With a weekend off from World Cup racing the team has decided to re-group here in Valadalen Sweden for a short training camp. I returned to Europe last Monday after a long travel day back from Korea, flying from Seoul to Ostersund Sweden. Ostersund is home to a lot of Swedish National team skiers including our good friend Emil Jonsson so it was a perfect chance to catch up with him and also avoid staying in a hotel for two nights. After months on the road it’s hard to describe how great it is to spend a few nights in a real house rather than a hotel.
We spent two days skiing around Ostersund before driving the 1.5 hours to Valadalen to start our training camp. The best way to describe Valadalen is that it’s kind of like the Swedish equivalent to the Craftsbury training center. Lots of different buildings with hotel style rooms, and a main lodge with awesome food, and pretty far out in the middle of nowhere. It kind of has an isolated feel out here but the accommodations are perfect with a full gymnasium and training center and perfect ski trails right out the door. Not to mention beautiful mountains and scenery.
Everyone’s training has been a little bit different the past week because this is the last chance to make those final fitness adjustments before we start resting up for World Championships. I tried to take advantage of the perfect skiing conditions here by heading out on a few longer skis. The tracks have been hard packed and fast with about 30+ kilometers of groomed trails. It’s really awesome to get a break from doing hot laps on the World Cup courses and get out on a 2.5-hour loop for a change. We’ve had a decent amount of sun and the terrain here is really fun for training since most of the trails wind around the mountainside and even get above tree line for some cool views.
As it turns out a few of the Swedish skiers decided to come to Valadalen as well for some pre World Champs training so I’ve had a few different training partners which is great. It’s a cool opportunity to learn how other teams prepare for the big races and what kind of training they do. I’ve noticed the Swedes in particular really focus on slow easy distance. We all have one more full day of training here tomorrow before flying to Estonia on Wednesday. Otepaa will be the final World Cup competitions before the championships in Lahti so everyone will be trying to bring their A game!