These days I ski race for the fun of it. I train because I enjoy it. Still, there is a part of me that misses the days when I was a full-time ski racer. One thing I miss most is training camp. I loved being able to get away from my daily routine of work and training for a week or two, solely to focus on skiing and becoming a faster skier. It was mentally relaxing and physically energizing.
Recently the opportunity presented itself for me to attend a training camp on Eagle Glacier, Alaska at the Thomas Training Center, run by the Alaska Pacific University Nordic Ski Center (APUNSC – nordic.alaskapacific.edu ). I kept trying to tell myself that I should stay home and work. I kept repeating that I am a recreational racer now, not a professional one. But it was no use. The lure of skiing in August – and only having to travel 40 miles down the road to do it – was too much for me to resist. I packed my bags, waxed my skis and headed for the glacier.
APUNSC has spent a lot of money in the past few years to renovate the entire facility on Eagle Glacier. Those people who trained here ten years ago might not even recognize the place. It was a great few days of skiing, complete with warm, sunny weather.
Here are a few of the pictures I took during the camp.
A view of the Thomas Training Center on Eagle Glacier. The lodge is perched on a narrow ridge between the glacier and a steep drop-off down towards Girdwood. There are dorm-style rooms with bunk beds, each room holds 2-6 people. Luxuries such as hot showers, flush toilets, TV/VCR, sauna, and a cook to prepare all the meals makes for a very pleasant stay.
A panoramic shot of the Chugach range (part of it anyway).
The grooming is very good. They have both a piston bully (!) and a snowmobile which they use to set tracks. We would usually classic ski in the afternoon, when the snow was soft and skate in the morning, when it was harder.
A group of APU skiers gets in some training, and works on their tans. The weather isn't always perfect up here, but when it is, it's beautiful skiing.
Our group had 12 athletes and 3 coaches, including Olympians Lars Flora (shown here with brother Erik) and Aelin Peterson. The center can hold up to 24 people.