Monday, December 31, 2012

Holiday Road

The team is regrouped again after several weeks apart for the holidays.  We're all here in Utah now for US Nationals, except Karina and Cara who will join us in a couple days. Our accomodations for the week are an enormous house in Heber.  There's plenty of room for all of us, and plenty of extra bedrooms in case Coach Andrew spontaneously decides to recruit a bunch of additional athletes this week. Most of the team flew overnight from Alaska, arriving in Utah in early morning, and they report very good skiing here at Soldier Hollow.  The coaches, after dropping off the skiers, drove back down the hill to Salt Lake City to buy $1,400 of groceries at Costco and pick up a couple of team members on a later flight. Lasse directed his sous chefs in preparing a huge spaghetti dinner for the rest of us, while the coaches prepared the team's test ski fleet for tomorrow's testing session. Tonight is New Year's Eve, but considering that we spent all of last night on an airplane, we will be going to bed early tonight and catching up on sleep instead of going out carousing. Tomorrow is a day for ski testing and pre-race preparation, and then our first race is on Wednesday - a classic sprint race.

Western Utah

Dinner preparation in our kitchen

Viktor bought Lego cars for the team.  The skis were neglected while Lukas and Viktor focused on another kind of racing.

Sunday, December 30, 2012


Lasse, Lukas, Marine, Galen and Maya have already traveled to Utah a few days ahead of the team for a little extra preparation for the US Nationals next week.  Yesterday, they went to visit Robert Redford at his Sundance Resort. Apparently, Redford wasn't available to go skiing with them, so they went without him.  But they reported excellent skiing on some really nice ski trails.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Scattered to the four winds

The UAA Ski Team members are spread around the western / northern hemispheres this week, before gathering up again next week for the real start of the college racing season in Utah.

Karina went home to Norway for Christmas, while Marine went to France and Cara went to British Columbia.  Lukas, Lasse, and Patricia spent the holiday break training and racing in Anchorage, but the two L's have gone to Utah early for a few extra days of on-site race preparation for US Nationals next week. Davis, John, Galen, Sarah, Brandon and Maya were home in Alaska for the holidays.  Viktor's girlfriend Amelia came to visit from Sweden, and though Viktor is generally a happy guy, I haven't seen him smiling as much as last Saturday when Amelia was in town. Coaches Andrew and Tor spent the holidays with their families - one of the last chances they'll get this winter to spend a solid week of quality time with their families for a while, as the racing / travel season will be hectic from now until late March.

This weekend, the team gathers together again in Utah for the US national championships at Soldier Hollow.  We have skiers coming in from around the world, but by Sunday night we should all be under one roof again.

Last week, we had two fairly big races in Anchorage: races 1 and 2 of the Besh Cup series, which serves as qualifier races for junior skiers hoping to compete at the US junior national championships.  Results can be found here:

Here are a couple pictures of Davis in the second Besh Cup race, in Chugiak:

And as for me, I decided to spend Christmas week in the southern California desert, riding my bike in the sunshine.  Tomorrow I'll travel back to Anchorage where I'll have just a few hours to drop off my bike, grab my ski bag, and fly back south to Utah where I'll meet the team for a week of racing at US Nationals.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Darkest Day of the Year

It only gets lighter starting now...

Tomorrow is the first race in the Besh Cup series - a classic sprint race. That's followed by a distance skate race on Sunday. It's going to be a cold weekend. We went out for training today on tomorrow's Kincaid Park sprint course, and it was not warm. Not one little bit.

Here are a few pictures from today's training and from a flight I took yesterday over Prince William Sound.

(None of the people in the foreground of this photo are members of the UAA Ski Team)

Mt. Marcus Baker in the background - highest mountain in the Chugach Range.

That's Eagle Glacier and the Eagle Glacier Nordic Ski Training Center in the foreground.  If you know where to look, you can see the bunkhouse in this picture.
The front range of the Chugach and the Anchorage hillside.

