Coach Profiles

Run2Ski Proof of Concept Trip
28.Jan - 3.Feb.2011

Lynn Jennings on Road

Contrary to popular belief, winters in the Pacific Northwest are kind to runners. Sure, we get our share of rain in Portland. Misty rain and mid-40s are the norm. Occasionally, we'll strike winter gold: weeks of no rain, higher temperatures and pale winter sunshine. The bottom line is that runners who love to trail run in Portland are in luck. Fern-lined trails are open year round.

But I'm a runner who also likes snow and to get snow I have to travel an hour to Mt. Hood to ski or snowshoe. I decided to pay a winter visit to the home office - Craftsbury. My agenda: get in some skiing, snowshoeing and snowy trail rambling under my belt, and maybe I'd be lucky and get some instruction from a certain Bulgarian who rules the Outdoor Center's trails. With my running snow shoes tucked into my bag, I headed to Craftsbury in January for my own Run2Ski long weekend.

Seeing my favorite places covered in fresh powder gave me a new perspective on Craftsbury. Big Hosmer where runners jump off the docks after tough runs? It was a crystalline expanse of white. The Duck Blind where I live each summer? Barely visible beneath mounds of snow. Our beloved veranda where we share so many incredible meals was deserted.

Upon arrival, I scored two pairs of skis. One pair for classical skiing, the other for skate skiing. I headed straight out to Murphy's Field to catch the last few hours of sunshine and was rewarded with exhilarating swooping loops around perfectly groomed fields. I found Pepa on skis up on the soccer field and was immediately humbled by her swift and sure skiing. Trying to emulate her power and precision, I headed off to Big Hosmer for a lake loop before dinner.

Lynn Jennings and Pepa Miloucheva

Over the next few days, I covered plenty of impeccably groomed kilometers on my skate skis. Pepa gave me a couple of lessons: one on hill technique and one on pure skating technique. Round and round the soccer field I went with her piercing eyes dissecting my technique. She set up some races on the hill leading to the soccer field and skied around shouting coaching instructions. When I wanted a break from skiing, I strapped on my snow shoes and rambled around the forest on the opposite side of Big Hosmer and followed trails over to Little Hosmer. I even did a mini-snow shoe run on Lost Nation Road. Elite Green Racing Project biathlete Susan Dunklee gave me a lesson in biathlon shooting down at the range by Elinor's Farmhouse. The longing for broomball action grew with each pass of the Touring Center's pond - now a nicely maintained outdoor rink.

After 5 days of playing in the snow and enjoying the top notch winter meals in the Dining Hall, it was time to head home. I left for Portland vowing to return in 2012 along with any other runners who would like to do the same things for a few days...so, who's with me? I hope to have more details on a potential weekend during this summer's camps, but am interested to hear your thoughts on the project - drop a line to running@craftsbury.com and let's share a great winter cross-training experience!