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Saturday, May 30, 2009

USSA & FIS licenses

John Farra says...

"I want to encourage you to renew your USSA and FIS licenses by June 1 so that you will be included in the first FIS list which is expected to be run on July 1, 2010. At USSA Congress meetings last week, rules were passed that require being on the latest USSA and FIS points lists to be able to receive prize money and points for the races you enter. Last year this posed a challenge for a few top athletes in the early season races since it can take a month or more to process the FIS component. It can take even longer if you are a foreigner and need to use your home nation to process. Only a few athletes are on the 2008 summer list which means if someone decides to compete in the Southern Hemisphere races or October FIS races, they would not be seeded and could miss scoring opportunities."

To register online go to the USSA webpage HERE

(If you're not a US Citizen, you'll have to register on the FIS website.)

Friday, May 29, 2009

Hero of the Day

During my nice rollerski out Seven Mile Dam (although, what decent Canadian citizen names something "seven mile"?) I was passed by a girl riding a cross bike with panniers. Girl, in this instance, means sexagenarian. Then she stopped & I passed her. Then she passed me back and a little while later stopped again. This time I paid more attention to what she was doing... picking up trash. This impressed me, so I stopped to talk. Her explanation, "oh, I ride out here all the time and to keep the scenery interesting I look for cans and bottles to pick up." Nothing self-congratulatory at all, simply a project for her rides. I thanked her on behalf of myself and all the other recreationists who would enjoy the trash-free road.

I thought this girl was so cool & decided that she was the hero of my day.

And then I had

two good drafting options during the afternoon ride.


Thursday, May 28, 2009

Danny Macaskill

So I casually referenced Danny Macaskill in a conversation yesterday, assuming the person to whom I was talking would know exactly who Danny Macaskill is. Apparently there are still people out there who haven't seen this video:


Wednesday, May 27, 2009


I ran up Red Mountain today.

It used to be that the thought of an uphill, let alone an entire mountain, left me cowering at the back of the pack. Uphills were my doom. Over and over again I watched people ski run or ride away from me as the climb got steeper. I feared them in races, I avoided them in training.

Now I find that I adore uphills. I love them because of the focus they bring to whatever technique I'm doing. Sure, the view might be great but I rarely look on the way up. I know I can enjoy that on the way down. On the way up it's just me and the next step, kick, or pedal. I still fear uphills in races, but now I seek them out in training. And I find that I'm no longer one of the uphill-haters.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Broken Top

Saturday, May 23, 2009

"Have you noticed that mirror on the back of your bedroom door?" Kristina asked me on our way home from Bachelor.

"Yeah," I smiled, "it's a trick mirror."

"Isn't it awesome?"

It was true, the full length mirror on the back of the door did seem to add two inches and take off ten pounds. But in such a subtle way that I didn't realize until halfway through the week... I just walked out of my room every morning thinking I looked hot. Which is not a bad way to start the day.

I don't know the owner of this mirror, she's out of town, but there's a combination of feminine and athletic here that feels very familiar. The O2 saturation sensor next to the bed didn't strike me as an odd thing to have on a bedside table. It did make me wish I had one. Likewise with the sweet Cervelo tt bike hiding between a couple of old bianchis out in the garage that nevertheless jumps out at me every time I walk through. It's nice to have a beautifully decorated living area AND know that there's a compu trainer downstairs... just in case.

"Smile" is written on the wall in the shower. And I do, every time I take a shower here, smile.

Friday, May 22, 2009


The skiing, of course, was excellent this morning.

Yesterday though we took the afternoon for some alternative training down at the Juniper Fitness Center. Fitness classes are not something I do. Ever. So it was fun to try out some classes. We did yoga, which is pretty standard but I also tried Zumba, a dance based fitness class. My assessment is, in case you where considering trying zumba, is that it's kind of fun but really you should just go dancing if you want a dancing workout. Or go to dance class and actually learn something about dancing. Or, if you want a cardio workout go do a sport. This is the same reason I'm not a big fan of pilates, it's half yoga and half ab workout. Just pick one aspect of something! What's with people trying to combine everything into one package?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Crust Skiing Bend

Laura Valaas, Brian Gregg, Kristina Owen

Today was a day for crust skiing with Kristina Owen and Brian Gregg. We headed out to Todd Lake and found some sweet meadows, did some tree-dodging, pretended to be trolls, slalomed down a gully, and enjoyed the snow and sunshine!

Laura Valaas

Brian Gregg

Kristina Owen climbing out of a plowed road to get back to the nordic center.

Brian Gregg in a different meadow

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

This is more like it.

KO skiing in Bend.

With the sun out and a layer of fresh new snow from yesterday making the trails clean, my two hour ski this morning flew by quickly. It's easy to be out training when it's like this. As a bonus it was definitely warm enough to ski without a jacket.