And one more thing:  here's a newspaper article about the new trail in Girdwood that we've been training on a lot lately: and here's a video about the same trail.  Check it out:

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Anchorage Cup Team Sprint

The UAA Ski Team raced in today's Anchorage Cup Team Sprint race.  The Anchorage Cup is the local ski club's citizen race series.  Racers in these events range all the way from skiers with Olympic and World Cup experience to skiers who have never been in a ski race before.  For us, it was a good training opportunity; most of our skiers raced in two separate events: a men's or women's team and a mixed team.  It gave them a chance to race two races with two 1.2-kilometer legs.  This made for four hard intervals in a race environment.  And no matter how hard you do intervals, there's nothing quite as hard as actually racing.  I think all three of us coaches found that out the hard way today!

Start of the Women's Team Sprint

Pati leading at the end of leg 1


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Happy Trails

It makes me happy when I'm driving out of the parking lot after going skiing at Kincaid Park and all the new snow that fell during the workout poofs up over the hood of my car and onto my windshield.
The UAA Ski Team was a happy ski team today.


Monday, December 10, 2012

Galen again...

Like everyone, I like to start each day with a big bowl of Grape Nuts and a review of Ski Racing Magazine for all the best skiing news. So naturally I wasn't surprised this morning when I came across this:

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Girdwood Time Trial

The team is nearing the end of another "block" of high-intensity training.  Today, we had a skiathlon time trial on the trail that has the best conditions currently - the new Girdwood 5km trail.  It snowed overnight but the Girdwood Ski Club volunteers had the entire trail groomed before we even arrived there this morning.  Thank you Girdwood Nordic Ski Club!

There's video available at  You can search for "adamverrier2" and you'll find all the UAA ski team videos there on the "adamverrier2 channel", including today's videos, in chronological order. This allows the skiers to analyze their own technique, with or without the coaches' input.

At the start/finish area.

Viktor, Lukas, and Lasse, during the classic portion.

Sarah Freistone
For tomorrow, it's a sprint relay on the new man-made loop at Kincaid Park!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Galen of the Mountain

I hope you haven't been scrambling to your computer every hour, looking for updates on this blog, because I haven't been very forthcoming with the updates lately for a couple of reasons. For one thing, nothing's really changed around here lately.  It's still clear and cold, day after day.  They're still making snow at Kincaid and the fake-snow loop that we can ski on gradually gets longer and longer.  Furthermore, my work schedule has had me on a whirlwind tour of the islands lately (Unalaska and Kodiak) and I haven't had a chance to get together with the team much. I did get to spend a few hours in town on Wednesday morning between flights - I spent that time wisely - at a UAA Ski Team workout at Kincaid Park. I was just in town long enough to see Lasse and Viktor go head-to-head at the end of the workout in a double-pole sprint showdown.  In the opinion of the entire coaching staff they both lost - disqualified for rules violations.

Tomorrow evening, everything might change.  The weather is forecast to warm up and bring snow - we're all hoping.  But as I flew in from Kodiak this evening over Kincaid Park, it looked like they were blasting out the fake snow from the snow guns all over the stadium.  So whether we get snow or not, we are now beginning to have pretty good snow coverage at Kincaid, and that will only make our training conditions better day by day.

An old photo found its way into my hands earlier this week - a photo of myself with an eager little squirt, fired up for some ski racing in Fairbanks ten years ago.  He's a lot taller and faster than I am now and wearing green and gold ski suits instead of blue and red ones, but he still likes his ski racing!
So I thought it was appropriate to go out to the garage and snap a picture of the poster that's over my wax bench.  Galen gave it to me when he was eleven years old and the advocate and "poster child" for Denali KidCare. If you can't read the fine print under the photo, it says Galen is the youngest person ever to climb North America's highest mountain.  And if you're wondering what Galen's referring to in his "ps - na na" message, you'll have to ask him yourself.