Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Dangerous Assumptions

We all know what they say about people who "assume": that they make an ass out of u and me.  Nevertheless, this blog likes to live dangerously, and in this week's blog post, we're going to make some assumptions.

First, a fact:  Lukas Ebner and carbonfiber go together like peanut butter and pickles.  Like great white sharks and kittens.  Like texting and driving. When carbonfiber sees lucky coming, it runs and hides. A few examples:

There are more photos like these.... I won't bore you with redundance.
So it's probably safe to assume that Lucky doesn't know that the Airbus 380 jumboliner is made of carbonfiber. If he had known that the Airbus 380 jumboliner is made of carbonfiber, he might not have been quite so eager to climb into one and fly to China in it.

Furthermore, we can assume that the other passengers aboard this particular Airbus 380 jumboliner were unaware of Lucky's rocky relationship with carbonfiber. If they had been, we can assume they would have imagined a fate such as this for themselves, just because of Lucky's involvement:  And you can read more here:

In the end, though, it all worked out just fine.  Lucky made a last minute decision to travel to China and do a little racing, and reportedly had the time of his life there. He competed in a sprint ski race on trucked-in snow, and was in a running race too. In addition, he got to visit the Great Wall and a whole bunch of other cool stuff that he's going to tell us all about when he comes back to Alaska in August. He has put up a half-report on his blog at:

Here's a picture I found on his Facebook page for which he didn't write an explanation, so I'm not really sure what's going on and I'll have to make a few assumptions in my caption:
Here's the awards ceremony for Lukas' road racing debut in China.  Lucky had a good race, finishing sixth out of seven runners. Sadly, money was only awarded to the top three finishers. It was a close race for sixth, though, with Lucky just edging out the seventh place finisher by inches. (Seventh place does not recieve an award.)
All in all, I'm very jealous.  I fly on airplanes three or four days every week, and I have never been on an A380. (Nor have I ever been to China.)
In other news, Alaska continues to break all-time records for warm weather and sunshine this summer. It's hard to tell the difference between Alaska and Florida these days.  At the moment, I'm writing this from Kodiak Island where the previous record temperature for this day was 78 degrees F, fifty years ago.  But that record was broken this afternoon.
And in other news, I'm sorry to say that all of you who were not in Anchorage over the weekend missed out on Primus' show Saturday night at the Moose's Tooth.

Recognize anybody you know here?

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Summertime Rolls

The UAA Ski Team has scattered to the ends of the earth in June, leaving me with little to report.  But here's the latest: 

I heard a rumor that Lucky has seen nothing but rain since he left Alaska last month. I have two sets of friends who both went to Europe for bike trips in the last month and they both came back to tell me that Europe is "pretty much flooded out". Earlier this week, I guess Lucky had finally had enough so he got on a jet and flew to China to do a little ski racing.  No, I'm not kidding.  Lucky says he's going to update his blog daily, but that was a few days ago and we've heard nothing since.  I guess he didn't bother to read any newspapers any time in the past few years; everyone knows the Chinese government isn't too psyched about "bloggers".  In time, I'm sure we'll hear all about the trip from Lucky.  In the meantime, you can check for updates from him at

Lasse is staying staying busy searching out vertical relief for his training missions in Copenhagen.  His latest dream has come true: Marine's buddies in Villard de Lans are going to let Lasse hang out with them next fall, so Lasse moves to France on August 1.  I have a suggestion for Lasse's mom: Don't speak any more Danish with Lasse this summer.  Stick to French and make him deal with it.

I think I saw some photos recently hinting that Marine is, or was, somewhere in the Mediterranean, catching a few rays and splashing around in the ocean.

Viktor's in heaven in Sweden, training 5x/day with his training buddies. Hard intervals for breakfast every day.

I went for a little run and some strength training a couple weeks ago with Coach K, Davis and new UAA skiers Alex Loan and Andrew Arnold.  Those guys are getting together from time to time around Anchorage for some workouts.

Patricia is in Switzerland for the summer.  The Swiss are very secretive, so of course I have no idea what Pati is up to.

Former UAA skier Kjetil Hagtvedt Dammen has joined Thomas Alsgaard's Team Leaseplan Go for another year of professional racing and will again be trying to win Worldloppet marathons this coming winter.

Cara is jumping out of helicopters again this summer and battling raging infernos in the Canadian wilderness.

Brandon has been splashing around in a boat in the Carribean recently, but I assume he's back to Anchorage by now.

And the biggest news of all:  Assistant coach Tor found himself a new job as a counselor at Service High School in Anchorage.  He has been looking for a job like this for a while, and is happy to finally land his dream job.  And even bigger news: he and Rhianne are going to have a baby next winter.  Needless to say, Tor will be glad to have a job that keeps him closer to home instead of flying all around the country chasing the ski scene.  Congratulations to Tor and Rhianne!

