Saturday, August 6, 2011

Julia - Adventures in Italy

Last week I was lucky enough to be able to train with the Sci Club Livigno Ski Teamin a small town named Livigno in Northern Italy and explore the possibility of taking CSU to train there next summer as well. This town is at an altitude of around 6000ft which makes training there a bit difficult, but very rewarding. They have a 14 mile loop of roller skiing trails and incredible mountains for hiking and hill‐bounding.  Although the roller‐skiing trails are mostly flat or undulating (with some hard uphill sections, if desired) , the kids on the team often wake up early in the morning and ski up the Forcola mountain pass that is about 4 miles long to do some uphill classic training. This is the only skiing they ever have to do on roads and early in the
morning there are hardly ever cars.
The Forcola mountain pass

While we were there we happened to see Petter Northug skiing around the roller ski trails, which was so cool. He was going to fast but it looked so effortless!  Northug is the one in the blue, relaxing on the way back

We got a chance to look at some housing possibilities and we were able to find a bunch of apartments that are a short distance (sometimes a few feet) from the trails.
One of the possible houses

One of the roller skiing trails, lowers left hand corner

The view of the valley from the houses was amazing and in the morning you could throw on your boots and skis, walk out the front door and start training where some of the national teams train, which I thought was pretty awesome. In addition to XC ski races a subset of the skiers in the club also do biathlon, so the team there does a lot of shooting training. Lucio Zini, one of their coaches (in the picture) was a national level athlete in this specialty.

They were good. I mean, really really good. I hadn’t ever seen people seriously training for a biathlon and I was very impressed. 

They let me try as well which helped me understand just how hard it is to shoot at such a little target from so far away.

Towards the end of my stay there I ran a race called the Stralivigno with another girl from the team named Vania Zini. It could be run as a half marathon or as a two person relay. Vania ran the first half and I ran the second half. We were able to come in second among the women. It was a really hard race but all he kids on CSU could definitely handle it and it would be a great way to finish up the training camp.

The kids on the team were so welcoming and I think it would be so cool for CSU to have the chance to get to know and train with skiers from a different part of the world. The group’s attitude reminded me so much of our team and their training was very similar to ours. The area was so beautiful and the food was fantastic. The Livigno Sci Club coaches (Lucio Zini, Aldo Confortola and Antonio Bormolini) are very good, helpful and nice. I think CSU would have a blast if they came to Livigno and could benefit so much from the extensive roller ski specific trails and incredible mountains. See the picture below taken from a high ridge ridge between 9000 and 10.000 ft along which you can run.

No comments: