Post-olympic slumber for XC?

Hope not.

Am I done with hero-worshipping Jessie Diggins and Kikkan Randall? Not quite yet.

Nerdy but kind of awesome:

Following day press conference with Kikkan Randall and Jessie Diggins (via KTUU)- skip to about 9′ in. The winners of the team sprint discuss Kikkan’s balance of life and skiing, performance and the value of a supportive team and mentors.

The athletes seem so much more human here than in the fancier settings. Randall in particular gets a chance to speak of her experiences without a lot of prompting.

Fun facts and quotes:

  • They really did stay awake or wake up at 3am in Afton MN to watch the team sprint live.
  • Randall’s aunt and uncle were Olympians.
  • Diggins: “I still have Bill Koch’s poster above my bed back home.”
  • Randall: “Not all Olympic sports can be done by the regular person, but everybody can cross-country ski”
  • Diggins: “Focusing on the outcome isn’t what gets you the medal. We had to ski smart, clean races with good tactical moves. We focused on process instead of the outcome.”
  • Randall on returning to skiing as a new mom: “I had to kind of rebuild [fitness after giving birth]. Knowing that this opportunity [to rejoin the ski team] was out there really pushed me to come back”
  • Randall: “Having a son makes appreciate what I get to do as a ski racer so much more… win or lose he was going to be happy to see me and I think that kind of freed me to do my job and have fun.”

Best recap of the team sprint final:

I’m a sucker for this kind of feel-good moment:

I think every father hopes, as Jessie’s dad does, that his kids will be better than they are.

The ad above was done months ahead of the Olympics. Apparently there’s a ton of stuff prepped for use just in case. If you look at the race suits you can tell the competition scenes are from a couple of old World Cup races.

But within a day, Comcast spliced in race shots from the team sprint, as seen in this Adweek video (which also features the finish and immediate post-race reactions).

Skiing for the rest of us:

Post-race article by Cross Country Skier:

  • “This will really be a game changer in the United States for skiing,” [Clay Diggins, Jessie’s father] added. “For Norway it would be another medal. And look at them and the support they have. In America, now this changes everything.”
  • “I’ve been walking on air ever since,” said [Bill Koch, the only other American to win a medal in cross-country skiing] over Facetime. “I’m so ready to pass the torch. The first thing I did was go out for a ski. I was so happy. I was laughing and crying at the same time while I was skiing. I was doing a bunch of wicked intervals. Doing Klaebo technique up the steep uphills. I was so amped!”

Riffing on Kikkan Randall’s comment that everybody can participate in an Olympic sport like cross-country skiing, and also on Jessie Diggins’ statement that the two didn’t focus on the outcome, there was a conversation on NBC Sports about keeping the fun in athletics for longer than is typical in the US:

Jimmy Roberts’ NBC Olympics Daily- day 14 show (subscription or cable service logon required).

About a third of the way in, Roberts and guests from the Aspen Institute and NRK (Norwegian broadcasting) discuss how keeping competition and selection to out of sports until age 13 or so helps late-bloomers and prevents early burn-out.

Excerpted and edited quotes:

  • Tom Farrey, Aspen Institute Sport and Society Program: “Norway has arguably the best sports system in the world, reconceptualized since a gold-less 1988. They don’t keep scores up to age 13, to maintain sport as a development system for all levels.
    “In US, sports is designed by parents who do not truly understand athletic development, or how to sync that up with child development.”
  • Andreas Stabrun Smith, NRK: “[the mother of ] Simen Kruger (gold medal in skiathlon) said he became a good athlete only after 15 or 16. He was just enjoying the skiing.” (Kruger is now 24 years old)

Here’s to the ‘losers’ (bless ’em all):

Washington Post Article. Gold medalist Dario Cologna was a true sportsman and gentleman to congratulate those coming in last in the 15k.

Looking for prodigies:

Americans seem to want the achievement, but like a movie they’d prefer a brief series of short edits to illustrate the process. Maybe what you get out of internalizing and processing the process is what’s important. “The journey is the reward” or destination, or something to that effect.

We can’t all be fast, but we can have fun while internalizing the process of doing something ‘smart and clean, with good moves’.

Feb. 24 updated outlook

Summary:

We’re in the phase where snow can appear and disappear within a day, so if you want to ski, take the day off and get out there right now because warmer temps are on the way.

Prospect Mountain got 4″ of snow and is open. Lapland Lake got 2″. Canterbury Farm is hopeful for Friday snow(?). Any kind of fresh snow helps because whatever base was left likely refroze overnight.

