Craftsbury races and the joys of travel.

Paul Kovacs. Elite Cross-Country Skier

“This is your captain speaking. There is a Korean Airlines plane blocking the runway and it doesn’t seem to be talking to anyone, we are just going to have to wait till it moves.”

Pretty much the story of my travelling life when it comes to flying to and from the East coast, and especially Vermont.

So before we get to our Korean road block, I had another week of racing out East. To make things interesting for us, all Mother Nature decided to spice things up with some rain. For about 36 hours we had pretty consistent rain. I had moved up to Stowe where we were supposed to race but everything was washed away. Luckily another 40 min north there was a 2.4 kilometre man made loop at Craftsbury Outdoor Centre. They had a decent amount of snow and some extra piled up, which they pushed out and made into a…

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East Coast Racing.

Paul Kovacs. Elite Cross-Country Skier

Global warming is one serious pain in the butt! We are in-between Supertour weekends here on the East Coast. I’m inside drying out after doing intervals in heavy rain. The paddocks and fields are green and brown dotted with the odd patch of white. The snowstorm that battered parts of the east coast never came north to Vermont or the upper half of New York State where things are desperate.

IMG_8323 No snow in sight driving into Middlebury

So far this year I’ve only raced on two courses that have been natural snow, all the other courses have man made. Strips of white through green and brown forests.
On the 26th I flew down to Vermont from Alaska and hired a rental car. After 13 hours of travel I wasn’t super psyched to drive but I managed to find my way to New York State and a good friend’s house. An…

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Racing on home turf

Half an Adventure

One of the main differences in racing in Australia is the ‘home-course’ advantage, where we race every year on the same race courses, learning how to approach particular parts of the course both mentally and physically. For most of us when we come overseas, the season is a series of unknown or vaguely familiar racecourses, with all their attendant stresses and uncertainties. Some of us have courses we know pretty well, but it doesn’t quite come close to racing at ‘home’.

Lucky enough to call this home, and to have this view to wake up to! Lucky enough to call this home, and to have this view to wake up to!

This weekend, I got to do one of those races. The German Cup was rescheduled from nearby Isny in Allgäu to Balderschwang, known as the ‘German Siberia’ due to its extremely high snowfall amounts, for its 1050m altitude. This also means that in lean seasons, like this one until about 2 weeks ago, it…

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Welcome to Austria

Houghton Part 2

Paul Kovacs. Elite Cross-Country Skier

It’s quite amazing what can happen in a few days, a few hours or just a few kilometres. Since my last post a few days ago, we have had quite crazy weather with snow, rain and sunshine all thrown together. For a lot of the teams, this has been a nightmare for them. During these Championships, a few of the major teams with huge budgets really missed the wax and during the races their athletes have suffered for it. On the other hand, (bar my bad judgment call in the first race), Pete and Cody our two wax-tech geniuses have been killing it! It certainly helps when there are just four athletes and all boys, which means each race they can really narrow in and focus on just one race. It certainly helps! A big thanks to them both for doing such a great job!

Cody and Pete hard at work or in Cody's case pretending to be hard at work. Cody and Pete hard at…

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Callum Watson new blog

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World Cup Team athlete Callum Watson has launched a new blog. Click on the image above or head to www.callumwxc.com for his recent posts on training, life, and cooking.

Christmas special

Paul Kovacs. Elite Cross-Country Skier

Since my last post I’ve had my first set of serious races for the season. I’d planned to write about them and then do a separate post about Christmas in Alaska but that hasn’t happened, so welcome to the Christmas race special blog!

Besh Cup racing.
The state level here in Alaska are called Besh Cups and the first set of races were on the 18th and 19th of December. The first day was a classic sprint and the second a 15km skate.
The sprint for me was a bit of a worry. The previous weekend is tweaked my back in a citizen race and so I was concerned about aggravating it again, especially considering that the course was quite flat and all the men were just going to double pole it on skate skis instead of striding on classic skis.

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White Clouds

Paul Kovacs. Elite Cross-Country Skier

Bursting through clouds of white, frozen water particles seems to be coming the new norm in Anchorage. The Nordic Ski Association of Anchorage has pulled out all the stops (and guns) and have been blasting snow non-stop for the last few weeks. They only time the guns have seemed to of stopped is for the racing. Making kilometres of trail at least 40 cm thick and 5 meters wide is no easy task. The temperatures and humidity for snow making seem to be ideal, hovering around -5 to -12C so they just don’t seem to switch off the guns. They are pumping out mountains of snow along the trails and then pushing it all out before starting the process all over again. There is now a permanent 3 km loop of great skiing with another kilometre to be added any day now.

There seems to be big flurries of snow come…

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Slush Slogging (Hochfilzen Race Report)

Race report from Nick Montgomery. Jackson Bursill and Finlay Clarke doing their first races for the season.

Half an Adventure

The early part of a European season often involves a lot of Australian Team athletes in many different places. I had planned to do this long weekend of Alpen (European) Cup racing basically by myself, with wax support from the British team, similar to how I did these same races last year. However, I decided on short notice to go up to Davos last weekend for some training and to watch Phil in the World Cup race there, and ended up taking team-mate Jackson Bursill back to Germany with me, as he decided he wanted to do at least one of the races. Junior team member Finlay Clarke was meant to be in Eastern Germany for the weekend, but after that was cancelled he also joined at the last minute, with a bus trip and a slight diversion allowing us to pick him up on the way.

A very snowless morning run in St Ulrich am Pillersee A very snowless…

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The Future of XC Skiing? (La Sgambeda race report)

Half an Adventure

One of the more interesting developments in XC skiing in the past years has been the emergence of the Ski Classics series, a group of ski marathons, using classic technique, which feature professional teams, sprint points in the middle of races, group tactics, and a helicopter as part of the TV coverage. If it sounds a little bit like cycling, it’s because it’s supposed to be a bit like that. The organisers of two major marathons in Scandinavia decided to market the broadcast of their races overseas and in doing so incorporated a number of existing and new races into a series. It features pay-per-view streaming and even betting, which I’m not entirely happy about, but then I guess they need to make money somehow.

The Visma (formerly Swix) Ski Classics is in its sixth year now, and the opening race was held last weekend in the duty-free town of…

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