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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Green BootBuddy

Of all the things that irk me, uggs worn with mini skirts, dull rollerski ferrules, mosquitoes, non-aviators who wear aviators...

right up there on the list is EXCESSIVE PACKAGING on small products. Seriously, does something have to come in a package ten times its size in order for consumers to think it's worth buying? Or, as in this instance, infinitely larger since what they're selling is a 25-digit membership number.

Don't get depressed, this isn't going to be just another whiny blog. While I don't control the universe (yet) I do control a very small line of cross country skiing accessories. While I was thinking about how to display BootBuddies in stores, I decided that it's important to take your personal values with you into your business life. I hate buying things and then filling up my garbage or recycling bin with the packaging. Therefore...

We are offering the BootBuddy in stores, package free.

Seriously, buy a product, don't pay for the accompanying trash.

Look for your BootBuddies in your local Cross Country Ski shop in a display jar on the counter.


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Saturday, January 30, 2010


I have been freaking out about my shoulders lately. Nope, they're not dislocated, or torn, or it-hurts-when-i-move-it-just-like-this, they're not even sore from pull-ups. It's because they're rolling forward, a little more every day. I escaped this particular skiing syndrom for the longest time because I had 7 years of very classical ballet. Which adds up to a lot of time squeezing your shoulder blades together and pulling your shoulders back. Finally, this fall, more than ten years after my last ballet class with Joan Shelton Mason, my good posture started to disintegrate.

I first became aware of it when a massage therapist said, "the front of you shoulders are tight," and pushed my shoulder down to the table from which it immediately bounced back off. WHEN I LIE ON MY BACK MY SHOULDERS STAY OFF THE FLOOR. You have no idea how much distress this has caused me. I am going to be a hunchbacked old lady. AT TWENTY FIVE. It's great for skiing. I'm finally letting my shoulders relax and roll forward and my arms are swinging. But at the cost of my good posture. tragic. ah, the sacrifices we make for skiing.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Random Note

So I have a bank account. Like most people. When I set up my online banking they asked me for a security word that they would display in the subject line of emails so I would know that the email really truly was from the bank. In this day and age desperate times call for desperate measures, so it seems. This seemed like a silly request to me so I typed in "chickenlittle." Now emails from my bank have subject lines like:

Your Statement is Ready Chickenlittle

which cracks me up.

Monday, January 25, 2010

First run of BootBuddies

I just heard from our Manufacturer... he just pulled off the first run of BootBuddies! The word is that the plant employees are walking around snapping them into a pair of skate boots we sent down saying, "this is brilliant." It feels pretty good when a bunch of Los Angelites appreciate a nordic skiing innovation.

We're going to have several Olympic athletes using BootBuddies in Vancouver, both American and international. I can't wait to see BootBuddy make its Olympic debut :)

Check out what life is like without BootBuddy at the bottom of this page

BootBuddy scrolling images


Sunday, January 24, 2010


A random couple of photos from Alaska last fall. It first I thought this was just a terminal morraine with piles of gravel and debris that the glacier had pushed out and then vegetation had grown over. Except that the glacier was still there, there were trees growing on top of ice hills and streams cutting through the ice. These are not small features either. And these trees are normal sized trees. Isn't the world amazing?

Those hills in the background... made of ice. covered in full-sized treed and brush.

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Friday, January 22, 2010

SilverStar again

I am back up in SilverStar! Some places you can't help but love and return to again and again. SilverStar is one of those places for me. It just makes me happy to be here. To be skiing, to be going out to a coffee shop, running around the little neighborhoods, I enjoy every aspect. I had a burger at Long John's for dinner tonight and it wasn't until I left that I realized that it wasn't very often that I wear a toque when I'm out at dinner. In SilverStar, however, that's completely normal. I also had their Lava cake for the first time tonight. Well, I shared so I only had half a lava cake. Seriously delicious. Warm chocolate cake with rich chocolate fudge oozing all over the place and the cool complement of real whip cream to lighten the experience. So maybe I had more like 2/3 of the dessert.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Laura Valaas, Caitlin Compton, Nicole DeYoung

The 10k Classic today was one of the stranger races. I think at one point I was skiing with my right foot in the track because it was starting to ice and my left ski out because that's the only place it would kick. It is also the first race in which I have ever stopped to tie my shoe. Or tighten my boot laces. Whatever. I hadn't had time to preview the course but I had heard there were some tight s-turns and once I started I realized how squirrly the tracks were and then I thought that I should have tightened my boots. And then there was a long straight downhill. So I did. I would consider that good time management skills while tucking. ?

Laura Valaas

Laura Valaas

Laura Valaas

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Saturday, January 16, 2010

SuperTour Win

Caitlin Compton, Rhonda Jewett, Laura Valaas, Katie Ronsse, A-final

I finally had my first SuperTour win of the season! And it was in the fabulous Methow valley, which I love. And the sun was shining. And birds were singing. And helicopters were hovering in midair over the venue. The day couldn't have been better.

Torin Koos won the men's race...

Torin Koos

Look a little bit closer... Koos is actually hovering in midair. Yes. Exactly as though he himself was a helicopter. Amazing. Remind me to do a better jump skate next race so I can have a sweet picture like this of my feet.

