USST Athletes Descend on Park City, Join Several Others

Alex KochonOctober 5, 2012
The Canadian women’s nordic training group on Thursday, including biathletes Rosanna Crawford (second from left) and Zina Kocher (third from right), American Jessie Diggins (second from right), and Germany’s Monique Siegel (front right). (CCC photo)

The U.S. Nordic Ski Team’s final dryland camp of the season starts in earnest on Monday, but many of its athletes are already getting after it in Park City, Utah.

Liz Stephen, Noah Hoffman and Tad Elliott generally live in the high-altitude training mecca when they’re not traveling, and Jessie Diggins arrived almost a week ago. According to U.S. Ski Team (USST) head coach Chris Grover, the Alaska Pacific University (APU) athletes rolled into town on Wednesday. He outlined an “early arrival” routine for skiers like them, with some bounding and intensity, a distance rollerski, roll/run combo and testing at the Center of Excellence beforehand.

U.S. Nordic Ski Team member Tad Elliott (tucked behind leader Bill Demong) works out with the U.S. Nordic Combined Team earlier this week at Soldier Hollow in Midway, Utah. (Dave Jarrett photo)

Between that and the presence of U.S. Nordic Combined and Canadian men’s and women’s teams, they’ll probably stay busy.

By Monday, the entire USST will unite in Park City, at which time they’ll delve into the main course: a weeklong training camp that runs Oct. 9-16.

Grover wrote in an email that the primary goal is exposure to altitude living (at nearly 7,000 feet above sea level) and increase in hemoglobin (Hb) mass. The idea is to boost the athletes’ oxygen capacity before they start racing in Europe in late November.

Another reason the USST is returning to Park City is follow up on labs tests taken in earlier this spring and summer. Grover wrote they’ll determine where athletes have made progress and where they need more work. Testing takes place during the first two days of camp in both the morning and afternoon.

After that, there will be some distance rollerski sessions, bounding and skate intensity and lower-elevation training (in Soldier Hollow or Salt Lake City) mixed in with recovery workouts. On Oct. 17, the USST coaches will drive north to Canmore, Alberta, while most of their skiers fly to meet them at Frozen Thunder (Canmore Nordic Centre’s 2-kilometer loop of stockpiled manmade snow).

“The goal of the Canmore period is to get on snow and to work on technique before heading to the World Cup, and to tune up for racing with some on-snow time trials,” Grover wrote. “The entire team will be in Park City and most of team in Canmore, the exception being the Alaskans who will head home to find snow.”

Other notes:

— German skier Monique Siegel has been training with the Canadian women and Diggins and Stephen in Park City. According to U.S. women’s coach Matt Whitcomb, they joined the Canadians for an interval session on Thursday.

“We haven’t lined up very well for too many workouts as we are just beginning our altitude acclimation period with Jessie and Liz, and the Canadians are in full training camp swing,” he wrote in an email.

Siegel will continue training with the Americans through Sunday when she heads back to Germany, Whitcomb wrote.

Just as it did in July, the U.S. Nordic Combined Team is hosting Norway in Park City. The Norwegian Nordic Combined Team will be in the area for about a month, U.S. head coach Dave Jarrett explained. Meanwhile, his guys will travel to Europe for a jumping camp from Oct. 15-25.

“It is very busy in PC,” Jarrett wrote. During his team’s time trial Wednesday morning at Soldier Hollow, the Canadian men’s and women’s biathlon squads were also there, along with the Canadian women’s nordic team.

“We are here, US XC men and women will be here, Canadian XC men and women, Canadian BT [biathlon] men and women, Norway NC, and US Para [Paralympics] team will be here as well,” he wrote. “Would be fun to get one session together but probably not feasible.”

— The Canadian men’s cross-country team leaves Park City on Tuesday after more than two weeks of dryland training. The women’s team departs Saturday for St. George, Utah, about a five-hour drive south, where they’ll train through Thursday.

Alex Kochon

Alex Kochon ( is a former FasterSkier editor and roving reporter who never really lost touch with the nordic scene. A freelance writer, editor, and outdoor-loving mom of two, she lives in northeastern New York and enjoys adventuring in the Adirondacks. She shares her passion for sports and recreation as the co-founder of "Ride On! Mountain Bike Trail Guide" and a sales and content contributor at When she's not skiing or chasing her kids around, Alex assists authors as a production and marketing coordinator for iPub Global Connection.

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