Saturday, October 31, 2015

A Halloween Tweet

I don't tweet. I don't even know how to tweet, and I'm not sure I want to learn. Sure, tweeting is cute, but I feel it's beneath me.  You can't fit nearly enough narcissism into one of those little Twitter tweets.  To really satisfy the voracious appetite of an enormous ego like mine, you need a blog!

Nevertheless, some people do tweet. Our UAA Ski Team Blog interns, for example. They tweet. Not only do they tweet, but they read other people's tweets.  And one Twitter tweeter's tweets that our interns especially like to follow is Kikkan Randall, who is taking the winter off from World Cup racing this year to have a child, which means we'll probably see her out on our local ski trails a lot more than usual. Kikkan was out skiing today at Hatcher Pass, and of course all the UAA Ski Team Blog interns rushed to the Twittersphere lickety split as soon as they got back to Anchorage to see what Kikkan had to say about it. And what did they find when they checked in with Twitter? Kikkan was tweeting up a storm about our very own Mario Roncador (AKA Batman).

The worst thing about this photo is that Mario's wearing a vest so you can't really even tell that he's dressed as Batman. In fact, he kind of looks like he's wearing a 2013 APU Ski Team suit. But the best thing about this photo is how oblivious Mario is to the whole thing. And of course the fact that Mario managed to pull down a quick 75 'likes' for Kikkan in just a couple of minutes.

Hatcher Pass

I've never skied on such thin snow at Hatcher Pass. There's a name for the kind of conditions that met us today at Hatcher's, and that name is "September". Nevertheless, Ed Strabel of the Mat-Su Ski Club has been slaving away lately to get the snow into shape for good training. Although there wasn't much snow on the ground, we had tracks to ski on and we were able to put in a solid three-hour classic workout on good training trails.  Thank you Ed Strabel and the Mat-Su Ski Club for all your hard work to prepare the trails around Independence Mine!

Mario and Mario

Not a good sign...

Mario and Mackenzie

Chaos at Gold Cord.

Taking in the view

Sara and Toomas

A rewaxing break.

Friday, October 30, 2015

The View from My Office Window

You may say I'm a dreamer;
But I'm not the only one.

For Corina

I know you're reading this, Corina.  I was thinking of you the other day when the pilot invited me to sit in the copilot seat in his fancy Swiss pressurized airplane for a flight to Iliamna at 20,000 feet in IFR conditions. There's nothing wrong with the Cherokee, Corina, but the Pilatus takes it to the next level.  I think you'd have been impressed.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Riding The Sand Worm

Now I'm not saying these UAA Ski Team Seniors are never going to puke again.  I'm just saying that if and when they do, they won't be spewing between intervals on the dreaded Kincaid Sand Dunes during one of our fall joint alpine/nordic workouts.
Some of the seniors who celebrated their last-ever sand dune sprint today:  Ced, Sean, Mackenzie, Pati, Mario, Hanna.

But for most of us, the future holds many more trips up the dune.

I wasn't able to get any video today because I was too busy trying to keep up, but our workout looked pretty much like this.

Thursday, October 22, 2015


The morning workout today:
A little warmup and stretch overlooking the sea....
...and then it's on!

An afternoon flight to Kodiak. If you can name the icefield, perhaps you'll win a special prize!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Time Trial Time

Don't you wish you could participate in UAA Ski Team uphill rollerskiing time trials?  I sure do.  But you can't, because if you're like most people in the world, you're not on the UAA Ski Team so the coaches probably wouldn't let you race in their time trial.  And I can't because although I'm pretty tight with the UAA Ski Team and the coaches would probably let me race it if I wanted to, the fact is I probably couldn't physically make it up the hill on rollerskis.

But I did go out on my bike this morning to document the event and now, through the incredible power of the Youtube, you too can experience the Potter Valley uphill time trial without actually having to put rollerskis on your feet. It's the best of both worlds!  Simply click on the picture of Etienne below, and you'll be able to see video of all the UAAers who rollerskied up the 1,260 calendar feet from sea level to the end of the pavement in Potter Valley this morning!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Pics 'o th' Day

A little rollerski action:
Coach Sara giving sprint instructions from the bike.
Kollo is pretty quick.
So is Slotte.

Saturday, October 10, 2015


The last couple days have looked something like this:

Etienne, Toomas, Marcus.


Explosive strength drills on the beach



Our leader Andrew

Hanna, Toomas, Mario, Marcus


Hanna, Toomas, Mario, Marcus

The Sand Dunes

Manon, Pati, Jamie, Sadie, Mackenzie

Sadie's wristwatch told her we went 46km on this rollerski tour.

A drink break at Kincaid.

While we enjoyed Anchorage's fine rollerskiing trails, Andrew, Sara, Calisa, Sylvie and Svea were preparing a breakfast feast for us.

Hanging with Svea and Sylvie.
Sylvie's feet smell like chocolate.
This was Mario's 34th waffle.

Thank you Andrew, Calisa and Sara for the delicious brunch and for letting us come in and track rollerskiing road grime all over your home!

Friday, October 9, 2015


The local weather forecast called for heavy rain and wind, with no end in sight.  It wasn't really what I was hoping for. The weather forecast for the Mojave Desert and Colorado Plateau of southern Utah called for 104 degrees F.  That was more like what I had in mind. So off I went, to find the motorbike.

The Black Rock Desert.  Seems like I was just here a couple weeks ago.
Las Vegas
Southwest Colorado
Southwest Colorado
Anyone who can guess whose house this is gets ten points. (Andrew Kastning and his family excluded from this contest)
John Denver Country.
Maroon Country.

The real reason for my trip was to get myself to Gunnison Colorado to attend the Western State University of Colorado's athletics hall of fame induction ceremony for Jim Burkholder, who was the head coach of the UAA Ski Team and running team from 1972-1976. If you've done any skiing in Anchorage, then you've definitely skied sections of trail named after Burky.  There's Burky's Turn, Burky's Climb, etc. Along with others like Jim Mahaffey and Dick Mize, we skiers in Anchorage have a lot to thank these pioneers of our trail systems and ski programs for.
As it turns out, I was just over the ridge from Andrew Kastning, who was also in the Colorado Rockies for the weekend. He was attending a continuing education ski coaching class in Aspen - the first 200-level coaching class offered in the US. He has already shared a bunch of new and exciting information with the rest of us on the team, but of course I can't divulge any of it here because it's all confidential team stuff. I hiked to the top of West Maroon Pass and gave a good yodel down into the Aspen valley try to roust Andrew out, but got no response from Coach Kastning.  He must have been deep into it down there in his ski coaching class. (Thank you Bill, Carol and Tom for letting me crash at your place in CB!)

Muddy water and flash floods in Capital Reef
You don't get to see rain in the desert very often. It's a rare treat!