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Wednesday, April 29, 2009


22 fishies went for a ski. They wanted to play on the big waves but it was a bit of a journey to get there. They even had to ride in a car, which fishies don't like. And there were a few places where the water wasn't in the form they like best so they had to switch their technique.

It was a long ski, but the fishies had been there before and knew instinctively in which direction to go.

Up Skookum Bay they found Skookum Glacier, and endless crust-frosted waves on which to play.

In the wide open sea they found it safest to school up and move as a unit. One fishy led for awhile and then sprinted. When the lead fishy sprinted, everyone sprinted. An observer might not have known which fishy was directing the school at any one time. But the fishies knew. Even when the lead fishy would zig or zag or double back, causing the school to accordion in on itself before reaching out to engulf a new frozen wave.

22 fishies... we're not part of the elite minority. We're just redefining normal.

The LAV fishy swimming up glacier.

photos courtesy of Kate Arduser & Erik Flora. gratzi.

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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

KO & LAV's Super-Awesome-For-Girls-Only Ski Camp

KO & I will be hosting a training/technique camp in the Wenatchee Valley May 8-10th (that's a Friday-Sunday).

I know that's coming up fast so if you are interested, or if you know a girl who would be, download the registration form here:

pdf version of registration

Word version of registration

We don't claim to be the best coaches out there. We don't claim to be the best skiers (although we're trying). We do claim that we know how to kick it, train hard, focus on the skiing when it's time for that and focus on the fun when it's time for THAT. Mostly, we love skiing, love hanging out with skiers & we never had any older skiers around to learn from when we were young so we'd like to provide that to some of the PNSA girls in the current generation.

Age bracket is from old enough to be interested in rollerskiing but younger than we are! & we expect a small group so there will be mucho quality feedback and one-on-one technique work!

Monday, April 27, 2009

The First Day

A familiar cluster of cars populated the Potter Marsh parking lot. I was starting off the year in my standard style of being exactly one minute late (d'oh! I really do value punctuality) and joining the team in my clogs (NOT danskos) while everyone else is already in their ski boots holding rollerski, poles & helmets in various awkward configurations.

The year started for us with an all out effort up a short hill, taking times and lactates at the finish. Post warm-up as the first of us started congregating at the bottom of the hill a road sweeper pulled up to our start line... and proceeded to sweep the gravel off the shoulder of the hill for us.

An auspicious beginning to the 2010 season.

Other Recaps

Skatie also pulled some stats from her training log... which reveal that she both snow-skied & roller-skied more times than I did. hmmm, I hate it when my teammates make me feel like a slacker!

Check out Katie's blog here.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

For the year...

Today is the final day of the 08-09 season. Monday, April 27th we start training for the 2010 season!

Number of races: 35
Kilometers raced: 317
Pairs of skis raced: 8
Workouts Skate skiing: 89
Workouts Classic skiing: 102
Number of times I went for a run: 185
Hours spent doing activity defined as "other": 72
Times I went rollerskiing: 63
Countries visisted: 5
Number of entries in my morning HR chart: 0
Percentage of my training that was ski-specific: 60%

Everything we did last season is now officially base for next year. It's time to build the next level of fitness, take our technique and improve it, and train with a purpose once again.

You can always check out last year's recap too.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Ice Cream

One of the first things I noticed upon returning to Anchorage was a dish of ice cream that had been tossed out on the side of the road. The chocolate mound had rolled halfway out of its paper coldstone creamery dish and melted into the ditch as much as a sloppy, inattentive person would have dripped wax from a candle before setting the candle.

There have been other times in my life when I've seen still-frozen ice cream but there's something uniquely Alaskan about the "it's 40° and drizzling-- let's go out for ice cream!" attitude. And yes, my friends, I am American and I am speaking in °F, not celsius.

Friday, April 24, 2009


I left my camera on a picnic table at Wallace Falls State Park in Gold Bar, WA.

This is depressing for two reasons. 1) my camera is an extension of myself and goes with me EVERYWHERE. 2) all my photos from the week are gone.

I feel like an incomplete person without the ability to photograph my world at will. strange how I can feel attached to a camera like that.

