Competition starts tomorrow here in Hoydalmo, Norway, but it’s already been quite an experience just getting here. Brett Denney, Nick Hendrickson, Michael Ward and I started the journey up from Austria on Sunday morning. We missed out on watching Kikkan and Jessie’s gold medal performance, but we did break up our ten-hour drive to watch our boys ski to bronze in the nordic combined team event. Somehow we managed to pull into an Autobahn Rasthof, find a TV and switch to Eurosport within seconds of the race start. And that was an exciting race to watch! The lead pack of 6 fighting for the podium on the anchor leg consisted of more world champions and Olympic medalists than a Norwegian ski team reunion and Billy really pulled through to get on that podium.
We spent Sunday night an hour away from Kiel, the German port city on the Baltic Sea. Monday morning, we pushed off for the 20-hour ferry to Oslo, Norway. The boat that runs this route is basically a cruise ship, so it’s really a break from travel once you’re on the boat. Along with the usual German and Norwegian tourists were biatholon and alpine servicemen travelling up to their own races in Norway. The biatholon circuit had a World Cup in Oslo, Norway this weekend, and the alpine world cup races are in Kvitfjell. Waiting to drive onto the ferry, we caught up with a couple of the US alpine staff that we know from back in Park City. It’s weird how often we run into people we know over in Europe.
Upon arrival to Oslo on Tuesday morning we met up with our coach, Greg Poirier, and our new wax-tech for the trip, Bill Brooker. They had just flown in from the states and we gave them no time to jetlag. Rather than head straight for Hoydalsmo and wait around for official training, we spent the night in Oslo and got in some awesome training. That first night we jumped Holmenkollen – which is the large hill – all by ourselves, under the lights, above the city lights of Oslo. That was cool. All too often we take the opportunities for granted in this sport, but we definitely did not let this opportunity go under-appreciated.
Wednesday morning we jumped Oslo’s K95, Midtstubakken, on a wonderful blue bird day. (Those of you who watched 2011 World Champs will remember that fog and clouds are the norm in Oslo, and sunshine is a blessing). We also got a great ski in on the Holmenkollen trails. I don’t think we made it to the end of the 2000-kilometer trail system there…
Currently we’re in Hoydalsmo. We took Thursday as our usual rest day but stayed busy watching more world champs. I had to take a break to complete a final for an online course – but hey that’s the beauty of online classes – you choose the time.
After fueling up on fresh bread and brown cheese, we had a solid official training today and then topped off the day with Norwegian salmon. Now we’re ready to rock for another great weekend of Continental Cups! Thanks to all the support from NNF and our community who make this possible!
Where am I?