Little Sam has been absolutely dominating this blog, so it seems that I don’t have much to write about.

We’re here in what I always thought was a flyover state, and it turns out that it’s a pretty cool place. There is what the locals are calling an “unbelievable” amount of snow (i.e. full coverage), and the courses were a pleasant surprise in that despite being on a golf course they aren’t flat. In fact, they’ve done a great job with the trails here – the classic mass start was tracked with three and even four lanes in places, making it easy to pass and generally avoid catastrophe (even though the J2’s still couldn’t…it’s ok, they’ll get their sea legs someday). The races and travel has been really well organized, with no delays in start times and buses leaving the hotel on schedule.

And speaking of the hotel…the only way to describe it is, well, overwhelming. We’re talking 500 nordies TAKING OVER what would otherwise be a very classy (read: expensive) hotel. The lobby is completely filled with kids on laptops doing homework, because despite its being totally swanky the managers of the Marriott still haven’t discovered wireless internet (or how to cook…but I guess us Californians are spoiled). There are kids everywhere going crazy. It’s mind-blowing. And this is coming from someone who lives in a dorm.

It’s a bit odd being one of the older guys on the team…meeting the team in the airport and seeing a bunch of unfamiliar J3 and J2 faces was really disarming. It makes me happy, though, because I can see that Far Wizzle has a lot of potential for the future. Ben and Jeff and Nancy (eh, Mark too) are gonna have their hands full for a while.

Bring Tha Ruckus,

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Mall of America

Forgot to mention in last post, but we finally got to go to the Mall of Amurrica yesterday. It was kinda overkill. I mean, it was just so huge and extravagant, it was dull and monotonous. There’s a huge Nickelodeon themed amusment park in the center. I’m talking two football fields huge. And nothing wakes you up like looking up and staring at a giant mannequin of Dora the Explorer. And every other store is a shoe store! Vans here! Crocs there! Uggs here! Something incredibly stupid and nonsensical there! You could have bulit a regular strip mall out of all the shoes in that place! The most worthwhile thing I did in there was play with all the things in the Apple store. THE IPAD IS AWESOME! Just really heavy.

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Skate interval start 2011

To start off the morning, I slept through all three of the alarms Julien and I set and Julien just left and went to breakfast. I woke up 15 minutes later. Then, the 7:30 buses for the J2s didn’t show up until 8:00 while we all just sat on the floor. This morning we skied skate for tomorrow. The course is the same for the classic mass and the skate interval start but I think it’s harder on skating. But thats just because I love classic. I remember when I first started winning classic races (when I was 7 or 8) Skyler Mullings gave me the nickname “klister man”. I didn’t even know what klister was! Anyway, I’ll have a post up about the race tomorrow morning.

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Classic mass 2011

So I just got back from the classic mass start. That was intense. About half of the J2s wiped out in the first kilometer. Before I got around the first turn, one guy crashed in front of me. Then he tripped two more. And they each tripped another. I had to ski straight through the middle of this mosh pit of poles, skis, and athletes. The race didn’t settle down until about 2.5 km. Until thein it was *left foot! right! jump! change track! left foot! yank pole out from under ski! change track!* and so on and so forth. I got 55th again and my kick kinda came and went. So far JOs have been the hardest races of my life.

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Classic course 2011

So today we skiied the classic course for tomorrow. It’s really hard. I can think of 4 MAJOR hills off the top of my head but that favors me. I really pity those J1 and OJ boys who have to do it three times. I’ll probably lose some ground on the downhills though because pretty much all of the J2s here are built like Dylan Syben. Today I skiied on my Fischer crown revolutions which are probably around 150 centimeters long. I had no glide or grip and everyone laughed at me. It was good skiing though We’re supposed to get 2 inches of snow tonight so that will probably make the waxing easier.

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Oh yeah…

I forgot to mention this in the previous post, but I broke my ski boot too. I will try to sum it up in this little melodrama below,


So it was 6:00 am yester morning and I was groggily getting ready to go skiing. I slid my foot into my boot, tied the laces, and what happens next, but BAM! The stupid zipper breaks. BUT! Three guesses what I had in my my backpack. Not super glue, not a swiss army knife but good ol’ DUCT TAPE! So I went out skiing with one boot considerably more silver than the other and it all worked out great. Then after skiing, Mark, having the connections that he does, found me a pair of fancy expensive top of the line Fischer boots to demo for the rest of the week. THANK YOU MARK AND DUCT TAPE!

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JO’s are kicking my butt


Just got back from the sprints and I am in pain. Note to self, getting lost on the city streets the night before a race is not good for your legs. Yeah, I did that. For some stupid reason, I got out of the skyway and onto thre streets. Anyway,I took a 55th today with Julien right behind me. None of the FW J2 boys made the heats, but Katrin, Bria, and Laurel made the heats and Katrin and Laurel advanced as the lucky losers to the semis but we don’t know how they did. Looking forward to the classic (thank god) and hoping my legs stop being sore.

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A smooth-sailing, but hectic couple of days of travel and transition for the Far West Nordic JO Team. 27 athletes made the trip out (one is still in California due to illness, but we’re hoping to see Patrick sometime this week if he can kick the krud), 8 coaches, and there are a few parents out and about the beautiful metropolis of Minneapolis.

This JO’s is different from any other in that EVERY team is staying in one location, smack-dab downtown at the Marriott Hotel. Our team is way up on the 26th and 27th floors, so it’s often a LOOOONNNNNG elevator ride to the top during “Rush Hours,” when every athlete is heading to or from meals.

The courses at the venue are very cool, rolling, no flat, little steep poppers that will keep our kids on their toes. Coaches were at the venue wax rooms last night well past 10 pm waxing up the boards, and many of them are already over there putting on topcoats this morning. In a few minutes, the J2 Boys willl be leaving for the Sprint Qualifiers, beginning at 12:30, with the rest of the crew hitting the shuttle busses soon after.

Wish us luck! I’ll try to post some more pics later (especially for Lauryl and Kathi, who are having significant Far West withdrawals in their respective coastal locations :-)

Captain Nordic

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Junior Olympics Opening Ceremonies

The 2011 Junior Olympic Championships in Minneapolis, MN, held opening ceremonies at the IDS Crystal Court. After the athletes paraded in from the skyways, a number of local dignitaries spoke, including Major R.T. Rybak (a skier himself), and MN Supreme Court Justice Alan Page, and there were musical numbers from the Hopkins HS drumline and the Rhythm Tap Dance Company.

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JO 2011 Opening Day

WE’RE HERE!!!!!!!


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