Yesterday I wrote an update explaining different challenges ski-racers run into searching for good training. Weather being the main challenge. But I also mentioned the importance of the crew working on the hill. At the end of the update my conclusion is that we have had very bad luck and shitty conditions for almost the entire month of September. I never say the crew at the ski resort did a bad job, but I also fail to mention that they have done a good job. Leaving everyone with the impression they could be a part of the problem. That´s not fair. They have done a good job and they are of course just as frustrated with having a difficult season as we are.
I´ve skied my whole life. Skiing being an outside sport, it is also a sport that is effected by weather. Add being in the mountains and you´re effected by a lot of weather. During my time as a ski racer I have been to many camps where the weather and conditions have not been on our side. It´s almost normal that you lose a few days and/or get some days with real bad conditions. Bad conditions as a ski racers usually means that the snow is bad. It can be very soft. Or the snow is braking up into balls(we call it death cookies). Or its just hard enough for cruising, but once you push hard it breaks away under your ski. Or it is just very little snow. Very little snow means rocks. Since rocks destroy your skis, you can´t use your race skis. And training if you can´t use your best equipment is not the same. Snow in general is very sensitive to weather conditions. But you´re also depending on the crew that work the hill. That they know what they´re doing when they´re running the groomers. Basically there is a lot of things that can easily mess up your training. Imagine being a football player. One day the grass is just dirt and hard as asphalt , one day it´s half a meter tall and the next day its so wet that you run with water over your ankles. You can still practice, but its not very game/match/race like, you cant be your best and after a while that gets old. And that’s just the snow. Add wind(sometimes so strong the lifts wont run), rain, snow and fog. All normal in the mountains. There are just a lot of things that would make a lot of other sports easier when it comes to getting good training. If I go somewhere I like to stay for a long time. This way I feel you minimize the luck when it comes to weather. Staying long enough in one place you´re gonna get good stuff sooner or later. That´s why we spend the whole month of September(and then some) in Argentina. Like I said, going somewhere for a week you need some luck, and you could easily lose half of your days or more. But going somewhere for a month and having shit conditions almost every day!!! That’s a first for me. And hopefully a last… Coaches, ski technicians and racers are all working hard and hoping every day for good conditions. When you get disappointed by what the weather has done to the conditions almost every day you come up on the mountain… Well, it gets frustrating in the end. This September in Ushuaia most be the worst ski camp I´ve ever been to. We have just had real bad luck, for a month straight… Hopefully that will change for October and November, so we can get some quality training and be ready for another fun winter season!! And I think they´re right. If you´re frustrated about something it helps to get it out… Thanks!
A skier doesn’t get a lot of summer. You extend the winter as far as you can into the spring. Then you start looking for snow again as soon as August comes around. That basically means two months of summer. June and July. Good thing these months were both amazing in Scandinavia this year. In June I spent most of my time in Oslo training with the team. I a few short trips to Innsbruck and some days at my summer house in Sweden. But most of the time was spent with the team working out. Good times and good workouts. A win win situation thanks to great team mates!
We got three weeks of vacation from the team. The first week I spent with friends from New York biking trough the French Alps. We started in Annecy and ended up on the Riviera. That´s something I would recommend to everyone. If you like biking, beautiful nature and a bit of a challenge you should try that some day. Two relaxing days on the Riviera felt real good after climbing some of the most famous mountain passes in the Alps. I´m for sure doing that again!
Then I spent two weeks at my house in Sweden in the craziest summer weather I have ever experienced in Scandinavia. High 20´s to mid 30´s every day. Hot, but so nice when you´re by the sea and you can just dive in whenever you need to cool off. Perfect for recharging the batteries.
Cause the last week of July it all starts again. Physical testing at the Olympic center in Oslo and back training with the team. And now that it´s August it´s back on snow. A short week of skiing at Passo Stelvio in Italia and later in August we´ll travel to South America for a 5 week camp in Chile and Argentina.
The summer was great, but also a bit short. Cant believe it´s all starting again. It feels kinda early. But I´m hoping to catch a few more days in shorts and t-shirt before its all winter again for the next 10 months…
During the winter I travel around and race world cup. It used to be a big team, then I had some years almost alone, and the last few years I have had the company of Kjetil and sometimes some other guys. Athletes have different events they focus on, and you need to spend some time on the FIS and the Europa Cup tour before you´re ready for a full World Cup season. But in the summer we all do the same thing. And that is to work out, hard!!
