Race Day in PyeongChang

Race day! I’m feeling good and can’t wait to get started. Today’s race is the 30K Skiathlon which includes 15K classic technique, a pit stop to change skis and poles and 15K skate technique. I will be wearing bib number 47. It is a mass start and the gun goes off at 3:15pm Korean Time (11:15pm tonight (Saturday) Mountain Standard Time and 1:15am Eastern Standard Time). At the bottom of this post I have included details about how you can watch including tape-delayed coverage Sunday US Time on NBC.

My goal for today is to ski with high energy but also to push hard when necessary. I want to ski aggressively and show that I belong here. My best Olympic finish is 24th place, and I believe I can improve on that result.

Yesterday the cross-country events kicked off at the Olympics with the women’s skiathlon, and American Jessie Diggins put on an impressive show. It looked like she was struggling early, but she was characteristically tough as nails and fought like crazy to a fifth place finish, the second best US Olympic result ever and the best for women. She was so close to making contact with the group of second through fourth place finishers, and I believe Jessie is going to take a step onto the podium sometime in the next two weeks. I am inspired by her racing tenacity and want to emulate it today.

My teammates and I did our pre-race ski as soon as the women finished their race yesterday. We didn’t want to miss watching the second half of their race, so we decided to take an earlier shuttle to watch from the athlete lounge at the venue. The race started while we were on the bus, and it was nice to have the TV that allowed us to watch.

We weren’t the only ones watching in the tent.

If Jessie had been on track to medal in the final couple of kilometers, we would have run down to the stadium to cheer her on. Regardless, we were very excited after watching the race.

If we want to wear non-Olympic gear while training, we have to tape over the sponsor patches. Andy Newell did that on his windproof jacket yesterday.

Erik Bjornsen, Scott Patterson, Paddy Caldwell, Tyler Kornfield and I did our race prep intensity together. We did 6 minutes of threshold classic skiing, practiced our exchanges in the pits and then finished with a couple minutes of threshold skating. It was a gorgeous evening.

The sprinters were out training as well. Here’s Sophie Caldwell.

We took a selfie together.

Not all of our trails are lit, only the 2.5K, but it’s really nice skiing at night.

I mentioned in my blog yesterday that we took the stairs down 13 flights from our apartment, and I got a question on Facebook asking if there’s an elevator in the building. There is, but only one for the 15 floors so it can be a long wait. Sometimes it’s easier to take the stairs down, though I have yet to take them up. I’m trying to keep my legs as fresh as possible.

Today is bright and clear and, unlike the last couple days, very chilly.

I am still struck by the fact that everything in the Village is Olympic or Olympic sponsor branded.

Including the cars in the parking lot…

I went on a nice morning jog to wake my body up.

Here’s a look at the Village with the ski jump in the background and our venue in the background on the right.

The German Team has rented out the clubhouse of the golf course near the Village. I assume it’s the equivalent of The Haven for us.

Like us, they have their own shuttles to get there.

We just finished our pre-race meeting.

The focus was on staying warm during the race. It’s supposed to be getting windier as the day goes on, and we may have “wind chill” temperatures of -21°C (-6°F) during the race. (The race timeframe is pictured below in pink.)

As promised above, here are details about how you can watch today’s race:

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 11 —MEN’S SKIATHLON
ON COMPUTER: NBCOlympics.com and NBC Sports Phone app – Live Streaming
1:15-3:10 a.m. EST
Olympic Channel: Home Of Team USA
5:00-7:00 a.m. EST – Medal Ceremony (live)
ON TV – NBCSN
5:00-9:00 a.m. EST – Men’s cross country skiathlon (in time block)
ON TV LATER IN THE DAY – NBC
3:00-6:00 p.m. EST – Men’s cross country skiathlon

PyeongChang Opening Ceremonies

The Olympic Opening Ceremonies are so cool, and I can’t believe that I’ve had the honor of walking into them twice as a member of Team USA. Last night was perfect, as was my experience in Sochi. I feel so lucky to have these opportunities. Thank you to everyone who has helped me get here.

I want to say a special thank you to my parents. They have been a stabilizing force in my life forever. As I have matured, I have become aware that my parents put up with the worst version of myself. I take advantage of them, I don’t communicate as well with them as I do with others and I don’t show them my appreciation for everything that they do for me. As I’ve gained this awareness, I’ve tried to do better, but I often find myself falling back into old habits. I know that they’ll read this, and I just want to tell them that I think they’ve done a perfect job of parenting and that even when I don’t show it, I’m so lucky to have them and grateful for everything they do. We made a decision as a family for them not to come here to Korea. It is expensive and requires a lot of time away from work and from their new farm in Montrose, Colorado. I would rather spend that time with them adventuring in the desert this spring, which we are planning to do instead. It would be nearly impossible and very stressful for me to spend any time with them here in Korea.

