Friday, February 19, 2021

The Recruit

It's been a couple years since Zackarias Toresson was a member of the UAA Ski Team, but it still seems like it was only yesterday.  And in fact, it was only a few months ago that we finished off the last of the Swedish Aquavit that Zacke gave us as a gift when he left Alaska. 

Marine and Erik


Of course it hasn't been the same around here without Zacke, who came to us with a strong recommendation from his former Alvsbyns teammate and former Seawolf, Viktor Brannmark.  Viktor left us long before Zacke did, to chase his dream of skiing in Sweden's national team colors. 

Zacke advised me to be cautious around the Baske Droppar that he left with us. Jo didn't get the word.

But recently, the former Seawolves' paths crossed again.  After a series of disappointing results in some Swedish domestic races made it clear to Viktor that he would not qualify for this year's World Cup races in Falun, and after his girlfriend Jenny, racing for Team Ramudden won La Diagonela (you remember - the race where everyone was losing fingers and toes to frostbite) by four minutes, Viktor decided to pack up the car and drive to Italy for a 11-day quarantine/Covid-style pre-Swedish Nationals training camp in the Dolomites that would conclude with the Marcialonga, the marathon race in Val di Fiemme. 

Viktor drives a car with his name on it.

Zacke. The night before Marcialonga. Preparing snacks.

But it's a long drive from central Sweden to Italy. Sometimes I ask myself a hypothetical question:  If I had to make a long drive in a car, who would I want to go with me, sitting beside me and talking all those hours? Someone who wouldn't get on my nerves or want to stop every half-hour for a pee break. Someone who wouldn't be afraid to discuss the deep philosophical and moral questions of our time? Someone who I would like more even more at the end of the trip than at the beginning, for the inquisitive questions and enlightening answers posed and pondered during the trip? For me, (and probably for you, too, if you have been his teammate like I have) your answer will be Zackarias Toresson! Viktor, having been Zacke's teammate before, knew exactly who to call, living in his hometown of Varberg on the southern Swedish coast. According to Viktor, "I instantly knew what the answer would be and it didn’t disappointoouueEEEH! I’m in!”

Zacke in his native habitat of Varberg

So Zacke was recruited once again. This time as training partner and Marcialonga serviceman for Team Curira - Viktor's team for Marcialonga Weekend. 

Along Sweden's southern coast. You can almost see Lasse Moelgaard-Nielsen's house from here.

As it turns out, Viktor's arms faded in the later stages of the Marcialonga and he didn't get the result he had hoped for, but the word on the street is that Team Curira was so impressed with Zacke that he's been invited to stay on as serviceman and drinkmeister with the team for the Jizerska and the Vasaloppet!

Zacke and Viktor

You can read a lot more fun details about Viktor and Zacke's trip to the Dolomites, and I recommend you do, at Viktor's Blogg.

Saturday, February 6, 2021

Jigity Jig

It's always fun to fly down to the United States, to feel the warmth of the sun and drive across the open countryside between mountain ranges. Nevertheless, I always enjoy the feeling I get coming home again, as our jet is making its final descent into the Anchorage International Airport, with the Chugach front range behind town and the city lights glowing under a layer of ice fog. It's fun to ski in new places down south, but it only takes a few days of doing laps around a 3.3 km loop on manmade snow, or a 2.5km loop behind a school soccer field to start missing the breadth and variety of our multiple trail systems here within our city. To go out for a 2-plus hour loop at Kincaid and only ski half the available trails feels even more luxurious after coming back from a couple weeks' worth of 10-minute loops. Even if it is colder here.

Astrid got her first RMISA win in Minturn, Colorado

It's easy to smile when it's sunny and warm.

Denali and Foraker view from the Mize Loop at Kincaid Park. (It's usually not this blurry though)

Iliamna Volcano and the Chigmit Mountains, halfway between here and Bristol Bay.

Flying low over the beach in Bristol Bay.

The Chugach Mountains, behind Anchorage.

Cordova in the afternoon.

Cordova in the morning

Kincaid Park

Taking a refreshment break at Kincaid during a long tour.

Karly. Time trial with APU this morning. (And no, I don't know what Trond's doing back there)

Magnum

We had a couple of head to head battles out there this morning. This was one of them. Tuva and Becca Rorabaugh.

This was another. Espen and Forrest Mahlen.

Derek Deuling. Racing at sunrise.

Friday, January 22, 2021

Movin' on Down The Road

We finished up in Utah with a mass-start classic race.

Trond and Toomas, out testing kick waxes before sunrise at Soldier Hollow.

It was a klister day. Trond should have put some of that stuff on his shoes.  He slipped on the ice and landed flat on his back about three different times.

Astrid found her way onto the podium in the classic race.

Sigurd and JC in the skate race.
The boys wanted a group photo before WorldCupSchoon goes back to Europe.

And just like that, JC's off to Europe and the rest of us are off to Colorado.


On the road across the high desert. You might be surprised at all the different kinds of things you can buy in a Kum & Go.

Beaver Creek, Colorado. Gondola-riding with Tuva G, Astrid and Pascale.

Karly, Helen and Tuva B

The boys are living in comfort and eating well in their bubble.

Espen, Astrid, Magnus and Tuva B

The Tuvas and Karly

Meanwhile, the coaches were getting some interval training done.

Espen

Magnus is starting to figure out high-altitude ski racing.

Siggi had kind of a rough outing, but finished aggressively to score as many team points as possible.

He crashed into the bushes on one of the downhills and had to go back afterward to find his wristwatch in the snow.

The face-glitter-shopping options are limited here in Vail. The Elmer's glitter glue was the best we could come up with.

Thirty minutes to race time and the vibe is relaxed and ready.

The staff.

Tuva G on course.

Astrid finished second today.

Tuva B had a breakthrough race and finished third today.

Helen

Karly

Tomorrow's our last race of this road trip. Then we drive down out of the mountains to the Denver airport and fly back to Alaska. I think tomorrow will be a good one.  I'm pretty fired up to see what we can do.

Sunday, January 17, 2021

It's Official

 Our first day of RMISA racing is in the books. We're off to a solid start.

Tuva G

Astrid

Tuva B

Helen

Pascale

Karly

Maggi

Jay-Z

Siggi

Espen
One item in this picture does not belong. Can you identify the item?

Talking things over.