Recovery weeks are always a blast here on the Dartmouth Women’s Nordic team. After a tough, cold, and icy weekend of racing at the Bates Carnival everyone was excited to have a week to soak up the training and play on our home trails. We have been lucky enough to train at Oak Hill recently- while the snow is abrasive and dirty; it is actually great for training because it demands fast feet and no snoozing. We did an afternoon of agility in the Oak Hill stadium- lots of turning, backwards skiing, speeds, more turning, cone avoiding, and fun times. In addition there was a beautiful sunset, which is always a great way to end a day of skiing. We did things a little different this week with a rest day on Wednesday, which was quite nice because it split the week up.
Welcome to Week 3 of winter term! The question of the day is, how did that happen?? It hasn’t been long but it’s already clear that term is going to fly by. Last week everyone reunited back on campus. It was a lot of fun to get everyone back training together, despite the resultant chaos and disarray in the locker room (which on the plus side, gives us extra agility training on the go!). We jumped right back into routine with a medium week of training, starting off the week with lift and some short freestyle intervals. Snowy conditions meant that the freshmen were able to explore our home turf at Oak Hill for the first time.
This week also featured some important non-skiing events. On Wednesday morning, a few of us (Molly, Fabian and I) were up bright and early, braving bracing temperatures out on Ledyard Bridge to protest the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. We joined other Dartmouth students and a handful of local Upper Valley activists. The pipeline has implications for increasing reliance on fossil fuels and exacerbating climate change. As skiers, we’re in a unique position to appreciate the impacts of climate change – we love our winters! I think it’s awesome that we can band together to take action on these types of issues. In fact, earlier this fall, a group that included Cally, Eliana, Molly, Fabian and myself traveled to New York City to participate in the People’s Climate March, a huge event over 300,000 strong. Stay tuned for a recap on the blog.
Winter term has started, snow is finally falling in Hanover, and the race season is upon us! The team was split this past week, as 9 of us headed to the cold and windy Houghton, MI for U.S. Nationals, while the rest returned to Hanover for the first week of classes (such good students!)
Traveling is rarely free of complications, and this trip was nothing unusual. Whether it was by plane, van, or a rental car driven by strangers, we all managed to arrive safely in Houghton by New Year’s Day. And as a bonus, most of us had all our luggage too!
Our first day in Houghton was a bit misleading: we headed out at 11am to ski on perfectly groomed trails in balmy 25 degree weather under blue skies that eventually yielded gently falling snow. This was a malicious and deceptive trick by the weather gods to convince us that the climate of the UP is temperate and tolerable; we soon learned that this was not the case as the temperatures plummeted below zero in the following days, occasionally reaching daytime highs of around 10 degrees. Windchill factors were typically around -15 to -20 degrees. After the first race on Sunday, a 10K skate, many of us realized we needed to take more aggressive precautions against frostbite. Brightly colored kinesio tape worn over the face became Houghton’s haute couture, a trend our team readily adopted as protection against the icy wind.
Emily shows off her post-race frostbitten cheeks. Not shown are Julia’s ears, which swelled and took on a lovely pinkish-purple hue.