On the other hand, my sister is going to come next weekend. I will hardly see her, but she is going to watch the 15K and the relay if I am on the team. She is traveling with a friend and will be entirely self-sufficient. They are coupling this trip with some time powder skiing (hopefully) in Japan.

Last night’s excitement started with a dress up party in our apartment. Erik Bjornsen made the hard and personal decision not to walk in the Ceremony because he felt it was the best thing for his performance at the Games. Although we missed him last night, I highly respect his decision. He still participated by helping us look sharp. He even laced up Paddy Caldwell’s boots.

Andy Newell and Simi Hamilton, who are on their 4th and 3rd Olympics respectively, also chose not to go. Andy still got dressed up to see us off! Pictured below from left to right: Andy, me, Scott Patterson, Paddy and Logan Hanneman.

As we walked down from the 13th floor of the Team USA apartment building, more and more identically dressed athletes came into the stairwell from every floor. It was a little comical.

We convened as a team outside the building.

We took a bunch of group photos.

The majority of the night was spent mingling in one location or another. I really enjoy meeting other athletes, and I already have so many friends across sports that I had a great time seeing.

We were each given a marching pass.

Annie Hart was having the time of her life at her first Opening Ceremonies.

Here’s another men’s team shot with (from left to right) Reese Hanneman, Tyler Kornfield, Logan, Andy, Scott, Paddy, me, US Ski and Snowboard Nordic Program Director Robert Lazzaroni and an awesome photo bomb by snowboarder Hagen Kearney.

Here’s the biggest cross-country team group shot of the night.

We soon loaded buses and were driven less than 10 minutes to a large staging tent outside the stadium. We were greeted by wonderfully enthusiastic volunteers.

Last night in particular, but also throughout my time in Korea, things have been remarkably well organized and efficient. Everything has run like clockwork. I am very impressed. POCOG, the PyeongChang Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games, and all of the volunteers, have done a fantastic job.

Once we arrived in the staging tent, we had another hour of mingling and photos.

Here are Alpine skiers (right to left) Lauren Ross, fellow Aspen Valley Ski Club alumni Alice McKennis and Megan McJames along with the Games mascot, an athlete from Moldova and Bryce Bennett doing an awesome photo bomb in the back.

Several American Olympic cross-country skiers and biathletes ski for the Craftsbury Green Racing Project. Their coach, Pepa Miloucheva, is here coaching an athlete representing Bermuda. (As part of the Bermuda delegation, she had to wear shorts into the Opening Ceremonies.) Here she is (center) with two of her Craftsbury athletes who are both biathletes: Emily Dreissigacker (left) and Clare Egan.

In case mingling wasn’t enough, there were dancers to entertain us.

They were really fun.

A couple weeks ago at the college races in West Yellowstone, Montana I met Casey Wright, an Australian skier currently attending the University of Alaska Anchorage. At the time Casey was unsure whether she would qualify for the Olympics. I was very excited when she was named to the Australian Team, and it was great to see her last night. My gloves went well with her outfit!

The staging tent was a sea of people. If I found people I knew, it was simply luck.

Before walking into the stadium we managed to gather as a cross-country team. Here are the US women. From left to right: Caitlin Patterson, physical therapist Zuzana Rogers, Jessie Diggins, Rosie Brennan, Liz Stephen, Sadie Bjornsen, Kikkan Randall, Annie Hart and Rosie Frankowski.

Here I am with Liz.

And here I am with my roommate Paddy (with an exceptionally creepy photo bomb from Scott in the back).

Here is Scott with his sister Caitlin, one of 3 sets of siblings on our US Olympic Cross-Country Team.

There was a lot of standing around and it was a little tiring. Here are Sadie (front), Jessie (left) and Rosie taking a little break.

Eventually we got in line behind our flag bearer and made our way outside.

Unfortunately this selfie with Jessie came out a bit blurry.

This might be too much information, but it was two hours and ten minutes from leaving our apartment until the time we actually walked into the stadium. I don’t generally have trouble holding my bladder, but I’ve been focusing on hydration lately, and because of all the excitement, I didn’t use the restroom while we were in the staging tent. We had another 20 minute wait right outside the stadium before walking in and I seriously had to pee. There were no restrooms available and certainly no place to go discretely. I held it and refused to let my discomfort detract from my experience as we entered the stadium.

Besides the same event in Sochi, I have never experienced anything like walking into Opening Ceremonies.

The only word I can think of to describe the feeling is ecstasy, maybe with a hint of wonder at having this opportunity.

Although this picture of Sadie is blurry, the looks on my teammates’ faces matched exactly what I was feeling.

I savored every step around the stadium.

I love that, because of all the lights and the ability to make both the floor and the stands a giant screen, the entire stadium was different every time I looked around.

