Sunday, February 28, 2016


The RMISA season is done. One more weekend of college racing ahead - the only one that counts - the NCAA Championships next week in Steamboat Springs, CO.

Andrew and Sara announced the team that will be competing at NCAA's next week. It'll be Pati, Mackenzie and Casey for the women.  And it'll be Luca, Etienne and Toomas for the men.  For the first time in quite a while I won't be able to make it to NCAA's this year because I have another ski-racing obligation that week. But Mario has graciously offered his services as volunteer assistant coach for the week. (Good luck getting any sleep next week, Mario. Sara and Andrew like to work in the wax room until well after midnight and then get up well before dawn.)

For the alpine team, it'll be Maria Gudmundsdottir, Isabella Andreini and Charley Field for the women and Curtis McKillop, Sean Alexander and Hughston Norton for the men.

We are now en route back to the homeland from the Denver airport.  The NCAA skiers will have three and a half days of school and training before returning to Colorado on Thursday. At least they'll be traveling light.  We left most of our ski stuff in a parked van here in Denver, to be fetched in a few days when we come back.

Sorting and repacking bags to be left in Denver until the team's return in three days.

Mario was knighted this morning at DIA in his loaner volunteer assistant flouro-mask.  It was a perfect fit!

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Fonzie Gets Fourth!

Luca Winkler was fourth today in the 8-lap 20km classic race today, scoring his best college result yet. We're hoping he's saving more of the same for when we return to Colorado for the NCAA Championships next week.

And on our drive to Denver this afternoon, we got word that Maria was second in the women's slalom today. Congratulations, Maria!

Mackenzie didn't have her greatest result today. But do you think she didn't give it her best?  Here she is in the medical tent  after the race.  Looks like Hanna was doing her best to keep Mack's spirits up.
We're in Denver tonight. We fly back to Alaska tomorrow morning. NCAA Championships are next. Stay tuned.

Friday, February 26, 2016


Newly-crowned RMISA GS Champ Sean Alexander
Sean Alexander is the team captain of the UAA men's alpine team. He's the undisputed team leader. This is his fifth year at UAA.  He was an NCAA All-American his freshman year, but then he injured his knee and had to redshirt a year to recover, and he assistant-coached a year, too, somewhere in there. Sean has had a multitude of roles with the team, from biggest point-scorer to mentor, to head video analyzer to team grandpa. This weekend is the RMISA Championships, and Sean's last RMISA races before next week's NCAA Championships. Though he's been close many times to getting an NCAA podium result, he's never quite been in the top three.  Until today.  Sean won his first college race this afternoon and is the 2016 RMISA giant slalom champion, and he did it on the Birds of Prey world championship race hill. I wish I'd been up there in person to see him do it.

Our results on the cross-country course were mediocre today.  We found out during the van ride back from the race venue that Sean had won, and it immediately became the only topic of conversation.  Congratulations, Sean Alexander!

As for us, we raced 5km / 10km skating today.  Beautiful weather, a challenging course, a well-organized race.  Our results were middle-of-the-pack.  We're hoping for improvement tomorrow. Here are a few photos:
The Fonz
The Von
This evening, it was time for the RMISA end-of-the-year banquet, held halfway up the Beaver Creek ski hill:
Mario and Hanna during our gondola ride to the banquet.

All of us: Etienne, Hanna, Luca, Mackenzie, Pati, Casey, Sara, Andrew, Sadie, Marcus, Mario

Wednesday, February 24, 2016


Considering that we're from Alaska, it seems a little strange that we spend so much of our time on sand dunes.  It's not really what you might expect when joining this team. Nevertheless, we had another dune day today.  We've taken care of our business in Red River and crossed the border into Colorado, where we're now holed up in Avon, preparing for this weekend's RMISA Championships in Minturn on Friday and Saturday. On our way across the San Luis Valley, we dropped in for some running in Great Sand Dunes National Park.

The training never stops
Mario. Walking on the moon.
The Von in a moment of quiet repose.
Von Halen and Skippy
The Golden Horde

Leaving Red River

Our last day in Red River.  Andrew and I went up the hill to help the alpine team with their slalom training. I really enjoy being a part of their world every once in a while.

I spent the entire day here, on this snow gun tower, running the video camera.
The view from my perch.

Maria and Queso between runs.

And we're on the road again...

Monday, February 22, 2016

In Ranchera Country

We're out on another road trip. Time flies when you're having fun. Here are pictures.

On the climb out of Anchorage.  Harriman Fjord in Prince William Sound. Flights in and out of town are good for scouting new backcountry ski lines.
We're in Red River New Mexico.  "Stand your ground" territory, apparently...

...and after shopping for your personal protection supplies, you can pick up some Jesus Stuff.
We raced yesterday and today, but I didn't make it out to yesterday's race.  Alix wrenched her knee running slalom the day before. Spent the afternoon at the local hospital. There's no more skiing for Alix for this winter, so no point in sticking around here. She's off to see the orthopedic docs back home in Anchorage.  I gave her a lift back to the Denver airport so she could get home and get started on her recovery.  Dr. Sean, Dr. Chuck, and Dr. Bella have preliminarily diagnosed it as a torn medial collateral ligament. We'll see if they get concurrence from the docs with actual medical degrees. We're all hoping for a quick recovery for Alix. She's going to be badly missed both in the team van and on the result list. When this photo was taken, Alix was well into the Oxycodone. I'd passed her off to the airport wheelchair driver, who desperately wanted to not be in the picture, but my shutter finger was way to quick for him.  Alix probably doesn't remember any of this...



Dr. Von Nostrand


Womens’ pre-race meeting. (add your own caption here)







In the afternoon, we had good slacklining weather.  Here's Martins.

Maria Gudmundsdottir

Bucky taking it to a whole 'nother level.

We went up to the alpine hill to catch the alpiners’ second run.  Here’s Coach Sparky

As the drama unfolds. Etienne, Mario, Von Morrison, Uncle Tom, Chuck, Pati. 

Hughey again

Typisk Hanna


Andrew and Sara


This morning, Bucky and Martins joined us for a little Nordic training.

Probably just about the most athletically talented guy I've ever met - it took Martins about ten seconds to master the sport. He managed to hang on to the training pace for a solid hour and a half.  And he owned every downhill out there.