TravelLiving and Training In Sweden

FasterSkier FasterSkierMay 6, 2007

Max Treinen was a US World Junior Team member in 2006. He has traininged with Jan Buron's Alaska Winter Stars program since he was 8 years old, and he will be skiing for the Unoversity of Alaska Anchorage next year.

This fall I decided to spend the 2006-2007 schoolyear in Sweden. Because of visa problems over which I shan’t go into any detail in this piece of writing, I ended up spending but four months.

I lived in Järpen, Sweden, a little town on the highway between Östersund and Trondheim. Here I was a student in the ski gymnasium, a program with the Åre/Järpen school. The ski gymnasium is divided into three groups: Alpine, Freestyle, and Cross-country. The students in the ski program complete the mandatory three-year high school in four years; an arrangement which allows four half-schooldays a week to accommodate training. The first and second year students in the ski gymnasium—J1s—train together in the afternoons after attending classes in the mornings while the third and fourth years—OJs—do the opposite. The first year students lived mostly in the elevhem, a dormitory owned by the ski gymnasium, while the older kids generally had apartments within walking distance of the school. During my stay, I lived in the elevhem.

Right away, I was surprised by their training. I had expected there to be something special, or some secret to their training that separated it from what I was used to. Instead, there was nothing remarkable about their program. In a typical workout during the fall, we would rollerski from Järpen out along Kallvägen, a very flat road to the town of Kall, some twenty kilometers from Järpen. After one hour, the coach would have us stop and ski back to the school. I felt in many ways that the training I was used to with AWS was better than the training in Sweden.

I don’t mean to suggest, however, that I didn’t enjoy it. One aspect of their training that I thought was really excellent was the training camps. On the first weekend of school, we had a camp in a nearby village called VÃ¥lÃ¥dalen. In the middle of September, the third and fourth year cross-country skiers drove down through Sweden to Gothenburg, took the ferry to Kiel, Germany, and then drove through Germany to Ramsau, Austria for a ten-day training camp. Between having the entire Russian National Team staying at our hotel and skiing on the Dachstein Glacier each morning, I can’t describe how cool it was. It was also a huge relief to be able to speak English with an American biathlete who was also training there.

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