I knew I was going to be spoiled at the Doughty house in Boston this week when I was served incredible pancakes soon after waking up this morning.
I slept last night at the Radisson Blu Hotel connected to the Oslo airport. Generously, I was there on my ski company Madshus’s dime. Everything in Norway is extremely expensive, so I was glad I wasn’t footing the bill. It was very convenient to be at the airport and also very nice. The breakfast this morning was the best continental breakfast I’ve ever had. I had delicious lox.
I just finished an incredible testing camp in Beitostølen, Norway with my ski company Madshus. When I came here I had no idea what to expect. What I got was an opportunity to ski with some of the best skiers in the world, a chance to meet the people who make Madshus successful, a chance to see the passion behind the company, an opportunity to test new products, a chance to add input and tailor my own equipment and most importantly the chance to further my personal relationships with the people who help me succeed. I am honored to have been invited and am so glad I came!
I apologize for so many food pictures yesterday. I promise there are only two food-related pictures today, but I have to kick it off with another shout-out to our incredible chef Remo Svendsen. Here he is serving the head of global marketing at Madshus, Per Wiik.
Today the Madshus testing camp in Beitostølen, Norway was all about incredible food. Like yesterday, a delicious Norwegian breakfast spread was laid out on the table when I woke up.
I took off from Newark Liberty at 8 p.m. last night on United 38 to Oslo, just under two hours after arriving in the States from Cancun. United flight 38 is one of very few direct daily flights to Oslo from the U.S.; I’ve been on it several times including my trip to Europe to begin the season last November. It’s only a seven hour flight. I was working on my computer two hours after takeoff (post dinner) when the pilot came on the intercom and said, “many of you may have noticed (I hadn’t) that we’ve turned the plane around and are heading back towards Newark. We have an error message about one of the navigation sensors and cannot cross the ocean without it. We are returning to Newark and will have more information for you once we land.” I’ve been on one or two planes that have had to land at their departure airport after taking off, but I’ve never been on one that flew for more than four hours before touching down where we started. Here’s the flight map:
I’m in the middle of a two hour layover in Newark, New Jersey. I flew out of Cancun, Mexico this morning after a wonderful week-long vacation with my girlfriend on the Riviera Maya. We had wonderful weather, managed not to get too sun burnt, laid on the beach, walked in the jungle, saw dolphins on a boat tour, saw turtles while snorkeling, ate delicious street food, successfully navigated public transportation, climbed a light house and overall had an amazing time. Here’s a look at the dolphins:
In response to my “No “A” Team” blog at the end of the World Cup season, I have gotten numerous messages and comments through this blog, through Facebook, through e-mail and in-person from people who are willing and ready to financially support my skiing. Thank you for the incredible support! I could not pursue skiing at the highest level without so much help from such an incredible group of supporters. I am grateful, honored and humbled.
Failing to make the A Team puts me in essentially the same financial situation next year as I was in this past year; that is to say the U.S. Ski Team will not cover any of my travel, lodging or food expenses during the World Cup season or travel to and from training camps. The expense incurred directly from U.S. Ski Team related travel is $15,000-$18,000 per year. The U.S. Ski Team requires all of the expected expenses for a trip be in an escrow account at USSA before departure. The organization Rocky Mountain Nordic Angel (RMNA) was founded a couple years ago with the sole mission of covering international competition expenses for top level Nordic skiers from Colorado. Through generous support online and at fundraisers like the “Aspen Nordic Sendoff” they have been able to fully fund all of my U.S. Ski Team training and racing expenses. They put money directly into my USSA escrow account. Any support given to RMNA in my name will DIRECTLY support my World Cup travel expenses. You can support RMNA online here or by sending a check toRocky Mountain Nordic Angel C/O Mike Elliott 2613 Arroyo Dr. Durango, CO 81301
RMNA is a not-for-profit organization, so all donations are tax deductible. RMNA has no payroll and, beyond supporting athletes (and very few athletes at that), are currently only paying for an accountant to help with maintaining their 501 (c) 3 status for federal tax reporting.
The National Nordic Foundation also supports the athletes on the U.S. Ski Team’s B team although their primary mission is junior development. At the end of each season they deposit some money into each B teamer’s escrow account. The amount varies based on available funds and the athlete’s results. This money helps RMNA cover U.S. Ski Team expenses.
Of course, I have expenses that are unrelated to U.S. Ski Team travel. Through the generous support of the Adams in Park City, I don’t pay rent. Also, my parents provide me with a car to drive, car insurance, a cell phone and health insurance to supplement what I get from the U.S. Olympic Committee. All other living expenses (food, gas, entertainment, etc…) come out of my bank account. I also have to personally cover non-U.S. Ski Team trips like my travel to Vermont to work on technique with my coach Zach Caldwell and any supplementary on-snow camps my coaches and I deem necessary to my training. In addition, I cover the expenses related to this website. The money in my bank account comes from my ski company Madshus, my title sponsor Thoughtforms, direct support from the U.S. Olympic Committee (of about $2000 per year), any grants I receive (recently from the Max Marolt Scholarship Fund in Aspen and the William E. Simon Endowment for the Support of Athletes) and any prize money I make throughout the year. I am not willing to crowd source money into my personal bank account. If you’d like to directly support me, either with a gift or in a sponsor capacity, please contact me at email@example.com or at (970)379-9116.
