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Sat, Dec  6, 2008 - By Andy Newell and Peter Vordenberg

Pictures and some words from Andy Newell.

From Kuusamo sprint and distance to Davos training

No one said it was going to be easy.  And if it were easy what would the point be?

Andy Newell - Kuusamo sprint prelim.  Andy writes from Davos:

Over the past few days we have made our way from Kuusamo Finland to Davos Switzerland where the sprint team will be preparing for the next stop of the world cup tour.  Freeman will be racing the distance race in France this weekend, but for the rest of us it’s time to put in a few good days of training days and get ready for the first skate sprint of the season.

We’re staying at the Hotel Kulm, which in some ways has been our home base in Central Europe over the past few years. The Canadian and US teams have been coming here to train because of the massive amounts of trails and because the Hotel Kulm is a small, laid back place to stay with skiing right out the front door. We have already had some of the best skiing days of the year since we’ve been here, and caught more sun than we’ve seen in the past month.

Davos is one of those towns that you go to and it makes you realize how big skiing is in Europe. Each small village and hotel is connected by perfectly groomed ski trails, creating the ideal terrain for easy distance skiing. Some trails are double tracked for classic and others for skating, but the amount of kilometers that you can cover in a day is incredible. The fact that they somehow get it all groomed every night is pretty amazing in itself, and the number of skiers out on the trails is more than I’ve seen anywhere in the word. We call it ‘march of the penguins’, huge herds of tourists plotting along in the tracks, migrating from one coffee shop to the other. It’s pretty funny to see.

We will be putting in a few hours of training this week but we won’t miss out on any intensity either. Even though we’re in skiing paradise, these are the hardest weeks for me as an athlete. All I want to do is race. That’s what we train for, that’s what keeps me motivated, and that’s what makes me want to prove myself to the rest of the world. So when we have a weekend off from racing I get a little antsy and don’t know what to do with myself, and it drives me kind of crazy. But it does get us really, really fired up to get our chance to race again, so I’m thinking the Davos sprint will be a good race for the US Ski Team.

Despite the really hard course this year in Kuusamo (one extra big hill) many of the top distance skiers didn't make it into the rounds.

The final climb into the stadium leads into a gradual uphill, a down into a hairpin turn and then a hard gradual uphill into a double pole finish.  It is a tough sprint course.

First race over the pond for Kikkan this year.  You don't have to be off by much to be out early...

Marit was out early.

1.2km with 10 seconds between 1st and 30th place.

Torin Koos was about .30 of a second out, along with 5 other guys who were less than half a second out.

Petra skiing big and strong.

Bjorn Lind.

Chris Cook has been getting the best distance points of his career so far this season.

Picking up where he left off.

After a slow start to the season Virpi is picking up speed quickly.

A woman's heat a quarter of the way up the final hill.

A men's heat in the same spot.

A vendor at Ruka - the resort near Kuusamo where the races are held.

Angerer skiing really big and strong.  High hands!

Charlotte Kalla.

Kikkan finishing in her best distance race so far.

Kikkan just after leaving the stadium.

The Norwegians had a lot of young women at these races.  Ingvild Oestberg (here) who is 18 years old ended up 30th place.

Therese Johaug who is 20 ended up 13th.


Madjec 6th.  All these shots are from the same place...Aino Kaisa Saarinen who won double pole kicked this whole section.

Fitness first.  But good technique doesn't hurt either.  Train hard people!

Directly after the race we were on the road from Kuusamo to Davos (3400km) in Northern Scandinavia these were the best of roads.

Half way...

Only a few KM of road to go until we reached the Hotel Kulm.  I highly recommend this place if you want to go to Europe and ski.  Beautiful skiing, great accomodations...

Kris Freeman will be racing this weekend in La Clusaz, France.  It'll be the first mass start race of the season.  The altitude is fairly high and the course is on a really hard 3.75km loop.  It has been snowing every day.  After La Clusaz the circus returns to Davos for a skate sprint and a 10 / 15 km classic.

We are fit and ready.  The podium is our goal.

(vordenberg images) : questions? comments? ideas?

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