As for me, despite the record-breaking heat and sunshine that we've been having in Alaska lately, I took a little trip to south Florida for work last week. I managed to rent a bike while I was there and did some of the hottest bike riding I've ever done.  Here are a few pictures:

Two weeks ago, there was good skiing at Turnagain. But a lot of snow has melted since then.

No better place to be.

Biking to Key West, Florida. Want to ride across a lot of bridges?  The Florida Keys is your place. This bridge is seven miles long. There were a few islands along the way, too.  On one of them, I accidentally ran over an iguana. Sorry!

109 degrees F and crazy-humid.  You Euros want to know how hot that is?  Google it. This was a 100 mile+ day for me.  I'm proud of that.

The Everglades is one cool-ass swamp!  I recommend checking it out for yourself if you get a chance.
Another 100+ degree day on the bike in the Everglades.
Caution: Jaguars crossing. They must have been hiding out because I didn't see any.
Wherever I go biking, I like to ride over passes.  Stelvio, Galibier... Give me a pass and I'll ride over it. In the Everglades, it's Rock Reef Pass.  The first foot was tough, but I started finding my groove in the second foot, and I totally rocked foot number three!

No matter how much fun I have traveling, I always love flying back to Alaska. Here's Blackstone Bay in Prince William Sound, and that's Burns Glacier at center right.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Lasse's Last Day in Alaska

I remember a few summers ago when former UAA head coach Trond Flagstad told me, "I just signed a guy from COPENHAGEN(!), where it's flat and it usually rains during the winter. But he seems like he's really organized, really serious, and he'll be UAA's first ever Danish skier! This should be interesting."

And it was interesting.  During his first fall training season in Alaska, it quickly became clear that Lasse's training venues back home had been very flat.  He was a super strong roller ski double poler, but he wasn't so much in his element when it came to going up long steep hills. During his first racing season here, he won a tough head-to-head battle for second place at the Western Region championships behind Lukas (who was region champion that year), but otherwise was far enough off the pace of the best RMISA skiers that he didn't qualify for NCAA's. 

The following year, Lasse spent much of the summer in Anchorage, occasionally joining Davis or me or the APU Ski Team for workouts, trying to spend as much time as he could climbing, climbing, climbing. And he made a significant improvement from the previous year, qualifying for NCAA's, for example. 

As Lasse's college results improved, his FIS points were naturally going down, too, and although I don't know how he ranked among Danes when he came to Alaska, it became clear that his FIS points had now become better than any other Danish skiers.

Lasse spent last summer in Alaska again, continuing to work on improving his ability to climb hills and it paid off last winter when he was usually in the top ten in the RMISA college races.  At NCAA's, Lasse was 8th in the individual start race (along with his teammates - all the UAA men were in the top ten that day). But he also qualified to represent Denmark at the World Championships in Italy last winter, and it became clear that he is now the top-ranked Danish skier and has a good chance of representing Denmark at next year's Olympics in Sochi.

When Lasse came to UAA, he already had an undergraduate law degree from the University of Copenhagen.  At UAA, he completed a Master's of Business Administration.  His original plan was to go back to Copenhagen after this year, call it quits with the ski racing, get a law degree, and presumably make a career out of suing the pants off all the Denmarkians.  But he got a little too fast at skiing over the past three years, and now he can't pass up the opportunity to train for one more year, try to lock down a spot on the Danish Olympic Team, and compete in Sochi before moving on to new challenges.

As far as I can tell, Lasse has accomplished the things he's accomplished through simple hard work, persistence, and refusal to compromise.  He got As in school, and he showed up for every workout and race prepared, focused, on time, with his gear in order, and ready to put everything he had into the workout or the race. And Lasse makes few mistakes. He knows how to use his brain before and during races, and thus is able to get as much as possible out of his efforts. Because of these attributes and his self-confidence, he was a very strong leader for our team.

Lasse has spent the past few weeks in Fairbanks visiting friends, going on adventures, and training 20-30 hours per week. There was a plane waiting to take him home to Copenhagen on Thursday, and he had stored all his stuff in my Tobydome (so named after Toby Schwoerer, former UAA star skier who spent the occasional night camped out there in the storage building behind my house ten years ago).  Lasse had one last morning to kill in Anchorage before fetching his gear out of the Tobydome and heading to the airport for his flight at mid-day; he offered to take me out for one last morning of backcountry skiing adventure at one of his favorite Alaska powder stashes.  I was happy to be invited along.

One of several launch launching-off points that morning.

Lasse recommended we ski the back wall of this bowl.

There was nothing wrong with the weather.

About 20 minutes after this photo was taken, Lasse received a marriage proposal from an enamored tourist who'd been watching his snowy exploits from afar. But Lasse had to decline - he has other things he has to focus on right now...
Next year, Lasse is trying to secure a base of operations somewhere in Europe for his fall Olympic training. As he spends a few final months preparing for one more winter racing season, you can follow his adventures at  Good luck, Lasse!