CSU and team New England is settling in to their digs in Soldier Hollow, Utah, for Junior Nationals. Rob is over there as one of the coaches, and sent the following update.
"Day 2 at JNs and somehow the weather has gotten even nicer. We could not find a cloud in the sky or feel a breath of wind. Attached is a photo of Eli and the J1 boys working on tans on top of their van. (Concerned parents: we have purchased a team supply of sunscreen after we saw a few red faces yesterday after our short practice).
Yesterday evening we had the opening ceremonies. Utah pulled out all its aces for the event. We gathered at the foot of the 120 meter jump looking up at the dramatic scene. They had a local jumper fly off the 70 meter jump while we watched and cheered. Then a silver medalist from the Nordic combined team skated in with an American flag, planted it, and lit the Olympic torch by the jump. We sang the national anthem. Billy DeMong, multiple Olympic medalist gave a brief talk about how he made it to the top. Then Dan Simoneau (peer of Bill Koch's) gave a teary speech about the good old days and about how great the current US women are skiing. And they did this all in a half hour which partially made up for standing out in the snow for the ceremony. Unfortunately, many of the team did not get the message that it would be outdoors and were freezing to death in their little team jackets.
This morning I took a van load of OJ boys over to the venue at 8:15. The snow was still cold and powdery, so Toko Viola stick (remember stick wax?) was all we needed for great kick. I skied the Olympic 5K with Nina Gavriluk, who raced here in 2002 on the Russian team. She can stride up really steep hills with no effort leaving me panting far behind her. She gave me several useful tips about my technique to make up for the punishment. We also skied the spring course several times with the boys and went over how best to approach it. The course is short and not too hard. Good thing at this altitude. The racing will be fast and furious tomorrow.
This afternoon we have team study hall. The message to the kids, was, like, whatever, study if you want. I told the CSU kids that it was mandatory and they are all here working hard (with one notable exception who will remain nameless, suffice it to say his name begins with G and ends with -avin).
The view of the mountains attached is from the back of the hotel!
Can't wait to report on some great ski racing tomorrow.