From the 12th to 16th of July the 6th Annual Trout Lake Ski Camp was held in scenic Trout Lake Washington. Nestled at the base of Mt. Adams in the Cascade Mountain Range and billed as a â€œdry-land training dream,â€ the training opportunities in Trout Lake did not disappoint. First discovered by Bill Koch, Trout Lake has been a summertime training destination for a couple generations of elite level American skiers. The combination of generally traffic-less paved logging roads, easy access to hiking, great trails for running and bounding, and of course a perfect bridge for jumping off, makes it the ideal place for hosting a training camp. Run by MBSEF with support of PNSA, this year’s camp was the largest yet and attracted 43 skiers from all over the Northwest.
With emphasis on testing and technique the camp had an elite level feel and the campers rose to the occasion. Workouts ran (pretty much) smoothly from the get-go and even the J2s seemed focused and receptive to instruction. Proper body position and coordinated movements were emphasized and each skier had video footage taken during the distance workouts. At the end of the camp this footage was compiled with a technique video and each skier left the camp with a personalized ski technique video. Produced by Ben Husaby with help from Dakota Black-Horse von Jess, this video showed common errors, then contrasted these errors with footage of proper technique and ways for moving into proper body position. Each skier’s individual footage was spliced into the technique movie allowing for easy comparison and analysis of technique.
In addition to the distance/video work-outs, over the first three days campers also participated in bounding, neuromuscular training (affectionately known simply as â€œjumpingâ€), and medals-style testing work-outs. The testing was particularly noteworthy because of its basis in recent physiological studies. Consisting of several types of jumping, a 20m run, and a 300m run, this testing focuses on areas where Nordic skiers have traditionally been weak. Although the testing, jumping, and bounding work-outs were physically demanding, leaving several campers unable to efficiently descend stairs, everyone seemed to agree on the utility of these exercises. Head coach Ben Husaby provided physiological and ski-specific motivation for these work-outs and many of the skiers seemed eager to incorporate these exercises into their training regimens.
On the morning of the fourth day a classic roller-ski time trial was held. Although held on an accidentally shortened parcours, this was still one of the highlights of the week. Generally flat for the first 2.0 km, after a sweeping right hand turn the race headed up hill for the next 1.5 km. While intended to be 5km, it was to the apparent relief of a number of the skiers that the finish was incorrectly set-up at the first pull-off a little under a kilometer below the intended finish-line. Although discounting himself pre-race, on the Men’s side Big Bad Ben Husaby stormed to victory in the only time under ten minutes. When discussing his surprise at the location of the finish line Ben mentioned that he was â€œjust getting ready to kick ass.â€ Following up in a time of 10:47 was a hard-charging Tom Smith followed closely by Dakota Blackhorse von Jess in 3rd, Erik Bjornsonâ€”despite an embarrassing finish-line crashâ€”in 4th (winning the J2 catergory) and Charlie Smith in 5th at 11:05. On the women’s side Sadie Bjornson matched Ben’s performance with an equally dominating time of 12:44 (good for 7th overall) which distanced herself from the tight race for second which had the next three finishers separated by under five seconds. The women’s J2 winner was Monica Markvardsen.
On the final morning campers had the chance to hike part of beautiful Mt. Adams with a select group being allowed to summit the 12,000+ ft. peak. Although a beautiful mountain to hike up, with many scenic vistas, the highlight was certainly the descent with its wide-open sun-softened snowfields. Improvising sleds with windbreakers and backpacks, or even simply sliding in shoes, we made short work of the snowfields and were reminded of some of the wonderful properties of snow. After returning to Trout Lake campers helped clean up and then headed their separate ways tired-out but energized for the coming season. Realizing that there are many ways to improve, hopefully the campers will keep the momentum of the camp going until ski season. On a final note, the participants in the Trout Lake Camp would like to thank Connie and Roger Black for the use (and abuse) of their home. Hopefully we didn’t leave it in too bad a shape and you guys will have us back next year!
Regarding their experiences the campers composed a few haikus:
“we had so much fun
we met this guy named jerry
he was real scary”
” we jumped off a bridge
we hiked far along a ridge
i can't feel my legs”
and my fav
“Trout Lake, not a lake,
Logging roads, not for logging
Training Camp, we trained”