You’ve heard about the Fletchers, but there are another set of nordic-combined brothers in Park City, Utah, and they’re poised to make an impression on the World Cup.
Adam and Ben Loomis, originally from Eau Claire, Wis., both made the criteria for the U.S. Nordic Combined B-team this season, according to Adam, who has three individual World Cup top-30’s to his name and teamed up with his younger brother Ben in the 4 x 5-kilometer relay in March in Schonach, Germany. With just the Fletcher brothers — Bryan and Taylor — ahead of them on the A-team, the two Wisconsin natives have figurative carrots to chase and plenty of teammates to train with in Park City. But sometimes, the two of them get out for a little quality time.
“Although it’s awesome to get to train together, it’s not too often that this happens on a Wednesday,” Adam, 24, explained in an email. “Ben is in school all summer, so his team trains later in the afternoon than my group typically does. However, on the weekends, we get in some training time together.”
This time of year, the two focus on logging long hours at an easy pace to “build a strong foundation for the season,” Adam continued.
The best time to do that? Weekends.
“A typical weekend session for us is a 3 – 4 hour distance workout, but how we accomplish this depends on the weather and what sounds like the most fun. Weather permitting, my favorite way to get the hours in is on a long backcountry ski. As the snow melts, we get out our bikes, and on the trails, Ben is usually the one leading the way.”
Ben is 17, about two weeks shy of his 18th birthday. He moved to Park City two years ago to attend The Winter Sports School in Park City, a college-prep public charter school.
“Adam left home when he was 17 and I was 11 so our workouts were pretty limited,” Ben wrote. “Moving to Park City and living with Adam has been a great opportunity for my training. Adam has been a great partner on long weekend workouts. … He’s like another coach to me, giving me strategy and advice and talking about technique. He’s really helped me.”
So what exactly do they like to do? Ben explained they’ll often hit the trails for a long afternoon.
“A typical workout for us can last as long as 4 hours so hydration and nutrition are key,” he wrote. “I usually bring a bar, a few gels and about a liter of water. Taking small sips and bites throughout the workout is the best way to refuel. Also, thinking about your technique is a great way to pass the time. Incorporating little sprints and drills is another great way to mix up the workout.”
“One way that our team incorporates sprints into our workouts is by racing for town and county signs,” Adam elaborated. “This is an old tradition amongst us when we’re out on group rides on our road bikes. The element of surprise in these sprints makes things fun and interesting and keeps us on our toes.”
“My advice? Setting goals is huge. Think about how you are going to get better every day. Ask yourself, ‘What am I going to do today to get where I want to go the next day, and the next day, and the next day.” — Ben Loomis, as told to sixth graders at DeLong Middle School in Eau Claire, Wis.
As for what a typical training week entails, Adam wrote that late spring calls for three to six long workouts per week, each lasting three hours or more.
“The longer the workout, the more important nutrition becomes, as Ben mentioned. I’m not a big fan of gels, but I tend to graze on bars and ‘chews’ such as Honey Stinger chews throughout the workout,” he wrote. “I also like to have some real food if I’m out for most of the day, like a banana or homemade granola bar, The other week I made rice cakes — which are popular among cyclists and are easy to digest but great for getting sustainable energy for long workouts.”
Most of the intensity workouts are done as a team, as well as a decent amount of distance workouts during the week. But on weekends, training is typically “OYO” — on your own.
“We’ll still meet up with most of the team on many of these days — showing how close we are as a group,” Adam wrote. “But on weekends its easiest for Ben and I to make plans for training at the breakfast table, and then we can go together from there.
“It’s been great to have Ben out in Park City these last couple years,” he concluded. “We didn’t have the chance to train or spend much time together before this, given our 6 year age difference and that I’ve been living out west since high school. Just as cool has been Ben’s quick rise to the international level — suddenly we’re on a much more even level! There’s definitely a special competition that provides extra motivation between brothers!”
The workout: Quality time and conversational distance training
What: 3-4 hour session, either biking, running, or skiing
Bring: Food and water (i.e. energy bar, gels and a liter of water. Take small sips and bites throughout the workout)
Keep in mind:
– Bring a buddy: “It’s important to have a buddy for safety purposes when you’re in the backcountry, and on bikes or trail shoes its just more fun to have someone alongside you,” Adam wrote. “Having fun is important in these sessions — you don’t want to be burned out by June from running laps around a track your city block.”
– Shake it up: “Keep things fresh by making an effort to get onto new terrain, or find variety in your favorite route by going a different direction,” he added.
– Slow it down: “The secret is to take it easy. It’s difficult to go slow too slow, unless you’re out walking your dog, you’re probably going hard enough to get in the training benefit. As our coach Dave Jarrett likes to say — if you’re doing your easy sessions too fast, your intensity sessions will be too slow.”
– Think technique: If the conversation lags, simply focus on technique. “Incorporating little sprints and drills is another great way to mix up the workout,” Ben wrote.
Alex Kochon (firstname.lastname@example.org) is the former managing editor at FasterSkier. She spent seven years with FS from 2011-2018, and has been writing, editing, and skiing ever since. She's making a cameo in 2020.