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Posts Tagged ‘Finland’

Wild Blueberries and World Championships Preparation

31.Jul.2014 by Susan Dunklee

Four years ago, we welcomed a Finn onto the National Team staff when US Biathlon hired Jonne Kähkönen to be our head women’s coach. This summer, he finally got the opportunity to share a full dose of Finnish culture with us when we traveled to Scandinavia for a training camp.

The women’s team spent a week and a half training at next winter’s World Championship venue in Kontiolahti, Finland. Kaisa Mäkäräinen, reigning World Cup overall champion, joined us for most of our training sessions and showed us around while we were in town.

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Training on the Kontiolahti range. Sometimes we had three nationalities represented at practice: Hannah, Katja Yurlova from Russia, Kaisa, myself and Annelies.

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One day we drove to Koli National Park to do some uphill rollerski intervals: 3 times up southern Finland’s biggest “mountain.”

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Mt. Koli wasn’t very high, but it had a gorgeous view. Hannah observed that it felt a lot like Elmore State Park back home.

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Scenic views along the climb. Photo: Jonne Kähkönen

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For a couple afternoon workouts, we did some orienteering. Orienteering is wildly popular in Finland with new courses set up a couple times a week and we decided it would be a good cultural experience. Plus hunting down the controls made a two hour training run go by incredibly quickly.

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Team BBQ night in Joensuu. Clockwise: Hannah, Jani (physio), Kaisa, Erika (Jonne’s wife and our cook this week), Jonne, and Annelies.

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No BBQ is complete without a game of cornhole.

Two factors made it a real challenge to get enough recovery between workout sessions. The first was a blazing Scandinavian heatwave. Our solution to that problem was to swim post workout and any other time the heat started getting to us.

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Annelies enjoying a lakeside swing.

The second challenge was the endless hours of daylight. I had never been in such a far northern place during the summer. The sky stayed light well past my normal bedtime which made me feel wide awake at 11:00. I still haven’t figured out how to adequately deal with that…

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A local newspaper reporter asked me what the best part of summer training camp in Finland was. Wild blueberries of course! Photo: Hannah Dreissigacker

What’s in Tim’s ear…?

22.Nov.2011 by Dylan McGuffin

As you might have heard, there is not an excess of activities here in Mounio. When I’m not skiing or eating or writing blogs, I’ve taken up a small pet project helping my friend Tim with a little problem. There is something blocking his left ear. We are not sure what it is, perhaps a buildup of wax from his flowing locks, or some foreign object that has been lodged inside. Could it be a bug? Or maybe a raisin? I am told that gnomes also make their home in this part of the world, and one could possibly have made a home inside Tim’s head.

Righteous Flow

Righteous Flow

No clues yet, but here are some of the dislodging techniques we’ve tried…

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Conventional ear wax dissolver... No luck.

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Old faithful Q-tip... nothing.

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Oh a dish soap bottle filled with warm water shooting into Tim's ear... yeah that didn't work.

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Really thought this last thing would work…

There has been no luck getting anything out of Tim’s ear thus far. We have determined that it is quite possibly water, but really it could be anything. If anyone has any old tyme remedies or gypsy magic that you think may help, feel free to drop us a line.

Muonio: then and now

7.Nov.2011 by Patrick O'Brien

Its hard to imagine how different our experience in Muonio, Finland has been since we were here last year. Normally cold snowy weather has been replaced by warm temperatures and steady rain. Despite the unseasonable weather, the grooming staff at Olos has done well to provide great skiing for the numerous national and club skiers frequenting the 3k loop. Today the track was closed to skiing as the workers frantically reallocated precious snowpack from one of the out-back sections to shore up the racecourse for the coming competitions on the weekend.

Perfect trails awaiting us the first day

Perfect trails awaiting us the first day

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Reserve snow-pack opposite the biathlon stadium last year

This years pile... The groomers said they stockpiled more snow for upcoming season than ever before but a warm rainy September resulted unprecedented melt

This years pile... The groomers said they stockpiled more snow for upcoming season than ever before but a warm rainy September resulted unprecedented melt

Workers at Olos uncovering the last bit of snow summered over in the halfpipe. The excavator breaks up and removes the frozen wood chips that cover the snowpack and the front end loader moves the 6 month old snow

Workers at Olos uncovering the last bit of snow summered over in the half pipe by the alpine area. The excavator breaks up and removes the frozen wood chips that cover the snow-pack and the front end loader moves the 6 month old snow

Saving 3k worth of snow over the summer neccesitates a huge amount of woodchips

Saving 3k worth of snow over the summer neccesitates a huge amount of woodchips

First tracks last year

First tracks last year
And foot tracks this year... (Photo: Ethan D)

And foot tracks this year (Photo: Ethan D)

High noon, 11-10-10

High noon, 11-10-10

11-7-11 (Photo Ethan D)

11-7-11 (Photo Ethan D)

The white ribbon below (Photo: Ethan D)

The white ribbon below (Photo: Ethan D)

Got wind? (Photo: Ethan D)

Got wind? (Photo: Ethan D)

Moving snow

Moving snow (Photo: Ethan D)

Patching up the race loop (Photo: Ethan D)

Patching up the race loop (Photo: Ethan D)

Although the weather seems to be conspiring against us, the skiing has remained solid.  Its seems we are past the worst of the rain and the mercury is finally dropping after 2 pretty nasty weeks. Big thanks to the workers at Olos for all of their hard work keeping the tracks open and several hundred people on snow. The races this weekend should certainly prove interesting with large competitive fields tearing around the shortened race loop. Might look a bit like this…

Trainin' in the train

Trainin' in the train

We’re On Our Way

21.Nov.2010 by Patrick O'Brien

Home Sweet Home

High Noon in Finland

High Noon in Finland

30 Days, 6 Races, 33 training sessions, 8.8 pounds of sinappi, countless jars of duo-spread, its been one incredible trip here in Finland! Great snow, great racing, and great training all the way around

But I’m sure everyone is also looking forward to getting back stateside for Thanksgiving with their families!