So, just in case anyone is reading this who happened to be at Wallace Falls State Park on Friday April 24th... if you can return my photos to me I'll buy you the same camera I had.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

spf 70

In alaska it's considered a hot day if it gets over 70°F. Down here in WA this week I've been wearing spf 70 every day it's been so sunny. It is good to get some time in the direct sunlight before getting back to alaska. (I'm sure the spf 70 is even overkill but that happens to be what I have.)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Frenchman Coulee

I finally did it. I finally climbed up a rock. I've climbing at Frenchman Coulee for the past two days (in WA). The next couple of days I'm going to try some climbing near Leavenworth. Anchors, draws, holds, chalk, rope, bolts, and all that jazz. I even lead climbed a couple of easy routes!

It's been fun to get to try a new sport this spring but there's a small voice in the back of my head growing stronger day by day that's telling me it's time to start ski specific training again...

April 27th it starts.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


We came across some tracks while out skiing.

Brent Knight and Mark Iverson looking for some wolverines.

The den!

No wolverines. I actually was wishing Duser was around to explain to me whether or not these were wolverine tracks, how one would tell, and several other factoids that I don't even know I don't know.

Monday, April 20, 2009


The ash layer from the volcano is creating interesting landscapes in the mountains. When I was up crust skiing I stopped to take some photos of the growing ash ponds.

Burky enjoying the view.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Ridge to River

-Sadie Bjornsen came over Friday night and took me to the airport. I flew all night and Saturday morning
-Valerie Valaas and
-Susan Valaas picked me up from the Wenatchee airport. After some time at home I borrowed
-Tom Feil's surfski and ran the Wenatchee river (dumping TWICE). Later, picking up my registration which
-Biosports had sponsored and taken care of, I finally made it home to find
-Chad Gregg,
-Simon, and
-Tara Gregg had not only brought food to our house but were cooking us dinner. Entertainment was, as usual, provided by
-Kirsten Valaas and her posse. It was a frantic, frantic day and I was starting to get frazzled so I was glad to have my
-Dad and my
-Mom around to keep my calm and make me feel like everything would go smoothly. Sunday morning was race day. After sleeping through my alarm (due to not sleeping Friday night) I headed up to Mission Ridge. Until the car had a mechanical 2miles from the parking lot & we unloaded our gear and a white
-F-150 pulled over and we hopped in the truck bed.
-Hugh Owen took my xc skis and poles up the chairlift for me in his ski bag. I set up my exchange zone and ran into
-TJ Owen on my way to the start and she rubbed some jet stream into my skis. At my xc-alpine exchange
-Sean graciously stepped in at the last minute and baby-powdered my alpine boots and pulled open the tongue so I could get my feet into them. Sweet boots given to me by
-David Tewell and skis borrowed from
-Michael Hansen. At the ski to run exchange,
-Aleeta had my shoes and even had a gel with the top torn off for me already. Mid way through the run
-Mark Broberg caught me (as usual) and gave me a good pace for the rest of the run. I was super psyched when I heard my old running coach
-Kelso cheering. At the run-bike exchange I was super happy to see
-Emily Martin with my helmet and
-Barb Braley with a stool for me to sit on, my bike shoes and my beautiful time trail bike. I caught
-Broberg and teased him about putting a 13 on the cassette on his wheels which I had on my bike so I wouldn't be able to peddle down the (long) hill. It wasn't a 13, but I was using a sweet set of his wheels. Then we hit Saddle Rock and stopped talking. And then he pulled away from me. At the bike-paddle exchange, the lovely miss
-Kari Koos had my shoes for me and picked up the front of my boat and ran full tilt into the Wenatchee River, handed me my paddle and sent me on my way. My mom had my lifejacket for me. Of course the lifejacket and paddle were borrowed from
-someone-who-doesn't-know-I-borrowed-them and the boat belonged to
-Greg Harnish and was one of the very coveted Futura IIs, which are nice and fast and I couldn't have flipped it if I'd tried. Post race a cold, stiff & soggy LAV got a ride home to a shower and dry clothes from
-Barb Braley.

