Thursday, September 24, 2015


Earlier this week, I was perusing the newspapers of the world as I do bright and early each morning before sunrise and I came across some exciting news from Tynset. As you already know, Tynset is the town in northern Østerdalen, Norway where former UAA nordic skier (2008-2009) Nils Kristen Sandtrøen grew up.  But you probably didn't know that Nils Kristen ran for Vice Mayor of Tynset as the Labor Party candidate earlier this week and won! Nils Kristen is a really nice guy, so next time you roll through Tynset be sure to mention that you know the Vice Mayor, and I bet Nils Kristen will give you a key to the city or something.

That's Nils Kristen in the green suit.
And here wearing a different kind of suit.

Congratulations, Nils Kristen!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Notice Anything Unusual About This Photo That I Took An Hour Ago?

That's right! There's snow in the mountains. Seems it's been forever since we've had snow anywhere near Anchorage.

Lake Hood

My friend Kevin went for a hike on Rainbow this morning.

And this is what he saw.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

The Fun Side of Crow Pass

Today's training plan called for a long hike on a high exposed ridge line in the Chugach Mountains. But when the coaches saw the weather - steady cold rain and gusty wind - they called an audible and we ran over Crow Pass instead.

The trip over Crow Pass consists of two basic halves. The first half stays mostly above treeline, and traverses high alpine country on a moderately steep trail. The second half is pretty much flat and in the woods. Dividing the two halves is the Eagle River crossing, a 100-hard splash through swiftly-moving waist-deep glacial meltwater (about a half-mile from its source) at a temperature of about 0.00001 degree Celcius. Today, we ran the first half of the first half of the trail - the best part.

Mackenzie, Andrew, Hanna, Toomas, Manon.

Into the clouds. Andrew, Mackenzie, Toomas, Hanna.
Across the pass.
That's Raven Glacier in the background.

Andrew catching air.

Toomas catching air, but less air than Andrew.

Mackenzie, not catching air.

Our turnaround point at the bridge over the gorge.
Question:  Is Mackenzie catching air now?
ps. Thank you to all of the nordic team for singing Happy Birthday to me today in the van.  You're the best singers I know, and I really appreciated it! Especially Hanna, who sang it in fourteen languages and would have sung in Estonian but Toomas told her music hadn't yet been invented in Estonia. 

Friday, September 11, 2015

Christmas and New Year

Christmas and New Year's happens around the end of December each year.  But apparently, not everyone agrees about that. I'm told that the Chinese celebrate the new year in February, and the word on the street is that the Jewish new year is coming up later this month.

As for me, the new year starts at the beginning of September and my "Christmas" (the best week of the year) happens the week before, during my annual camping trip in the Nevada desert with my friends. We give each other gifts and we frolic around, and at the end of the week I come back to start a new year with the UAA Ski Team, refreshed and in good spirits.

What place could be more fun than this?
Though the team has been training together for a couple of weeks, I've missed it because I've been out in the desert.  But I did make it to my first UAA Ski Team practice today, our annual Nordic vs. Alpine Soccer Game, indoors at The Dome.  It's an annual September tradition.  I think this year's game was the best game we've had in years, with a good vibe and some really nice goals. I won't bore you with the final score because that's not important, but the result was really no surprise for those keeping track of the Nordic vs. Alpine Soccer Game over the past few years. (Lukas Ebner can rest easy for another year.)

Here's about 90% of this year's UAA Ski Team.
I feel trained and ready for the fall program.  Thanks to the generous support of ex-UAA skiers Lasse and Marine, I had the best equipment available, and got out for two solid rollerski sessions over the summer.  That's twice as much as last summer.  That probably means I'm twice as prepared.  This is going to be a good year!

Thanks Marine and Lasse!