It was cool to see the LED lights next to each seat that enabled the changes.

As was my plan, I never took a seat. Instead, I kept walking straight up the stairs and then back down the exit. Here’s my final view back into the stadium.

Luckily, I found a bathroom before heading towards the buses!

There were still many teams lined up outside waiting to walk in as I left.

The buses were waiting for us when we arrived…

…and there were dozens more lined up ready to go.

Less than 20 minutes elapsed from the time we walked into the stadium until we were back in the Village. The whole process was remarkably efficient.

As I’ve mentioned many times, we have been discouraged from eating at the Village dining hall in order to limit exposure to illness, but it is expected that we will eat there at times when there is no other good option. Last night was one of those times.

It was fun for me to check it out for the first time, and I am very impressed with the precautions they have taken to prevent the spread of germs. All food is pre-served into single portion disposable containers.

All servers are wearing masks and there are large sneeze guards in front of the food.

After a late second dinner, we made it back to the apartment to undress and decompress. I noticed for the first time the cool button on my pants. (I had previously noticed the large Olympic motto; I’m not that oblivious.)

Each seat at the Opening Ceremonies came with a goodie bag. Although we didn’t stay, we were able to snag the bags from our seats. It contained more souvenirs.

We watched the end of the Ceremony on TV. It made me sad that I hadn’t stayed, but I made the right call to not sit out in the cold two days before my first race.

It took me a while to fall asleep after an exciting night.

This morning has been chill. I got a massage and then went to The Haven early to spin and stretch. Many of my teammates were there doing strength. Here’s Sophie Caldwell doing med ball throwdowns.

The first cross-country ski race of the 2018 Olympics is in an hour. It is the women’s 15K Skiathlon. As a country, we have never won an Olympic medal in a women’s cross-country ski race and the only medal we’ve ever won in either gender was Bill Koch’s silver in the 30K in Innsbruck 1976. Although the term is overused, it would be historic if one of our women wins a medal, and today is the first of many really good opportunities for it to happen. I can’t wait to watch! If you’re awake, here’s how you can watch too:

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 10 —WOMEN’S SKIATHLON
ON TV: NBCSN
2:00-5:00 a.m. EST – (live–same as live stream) along with men’s normal hill ski jumping (live), plus men’s slopestyle snowboarding qualifying.
ON COMPUTER: NBCOlympics.com and NBC Sports Phone app – Live Streaming
2:15-3:20 a.m. EST – Women’s cross country skiathlon
ON TV : Olympic Channel
5:00-7:00 a.m. EST – Medal Ceremony (live)

PyeongChang Day 6

My apologies for the lack of creativity in naming these posts. Honestly, I have limited time this afternoon before Opening Ceremonies tonight, and I need to publish this before I leave so I can go to sleep as soon as I get back.

We’ve made it to the start of the Games! So sweet to be here. My plan for this evening is to do the same thing that I did in Sochi: walk into Opening Ceremonies with Team USA and then walk out without ever taking a seat. I will come straight back to the Village and get ready for bed. I’ll be excited to watch highlights of the show on YouTube tomorrow. Several of my teammates are on the same plan as me. It’s really nice to have the compromise option to walk and then leave because it allows us to participate in one of the highlight Olympic experiences without getting to bed too late or spending too much time out in the cold. (The ceremony this year is in an open-air stadium. Luckily, it is significantly warmer (around 30°F) than it has been the last several days.)

Yesterday, Paddy Caldwell and I did a skate intensity session. It was my first time going hard since being here, and I felt surprisingly good. After some easy skiing, we did a 5 minute threshold warm-up interval followed by 6×2 minute hard intervals. We were both at max by the last interval. It was a great session, really fun to be out there with my teammate and a good wakeup for my body. It was my first time testing our Olympic suits. I like the way they look!

We’ve fired up the TV in our unit to watch the Olympics. Paddy wasn’t super into the curling, but I loved it.

Our Sprint Team arrived yesterday. They stayed longer at the training camp in Austria since they don’t race this weekend. Andy Newell, Simi Hamilton and Logan Hanneman moved into the remaining beds in our apartment. We now have 7 men in 5 bedrooms with two bathrooms. It’s pretty tight.

Logan was rocking the onesie this morning.

It’s a little big on him.

To give you an idea of how close the Olympic Village is to the Cross Country Venue, here’s a look out one of our windows with the top of the ski jump in the background on the left. It took me 10 minutes to walk/jog back to the Village after training today.

Paddy, Erik Bjornsen and I went early to lunch to do some spinning and stretching at The Haven.

As I mentioned, it’s warmer than it has been but still really windy. I’m glad I’m not in a sport like ski jumping, slopestyle or biathlon that’s super affected by wind.

