The U.S. Ski Team’s summer training camp in Alaska has become increasingly international over the past few years, and in 2013 the list of invitees will grow by one more. Norwegian National Team member Astrid Jacobsen is scheduled to be in Alaska for three weeks in July to train with the American women. USST Head Coach Chris Grover recently hinted that an unnamed foreign guest might be attending, and on Thursday Holly Brooks tweeted to Jacobsen, “Alaska & Eagle Glacier are excited for your arrival!”
Alaska Pacific University and USST skier Kikkan Randall confirmed Jacobsen’s invitation to the training camp. According to Randall, Jacobsen first expressed interest in training with the U.S. earlier this spring.
“Yep, Astrid is our VIP guest to NAWTA Camp this year,” Randall wrote in an email. “We talked with a few of our World Cup friends this winter about how awesome it was having Aino-Kaisa [Saarinen] last summer, and I think she talked it up too. Astrid expressed some interest this spring so we lined it up to have her over in Alaska for three weeks. She’ll come in a few days before the camp officially begins and will stay a couple days after to adventure a bit as well.”
Jacobsen, 26, joins a short list of foreign athletes who have been invited to Eagle Glacier. Canada’s Chandra Crawford and Perianne Jones were the original guests in 2011, the first year the group dubbed themselves the North American Women’s Training Alliance (NAWTA). Saarinen, the Finnish sprinter, was invited to attend in 2012.
“[It’s] really cool that this international cooperation is growing,” Randall said. “We’re getting a lot more invitations to get together for training with the U.S. team these days.”
The international cooperation has already manifested this summer in Liz Stephen’s invitation to join Norway for a week of skiing on Sognefjell. Jacobsen was the link that prompted Stephen to make that trip, and in July Jacobsen will get the inverse experience with the American women.
“It’ll be fun to have a new face and a new person to talk with and to become frinds with,” Stephen said. “We’re really excited to have her. She’s really impressive because she is doing medical school while she’s skiing, which is unheard of in the U.S.”
In addition to being a medical student, Jacobsen was the 2007 World Champion in the classic sprint at the age of 20. Last season, her top result was a third-place finish in the 3 k classic prologue in the third stage of the Tour de Ski. She was ninth in the 15 k skiathlon at World Championships and placed sixth overall at World Cup Finals in March.
Audrey Mangan (@audreymangan) is an Associate Editor at FasterSkier and lives in Colorado. She learned to love skiing at home in Western New York.