The 10th annual JLS Sports trip to Trout Lake / Bend just wrapped up last Sunday. This year word spread like wildfire among not only Western skiers but Easterners too.
We had a record number of attendee’s including an Olympian, elite juniors, college skiers and a few just entering the crazy fun world of competitive Nordic skiing. Seven skiers from the East participated in the camp and a few even came out early this summer to train with the Bend Endurance Academy skiers and coaches.
Part of the JLS Sports Trip plan is to train alongside the Bend Endurance Academy (BEA) skiers prior to the Trout Lake camp. In keeping with this tradition we met early last Sunday to hike up Tam McArther Rim, a challenging ( as in steep) hike of about 16 miles. The pace was fast and after a little over 3 hours, we made it back to the vans with daylight to spare. After a long day of air travel, and then the hike which topped out at about 8,000 feet, I was ready for a good nights sleep. The panoramic view from the top made the effort very worthwhile and several easterners were overheard commenting on how beautiful this part of the West is. Funny how exhilarating something like a fabulous view can be despite the body being very tired!
Monday is a day off for the BEA team so the JLS skiers joined up with Joe Madden, a local skier for a great skate ski in an unused development that has rolling to hilly terrain, perfect pavement and virtually no traffic. That afternoon a trip down to the Deschutes River to ‘float’ was on the agenda for the Eastern group. The weather here in Bend is just fine for training with a typical week seeing bluebird skies everbridgy day, and warm temps sans the humidity. It is not hard to be motivated to get after the training every day, and the abundance of a variety of outdoor activity here always keeps it fresh. On Tuesday, the day
before Trout Lake started, the BEA skiers and guests made the afternoon pass quickly with a distance classic ski up Century Drive. After that it was home to pack up the last minute stuff necessary when heading off to ski camp! Rule of thumb: you will almost always pack way more than you need, so go through your bag at least twice and make a pact with yourself to put at least a third of your clothing back into your drawer. Wednesday morning the group of 42 skiers and 5 coaches departed from various points in Washington and Oregon, and headed up to Hwy 141 through White Salmon and on to Trout Lake. Our campsite this year was perfect- lots of shade, plenty of room and a great spot to set up the chefs’ (Westy and Fitty Fitzsimmons) cooking tents. They did a fantastic job not only making sure everyone had enough food but really good food as well.
The coaching staff at Trout Lake waste no time in hitting the workouts hard, and Wednesday afternoon was no exception. The more advanced men and women went for a skate distance ski up to Mosquito Lake (one of several very well paved logging roads up the mountain), while the less experienced girls got to try out some agility exercises and a simulated sprint course in one of the sno park parking lots. A little bit of road rash is expected with this workout, but the girls were enthusiastic and gave it their all. It is easy to see how work like this can help to make an athlete more comfortable on their skis and improvements are significant after just one session. Two a day workouts were the norm for the remaining 4 days and included a classic distance ski, a tough strength and mobility circuit, skate intervals, another tough ski bounding interval workout, the annual Classic time trial and plenty of soccer games and bridge jumping to end the workouts. There were also a couple of unique workouts that the campers will likely not see anywhere but at Trout Lake, and these were already showing dramatic improvements in technique after just one workout. The soccer games were intense- East vs. West soccer game total—after over 3 hours of playing time, East secured the victory by 1 point.
The last day of camp always culminates in a climb up Mt Adams…a 14,200 foot of snow covered mountain! This year the snow pack was much deeper and began pretty low on the mountain. The group that was to be attempting the summit broke camp and drove up to the South climbing route on Saturday night, ensuring an early morning departure up the mountain- 5:00 am to be exact. It was a pretty fit group of skiers ascending the mountain this year- 24 skiers sumitted setting a Trout Lake Camp record time of 6-1/2 hours. Coming down the snow chutes was super fun! The younger group did a hike on Adams as
well, from the Klickitak Glacier, taking the sights in like the views of Mt Hood, Mt. St. Helens and of course the big horn sheep. One last jump from the bridge into the swimming hole, a lunch finale and then came the task of breaking down the rest of camp to head back home.
More highlights of the camp: Having Methow Olympic Development (MOD) skiers like Olympian Torin Koos and Eric Bjornsen training at camp was a huge bonus for the younger skiers; Having a very knowledgable coaching staff including Sam Naney balancing roles of coach and athlete, Scott Johnston (MOD), Ben Husaby, Brenna Warburton (Bend Endurance Academy), and Janice Sibilia (JLS Sports), who continue the tradition of introducing skiers to innovative ways to improve their training, technique and efficiency; The beautiful terrain and scenery of the Pacific Northwest- and a great group of peers from which to learn from and train with. These are just some of the reasons why this camp has one of the highest percentages of return skiers every year!
Nathaniel Herz is a reporter for FasterSkier, who also covers city government for the Anchorage Daily News in Alaska. You can follow him on twitter @nat_herz.