Wax Tech to Norway and Canadian Training

Last week I put up a post about my new wax technician, Jean-Pascal Laurin (JP), who took a trip to Vermont two weeks ago to visit my coach Zach Caldwell and to learn about my current ski fleet. This week JP went to the Madshus factory in Biri, Norway to learn more about Madshus skis, to find out what we can expect from Madshus in the near future, to form a relationship with the Madshus support staff and to pick some new skis for me for the coming season. I was able to fund both of these trips for JP with money I raised in a RallyMe.com fundraiser I did in the spring. The fundraiser was supported by 57 boosters to whom I owe a huge Thank You! Both of these trips were incredibly valuable, and I sincerely believe they will help me and JP produce world class skis every weekend this winter.

The trip to Norway was a complete success. I got the following message from JP:

So I meet Hakan and it was good to do so. I will start to work on the skis with more knowledge and I know where to start.

For sure, those two trip makes it easier to start the season in the right way.

He sent along this picture of him (right) with Madshus World Cup Serviceman Hakan Nordback:

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Settlers, Mountain Biking and Park City Events

The last 24 hours have been awesome. I finished a four day training block yesterday afternoon with a strength session. My energy was good and the training block on the whole was excellent. Last night intern Hans Fischer and Center of Excellence chef Allen Tran came over to Emilia’s place for dinner and Settlers of Catan. We had a blast. (Pictured below: Allen is on the left, Emilia is in the center and Hans is on the right.)

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Wet Training and Interns Roller Skiing

Yesterday afternoon I did the skate roller ski speed session on the treadmill that I’ve done several times this month. It was a great session because I made big gains from the same session last week. My max speed yesterday was almost a full mile per hour faster than my max speed last week.

After I was done, my strength coach’s intern, Hans Fischer, who’s gone above and beyond for me all summer, including running the treadmill for me for hours on end, wanted to try skiing on the treadmill. This was a bad idea for many reasons; Hans had only tried roller skiing once previously, earlier in the summer with Jessie Diggins, he does not cross country ski, and roller skiing on the treadmill is sketchy. However, I owe him more than I can possibly repay, and he was set on trying it out. So, we switched roles, I controlled the speed and grade while he strapped on the skis. We started super slow with him holding the hand rail.

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Canadian Intensity Session

The Canadian National Team is here in Park City for a two and a half week training camp. They have come to Utah for a fall camp for several years in a row because they like the high altitude, the typically warm and nice weather (although it’s supposed to get nasty tomorrow) and the good training venues. I like when they come because they are some of the best skiers in the world and they are great training partners.

Kris Freeman, a 12 year member of the U.S. Ski Team who has competed in each of the last four Olympics, also came to town to train with the Canadians. He is staying with me at the Adams’ house.

Kris and I drove this morning to the roller ski track at Soldier Hollow, the 2002 Olympic cross country venue, to do a classic roller ski intensity session with the Canadians. I was psyched to see all of my friends whom I have not seen since last winter.

Unfortunately, Kris and I locked ourselves out of our car before we had everything out of it that we needed for the session. So, we had to break into it before we could start. Canadian Lenny Valjas eventually succeeded with a coat hanger. Here he is (center) with Kris (left) and Canadian coach Tor Arne Hetland.

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Wax Technician

I am very excited to announce that Jean-Pascal Laurin, known as JP, will be my wax technician for the coming season. JP has a lot of experience on the World Cup. He has worked as a technician for the French National Team and as a service representative for Salomon. He has finalized his agreement with the U.S. Ski Team, and my teammates and I feel very lucky to have him supporting us this season. He will be the primary technician for Sadie Bjornsen and me.

In the spring I raised money through a Ski Service Initiative on RallyMe.com to send “my wax technician” to Norway to visit the Madshus Factory and learn about Madshus skis. At the time of the Rally, I didn’t know who that technician would be. With the hiring of JP, we have been able to organize not one but two trips for him to prepare for the season.

Last week JP made a trip to Putney, Vermont to meet with my ski fleet manager Zach Caldwell of Caldwell Sport. JP was able to combine the trip to Putney with a trip to Montreal to visit friends. Zach was able to introduce him to my skis. Zach stores all of my skis in his garage, so JP was able to work with the skis and feel the flexes. JP also took some skis home with him to test on-snow on a glacier this fall. I heard from both JP and Zach that the trip was extremely valuable. Here are some of the comments I got from JP:

It was a nice trip! Thanks for asking me to do that.

It has been very helpful since I already start to get to know your skis.

Zach did a great job on your skis and I think we will have a good cooperation.

Here is a picture of JP in Zach’s shop:

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Fall Training

My ski, boot and pole sponsor Madshus has launched a new website. I’m honored to be featured on the homepage along with 2010 U.S. Olympian Caitlin Gregg, 4-time Norwegian Olympic Gold Medalist Emil Hegle Svendsen and the most decorated winter Olympian of all time, Norwegian Ole Einar Bjørndalen.

The website focuses on Madshus’s new emPower program. The emPower program is designed to get the right ski for each customer. Getting the right ski is the difference between fast skis and slow skis. Skis that are right for me would be way too soft for Thomas Alsgaard, who is several inches taller than me. All of the skis I race on are hand-picked at the factory, most of them by Zach Caldwell of Caldwell Sport. (Zach handpicks skis for anybody, not just world cup athletes.) The emPower program helps local ski shops pick the best skis for their customers. This video explains it best:

One more note on Madshus: If you’re in the Park City or Salt Lake area, Madshus is throwing a party from 6:30 to 9 p.m. on Friday, October 3rd at White Pine Touring (1790 Bonanza Drive, Park City, Utah). The event is a free celebration of winter; there will be appetizers and drinks. I will be there as will Nordic Combined Olympian Bryan Fletcher. Madshus will be raffling off a pair of Redline skis and 100 UHM poles. I bet the chances of winning are pretty good. I hope to see you there!

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Santa Barbara Vacation

Thursday afternoon U.S. Ski Team men’s coach Jason Cork and I went to the Soldier Hollow roller ski track for a skate intensity session. The workout was 3 laps of a 5 kilometer loop with 4 minutes of recovery between each lap. The workout was designed to replicate pacing for a 15 kilometer race. Therefore, the first 5 kilometers were under control, “deliberately backed down”. The second 5 kilometers were high energy skiing with really clean relaxed motions. During the last 5 kilometers I added as much energy as possible. I tried to add energy, “push”, in the places that I would get the most return for my effort. Here I am with Jason as I start the first interval. (Emilia came down to Soldier Hollow with us and did school work in the shade while I did my workout. She took this picture from her vantage point.)

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