This is the sixth installment of a seven part series in which the U.S. Ski Team’s Noah Hoffman recounts his 2010-2011 season.
I’ve been extremely busy the last couple of months. I’ve been to four countries I’d never visited, I met several new skiers, and, as always, I had some ups and downs in my racing. At the end of January I had the Under-23 (year olds) World Championships in Otepaa, Estonia.
The sun never got very high in the sky, but it was a beautiful country. My first race was a 15km skate race. I struggled at the beginning, but a German started behind me and caught me half way through. I was able to follow him to the finish, and he “dragged” me from 23rd place up to 9th place. It was a good result for a disappointing race. The same could not be said for the second race, a 30km pursuit. I struggled all day and finished a disappointing 23rd.
From Otepaa I went to Madona, Latvia for some Scandinavian Cup races. It was really fun to go to another new country. I only did one race and it was by far my worst race of the season.
From Madona I went back to Estonia to a little town called Jõulumäe. After three sub-par races in a row, my coaches and I decided I’d had enough for a while and it was time to train. So I played cheerleader for the weekend instead.
Next it was off to Sjusjoen, Norway for a training camp with some of my US Ski Team Teammates.
Sjusjoen is just outside of Lillehammer and a beautiful quiet town with great Nordic skiing.
From Sjusjoen I went down to Drammen, Norway for a World Cup. We had a 15 kilometer classic race. It was a decent race for me, but not a stellar result. However, it was a huge improvement over Latvia and a very positive sign.
Then it was on to the big show, the World Championships in Oslo. I didn’t have any idea what to expect, and it was a little overwhelming. The US Team had 14 cross country athletes, 6 Nordic combined athletes, 1 ski jumper and around 30 staff. We had a massage therapist, two physical therapists, two doctors, wax techs, coaches, a press manager, a physiologist, and numerous administrative staff and higher-ups from the US Ski and Snowboard Administration. The trails were hard and fun to ski. The organization of the event was seamless. My parents and sister got to watch and experience the whole festival. I got to race four times, at least two of which had more than 100,000 spectators. To top it all off, my form kept improving and I skied pretty well.
On the morning of the 50 kilometer, the last race of the championships, I got the opportunity to go to the top of the Holmenkollen ski jump. This helped to relax me before my big race.
My best result was 29th in the 15km classic. I was also 30th in the 50km. I still have a long way to go to be competitive with the best in the world, but these championships were a good step in the right direction. It was also a great learning experience.
After Oslo I headed to Ramsau, Austria for one more week of racing in Europe. Unfortunately I got sick and wasn’t able to race.
Last week I came back to the US after two and a half months in Europe. It was a fun trip, but it is nice to be back in the land of Mexican food and readily available laundry! I went straight to Phoenix, Arizona to visit my grandparents and hang out in the sunshine. We had one day that hit 91 degrees! I am now in beautiful Jackson, Wyoming.
This is my first time here visiting my sister and it is a spectacular place. I can see why she loves it so much!
Next week I have the last races of my season in Sun Valley, Idaho. I’m looking forward to one last opportunity! I’ll let you know how it goes.
Thanks as always for the continued support.
The US Ski Team’s Noah Hoffman spent most of the winter racing in Europe, with stints back in the United States for National Championships and the SuperTour Finals. With two top-30’s at World Championships in Oslo, Norway leading the way, Noah had his best season to date, adding strong performances on the World Cup and U23 World Championships.
Along the way, Noah sent periodic updates back to friends and family – a digital diary documenting the entire 2010-2011 training and racing season. The journey started over a year ago with the end of the 2010 campaign and a trip to New York City. With stops in Bend, Oregon, Lake Placid, New York, Finland, Latvia, Estonia and Norway among others, Noah had plenty to write home about before he wrapped things up in Sun Valley, Idaho this April at the SuperTour Finals.
He has graciously shared these updates with FasterSkier, providing a unique year-long perspective on the life of an elite ski racer. We will publish Noah’s updates in serial form, with a new one coming every few days.
The Hoffman Chronicles