I did, incidentally, win the race (Max Christman, one of the junior nordic skiers in town won the Overall!!!) but before you tell ME good job, count the number of dash marks in my race report. And those are only the obvious contributors on this particular day.

Saturday, April 18, 2009


I went crust skiing at Glenn Alps on Friday. Although not up to the standards of last spring, it was sweet to be out in the mountains and in the sun. Blogger is not letting me post photos right now.

I am enroute to the much sunnier Washington state. I, maybe foolishly, am entered in the Ridge to River multisport race on Sunday in Wenatchee. It consists of the following: 5k xc ski, alpine ski down to the base of Mission Ridge, 4.5mi run, 19mi road bike, 9mi kayak. It has been a long time since I've biked outside, alpine skied, or paddled a surfski. We will see. I am mostly hoping not to fall over... particularly on the bike and paddle legs. It's going to be a busy Saturday gathering all the gear, making sure everything works, and hopefully getting a half hour of paddling in so I can assure myself that I can still balance the surfski.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Geography Fail

I grabbed this off of facebook. As sweet as having open source apps is, I think the facebook standards are slipping.

For other pictures in the same vein FailBlog.org has a lot of good ones.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Lure of the Labyrinth

Mrs. Price introduced me to a very cool online math game today... Lure of the Labyrinth. If there are any pre-algebra students in your life it would be worth sharing it with them. Mrs. Price's class is registered as a class so I have an account as part of one of her class teams. I've tried a few of the games and they're very well done, the best part is that you don't have to do any formal math to complete the tasks but you do have to think in a very mathy way.

Lure of the Labyrinth is a product of the Learning Games to Go project, funded by a Star Schools grant from the U.S. Department of Education, spearheaded by Maryland Public Television, with game design by the Education Arcade at MIT.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Ian Ethan Case

Ian Case is one of the multi-talented skiers I've gotten to know through racing. It is always really cool to know someone as a skier and then find out about the other sweet things he or she does. If you're in town for any of his gigs I would highly recommend listening to him play. (Play = amazing double-necked guitar.)

Apr.14 - Tacoma, WA
Apr.16 - Seattle, WA
Apr.17 - Bainbridge Is., WA
Apr.18 - Wenatchee, WA
Apr.22 - Philadelphia, PA
Apr.23 - Boston, MA
Apr.24 - Hyde Park, VT
Apr.25 - Montreal, CAN
Apr.26 - Montpelier, VT
Apr.30 - Richmond, VT
May 7 - Londonderry, NH
May 8 - Nashua, NH

Full details to his schedule can be found at www.ianethancase.com.

There's a chance I will get to see him when he plays at Cafe Mela in Wenatchee this Saturday!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Saturday's Ski Clinic

On Saturday some of the elite skiers who were in Anchorage coached at a youth ski clinic at the Hilltop Ski Area sponsored mainly by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, Alaska Chapter, as a vehicle to educate young athletes about, as you probably guessed, asthma and related issues.

We broke into small groups to ski with and talk to the kids and then reconvened as a large group for some obstacle course competitions and a game of speedball. Above, Kristina Strandberg demonstrates some skating technique.

Speedball is one of the standard ski-games. For this game we had two soccer balls, one ski per skier, and no poles. This set of equipment minimizes the severity of the inevitable collisions. It's a melding of ultimate frisbee and soccer-- you can either dribble or throw but not run with the ball. Then again, as far as rules go it's the kind of game where rules can change on a whim.

There was also race video from the World Champs playing and we signed posters for the kids. It was really fun to see how excited the kids were about skiing and how engrossed they got in the race video. Are these kids going to take home these posters, hang them up, look at them, think about skiing, start identifying as a skier, and become a skier? I don't know. It's certainly possible. I could see that possibility at the clinic. I could see that seed being planted and that the kids thought that being a skier was something super cool.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Happy Easter!

It is far from spring here & I usually associate Easter with spring-y things like tulips & daffodils, not ash sodden snow. But there is actually a vase with daffodils on my windowsill, courtesy of Sally, and it has been beautiful and sunny so it is an Alaskan spring.

(cartoon shamelessly lifted from SammyJ's blog.)

