Tuesday, skis, and sunshine

I arrived at Nat Brown's ranch, north of Princeton BC, on Monday night. The Slovenian team is being hosted by the Princeton nordic community, and are staying in residences near the ski trails on Nat's ranch. The ranch is in a small river valley situated at 3100 feet, with open fields and wooded hillsides. The meadows are dotted with heritage log buildings, and it's rustic and beautiful.

The Slovenian team arrived very late on Saturday night and their skis and baggage just started arriving at 10 p.m. Monday night. The athletes were taking it in stride, getting some training as best they could - in the local gym and on ice skates. The coaches and service people were carrying the stress, and were busily trying to locate and gather the assortment of bags and skis that seem to have been scattered across two continents.

This morning (Tues) I helped get skis ready for the a.m. training, an intensity session on classic skis. The three Slovenian skiers, Vesna Fabjan (world U23 sprint champ for '08), Barbara Jezeršek, and Katja Višnar (see pic, they're shown in that order, left to right) all seemed happy to get back on the snow after a couple of unplanned rest days.

After getting the team's skis ready and the skiers out the door, I took an opportunity to hop on skis to check out the trail network in the bright sunshine. There's always some excitement and adventure when I ski on trails for the first time. The trails here are well groomed, and have a nice mix of easy terrain and some race-quality climbs. The trails are "old school" - winding and narrower than "FIS trails", so the descents are just a blast to ski down, with curves and rollercoaster hills. I did a couple laps of the trails and returned feeling refreshed.

Nat's trails are really pretty darn good. The trails remind me of Nickel Plate Nordic (near Penticton). Groomed with a YTS, and in good shape. Some great downhills with turns and rollercoasters. Fun - maybe even exciting the first couple times down, since i didn't have a feel for the trails and didn't know exactly what was coming up around the corner... I skied for about an hour.

The cabin I'm in (sharing with Marko Gracer, the head coach) has no running water. It's the wax cabin, primarily. Heat is from two woodstoves. There is electricity, though. I think the cabin is 18 x 21 ft, with an attic with two very firm beds. It was a surprise when I went to bed and started reading --- Marko's over in the other bed and he pops open his computer and starts up the internet... I'm immediately thinking, "WHAT? Wireless internet??!" yep; go figure.

I'm sneaking in a short session on the computer (wireless internet out here in the middle of nowhere!), some lunch, then I'll clean the klister off of the morning's skis...