It’s hard to believe we have only been here for seven days — there will be a lag on our pictures — as we process the truly remarkable experiences we are having on this year’s trip to Italy. Our hosts have been so gracious (maple syrup is always a good thing to travel with:) and the mountains of the Sud Tirol are more accessible than ever with good weather and our increased knowledge of the area. Each day seems to have it’s own magic and we are making some incredible training.
Our first trip to the Stelvio Glacier was nothing short of awesome! We chose to drive up through Switzerland, through the hometown of Dario Cologna, which affords a slightly less windy drive and as our Swiss Alum, Elena Luethi, always told me, unsurpassed beauty. We saw one car on the drive up the pass and had a spectacular moon hovering over the valley as we ascended. To get to the ski tracks you take two trams and a combination of Poma lifts that are fun in their own right. There is slightly less snow than last year, but the track was groomed with better lines, climbing 120 feet over about two miles per loop. The snow was very fast and easy to ski on, which is nice at 10,000 feet.
Of course we cannot train much up that high, so our training is complimented by work down in the Valleys too. Here Kaitlin is working on some classic technique at the Schlinig Roller Ski Track — the same trails used for World Junior Champs a few years ago.
Antoine has been training with the Biathlon program here several times during the week — making good shooting and some combos. Coach Andy is a favorite and has name Antoine — Tony.
For a recovery session we took to the lakes by Langtaufers to give the legs a rest and get the core and lat muscles a little work. The lake was formed when they flooded the Valley for hydro electric. The old town was submerged and there is a beautiful clock tower that peaks out of the water a few miles north of where we began our paddle.
Dev striking a classic “old school” paddling pose.
Look at the form these nordic skiers have in the kayak! Must be a good teacher out there somewhere 🙂 Heidi, Dev, and Ryley getting some good upper body rotation.
One of those special moments: when we came to the clock tower there was a faux building attached with a tile roof and Red Bull plastered to the side. There was a cable stretched from one side of the bay to the other — “Something is going on here!” — so we sat and watched. Here comes the surprise, a wakeboarder being dragged by a winch starts out of the water and heads straight for us! No time to react and somehow Evan holds his camera steady as the Red Bull athlete takes full speed and carves a turn directly in front of us — soaking the entire lot with a heavy spray of glacial water — more refreshing than Double Mint Gum let me tell you!
A moose? Victory stance? Who cares — we’re skiing in September!
Tony learning the ropes of the kayak or “kanu” as it is called here.
This is certainly a “rock on” moment.
Arriving at the Stelvio.
Getting instructions and gearing up for the first ski of the 2011-12 ski season. We monitored heart rates and lactate and compared these with levels from below in the valley the day before. The order of the day was to make consistent skiing with heartrates not exceeding Levels 1-2. The kids did a great job with this and seemed to be better prepared for the altitude than last year. The gradual track helped too.
Evan has been taking some amazing photographs — this one really puts the experience and the setting in perspective. Ryley near the top of the loop working on knee flexion and a serious tan!
Looking down towards Switzerland and the mountains of the Sud Tirol. Tony climbing.
Kaitlin showing nice V1 form.
Devlin ripping the fast corner near the top of the track.
What goes down must go back up!
Tony and the glaciers.
Smiles for miles.
Heidi following Fiona, a member of the British National Team.
And I’m done.
Perhaps some of you recognized our company on the top photo of the blog — British Superstar Andrew Musgrave was very friendly and let the kids tag along for a bit — he too was very cautious of his pacing and it was nice to speak with a English tongue after a week in Italian and German!
Just for a bit Heidi!!!
A little downhill training is a good way to capitalize on snow time and enjoy some gravity. Taking the upper Poma.
Taking in the “gobstopper” of a view. Looking toward Bormio and some impressive glaciers, river valleys, and rugged country.
Evan is a rock man — geology and music — is this heaven?
Our new assistant coach has been been taking some amazing photographs. Evan Dethier soaking in the Italian sun and getting in a little coaching workout.
Lots more to come — it doesn’t seem there is enough time in the days over here. It snowed down to a 1500 meters last night, perhaps up to a meter on the Stelvio. Tomorrow promises to be an epic day and we hope to ski on hardwax. The Italian National Team is here for camp. I have to run to dinner. Our internet problem seems to have resolved itself — stay tuned to the blog and enjoy the ride.