It's also sweet to be out here training because there are so many skiers. There's the US Team here, obviously, but there's also skiers representin' Maine, Sun Valley, Bozeman, the Methow, CXC, XC Oregon, Bend, APU, UAA, plus coaches. I like the skiing community in the US.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Skiing again

I had hoped to have some sweet pictures of skiing around Bachelor in the sun after our ski this morning. It was grey and snowing so I didn't even take out my camera. Even less fabulous was that I had forgotten to bring any jackets. I'm a poor packer at the best of times. Seriously, along with grocery shopping it's one of the things at which I'm no good. Packing for Bend post crazy weekend (when I say crazy weekend I mean the max on my bike's odometer from my last ride is 50mph, not "I love college" crazy) when I got home 20 minutes after we had planned on leaving made my packing job really haphazard. So I didn't have any jackets. It was cold and snowing. Not looking to be a great time. But Vordy let me borrow one of his new USST training jackets. It was one of those awkward/ironic/humiliating moments. I couldn't help but realize that the last time we'd communicated Pete was talking about how I was not going to be on the USST this year and now he was loaning me a jacket. Oh well. I guess the lesson to be learned is maybe I need to start focusing when I'm packing for a trip instead of throwing in whatever happens to be on hand. Or ski faster. Take your pick as far as moral of the story goes.

Monday, May 18, 2009


KO & I made it to Bend... skiing tomorrow morning!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

I just counted... there are 24 bikes in our garage.

It has been a busy couple of days. I have gotten the chance to see so many of my old friends this weekend though!

Friday, May 15, 2009


As a side note... does anyone live in Bend or know someone who lives in Bend that would like to host KO & I for a week May 18-25. We are super cool and well trained house guests. We will make you dinner. We will solve your problems. KO is an engineer. I am a mathematician. Our only character flaw is an inability to plan ahead. Seriously though, if this is a way you'd be interested in contributing to our skiing goals and dreams shoot me an email... laura at lauravalaas dot com.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Exam C

huh. these are some of the comments I lifted from my co-Exam takers via the internet. never have 4hrs of my life passed so quickly.

"If there was anyone who got a 40/40 on this lovely exam, I suggest they buy lottery tickets and perhaps try to walk on water."

"Lucky Tom thinks the pass score will be 23. What is the Bulmann credibility factor that Lucky Tom took exam C version 2?"

"The vampires showed that they had not a drop of pity or mercy running through their ice cold veins. Variations of problems in the ASM manual that seemed unrealistically complicated and time-intensive showed up on the test. So did questions on obscure topics that, before the fiasco this morning, were seen in the minds of students as safe to skip. Certain conjugate priors for example."


"As I was leaving the exam center I was half expecting to hear

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Exam C

If anyone wants to participate in a solidarity exercise, you can do what I'll be doing Thursday morning from 8-noon PST and take Exam C covering the Actuarial topic of Loss Models and then some.

That's what I'll be doing! I really hope I don't leave the test feeling like my sister did after her AP Calc Test the week prior:

I also hope that they don't ask any questions about primeness because I seem to be a little shaky on that topic these days!

Monday, May 11, 2009

USST no more

The nominations for the 2009-2010 US Ski Team have been announced finally. If you look you will find what I have already known for a month or so... there's no Laura Valaas on the list.

My automatic response is to laugh because if they think I'm done, they're wrong. I have a penchant for going after what I want and attaining it. I find it surprising to be doubted and passed over by the USST. There's no point in trying to be elegant about this development, however. The best response is to ski faster. Watch me.

Batterman Rd out in Rock Island-- wide shoulders, smooth pavement, and lined by orchards.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

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

Stina & I hosted our inaugural training camp this weekend for girls in the old-enough-to-roller-ski-but-young-enough-to-respect-us age bracket. We had a small group but it allowed for great customization and we got to work with each of our athletes (I feel so proud to be able to claim athletes as mine!) on what they needed to focus on. This was a good thing because we had a wide range of abilities. But ALL the girls were super tough and up for whatever we suggested. I love having tough girls around!

KO & I have a very spontaneous style and I felt a little guilty for subjecting these girls to our whims and impromptu decisions but they took it in stride. All-in-all I think we accomplished our goals for the weekend: have fun, teach some technique, inspire, not kill anyone. We also managed to go over some topics sitting around and while we were out trainings such as goal setting, college & skiing, coaches, training hours & types, boys (come on, we're not that mature that we're not still giggling about boys).

We have a long list of things we should do better if we repeat the camp. Actually, for just about any activity I pursue I have a long list of things I could improve upon, so there's nothing new there!

Thursday, May 07, 2009


Oops. I hate it when I say something stupid on my blog and then leave internet for a couple days. sorry. And then everyone at home makes fun of me for a day.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

48 Hr Challenge

The lovely Miss Heather Zimmerman is embarking on an adventure this weekend... a 48 hour challenge on the Birkie trails in Northern Wisconsin to raise money for Greg Mortenson's foundation, the Central Asia Institute. Greg Mortenson, author & hero of "Three Cups of Tea" has built over 78 schools throughout Pakistan & Afghanistan.

