WHITE CHRISTMAS = Ramsau!!!!!!!!!

FasterSkierDecember 22, 2011
I really don’t mean to rub it in, but we will be having a white Christmas here in Ramsau, Austria! If I could share some of this snow with all of you back in the States who are snowless, I for sure would. But as I can’t, I have been doing my absolute best to enjoy every ounce of it. Last night we went to the second run of the Men’s World Cup Slalom race in Flachau, Austria, just a quick 30 minute drive away. It was a snowy night and the crowds were huge. What a show to be a part of. A World Cup night slalom in Austria, yeah, there were some people there. The day before was the Women’s race and Kikkan, Jeff and I caught the first run, which was really cool.
Now we are all settling in for Christmas together. There haven’t been many times in my life when I have been happier than I am right now. We have an unbelievable team of people who train together and sit at meals longer than necessary because we are just chatting. We share ideas, thoughts, watch movies, play music, share really embarrassing things about ourselves like the fact I have listened to the complete Harry Potter series at least 8 times over again and can pretty much quote all 7 books. And now you all know that too, but my point is, we are all friends, not just teammates, who share a common interest that we get to try and perfect every day and are psyched to help one another get better too. There have been days and weeks that have been hard for one of us or another, and the group has held these people up. We are a unit, not just a bunch of individuals who happen to all be good at the same thing and are forced to be together and get along. We have gotten past that and are a genuine team, and it is this simple change in the way we think of one another and the way we think of the group as a whole that has been the change we needed to make to become faster. I am this happy because I am surrounded by people who I care about and who care about me. I am surrounded by people who I am working together with to try and be great, and there is nothing that I can think of that is more inspiring to be a part of than that. I don’t want to be anywhere else but right here, where I am now. I love ski racing, I love my team, I love snow. I will be very happy to make a snow angel for all of you who are praying for snow. Just let me know. Until Christmas….

Sarah Schleper and Kikkan right after Sarah gave Kik her coat in the finish zone because she said it matched her hair!
Day 1 of National Team’s Christmas Vacation. Yahtzee.
Holly cutting some perfect Tele turns in the fresh powder on the most perfect day of skiing there is. I can’t help it, I’m totally addicted to this life.
Holly smiling big. Andy, Holly and I went classic touring day 1 here and our faces hurt because we smiled so big the whole ski. The whole team was like a bunch of giddy kids on Christmas morning. Skiing really doesn’t get better than this.
More from Day 1 skiing. Since then we have gotten about 2 feet of fresh snow and it is now officially a winter wonderland here.
The first morning I woke up and opened my curtains this is what I saw. Crescent moon, white snow everywhere and fresh ski tracks. I really don’t mean to be rubbing this in to all of you stuck somewhere this time of year with no snow and freezing rain, but I recognize I kind of am:)
Rogla got a bunch of snow the night before the classic race and then even more the night before the Sprint day, so it really made it look extremely pretty everywhere.
Speaking of pretty! Here she is! The star of the day! Chandra Crawford, on her first World Cup individual podium since Lahti in 2008. She is a star in every way. She supports her teammates to all ends and is the most positive, outgoing, champion of a person you could ever hope to meet. She is a girl you should all root for, cheer for, and watch closely because she is just gaining momentum.
Women’s podium on Sunday.
That’s the smile that seems to never leave Chandra’s face. It’s like a sunny day.
Noah and Sim after Simi’s Semifinal. Congrats to Sim for his first World Cup top 10!
Ida sprinting it out in her first World Cup quarterfinal! YEAH!

This was our hotel in Rogla. It was some sort of hotel/PT center/Spa/Rehab facility/waterpark/nursing home. It was tough to tell, but the Christmas crew did go check out this outdoor pool on our last night just to do a few cannonballs, you know, they just make you feel good.
Complete with bathrobes.
The Christmas Crew our last night in Rogla. Pizza. Yum.
Me and my new guitar!!! Andy Newell bought a new one and I got his “Washburn Rover” travel guitar! So, I am trying to learn a new skill, opening up the artsy section of my brain. I’m still working out how to unlock the door, but it’s been really fun to try.
Red sky at night, skiers delight. Beautiful sunset in Rogla.


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