I’ve done a lot of chilling in my bed today.

I went to the venue this afternoon to test skis with my wax tech Patrick Moore.

I brought 20 pairs of skis here, a small fleet for me. I have 10 pairs of classic skis and 10 pairs of skate skis. Each pair is good in a range of snow conditions and temperatures. Patrick picks out some or all of the skis that might be good in the current conditions and we test them together. We use the knowledge from each day’s tests to pick which 2-6 pairs we want to test on race day.

Today, while we were stopped on the side of the trail switching skis, I looked into the woods and noticed for the first time the serious barbed wire fence surrounding the venue. I assume security is tight around here but they have done a nice job of keeping it out of view.

Lastly, thanks again for all of the incredible notes of support that I’ve continued to receive. They make me really happy.

PyeongChang Day 5

Part of my commitment to soaking in this experience at the Olympics in PyeongChang and to living in the present involves really embracing the lifestyle that will help me race fast. Ironically, that means embracing boredom and simplicity. Although there is so much attention and excitement around the Olympics, it is ideal for me to reside in a bubble that is free from distractions and extremely relaxed. It’s hard for me to fully articulate this concept, but, in trying to share my real Games experience through this blog, I want to share this sense that living in the present and taking in the whole Games really involves the most simple life. Here are the only things that matter on my to-do list every day:

  • Do the prescribed training (at most 90 minutes a day)
  • Eat 3 relaxed healthy meals
  • Get a massage
  • Spin and stretch

Anything else I choose to do on a given day needs to be relaxed, low energy and cannot detract from the important items above. Hopefully that explanation makes sense. I think it’s a really unique time in my life to have the days be so incredibly simple.

I have also been thinking about why I have chosen to blog again during these Olympics. I feel like my motivation this year is a little simpler than it was from 2012-15 when I blogged daily. I am blogging during these Games because I recognize that I am incredibly privileged and lucky to be here, that very few people have this opportunity and I feel that I owe it to the community to share this with all of you. I am only here because of this community. Additionally, I think noteworthy experiences in general are better when shared. You all are making my experience better by coming along on this journey with me. Thank you!

Speaking of sharing the experience, my wax technician at these Games is the amazing Patrick Moore. Patrick is a volunteer technician and has joined our staff at major Championships for many years. I have worked with him previously, and it has gone really well. Patrick is also good friends with my coach Zach Caldwell, who manages my fleet of skis. Zach is in Vermont and not coming to the Olympics, but he is advising Patrick from afar.

Paddy Caldwell and I did an easy skate ski with some 100 meter accelerations yesterday. It was nice to go fast for the first time.

Patrick joined us for the first half of the session. He and I tested some skis.

The trails have been busy with all of the teams out training. Here is Canada’s Dahria Beatty.

The trails here are entirely made of man-made snow. It doesn’t seem like it’s snowed much here this winter, and any snow that has fallen seems to have blown away. However, the conditions are great, and there is a huge base of snow on the trails. It’s cold and the snow is squeaky and abrasive. There is also a huge pile of snow in case they lose any.

Apparently Korea gets sand storms from the Gobi Desert. The sand mixes into the snow, making it more abrasive and slower. The sand is not visible in or on the snow but if it is melted down, a layer of sediment forms on the bottom of the glass.

It is odd to see OAR, standing for Olympic Athletes from Russia, on the Russian wax cabins, athlete room, race suits and warm-up outfits.

As always at major Championships, there are also athletes here representing countries that aren’t normally represented on the World Cup.

After skiing yesterday I checked out the Athlete Lounge at the venue.

It’s pretty nice.

It has a great buffet.

I am getting over my jetlag and slept til almost 7 a.m. this morning. Paddy and I went for our morning run later than we have been going.

It was a gorgeous morning.

As I’ve mentioned before, we are eating breakfast in our apartment with only a microwave and electric kettle to heat anything up. Today, Scott Patterson tried a “muffin in a minute” which is made by adding water to a mix and microwaving the batter. His review: it needs work.

To be safe, we aren’t drinking the water out of the tap in the Village although we are using it to brush our teeth and shower. We are constantly stocking up on bottled water from the vending machines with our Coca-Cola “chip” that gives us anything we want for free.

I mentioned our massage therapist Steph McKeen the other day. We also have physical therapist Zuzana Rogers here with us. Here she is working on Paddy.

She is very excited because she visited the salon in the Village and got her nails done with the US Ski and Snowboard shield.

Steph had hers done before coming.

After our massages, Paddy and I stopped into the US Olympic Committee Athlete Lounge to watch the first Olympic competitions, curling.

Now we’re heading out for a skate intensity session.

Olympics Day 5

I have gotten amazing feedback on these posts. Thank you all for the messages. It makes me feel incredibly special to know that I have the support of such a large community.

