Wednesday, March 20, 2013

It's been a whirlwind...

Okay, so it's been a while since this blog has been updated.  I'm usually pretty good about updating it, but the past week or so has been so busy for me that I simply haven't had a chance until now, during my one day in Anchorage between trips.  Here are the basics of what has happened around here since ten days ago when I last updated the blog:

NCAA's final day:  15km skate mass-start for the women and 20km for the men.  It was a beautiful warm sunny day and the spectators were out in force.  Lasse made the comment that "...the A-climb out there was louder than the World Championships last week!"

The women skied solid races.  Marine was in a group of three leaders who got away from the rest of the field, and in the end Marine was on the podium again in third place which means that both of her NCAA Nationals races ended with her on the podium. Very impressive!

The race course was relatively flat and easy, but there were a lot of twists and turns and very few straight stretches, which meant that in the men's race it was not easy at all to pass, and there were 25 guys in the front pack all the way through the first three of four laps around the 5k loop.  Viktor took frequent turns in the lead through the first 15km, but the pack broke up in the last lap and all three of our men ended up a little bit off the pace by the time they came around to the finish line. 

In the end, we ended up in seventh in the overall team score.
Results for all races are here:
Photos are here:
and here:

Marine on the podium (as usual).

Junior Nationals in Fairbanks:  The team flew back from the east coast on Sunday evening, and we were a little late arriving in Anchorage, around 2am+/- if I remember correctly.  I had made a commitment to be the race announcer for the junior national championships, and the first race started at 10am on Monday, which meant I needed to be on a 6am flight out of Anchorage to make it on time.  I had to unpack my NCAA bags and re-pack my "announcing" bags.  I had been optimistically hoping for a couple hours of sleep, but when I finally got to bed and set my alarm, I realized I had 47 minutes before I had to get up and get to the airport.  It was a tough way to start a busy week (but it wasn't until Friday afternoon that I came down with a short bout of exhaustion, with fever and dizziness - but when I woke up Saturday morning, I was feeling just fine again.)  UAA had two skiers at Junior Nationals: Brandon Brewster and Sarah Freistone.  Both made significant improvements in 2013 and skied faster this season than ever before.  Brandon had a solid week of racing and Sarah found herself on the podium on a regular basis at Junior Nationals. 
Compete results are here:
Photos are here:
I don't remember much from this part of the week...

While Sarah and Brandon were racing in Fairbanks, the rest of the team were on Spring Break.  Lukas was traveling around the east coast with his dad while most of the rest of the team was out alpine skiing and backcountry skiing during a perfect week of sunshine and blue skies.  A lot of the team raced the Oosik Classic race - a 50km classic race this weekend in Talkeetna.  And several skiers plan to travel to Fairbanks this coming weekend for their last race of the year - the 50km Sonot Kkaazoot skate race.

Meanwhile, as soon as I got back to Anchorage from Fairbanks, I got right back on a plane and flew to Cordova for a work trip.  ....Or was it a ski trip?  At this time of year, sometimes it's hard to tell.  Cordova has some of the best backcountry skiing in the world, and anytime I travel there for work without my skis, I feel kind of guilty for not taking advantage of the great untracked mountain ranges there.  But this time I made sure to carve out a few hours in the evening for myself so I could enjoy about eight inches of dry, fluffy powder!  Unfortunately, I came out of a chute a little hot in choppy snow and my Dynafit setup apparently couldn't handle the g-forces; the binding connection ripped out of my boot.  But fortunately, I was at the bottom of the mountain at that point and headed back to the car anyway.
(all smiles pre-binding failure in Cordova)

The mountains and ocean are in close proximity in Cordova
Eagle Glacier.  If you know where to look, you can still see the Pisten Bully tracks from last summer's glacier training camps.

And that brings us to today:  Today, the UAA Ski Team visited Lake Hood Elementary School to ski with the kids (third to sixth grade) just as we did last year.  It was a beautiful sunny afternoon and we made a lot of new friends. 
Carnage on the sledding hill

Maya and friends.

Lasse spent 45 minutes dealing with this situation.

Viktor's new biggest fan.
As the racing season comes to a close, the backcountry crust-skiing season begins, and will run into June.  Stay tuned this spring for lots of reports and photos of the best time of year to be in Alaska - springtime!

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