Heather is going to be traversing the Birkie trail for 48 HOURS. She is accepting pledges per 10k of trail covered or for any amount. Go to Heather's blog for more info.

If you've read "Three Cups of Tea" you will be psyched to have this opportunity to support Mortenson's work.

If you haven't read "Three Cups of Tea" you really should.

p.s. The CAI is a 501(c)3 non-profit and will provide tax receipts for all donations made.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009


Miss Becca Rorabaugh is one of my fabulous APU teammates hailing from Fairbanks, AK. She is a stellar skier, JO National Champion and all that but I really like having her around because she is energetic, motivated, and honest. I doubt this will come across fully in her blog but she's also incredibly imaginative and creative. When we're on a trip Becca's the girl that will pull out both the watercolors and the crazy ideas/observations. (I'm still waiting to hear more about resistance stretching.)

My main point being that she has a website if you want another perspective on skiing, life & training:


Sunday, May 03, 2009

Northern Fruit Co & Laura Valaas

I am so excited to announce my partnership with the Northern Fruit Company during my preparations for this Olympic season!

Northern Fruit grows, packs & ships the best apples, pears & cherries in the Wenatchee Valley.

I am excited to be working with Northern because Northern Fruit is a true Wenatchee business & I am, and always will be at heart, a Wenatchee girl. Northern was founded in 1928 and run by the Tedford family for three generations, surviving the Great Depression. What started as a local fruit buying operation is now a state of the art packing facility, keeping it local but currently exporting to over 40 countries. I'm a Wenatchee girl too... fourth generation of the Valaas family to graduate from Wenatchee High School! And hoping to export myself to Canada next winter for some of the 2010 Olympic races!

I am thrilled to be involved with the fruit industry because it's been an integral part of growing up in Wenatchee. I remember going out to my Grandpa's orchard when I was little and picking asparagus and pussywillows (at that point in my life pussywillows were the hot item and asparagus was rather more dreaded). I also spent four summers working in a pear entymology research lab (pears specifically, but I can tell you more than you want to know about coddling moth). I spent mornings roaming the valley's orchards surveying insect populations, pests and good guys, and afternoons getting a closer look back in the lab. Growing up in Wenatchee I heard more about what effect a rain would have on the cherry crop and how time is measured in degree days than about how political events might be effecting the stock market. The fruit industry is important here!

Finally, I can 100% back Northern's goals. In a strange way our goals are the same. This summer Northern will be looking to produce the highest quality apples, pears & cherries and I will be striving to produce the highest quality training sessions. We'll both be considering our plans and looking for ways to improve.

This is my favorite Northern Fruit statement:

"A child reaching for a second Nordic apple, pear or cherry is our most important measure of success."

because I, as you have probably have concluded if you check in regularly or know about my ITA work, value community service and involvement more and more as I have embarked on this skiing journey. Inspiring youth to be healthy is wonderful & I'm so proud that Northern explicitly states that as a goal. I, in contrast and similarity, am not pushing apples, but I would claim to be pushing dreams. The more I work with kids and the more I see how I can influence their perceptions of what is possible, the more meaningful my ski accomplishments become to me because I see their power to inspire. So I'm going to borrow Northern's statement about how we measure success:

"A child reaching for another dream, with the belief that he or she can accomplish it, is my most important measure of success."

(aside from all that, I really like polar bears. and apples. and pears. and cherries. yum. but not yum when it comes to polar bears.)

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Some photos from the last few days of training. We finished off our first week with a 3hr rollerski/hike/run today! It's good to be back at it! Photos courtesy of the burkys' camera. gratzi.

The girls near the top of Bird Ridge. Or as one person commented on our way up, "here come the healthy people."

Laura Valaas, Kikkan Randall, Becca Rorabaugh, Kate Arduser, Kate Fitzgerald, Katie Ronsse at Turnagain.

APU-ers descending from Center Ridge down at Turnagain Pass.

Valaas & 'Duser checking out some real estate with out-the-front-door crust skiing opportunities (and also standing in front of a "No Trespassing" sign).

Kate Arduser walking the straight and narrow alongside the Placer River.

Katie Ronsse skiing the truly straight and narrow. You can't tell from the pic but the snow-path is between 2' and 3m higher than the bridge. What? Do you have a problem with my mixing measurements?

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Friday, May 01, 2009

Free Rice (again)

I know, I know, I've talked about FreeRice.com before. Now that we're back to training, I've been carpooling with Skatie and she's being a vocab whiz so I went back to FreeRice.com to pick up some new sweet vocab words so I can still supply Katie with new words on demand. And what do I find? FreeRice has expanded so now you can donate rice by learning vocab, grammar, math, geography, and other languages!

Of course the best part is that by playing you're sending rice to the UN World Food Program.


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