Many people have asked me which races I’m doing here at the Olympics, so I have updated the events page on this site with my race dates and times. I am only guaranteed starts in the first two races, the Skiathlon and 15K. I need to ski well in each of those to get a spot on the relay team and a start in the 50K. I am feeling good and can’t wait for my opportunities.

In the US, NBC is live streaming every race (and Olympic event). They are also broadcasting races on their networks. This press release has all of the info you need to watch and everything is available at NBCOlympics.com.

Among the feedback I’ve received has been some very helpful answers to my questions. I got a translation for the text on the banner hanging on the first tower in the Olympic Village. Here is what I received:

“The Republic of Korea remembers the sweat you have shed.”

More freely: “The nation will not forget your hard work.”

(I take it that is geared more toward the facility construction teams than the athletes.)

I have also been asked several times how I’m going to get everything home that I’ve received at the Games. Luckily, the US Olympic Committee (USOC) will ship it for us. They have a station after closing ceremonies for us to pack boxes with everything we don’t need for the remainder of the season. I believe they put it all into a shipping container and then mail it from the US. In Sochi it took a couple months to receive the box. There’s a rumor going around that they are limiting us to one box each. My hope is that a.) that’s not true or b.) it’s a REALLY BIG box.

I have also been asked if the spartan rooms here in the Village, with unfinished kitchens, are similar to what we had in Sochi. Our duplexes in Sochi were definitely nicer and more finished than these apartment buildings, though if I remember correctly we didn’t have full kitchens there either. Also and importantly, there were 3 Villages in Sochi (there are two here) and ours (the Endurance Village) was the smallest and by far the nicest. I had a very different Olympic experience in Sochi than many athletes from other sports.

In that vein, now that I’m here in this large Olympic Village, I am realizing that my experience in Sochi, in a Village with only cross-country skiers and biathletes, was much more like a typical World Championship experience than a typical Olympics. This year, I’m enjoying meeting athletes from very different sports than mine.

We are living here in PyeongChang in the Mountain Village. All of the athletes who compete on snow, plus all of the sliding sport (bobsled, luge and skeleton) athletes, are in this village. All of the other ice sport athletes are in the Coastal Village, 40 kilometers from here.

Many athletes and teams have chosen not to stay in either Village. I know some of the most famous athletes from the US, including Mikaela Shiffrin and Shaun White, plus the entire US Alpine Speed Team and the Norwegian Cross-Country Team, are living outside the Village.

The temperature has continued to be cold here. It was again around 0°F this morning, but it looks like it’s going to warm up and get into a nice cycle with highs around freezing point and lows around 15°F. It can be quite windy here and there aren’t any trees around the course for protection, so it may feel colder. Luckily, it is forecast to be in the upper 20s during the Opening Ceremonies on Friday night in an open-air stadium, though we do have heated jackets just in case. I am planning to do like I did in Sochi: walk in the ceremony but then leave on the early bus without watching the show. I race two days later.

On a totally different note, I received this cool text on my international calling plan this morning.

My normal plan has unlimited texting and world-wide data at slow speeds plus $0.20/minute calling, so this is a nice present. Samsung did give us a sim card with our new phones that includes free calling to Korean numbers plus 20GB of data, but I decided to put my sim card in the phone instead.

Last night life got really simple, which is necessary as we get closer to the races. We have settled into life in the Village, and for the first time we didn’t have an event or ceremony to attend. We took the opportunity to play a game of Euchre, which we play all the time on the World Cup. Here are (left to right) Scott Patterson, Erik Bjornsen and Paddy Caldwell.

I noticed while brushing my teeth last night that even the towels are Olympic branded. I suppose we could take them at the end of the Games if we are so inclined.

Since my teammates and I are avoiding the dining hall in order to limit our exposure to illness, I enjoyed reading about the food that I’m missing in our USOC PyeongChang handbook.

Still having a little trouble with the time change, Paddy (below right), Erik and I went for another sunrise jog.

This is a gorgeous region.

Here’s a look at the ski jumps in the distance.

When we got back the fire alarm was going off in our building, so we took it as an excuse to stop by the recreation center and play a game of cutthroat.

More athletes are arriving each day. The elevator was busy this morning as USOC staff shuttled bags to the rooms of the halfpipe snowboarders.

As I’ve mentioned several times, we are eating our meals at The Haven, a USOC and US Ski and Snowboard facility a couple kilometers away.

The building itself is interesting. Apparently it is a temporary structure owned by the USOC that was also in Rio for the 2016 Games.

I don’t understand how the plumbing is portable.

It is a super nice space.

Team Sweden has a house next door, though theirs seems to be more about marketing than a place for athletes to get away.

Jessie Diggins was the first of my teammates to wear the poncho, one of the items we got at Olympic Processing.

