This is a story written by Greg Harkay about his experiences at the Vermont Academy Summer on Snow Camp in Vuokatti, Finland. This year it was the 10th annual European Summer on Snow Camp run by VA coach, Alexei Sotskov. Anyone interested in next year's trip can contact Alexei at email@example.com or (802)-869-6204.
Fish, potatoes, fatty sauces, gorgeous wood chip covered running trails, endless and wide rollerskiing/biking paths running along all major roads (covered with fit Finns), steamy saunas, and perfect skiing are what I found in Vuokatti, Finland. I traveled with four other skiers, Pavel Sotskov, Brendan Kiniry, Ian Tovell, and Kristen Harkay; and our coach, Alexei Sotskov. It took a plane (delayed because the pilot was sure that somebody was on the plane that should be staying in Stockholm after the layover), a bus, two trains, and one more bus to reach our destination: the Vuokatti Sports Center. I found the accommodations to be excellent with comfortable beds, a TV (the Tour de France is on Eurosport every day, after all), and a full bathroom in each of our three rooms.
Most days involved getting up at 7:30 (I cannot recite the old crack of dawn story here since it never actually gets dark 100 km from the Arctic Circle), going for a 15 minute run, jumping in the lake, eating copious quantities of food, skiing for 1.5 to 2 hours, eating more copious quantities of food, sleeping, running or roller skiing or snow skiing again, eating yet more copious quantities of food, gaining strength in the well-equipped weight room (machines with pneumatic resistance were new to me), ridding our bodies of toxins and fatigue in the sauna, and sleeping some more. Such a schedule might sound as though it could become boring or trite, but when you are skiing with some of the best Russian, Chinese, Austrian, and Finnish skiers in the world things remain quite interesting.