Editor’s note: Last month, Craftsbury junior skiers Phoebe Sweet and Callie Young attended the National U16 Training Camp at the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth, MN. Here’s an account of their travels and a few photos, too.
During the last week of July, we attended the National U16 camp in Duluth, Minnesota along with nine other New England skiers and about 40 other U16s from all around the country. To qualify for this camp you must be ranked top 20 in the country from your results at Junior Nationals. Each region gets a discretionary boy and girl pick as well. The week started for us with a fun afternoon shopping and overnight in Boston then an early morning to catch our 7:00 flight. After the flight and a long shuttle ride, (made bearable by a stop at an awesome bakery) we arrived at the St. Scholastica college campus to get settled in for the week.
The first day we had an easy skate roller skiing workout where we focused on technique followed by a tough strength test in the afternoon making us sore for many days to come. The next day we hopped in vans and headed to Spirit Mountain for a challenging uphill run rest. The test was difficult but Minnesota’s mountains are quite different from those we are used to here in Vermont! Even driving to the highest mountain nearby, the ~1.7 mile course contained more flat sections than we are used to at Elmore. The following day we headed to a bike path north of Duluth to classic ski with a focus on double poling. The workout included a technique station and some speeds where we had the opportunity to go head to head with new people. It was really cool to do speeds against people we will be competing with next winter at JNs! The second workout of the day was agility and coordination drills lead by U.S ski team development coach Bryan Fish followed by a fun afternoon of field games and tug of war. A favorite workout for both of us was a skate sprint simulation where we raced an untimed prelim, then self seeded ourselves into heats where we raced against two other athletes we may not have gone head to head with before.
Some more relaxing afternoons included cliff jumping in Lake Superior, paddle boarding, and exploring downtown Duluth. Nearly every evening we had presentations on topics ranging from basic trainings strategies, collegiate skiing, and even a presentation from Jessie Diggins. It was very cool to have Jessie come for a day! She joined a roller ski and gave an evening talk about her experiences racing from Junior Nationals up to the World Cup. She emphasized how much of a role psychology plays in how fast you can go in a race which is definitely something we will both be thinking about going into next race season! The week as a whole was an awesome experience training in a new place, meeting new people, and learning more about our sport.