She loves it!

I’m off for a short afternoon ski!

PyeongChang Day 4

I’m switching to afternoon/pre-dinner blogging, as opposed to evening, to make sure it doesn’t compromise my sleep. I put together yesterday’s post from 11 to midnight. Whoops!

I’m still waking up early due to jetlag. This morning Paddy Caldwell and I took advantage of being awake and went on a sunrise jog to the venue.

It only takes 10 minutes from the back exit out of the Village to the venue.

It was Paddy’s first look at the Olympic Stadium.

It was around 0°F, clear and still.

Our venue is adjacent to the biathlon venue and the ski jump. The ski jump also serves as the landing area for Snowboard Big Air, a new Olympic event. The Big Air in-run is a giant scaffolding structure.

It is super impressive.

Here I am in front of the ski jumps.

Here’s a look at at the biathlon stadium.

Of course, we have to go through security to get back into the Village, but it is a fast and easy process.

When we got back to the apartment, we had more gifts waiting for us (because apparently we haven’t been given enough stuff this trip).

We each got $50 Visa Debit cards.

And we got massive prints from Tom Kelley Photography to inspire us and remind us of home.

We each selected the one we wanted in our rooms. Here’s Erik Bjornsen.

And then we diligently hung them.

I love the one that I ended up with above my bed.

And Paddy has a sweet one above his bed.

The photographer, Tom Kelley, is the longtime vice president of communications at US Ski and Snowboard.

Because Team USA took over our entire half of the tower, the hallways and stairwells are well branded.

We have a massage therapist and physical therapist here supporting us. I’ve been taking full advantage. This morning I worked with massage therapist Steph Mckeen.

Today there were some ceremonies to welcome teams to the Village. I walked by but chose not to participate, not wanting to spend more time on my feet out in the cold.

Paddy, Erik, Scott Patterson and I went skiing at the time that most of our races start, 3p.m.

Some of our other teammates were on the same bus. Kikkan Randall is running to be on the Intention Olympic Committee Athlete’s Commission. The election is taking place all throughout the Olympics. It is an 8 year position. She’s been campaigning in-person, but she’s not allowed to distribute any marketing materials. All she is allowed to do is wear a pin.

All of the buses have a neon party theme.

I skied with Paddy. It was fun to show him the race courses for the first time.

There were a bunch of other excited athletes seeing the venue for the first time, including Annie Hart.

Ida Sargent is recovering from hand surgery and yet looks fast and ready to race!

It’s fun to see some old friends including Anouk Faivre Picon from France.

It turns out that the five waxing trailers that I mentioned yesterday are more than we need for actual waxing. One is an athlete room. Here’s Jessie Diggins smiling.

One is a staff room.

And one is simply a storage area for skis and poles.

I only skied for 30 minutes because I felt great and didn’t need to keep going.

PyeongChang Village Life

With so much new stuff from Olympic Processing, I spent my morning getting organized. I took tags off the items that I will wear during the Olympics and made them accessible. Everything else I left in packaging in the duffle bags to be sent home for later use or for giving away.

In addition to the gear I acquired yesterday, there are additional items in the room that we can use and (presumably) keep. One such item is the custom Olympic comforter. (My “little sister” Lindsey Adams put my one from Sochi to good use when I brought it home.)

We also received Team USA blankets.

The local organizing committee gave us all slippers to wear around the apartment. The Koreans never wear shoes inside a home.

Our apartment has five bedrooms. I’m sharing one with Paddy Caldwell. Erik Bjornsen and Simi Hamilton are sharing the one next door. Logan Hanneman, Andy Newell and Scott Patterson each have singles.

The unit has a small central kitchen/dining/TV area.

Unfortunately, most of the “kitchen” wasn’t installed for us. We don’t have a sink (there is a spout but no basin or water) or stove/oven.

My guess is that they will have a much easier time selling the unit after the Olympics if the kitchen is brand new.

We do have a microwave, mini-fridge, and electric kettle, and the USOC has stocked our unit with snack food and simple breakfast food like oatmeal and granola/yogurt.

We were also given two lounging camp chairs.

Simi and Erik won the room lottery. They have a couch!

We were given some things to make our beds more comfortable.

We got memory foam pillows and mattress toppers.

The organizing committee also gave us gifts, including a Yut-Nori, a traditional Korean folk game.

We got lamps handmade by locals.

And they gave us some cool cards depicting local attractions.

All of the stuff from Team Processing was delivered to my door last night, including my freshly tailored pants.

I had to go through everything again to take out the items I need to wear.

Here’s the view from our 13th floor apartment.

Here’s looking a different direction.

After unpacking I joined a US Athlete Super Bowl viewing party in the Athlete Lounge.

I also went for a run. Here are all the flags at the entrance to the village.

