Spring Series, SuperTour finals, US Distance Nationals…whatever you want to call it, it’s always one of those bittersweet things. Everyone is excited to be there racing one last time, and getting to hang out with all the skiers from every club team. But also feeling (at least, for me) pretty darn exhausted and ready for a break! Ski racing is fun but if we did it all year long, it probably wouldn’t be that fun anymore. So it’s good to have one last hurrah before we split up and get our family time, beach vacation time, or whatever it is skiers do in the spring!

Dance station! (photo by Caitlin Patterson)

Dance station! (photo by Caitlin Patterson)

The first day I got to Craftsbury was a big day full of events! The Kitch family was so kind in giving me a ride up from Boston in time for the Fast and Female event that they were attending. And what an event it was!

Getting started at one of the skiing stations! (photo by Caitlin Patterson)

Getting started at one of the skiing stations! (photo by Caitlin Patterson)

 

I’m always so inspired seeing all these young athletes pumped up to be out on the snow with their friends, and of course I was very excited to be leading the dance station. You don’t have to be GOOD at dancing (I’m not!)…you just have to be ENTHUSIASTIC (I’m too much of this sometimes)!

The whole group - that's a lot of speedy girls! (photo from Caitlin Patterson)

The whole group – that’s a lot of speedy girls! (photo from Caitlin Patterson)

The other fun event before the regular races began was the “dash for cash”. I opted to spectate and cheer during this, and wow was it ever fun (and funny, too, as there were a lot of corner falls!). The winner had to go down the hill a few hundred feet, turn around climb the hill again then be the first through the tunnel in the mountain of snow piled up.

Cornering on ice in one of the boys heats!

Cornering on ice in one of the boys heats!

One of the kids checking out the snow tunnel.

One of the kids checking out the snow tunnel.

The victory chute!

The victory chute!

The entire Craftsbury Outdoor center and all the volunteers were incredibly nice and put on a great race series. I was really impressed with what they were able to do given the weather that we had! They pulled off a great race loop with good climbs and fun downhills and they were out working hard but always had smiles and cheers for the skiers. Thanks guys for making spring series a fun event!

Paddy crushing it in the men's 15km skate!

Paddy crushing it in the men’s 15km skate!

Me, Anne and Soph hanging out in the sun after the race! (photo by Reese Brown)

Me, Anne and Soph hanging out in the sun after the race! (photo by the Kerns)

Ida, Me and Rosie (with Jennie's awesome photo bomb) in the sprint podium photo! (photo from Reese Brown)

Ida, Me and Rosie (with Jennie’s awesome photo bomb) in the sprint podium photo! (photo from Reese Brown)

We raced a 10km individual start skate race, a classic sprint, a 4x5km mixed gender club relay and a 30/50km classic (this last race was actually a US Nationals race, not a super tour race). I had spent the previous week happy in Boston, not skiing at all and eating lots of great food so I when I got to Craftsbury I was happy to feel good again after being so wiped out at the end of the Canadian Ski Tour!

The start of the women's sprint final with Anne H, Ida, Jennie, Rosie, Sophie and me. (photo from Erika)

The start of the women’s sprint final with Anne H, Ida, Jennie, Rosie, Sophie and me. (photo from Erika)

The entire awards area singing Happy Birthday to Sophie! (photo from Erika)

The entire awards area singing Happy Birthday to Sophie! (photo from Erika)

Sprinting through a quarterfinal with my teammate and friends! (photo from Reese Brown)

Sprinting through a semifinal with my teammate and friends! (photo from Reese Brown)

 

I’ve had many spring series races where I’ve been totally exhausted and not feeling well but when you’re feeling good and healthy, boy, is it a different experience! It was fun to pull off a sweep of all the races but my favorite day is always the club relay day. We had every single SMST2 person there racing – including our coach, Pat, so that we could field two teams! We tattooed the boys faces and put extremely generous amounts of glitter on ours, thanks to a face paint party with the SMS junior girls.

Anne, Me, Soph and Erika (photo from Pat)

Anne, Me, Soph and Erika (photo from Pat)

 

That’s one other thing that was so fun for me at Craftsbury – catching up with the SMS juniors that we train with in the summer. We get to see these athletes about 3 times per week and then I like keeping tabs on how they’re doing in the winter, but it’s always nicest to see them in person and watch them race!

The team! Annie, Paddy, Me, Ben, Sophie, Pat, Simi, Erika (photo by Reese Brown)

The team! Annie, Paddy, Me, Ben, Sophie, Pat, Simi, Erika (photo by Reese Brown)

So now I’m “officially” done for the season! I headed home to Minnesota for some family time and then I’ll be down south visiting family. You’ll get an update on that later. 🙂

Before I wrap this up…one other fun thing I got to do out east was test out my new Podiumwear suits! I got a lot of questions on this, so I’ll explain what I was doing with some new designs in funky colors out on the trails.

One of the new race suits - this one's my favorite! (photo by Kris Dobie - he came out to Craftsbury and was super awesome doing a photo shoot for Podiumwear last week)

One of the new race suits – this one’s my favorite! (photo by Kris Dobie – he came out to Craftsbury and was super awesome doing a photo shoot for Podiumwear last week)

Last year's bottoms mixed with this year's jacket. I love the neon snowflakes! (photo by Kris Dobie)

Last year’s bottoms mixed with this year’s jacket. I love the neon snowflakes! (photo by Kris Dobie)

Here’s the deal with the how my relationship with Podiumwear works: I get to help design my own line of suits and jackets each year (we change them every year, so they’re kind of a one-time-only-thing) and I’m a tester for Podiumwear in their products. I take their ideas out on the ski track and come back with all sorts of feedback, until I totally love what I’m wearing. Because I don’t choose to train in things I don’t love.

The second suit with lots of bright colors! (photo by Kris Dobie)

The second suit with lots of bright colors! (photo by Kris Dobie)

Robbie is the brains behind the suit design, and I’m the one who comes in asking questions like “can we put neon stripes in there? How about all over the legs?” I get to pick patterns and ideas that I like, and Robbi comes up with all sorts of creative ideas, and then we decide what colors to use and where to put the patterns. For example, this year’s theme was color blocking and flashes of neon. We played around with where to put the colors and which colors to use and it was so much fun seeing Robbi bring the suit to life! I’m a lucky girl to get to have a suit made to fit my body exactly right, just the way I want it. And that’s the way all the gold and silver suits are – I got to help design the way they fit and the way they perform, so it makes me smile every time I see them out on the trails being used!

Getting ready to hit the trails! (photo by Kris Dobie)

Getting ready to hit the trails! (photo by Kris Dobie)