Torin Koos

Laura Valaas, semifinal

Today was perfect for my BootBuddies, a gadget designed to protect your boot sole & keep the snow out. Especially on sprint days when we're taking our skis off and on so many times it's nice to have the BootBuddy in and not have to worry about digging the snow out of my boots every time I put on my skis.

Laura Valaas

Tomorrow is a 10k Classic!

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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Methow II

I had a fabulous ski up in the Methow. They've closed the race course to preserve the snow (it's a little on the warm side) so we skied up at the Sun Mountain Lodge/Chickadee Trailhead trails. "We" includes Katie Ronsse, who flew down a couple days before the rest of the APU team. The rest of the team gets in late tonight. It'll be a small APU group, just Taz/Ronsse/Valaas/MikeH/BartD along with our two intrepid leaders, Eric Strabel & Casey.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


We've up and moved to the Methow. Just for the weekend, don't worry!

Back to SuperTour races, a skate sprint and a 10k classic. They have new trails down by the high school that I've never ever skied on so I'm excited to try them out.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Fast & Female

Laura Valaas

Kikkan hosted the 2nd Annual Anchorage Fast & Female event this Saturday at Kincaid! I thought the event went spectacularly. We had 230+ girls aged 9-19 out skiing and hanging out with us. And many of the top competitors from US Nationals stayed the extra day to be instructors at the event. We had a wide range of ages and abilities, from girls brand new to skiing to some of the fast junior racers in town. Activities included a two hour ski (these girls are tough!), sandwiches & hot chocolate (courtesy of Subway & Kaladi Bros.) A short talk from Kikkan with a Q&A, and even a yoga session for the older girls.

Share the Love. Dominate the world.


Friday, January 08, 2010

Laura Valaas, Kikkan Randall, & Ida Sargent

Today was the last race of the 2010 US National Championships. I did my typical ski-faster-every-race (3:39.0, 3:38.4, 3:31.7, 3:29.3). Miss Kikkan & I were the only women to ski the course in under 3.5 minutes today.

Laura Valaas & Kikkan Randall & Nordic Fruit Pink Lady Apples

I was disappointed to have such a slow qualifying time. Grr. And I'd been doing such a good job with that so far this year. The starter in front of me did scratch so I didn't have anyone to chase, which I think makes it more difficult to get a good prelim time. At least for me.

The rounds were wonderfully fun, however, I felt like a ski racer.


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Wednesday, January 06, 2010

The start line of the women's 20k. On the left of the photo is a gap. Yep, that's where I was supposed to be. Apparently everyone else operates on a be-at-the-line-five-min-to-start. I'm more on the two minute schedule. If you don't feel a little panic, you're too early.

If you look closely Liz is in the middle with her foot up having someone chip the snow out of her boot. I really wish there was a solution to that problem... hmmm. (I'm still not on the line yet.)

And we're off, skiing into the darkness.

Laura Valaas

Kikkan Randall coming in for the win.

Laura Valaas

Racing is hard.

Giving Caitlin Compton a hug-- congrats on the medal!

Morgan Arritola

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20k Classic

I had fun skiing the 20k today. I just enjoyed being out there.

This morning was a full-on snowstorm. It let up by the time the men raced. Which is good-- it was forecast to start raining, yuck. Because we'd all been staying close to the stadium testing and retesting different skis & wax the tracks out on the race course were full of snow.

Luckily for me, Kikkan sucked it up and led most of the first two laps. Especially on the first lap, this was a big deal. Our first lap took about 26 minutes and the second lap was more than 2 minutes faster. I was psyched, because of how much extra work it took to clear the trail, I basically got a nice, chill first lap to warm up. Thanks Kikkan!

What I say is: It takes a lot of guts to expend that much more energy in the first lap and know that you're strong enough to pull it off.

Kikkan did it in style. She was the only skier today who skied faster on each lap & fastest on her third & final lap. That's a fact. I think that if we had had clean tracks she would have won by minutes instead of seconds. But that's only my opinion.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

My favorite website this week is: Kincaid Weather.

Although not nearly as stressful to watch as during last year's nationals.

Monday, January 04, 2010

10k skate

Sunday, January 03, 2010


Women's SemiFinal 2

Women's B Final

Women's A Final

Saturday, January 02, 2010

I'm Alive

Laura Valaas photo credit: Ian Harvey, TOKO

I still exist. I have not been sucked into a hole of non-existence.

I've been sick. Which has made for uninspired posting. No one wants to read about healthy sick people. (Healthy sick people are people who think their cold/flu/whatever is the tragedy of the year when they'll be better in a week.) The only notable sick-event was that I pulled one of my rib muscles. Yes, my abs are THAT strong.

But we're racing again, so I'm back!

And it's once again time for the National Championships here in Anchorage. It was a balmy 5°F today, plenty warm enough to race and not nearly warm enough for all the snow to melt. Perfect for racing. The sun even came up for a couple of hours. I don't think it ever actually shone down in the stadium (too many trees in the way) but you could tell it was out glowing over some far horizon.

On the race front... I qualified second! Which is good because usually my qualifiers suck and this year one of my goals has been to improve that. What's the point of skiing better in the heats if you can't even qualify, right? So I have been meditating on skiing the qualifiers faster. I've also been doing some more concrete training.

10k skate on Monday, 20k Classic on Wednesday, and Classic Sprint on Friday. Every other day a race. Makes for a fun week.

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