Here’s a view looking at the Village from a distance.

The Super Bowl was just finishing as I headed to The Haven for lunch, and there was live coverage on the bus.

I mentioned The Haven yesterday, a joint venture facility between US Ski and Snowboard and the US Olympic Committee with dining, strength and treatment facilities exclusively for US athletes. Although we have access to the Village dining hall, we are encouraged to eat all of our lunches and dinners at The Haven, and to eat breakfasts in our apartment, in order to limit our exposure to germs. Illness is often a huge problem in the Olympic Village. Also, The Haven has higher quality food than the dining hall because they are making smaller quantities.

After the bus ride home from lunch, the US Bobsled Team and I were asked to take a picture with a volunteer.

I’m curious what this sign says on the first tower in the village.

The Village is very impressive to me. It is huge.

The US Team has a full one half of one of the towers, and that doesn’t include the athletes in the Coastal Village (for ice sports) or the teams (like Alpine Speed) that have opted not to stay in the Village.

This afternoon I went to the venue to go for a ski for the first time. First I swung by our waxing area.

We have five large containers which seems like plenty of space to me.

I raced here last year for the Test Event, and it is really nice to be back.

They’ve made some additions, like adding the Olympic Rings.

The stadium is looking good.

It is located between the biathlon stadium and the ski jumps/big air jump (pictured below).

Here’s a look at the finish line.

Here’s the far end of the course.

Other athletes were out skiing also, including the French men.

I got to ski a few laps with my good friend Karel Tammjärv from Estonia.

They are rigging a ton of aerial cameras around the course.

The skiing is really nice but it’s quite cold (around 10° to 15°F) and a little too windy to be pleasant.

When I got back to the Village, many of my teammates had arrived. Here I am (left) with Paddy Caldwell, Scott Patterson and Erik Bjornsen.

The first thing we did was explore the Village, which I hadn’t done yet. We poked our heads in the dining hall, avoiding germs.

Who would ever expect to see a Coke machine with a cross-country skier on the side?

Like in Sochi, we were given keychains that provide unlimited access to the Coke machines (which have healthier options including water).

We stopped in the Athlete Game Room.

There is a whole room full of massage chairs.

The guys were excited about a case full of warm coffee drinks.

We stopped in at the village strength room (which made us glad we have The Haven because it was super crowded) before we checked out the Village laundry facilities.

This evening we had a meeting with the USOC in which we were all given Samsung Galaxy Note 8 phones. We are very excited. Here’s Erik.

And Paddy…

Their MSRP is $950.

I already have mine up and running. In fact, I’m writing this blog on it, though all pictures were taken on my Galaxy S7. Maybe tomorrow’s pictures will be better when I use this phone’s camera.

In case I haven’t gotten enough stuff at this Olympics, this evening I got my L.L. Bean and Craft Olympic gear, including the race suits.

Sorry for the extremely long post. I didn’t realize I took so many pictures today.

Olympic Processing

It’s been a jam-packed day. It’s also 5 o’clock in the morning in Idaho, the time my body is used to, so I’m feeling pretty groggy. Please blame any errors in this post on that fact.

First, here’s a look at the crazy control panel for the toilet at the hotel we stayed at last night in Incheon.

The view from our room was pretty nice.

The US Olympic Committee (USOC) offers a wide variety of services to enhance the athletes’ Games experience. Those services are as big as Sports Medicine and nutrition services and as small as collecting letters that the athletes write to themselves and then mailing them out after the Games so we can compare our pre-Olympic goals to our post-Olympic memories. I’m going to take advantage of as many services as I can this Olympics. I started with the letter writing exercise.

We were also given hand written letters of encouragement from American school children.

This morning my teammate Ida Sargent and I went through Olympic Processing with the entire US Snowboard Slopestyle Team, who also arrived on our flight yesterday.

Processing simply involves getting all of the stuff that comes with being an Olympic athlete. We were given a checklist of US Olympic Committee sponsors and then proceeded to visit each company’s booth to collect our goods.

I started at Polo Ralph Lauren.

They had a long list of items for us.

We got to try on each item. (we actually didn’t have a choice.) They had tailors on hand to make adjustments as needed. We started with the Opening Ceremony outfit. Here is snowboarder Red Gerard.

The opening and closing ceremony jackets are electronically heated and powered by battery packs. (No Joke!) Here is Red getting a lesson on how to hook up and turn on his jacket.

Here I am in the Opening Ceremony outfit minus the jacket.

And here is the full look.

Next we moved onto the closing ceremony outfit.

Here’s the final product.

We ended up with more than a duffel bag worth of stuff (plus the bag itself) from Ralph Lauren.

Next for me was the Nike booth where we got the podium outfit (which of course we all dream of needing).

And we got the press conference outfit.

