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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The Descent of Winter

Half an Adventure

Normally people think of the arrival of winter as a question of time: you just watch the days tick over as it gets colder and colder until we get to a point where we decide it’s cold enough to be winter, or we just wait for a specific date. Others will think of it geographically: it may already be wintry close to the north/south pole, and you wait for the northward/southward march of the next season. Here in the Allgäu, the season changes are particularly visible, especially if you look up and observe small changes in the high mountains. Winter starts up on the peaks, and slowly extends down to the valley. Let me elaborate, and tell a bit about my training in the last seven weeks.

High summer

I arrived in Southern Germany on August 26th, to a magnificent view of green mountains, green valleys and blue…

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My Winter in Summer

Half an Adventure

One of the things I often had to explain in the first half of the year was my answer to ‘how long are you staying in Germany?’ The answer is that I’m in Germany for 12 months, but broken up into a 7 and a 5 month block, with 10 weeks of Australian winter sandwiched between the beginning and end of the European summer. The reply to this was often: ‘wait, so you have winter when we have summer? Krass… (untranslatable) I’m now back in Germany, but first, a quick recap of the winter down under.

You could call it a winter of contrasts, with Falls Creek recording its coldest August in 26 years, and Melbourne its coldest winter in 26 years (although no one’s acknowledging the impact of the change in weather station). We had many sunny and cold days and plenty of great skiing. On the other…

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Sprang Series

See below for Kat Paul’s latest post from the Lake Mountain Ambassador Program weebly blog (originally posted on April 9).

Following my week in Truckee CA, I had my last set of races, USSA Spring Series at my home away from home, Sun Valley. The first race was a 10km classic; I decided to give this race a miss as I was still recovering from Junior Nationals. The second race was the skate sprint, I was feeling good, but the snow was rock hard, and very hard for me to get any power out of my legs. I missed out on qualifying for the senior heats, but as a junior I was able to race in the junior heats. I was dissatisfied with my rank in 7th place, but I knew I could only move up. The sprint course of the day was one I had raced many times and I knew my strategy, even though I was disheartened by the qualifier I had the upper hand mentally as I knew exactly what moves I would pull out. For the first round I finished in 1st place, putting my plan in action. As there were fewer juniors there were only 2 rounds. Next up was the A final. I was feeling good despite the tight turn-around between rounds. My plan was going well until the final straight, when I was about to make my move I slipped and fell. It was too late for me to catch up so I came in 6th postion. I was disappointed with my outcome but I had a great looking bruise on my leg that swelled up straight after. So at least I came away with something to show, just maybe not what I had originally intended.

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Finishing the season with a bang!

See below for a late reposting of Casey Wright’s last post from the Lake Mountain Ambassador Program weebly blog (originally posted on March 28).

I have now been back in Australia for a week and have been loving the opportunity to catch some summer weather before we plunge into another winter. Before I made the marathon journey across the pacific back home I had one more set of the races to complete before my season was officially over.

This year the final races of the US racing series (the USSA Super Tour Sprint Series Finals) were held in Sun Valley. After returning from Sweden I had about 2.5 weeks to recover and prepare for the races. During this time we experienced some unseasonably warm weather and as a result the snow conditions deteriorated. Despite the fact that the snow was melting before my eyes, I did not miss the opportunity to soak up some Vitamin D, and as such spent almost every session skiing/ training in a T-shirt.

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