots of great photos taken by Brian Burt can be found at:
If you missed the Sugarloaf marathon here is what you missed:
- Perfect Snow, nice and fresh
- Bluebird sky
- Superior grooming
- NO WIND
- Comfy temperatures starting cold and ending up just right
- Best scenery with Sugarloaf Mt. in one direction and the Bigelows going the other direction
- Great CSU company
- The most fun course in NE
CSU had a good day taking home several 1sts with Jody Newton and Gray Holmes winning their age groups in the half marathon (the full was about 41-42 km and the half 21 km). In the full distance Hannah Smith was 2nd overall (the top 3 women skied about 2 km longer thanks to an unmarked trail junction that those of us that have skied the race before were familiar with and turned right on), Jess Snyder and Ari Ofsevit were first respectively in 30-39, John Sakalowsky 1st and Greg Werner 2nd in their age group, Andy Milne 4th, Tom Smith 7th, Michael Melnikov 10th, Jody Dean 12th in 50-59, Robert Faltus was 1st in 60-69 even though officially he is still in 50-59, Jamie Doucett 3rd and Richard Garrison 6th in 60-69 and Clinton Kreuger is missing from the results.
With a good U of snow there was exactly 1km of course around the outside of the driving range thanks to last weekend's snowmaking window, so Mark, Wes, Andy and John put together one more Weston race starting with a team sprint of 2 person teams each going 4 times with a hand off every lap. Good competition! That was followed by a 5 lap race. Here is some of the action. Great expressions people make in the dark! Oh, and since it was Tuesday, it rained a bit before the action commenced. Wouldn't want to go too many Tuesdays without some rain......