In addition to my personal funding needs, there are certain projects that my coaches and I feel would greatly benefit my career, but which the U.S. Ski Team does not have the funds to support. Some of these projects only benefit me while others benefit the entire team. I am going to try to fund these projects with a series of crowdfunding initiatives through the website RallyMe, a U.S. Ski Team partner. When these projects involve my teammates, we will be working together to meet the fundraising goal. I will be rolling these projects out throughout the training year in order of importance and when they are relevant. I will try to explain why each project is important to my success. If you are willing and able to help with any of these projects, thank you!
The first project, something my coaches and I have talked about for several years, is an initiative to get my wax technician to Norway in the summer to learn about Madshus skis, see the production facility and talk to the designers. Understanding the brand and their philosophy, learning the different models, learning the Madshus production schedule, feeling the skis and seeing what Madshus has found in their on-snow testing is crucial to being able to produce good race skis in the winter. I believe a better knowledge of the skis and the brand will help us have good skis more consistently and be more adaptable to changing conditions. Visiting ski factories, picking skis, testing in the summer and being involved year round is common practice on most World Cup teams with budgets to support it. A side note is that most wax technicians know Fischer skis better than other brands, so this initiative would be less important for many of my teammates than it is for me. I am committed to Madshus as a company, I believe in their skis, I am honored by their incredible support and I need my wax technician to be knowledgeable about them as well. I can make this trip happen for $3000. Any support you are able to give towards this project is greatly appreciated and will have a direct impact on my results next winter and for the rest of my career. You can support this project through my RallyMe page here.
Thank you for the incredible support of my skiing! I could not be on the path to achieving my very ambitious career goals without such an incredible group of friends, followers and supports!
It’s a quarter to one in the morning, and I’m sitting in the Anchorage airport waiting to board a flight to Phoenix and on to Salt Lake City. I haven’t been in the western U.S. since November 10th. I’m really looking forward to it!
Of course, I won’t be there long, about 18 hours to be exact. On Sunday morning I’m going to the Yucatán Peninsula for a week with my girlfriend. I cannot wait to relax on the beach, not think about skiing and not touch a computer. (Therefore I won’t be blogging.)
Believe it or not but my itinerary then takes me from Cancún to a two hour layover in Newark, New Jersey and then on to Oslo, Norway. From Oslo I will drive to Beitostølen, Norway to participate in the Madshus product development meetings. I’m excited to learn more about Madshus products, see where the company is headed and deepen my relationship with my main equipment sponsor. I’ll try to blog as much as possible from Norway although I’m guessing I won’t be able to post pictures of many of the new products.
After only four days in Norway I’ll fly back to Boston, Massachusetts where I will spend a packed week with my title sponsor Thoughtforms Builders and the awesome people behind the company. I will definitely be blogging from Boston.
Finally, on Easter weekend, I’m stopping in Cleveland for a quick trip to see my friends, Carly Debenham and Alex Moore and their three beautiful children.
On Easter evening I’ll return to Park City to stay put for as long as I possibly can. It’s going to be a very busy month, but I’m fitting a lot in and am excited about each adventure.
Today was the National Championship 50k. The race played out quite differently from what I expected. I was not confident in my form or fitness, so my plan was to be conservative. I didn’t think anybody else would want to go hard in the first couple laps either, so I guessed the pace would be very slow. However, I was wrong. My U.S. Ski Team teammate Erik Bjornsen decided to go out hard from the gun. He led the first two laps, almost entirely. He said after the race that he was trying to ski away from the field early.
At the top of the big hill of the course on the second (of five) laps, everybody started sprinting. I had no idea what was going on. I figured somebody must be attacking and the other guys were just responding. I found out later that there was an intermediate sprint point with a cash bonus to the first skier across the line. I don’t know how everybody heard about that, but I missed the memo.
That sprint shattered the field. I felt better than I feared I might and was able to stay with the leaders, Reese Hanneman and Aku Nikander (a Finnish skier racing for the University of New Mexico whom I’d never heard of before today). They were stretching me on the flat sections, but I was strong on the climbs. I decided it was a good idea for me to help us stay away, so I led up the big climb on the third lap. My pace dropped Reese, and Aku and I never saw him again.
So, from about 25 kilometers to go it was just the two of us. I led for a while, to keep us free of Reese and to try to drop Aku. After several kilometers it became clear that Aku wasn’t going anywhere, so we started to work together. He was still stretching me on the flats, and I felt strong on the uphills until he dropped me up the hill on the last lap. I was surprised that he was so strong. I was able to catch him again at the top of the hill, but I could not drop him in the remaining kilometers before the finish. Because he had been so much stronger than me double poling all race, I didn’t like my chances when it came down to a drag race sprint finish. My fears were proven correct as he crushed me before we were even close to the finish line.
Because Aku is Finnish, I still won the U.S. National Champion title. I am very impressed with Aku and will be following his career as he competes on the college circuit and hopefully internationally sometime soon. It’s hard for me to be very disappointed with my race because I have felt out of shape all week and feared it might be much worse. It was certainly not the level I skied when I was at my best this season, but I have known for a while that I am ready for a break. Good thing I get one now!
I have a ton of pictures from today, but I don’t have time to post them as my flight is starting to board. Sorry! If I find any unexpected free time in the next couple days I’ll put them up. As I said, I won’t be blogging next week.
Yesterday morning my sister went on a crust ski to Portage glacier with Amy Schumacher, the mother of the family we are staying with here in Anchorage, Alaska. The pictures looked incredible. I wish I was here just to have fun this week.