Perspectives on the Nor Cal Nordic Camp, Via Bend Endurance Academy

FasterSkierAugust 23, 2010
Lunch en route to Nor Cal Nordic Camp included dash-warmed Taco Stand burritos.

Kara Doescher and Ben Grasseschi provide overviews of the PNSA/Far West Nor Cal Nordic Camp near Mt. Lassen. Kara is a high school skier from Corvallis and Ben coaches for the Auburn Ski Club.

Nor Cal Nordic Camp, by Kara Doescher

As a high school skier the Nor Cal Nordic Camp was my first XC ski training camp. It was a wonderful experience, I really learned a lot, and I met some great new people. High school skiers should not be intimidated by the idea of training with divisional teams . The level of training was definitely manageable, and the skills I learned will surely help me improve my future skiing.

We started off our workouts on Wednesday with a run-hike up a small butte in the Lassen National Forest near the camp. It was nice to get some exercise after the long drive from Bend to the Silver Lake campground. The next morning we had a skate roller ski time trail. The more experienced boys and girls did a 10k while the rest of us finished after 5k. My high school team only practices November through February, so for me this was an “off the couch effort.” After the time trial we had an afternoon with strength and a PNSA vs. Far West soccer game. The next day we went on a long classic roller ski that really helped me work on my double pole technique. That evening we worked on ski walking/bounding methods. The next day we started out early to hike to the peak of Mount Lassen. One group made their own trail and had a long adventure to reach the peak. The rest of the campers started at the trail head and did some rock climbing after the hike. This was my first time rock climbing and I thought it was really fun. The final morning we ended our training with one last hard bounding workout.

Coming from the Willamette Valley my team only gets to practice on snow less than once a week. The rest of the time we do dry land workouts similar to those we did at camp. This means I can use the skills I learned at camp during my regular ski season training.

Each day wasn’t completely filled with training. We had plenty of down time to enjoy swimming, sailing and kayaking, fishing, and relaxing around Silver Lake.

We had delicious meals thanks to our great cook. Breakfast included everything from oatmeal and melon to chocolate muffins, lunch was usually sandwiches and granola bars on the go, and dinners ranged from burritos to grilled pork to pesto chicken pasta.

The wonderful coaches included Ben Husaby and Brenna Warburton from Bend Endurance Academy, TJ Owen from Wenatchee Valley Nordic, Jeff  Schloss from Sugar Bowl Academy and Ben Grasseschi from the Auburn Ski Club. Each of them had some unique perspectives and advice, which gave me a lot to think about. They were great at trying to help me improve my relatively novice skiing abilities. They encouraged the campers to not only work on skiing techniques, but also enjoy other outdoor adventures in a beautiful outdoor setting.

I would really urge other high school skiers participate in a XC ski camp. It’s really fun and a great learning experience I’ll put to use when skiing in the future.

Mt. Lassen Camp, by Ben Grasseschi

Ever tried to swim 1/2 mile across a chilly lake after doing 30x30scd uphill bounding intervals? Ever tried to swim that 1/2 mile with a greased watermelon that you passed hand over hand for a 1/2 mile prior. Ever eaten fresh killed chipmunk? Ever built a custom bike frame? Ever played in a World Cup soccer game? Ever Classic roller-skied, double pole only, for 2.5hr, on a hot day? Ever swam in Lake Almanor? Ever hiked to the top of Mt Lassen; the youngest volcano in North America? Ever climbed into the ‘bellybutton’? Ever Skate roller-skied a 10km Uphill Time Trial that was 4/10ths of a mile longer than you thought it should have been? Ever sailed a sunfish sailboat? Ever sailed a catamaran? Ever hiked to the top of North Caribou Peak? Do you even know where it is? Ever chopped wood and carried water?

Yep; all this, and more, well; except maybe the catamaran sailing, happened at the Far West Mt Lassen Camp Aug 11-15, 2010.

11 campers from FW joined 19 campers from PNSA, and 5 coaches, for an adventure packed, volume challenging, and intense 5 days on the east flank of Mt Lassen; just three hours north of Truckee.

We camped at Silver Lake where we shared an old Forest Service cabin, campfires, swimming holes, watermelon salad, cribbage, bananagrams, roasted chipmunk, camaraderie, chicken pesto, old skool pump well water, campsite 4 and 6, chopping wood, pretzels, red vines, bumpy and dusty dirt roads, summit vistas, training ideas, stacking wood, swedish fish, hill bounding poles, Lady Gaga 578 times, flip flops, jokes, fishing, and tall tales (likely one and the same).

Did we do any workouts? Yes. A first day easy run/hike that was supposed to be an hour turned into 2hrs. A 5km and 10km uphill Skate rollerski Time Trial that was longer than everyone thought tho it was less than 10km. A swim in Lake Almanor and lunch cooled everyone off. A World Cup soccer match between Far West/East/Midwest and Pacific Northwest. PNSA scored the tying goal in stoppage time (damn the referee!) and the game ended 2-2. Anyone up for a 1.5hr to 2.5hr Classic rollerski? Double Pole only? OK then, let’s “git er dun”! How about some ski walking technique? Ok, let’s do some bounding too? Oh, to bound one must go hard! Is this supposed to be an interval workout? No, but it was when you can’t back down. Do another one for good measure. How about climbing to the top of Mt Lassen? At 10,457 feet it stands alone between the northern Sierras and Mt Shasta- which we could see from the top. Why not make it as difficult and far of a hike as possible? One group did that while the other summitted quickly and then went climbing. And why not top off the week’s training with another intensity session; this time a bunch of (15-30) 30scd on, 30scd off, hillbound/moosehoofs, with poles, uphill. Ahh.., that’ll git ‘er dun fer shure! But wait, why not grease up a watermelon and run it down to the lake and then swim across it to see who really is tougher. Far West is of course! All that agility training we have been doing paid off!

If all this sounds like fun to you, get motivated now; we will do it again next year.

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