Friday, April 10, 2009


This is off-topic (& I really hope my mom's not reading today...) but this is another sweet map I found awhile ago. Actually I found it when I got an email saying something like, "there's been a warning from the PD that some gang is planning on random violence against women tonight," and I was trying to verify this claim. I failed to verify, but I did find this sweet map of crimes in Anchorage.

Which is probably only really interesting if you live in Anchorage.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Ski Event 2009

I'll be helping out with the Asthma & Allergy Foundation's Ski Clinic on Saturday from 10-noon at Hilltop.

All ages/abilities.

There will also be a informational talk at 12:15 on Asthma & the Athlete. Last year I thought the talk was really interesting so it would be good to come to that if you're around even if you don't want to take part in the ski clinic.

For more info see the event flier:

Ski Event 2009

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Sand Lake

I have been getting back into my ITA work at Sand Lake. I know it's April and I'm probably supposed to be out avoiding avalanches in the back country or something but now is the best time I have to be volunteering while I'm in Anchorage and don't have scheduled practices. Plus, the students are tons of fun to be with and have become so much more mature since this fall when I first started working with them. I really do enjoy getting to share even one tiny part of their lives.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Time free

Somehow I've lost my HR monitor. And hence my only watch. I'm pretty certain I could find it if I looked but I haven't been inclined to look. So recently I've been out without a clue how long I've been training. I just come home when I feel like it.

okay, so I do look at the clock when I leave and when I come back so I can enter an appropriate time into my training log. Just because I'm choosing not to be aware of the time when I'm training doesn't mean I've given up all of my obsessive compulsive behaviors.

Sunday, April 05, 2009


If you're in the AK/WA area you know that Mt. Redoubt has been erupting and causing distress. Not, obviously, Vesuvius style distress, but mild inconveniences. So for the past couple of weeks every time I read a headline or hear about it I have been thinking to myself, "hmm, Redoubt, what an unusual name for a mountain, why does it sound like a word I know?" Yesterday I came across the phrase "redoubtable matron" and the mystery was solved; redoubt is a word I know! It was an experience reminiscent of the absurdly long time it took me to figure out why my street name in alaska, jodhpur, was oddly familiar for such an odd word (A: Jodhpurs are a style of riding breeches, can also refer to the boots. Jodhpur is also a city in India.)

In case you've been equally remiss in your volcano name etymology...

1a. a small usually temporary enclosed defensive work
1b. a defended position : protective barrier
2. a secure retreat : stronghold

1. causing fear or alarm : formidable
2. illustrious, eminent, valiant : worthy of respect

Saturday, April 04, 2009


We kicked off our annual end of the season APU BBQ with a relay race.

I realize people are running. That's because we did a le mans start so each starter lined up his or her skis and then had a good 50m run before reaching them.

Which meant that the fast runners (Jeff Ellis) got there first.

But soon the rest, lead by Kate Arduser in this photo, caught up and the ski race was on!

Here the second leg skiers are waiting for their handoffs.

I have no idea which team won.

It's always fun to get together with ALL of the APU-ers-- juniors, masters, devo kids, coaches, elite & university skiers-- and be reminded that we have a huge community program at all combinations of commitment and ability. And sunset isn't until 20:55 tonight... it's a good time of the year to be an alaskan.


Thursday, April 02, 2009


There's something beautiful and carefree in the spring when there's no structured training or intervals. Last year when spring came along I was very much into using the time to do some volume training and SKI. A lot. This year I think I am recognizing the importance of truly taking a break and doing some other activities.

For instance, I've been going to the climbing wall. The Burkys make fun of me, "going climbing horizontally again?" they ask, because I don't, so far, actually climb up the walls, I've only been going sideways. (I think climbers call this traversing, but I'm not sure I want to "be a climber" so I'm going to continue saying climbing sideways for now.) I looked down at my hands when I was typing recently and and thought, "there's strength in those hands." And it was fun to have a new thought along those lines. (My feet, conversely, still feel quite weak compared to when I was doing endless relevés and dancing sur les pointes.) I am finding the bouldering problems to be engaging and it's good to be a complete novice at something... I go for one new random skill per year and this year I'm starting with climbing sideways!

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