Given my experience and age(yes, i´m over 30 now…) I´m kind of a team captain. Nothing official, but I try to help out and share some of my experience. Like Kjetil Andre Aamodt thought me a lot of stuff when I first joined the team. Not a big deal, just something that´s natural in any team. But I´m liking it more and more. I think its inspiring. And that´s for one reason alone. These guys are awesome! A new generation of seriously Attacking Vikings. We are all different and sure we don’t agree on everything. But a great attitude and a respect for hard work is something shared by this whole group. After 6 weeks together pushing hard every day I´m impressed. And I´m sure it will bring results. Most of you already know a guy like Henrik, but there are more coming. Watch out. The attitude and the work moral makes me proud to say that this is my team and they are my team mates. That’s a real clisché, I know. But that´s what 6 weeks of hard work will do to you. On this last day when it´s time for a few weeks of holiday we all feel a little emotional.
Keep training boys, but also get some well earned rest!!
May has been quit busy. It seems that every year May just flies by. After Japan it was back to Norway for 17th of May celebration. Always fun. Seeing lots of friends and family out in Oslo. And also the annual 16th of May party hosted by Stordalen. I love parties where you dress up. The theme this year was Norway. Its 200 years since the Norwegian constitution was written back in 1814, and that of course is a great reason to celebrate. Not only partying in Oslo of course. I got some great bike rides with friends and god lifting sessions at the Olympic gym. Then it was back to Innsbruck. The great thing about Innsbruck is that you´re in the middle of the ski world. Not only during winter, but almost more so in summer. Within one hour driving you have 5 world class glacier summer ski resorts. We´ve been training in Kaunertal. Living close by you can pick and choose the days when the conditions and the weather forecast looks the best. We got some great days. Being on the mountain around 5am to take advantage for the cold nights. Good training and great preparation with HEAD getting the skis ready for another winter. No it´s off to Trentino and Lake Garda for a week of training with the team. Both A and B team will be there, so it’s a big group. It´s gonna be hard work being chased by 20year olds all week. Like I said, May is busy. But busy with exciting stuff;)
One thing is clear. We race on the FIS WORLD CUP. That means we should try to race all around the world. And for sure in Japan. It´s been too long and the Japanese are really excited about skiing. The ski community is not as big as it was in the early 90´s, but the interest is still there. And walking trough the streets of Tokyo you can run into ski shops and pro race shops. An unusal thing. It almost feels like walking by a ski rental in the middle of Manhatten. But we the ski areas just one hour away with the bullet train, Tokyo is different and the potential for big interest is really there. I have just had some great days in Japan. Getting to know our clothing supplier Phenix a lot better and really learning more about the whole process that goes into making the clothing. But also visiting a lot of ski shops and ski communities. It´s been a great experience and I hope we can bring world cup skiing back to Japan soon.
That was two weeks of vacation and now its back on the mountain. Practice makes perfect. Or at least better. 5 am start means the snow is still nice and hard from the cold night. At around 10 its starting to get real soft and our day on the mountain is over. Back to bed for some well earned extra sleep. Today was close to perfect here in Røldal and Im hoping we get more days like that. Getting up at 4 is a lot easier if its clear sky, compared to getting up when you hear the rain hitting your bedroom window. I said it was 2 weeks of vacation. Before this camp. In a ay thats true even though it was no real vacation. I spent most of my time between the last ski camp and this one at the gym. Lifting weights. But thats the whole idea of vacation. Doing something different. And after 5-6 months with intense skiing and very little time for lifting, it is actually fun to get back to the gym and do something different. It sure doesnt always feel that way. So better take advantage and get a lot of training done now that I´m feeling excited about it. But this week is all about skiing. Getting a lot of good turns done!
After a long winter with lots of skiing, then there is more skiing… We have started the training for next season. Just spent a week in Kvitfjell with great conditions. If you´re lucky in and get good weather in the spring, you get great conditions in the morning before that sun heats everything up too much. Last week was some of the best conditions I have seen all winter. Now its off to Åre Sweden for a HEAD camp. HEAD athletes gathered to test next years equipment. Always fun to see of we can find something that’s faster than what we have. We usually do! We will also be recording some material for next year. A new film. Last year´s “poker” film was a big hit so we need something good again this year.
Its been a while since I wrote anything on this blog. The last part of the season was draining. In the race season you don’t ski that much during the winter. You do some warm up and freeskiing, but the actual skiing in races is always less then 5 minutes. And when you´ve finished your 5 min of skiing you get to talk about it with the media for about 1 hour and 5 minutes. That doesn’t mean that the media is bad. But I´m a skier. And 5 min of skiing followed by 1 hour and 5 min talking about skiing is gets tiring after a long winter. So I haven’t
really had the energy to wright about skiing either. But now I´ve spent some time alone, or at least away from most people. So now I´m back. First I skied a little in the Swiss alps, then I went to Austria to climb the Grossglockner. A fun experience. A lot of people go to the summit of Grossglockner. I think that is impressive, cause the last part is challenging. A narrow spine to climb and walk with something that looks like 1000 meters vertical on both sides. Sure get your heart pumping a little faster. And with this new energy that I got from spending some time “alone” in the mountains I´m heading to Norway for the national championships. Hope you all have a great last part of the winter and try to get more then 5 minutes of skiing a day!