We ended up with another duffel bag full of stuff from Nike.

I met up with Ida at the Oakley Eyewear booth.

And then we did the USOC social media booth.

And then we went to the onesie booth. (Again, not joking.)

We followed snowboarders Hailey Langlund and Julia Marino to the O.C. Tanner booth to fit our Olympic rings.

The rings will be custom engraved for us and delivered in the spring.

There was media filming throughout this whole process but they were much more interested in the snowboarders than me or Ida.

We also got a bag full of toiletries from P&G and an Olympic watch.

We got Bose headphones.

And we got Kohmbu boots.

All of the stuff is really nice and I’m torn between fully embracing the whole thing and being a little disgusted by the ridiculous consumerism of getting two duffle bags stuffed to the gills with things I don’t need.

After lunch, the snowboarders, Ida and I took a three hour (party) bus to PyeongChang.

We made one stop at the exact same rest area we stopped at last year on our way to the test event.

When we got to the village we went through security which involved a medal detector, patdown, and scan of the RFID chip embedded in our credential which brings up our image and info on a big screen.

I am the first of my roommates into our condo. I’ll post more about the accommodations in the coming days but here’s a look at my bed, with many gifts waiting for me, when I arrived.

Soon after arriving, Ida and I again left the village and took a short shuttle ride to The Haven, a joint venture facility between US Ski and Snowboard and the US Olympic Committee that houses a dining hall exclusively for US athletes and a gym exclusively for US Ski and Snowboard athletes. (Snowboarder Ryan Stassel is on the bike.)

It also houses a US Ski and Snowboard Sports Medicine treatment room.

Ida and I lifted weights before dinner and then returned to the village.

It was an exhausting day but life should get simpler from here on out.

Korea!

I’m exhausted but super excited to be in Korea! In the lead-up to coming here, I’ve been busy, I haven’t been thinking about the Games much, and I’ve even been a little blasé about the whole thing. I’ve been to the Olympics before, what’s all the hype about? It’s just another ski race, right?! Nope. It is certainly not “just another ski race”. Now that I’m here, there are reminders everywhere that this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, a lifelong dream and a serious honor to be a part of Team USA. I’m surprising myself with how happy I am to be here. I am jittery with energy and anticipation. I feel like I’m 18 again, arriving at my first World Junior Championships. I don’t remember feeling quite this amount of ecstasy when arriving in Sochi.

On Thursday afternoon I left Sun Valley, Idaho, where I’ve been training for the last 3+ weeks. I took a short flight to San Francisco.

I had a casual night at an airport hotel near SFO before meeting up with my teammate Ida Sargent yesterday (Friday) morning for a flight to Seoul. As a US Olympic Committee sponsor, United Airlines treated me and my 70lbs ski bag (20 pairs) very well. For the long flight, we were on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

I thoroughly enjoyed watching the baggage handler, pictured below, pick a creative spot to rest during his break. (Can you spot him?)

As we took off over the Pacific Ocean, we had a spectacular view of the tip of the San Francisco Peninsula and the Golden Gate Bridge.

Many hours later I looked out on the snowy Honshu (main) Island, Japan.

Flying into Seoul, I was struck by the same thing that I remember thinking last year when I flew in for the test event: there are no small buildings. The city seems to be made up entirely by massive high-rise complexes surrounded by undeveloped land.

The flight felt easy but it was still nice to touch down after 12.5 hours in the air.

The first thing we did upon landing was activate our Olympic Credentials.

We then got to use the Olympic customs line (which meant absolutely no line) before we were greeted by several US Olympic Committee and PyeongChang Organizing Committee officials. Our ski bags were taken from us and sent directly to the wax cabins. Our duffels were sent straight to the Olympic Village. They will be waiting for us in our rooms when we arrive. We headed to an airport hotel with just small overnight bags. Ida and I went for a run before dinner. We are the first US cross-country athletes here. Many others get in tomorrow. After dinner we joined the Snowboard Team for the mandatory Team USA Ambassador Program.

Meeting and spending time with athletes from other sports is one of my favorite things about the Olympics. It was fun to take this evening’s class with some old friends (like Ryan Stassel) and some of Team USA’s biggest stars (like Jamie Anderson and Chloe Kim).

This will be our only night in Seoul. We will go through Olympic Processing (essentially uniforming) tomorrow morning before taking the bus to PyeongChang.

Olympics!

I am very excited to share that today I was named to the 2018 US Olympic Team! I am proud to again represent the United States in the biggest sporting event in the world. My training has been going very well, the hilly courses and the cold slow snow in Korea suit my strengths perfectly, and I can’t wait to put together races that represent all of the hard work that I’ve done over the past 15 years. I would not be here without the incredible and continuous support of so many people, including the entire US Nordic Community. Thank you for giving me every opportunity to succeed.