I just got back from my 3-week training camp down in New Zealand and it was awesome! This was the longest training camp I have ever been to and I loved it! As a cross-country skier from the east, my time spent skiing on snow begins late November and stretches to the end of March, and that is only if it is a good snow year. This means I only get to spend 4 months on snow (which is also the race season) and the remaining 8 months of the year I do dry land training to prepare myself for the short season. Even though I was limited by how much I could ski with two poles, the opportunity to ski on snow for 3 straight weeks in the summer (their winter) with my team was incredible.
Not only was this the longest camp I have ever been to, but it was also my first time in New Zealand. I must say I absolutely love New Zealand and I can see myself living there some day. I have to admit, we got pretty lucky since we had perfect weather for our bigger adventures and for most of the training days so my perspective might be a little flawed. Here were some of my favorite adventures from camp (in no particular order)
#1: Lake Wanaka
We ran along Lake Wanaka with the mountains towering over the water in the background. The run ended with a quick (and very cold) swim to the famous tree and a big hug for another very big tree (we counted, it takes about 7 people to wrap around the tree).
# 2: The Matukituki Run
The adventure started long before the run, with country road driving through cow and sheep herds, deep river crossings with the car, and waterfalls falling left and right. Once we parked our cars, we set out for a 4 hour run through the Matukituki valley. We made cow friends, crossed freezing glacial rivers, ran off trail to a massive waterfall, tip toed our way across suspension bridges, and explored a jungle. This run is my new #1 best run of all time.
#3: Crust Cruise
We woke up the day after the Merino Muster race and were greeted by the perfect crust cruising conditions—frozen solid crust, sunshine, and little wind. We pointed our skis towards the ridgeline and started skating uphill for a long time. Halfway to the top, a group of us decided to send it down to a deep valley so we could swing some turns and climb up the other side to ski the whole ridge to Mount Pisa. We had views of mountains extending in all directions as we cruised along the ridge and descended back down to the snow farm. This also is my new #1 crust cruise of all time.
#4: “Technique” Ski
I went out for an easy afternoon ski with my teammate Sophie and my coach Matt, hoping to work on my skate technique. Very quickly we realized the visibility was almost nonexistent and the loop we went on was covered in deep snowdrifts. The technique ski turned into quite the opposite; we stomped through the deep snow by high kneeing and flopping all over the place. Each person led until they either face planted (which happened every few minutes) or lost the trail and skied off of it. This was near the end of camp so we were hit by the “tired giggles” as we like to call them so it was a very comical ski 🙂
#5 Sunset Walks
One of my favorite things to do when I am on the road is to go for sunrise and/or sunset walks/runs. It gives me a chance to move some blood while exploring the foreign place I am in. New Zealand was the perfect place to do this since we had an incredible view from the snow farm! My teammates Jessie and Ben joined me on very scenic and beautiful sunset walks/photo shoots.
After 3 weeks of good training, I was ready to head home for some rest and recovery. On my way back to the east, I made a two-day stop in San Francisco to visit my sister and tour the city for my 20th birthday. It was the perfect way to break up the long travel and get some quality sister time (even though it is always too short) before heading back to Stratton, VT. Now I am in Stratton for another week before I head west again for our U.S. Ski Team camp in Park City!