Well, I cannot for the life of me figure out how to correctly format and move pictures around in this blogger form. Argh! But like other frustrations in life, I am trying to just adapt--its not working to start typing in front of the first picture, so I'll start typing here! So this will be a real haphazard collage of pictures and writing. First, we were in Sjusjøen, Norway for a training camp before the season started. I was sick at first, and there wasn't too much snow either. But then I got better, and it snowed a bunch and then it got sunny!! The best ski I've had all year is still the long classic ski we did from Sjusjøen up towards the Birkebeiner trail. There wasn't much daylight but our cabins were cozy and ate lots of smoked salmon and brown cheese (not together though).
Highlights of Östersund included the awesome sunsets, the excitement of starting the first race of the season, and going to the Christmas Market which was full of little booths of cheese, hand-knit things, and everything in between. Low points included having two really terrible races, not much daylight, and not particularly inspiring food.
Highlights of Hochfilzen included the great food, seeing the SUN and feeling its warmth, a cool run/hike up to an Alm (hut) that Susan and I did when on our first day there, comforters folded like hearts, an awesome sauna with a cold pool outside to jump into, and seeing all the crazy biathlon fans again. Low points: Another bad sprint race...and no relay team for us, so I only raced once.
Pokljuka, Slovenia (we stayed in Bled)
As you can see, I took a lot of pictures in Slovenia. As you can also see, there wasn't much snow, especially down by Lake Bled where our hotel was. But it was beautiful as usual...like a fairy-tale land with castles and mountains. In fact...Slovenia was almost all highlights...cool old hotel, awesome gourmet food (I am SO spoiled), nice weather, and I had my best race ever!!! I achieved two of my goals for the season: to clean a sprint race, and to get a top-20 (I was 17th). Man, hitting all of the targets in a biathlon race is a GOOD feeling. Then I got to race the pursuit (my second world cup pursuit ever), and well...I guess that was the one low point of Slovenia. I shot badly, but also somehow forgot to ski enough penalty loops...which is a TERRIBLE feeling. I didn't realize until the coaches told me after the race. Ugg. That was a real rollercoaster of a few days.
Somewhere in Bavaria
Then before we flew home we had a team Bavarian Christmas dinner. I borrowed a dirndl so that I could match Annelies and Susan.
Home in VT!!
It was great to get to be home for two whole weeks, and to have some of the best snow of the winter (except for maybe the last few days in Norway...) I got to spend time with my family, eat lots of yummy Christmas food, do some great long skis all over the trails in Craftsbury with my friends, and see the new Touring Center building in action. I got to help some with the process of designing the building and modeling the energy use, and so it was really cool to see the building filled with hundreds of happy people. There were SO many people skiing in Craftsbury in the week after Christmas...it was a truly heartwarming sight.
And then the break was over and I was back on plane across the Atlantic. I had never been to the Oberhof World Cup before, so it was exciting to be in a new place. When we first got to Oberhof, it was snowy and wintery and even slightly sunny. But then it promptly started raining and blowing and generally "Oberhof-ing". The races were windy and rainy and wild. But really huge crowds of German fans come to watch, and they line the course all the way up the biggest hill. Its a great festive atmosphere. I had a decent sprint race--cleaning prone, and then two misses in standing which I was happy with given the wind. I was 37th, so I scored some world cup points! But there wasn't a pursuit in Oberhof, and after a few more days of heavy rain I had to train in the ski tunnel there. I don't like ski tunnels even in the summer, and skiing in one in January was just downright depressing. So I was happy that this morning we left Oberhof and drove to Ruhpolding, Germany--back in Bavaria! The food here is great, and we will have a relay team this week, so things are looking up! And now I'm all caught up. Hopefully now I will be better about blogging more regularly and about more recent or specific things. There's still not much snow here either though...so if you're reading this somewhere that is snowy, go enjoy a nice long ski for me on trails that aren't a 2.5-k loop!