Grafton Trails is hanging in there, Wild Wings is opening, Cascade has 15 km open, and Osceola is open of course. Where natural conditions exist, grooming can bring it back to skiable conditions.

Gore, Mt. van Hoevenberg, and Mountaintop are living on manmade loops.

State of the touring centers:

Day trip range*:

Fahnestock Winter Park, Carmel NY
1 hr 15′ drive (mid-Hudson region)
2/18/18 report
Received too little snow to open for skiing

High Point Cross Country Ski Center, Sussex NJ
1-1/2 hr drive (NW NJ)
2/23/18 report
Closed

Mohonk Mountain House, New Paltz NY
2-1/2 hr drive (mid-Hudson region)
2/20/18 report
Closed

Minnewaska State Park Preserve, Kerhonkson NY
2-1/2 hr drive (mid-Hudson area)
No snow

Mountain Trails Cross Country Ski Center, Tannersville NY
3 hr drive (Catskills)
2/21/18 report
Closed

Pineridge Cross Country Ski Area, Petersburg NY
3 hr drive (Troy region)
2/19/18 report
Closed

Canterbury Farm Nordic Center, Becket MA
3 hr drive (western MA I-90 corridor)
2/20/18 report
Closed
[from their website] “Plan to reopen with the next six plus inch snow storm and cold weather. Maybe Friday will bring it on!”

Early start day trip, or a 36-hour getaway*:

Maple Corner Farm, Blandford MA
3+ hr hr drive (southwestern MA I-90 corridor)
2/19/18 report
Closed

Prospect Mountain, Woodford VT
3-1/2 hr drive (southern VT)
2/23/18 report
3 – 4″ new snow
Base 3 – 6″
Open

Notchview Reservation, Windsor MA
3-1/2 hr drive (Berkshires, Rt 9 corridor)
2/20/18 report
Closed for skiing

Northfield Mountain Cross Country Ski Area, Northfield MA
3-1/2 hr drive (Berkshires, northwestern MA)
2/21/18 report
Closed

Stump Sprouts Ski Touring and Guest Lodge, Charlemont MA
3-1/2 hr drive (Berkshires, off Rt 2)
2/18/18 report
Open (but no update since Sunday)

Brattleboro Outing Club, Brattleboro VT
3-1/2 hr drive (southern VT)
2/21/18 report
Base 0 – 6″
27KM Open
3 KM Groomed

Weston Ski Track, Weston MA
3-1/2 hr drive (Boston area)
2/21/18 report
1.5 KM open

If you can stay a night or two*:

Gore Mountain Nordic Center, Johnsburg NY
4 hr drive (southern Adirondacks)
2/21/18 report
Base 12 – 20″, frozen granular

Lapland Lake Nordic Vacation Center, Northville NY
4 hr drive (Albany region)
2/23/18 report
Base 8 – 14″
2″ last 24 hrs
30 KM  Classic
30 KM  Skating

Grafton Trails & Outdoor Center, Grafton VT
4 hr drive (southern VT)
2/23/18 report
Base 5″, frozen granular
5 KM Open

Timber Creek Cross Country Ski Center, West Dover VT
4 hr drive (southern VT)
2/22/18 report
Closed for Thursday

Viking Nordic Center, Londonderry VT
4 hr drive (southern VT)
2/21/18 report
Closed

Garnet Hill Lodge XC Ski Center, North River NY
4-1/2 hr drive (southern Adirondacks)
2/21/18 report
Closed

Okemo Valley Nordic Center, Okemo VT
4-1/2 hr drive (central VT)
2/21/18 report
2 KM Skating (practice loop)

Wild Wings Ski Touring Center, Peru VT
4-1/2 hr drive (southern VT)
2/23/18 report
2-1/2″ last 24 hrs, over refrozen icy base. Grooming TBD
Open Friday, probably Saturday.

Cascade Cross Country Center, Lake Placid NY
5 hr drive (High Peaks region)
2/22/18 report
Base 5 – 6″ , loose granular
15 KM Classic
15 KM Skating

Olympic Sports Complex at Mt Van Hoevenberg, Lake Placid NY
5 hr drive (High Peaks region)
2/22/18 report
Base 12″, frozen granular
1 KM Open

Osceola Tug Hill Cross Country Ski Center, NY
5 hr drive (northern NY)
2/23/18 report
Base 10 – 12″, spring skiing conditions
40 KM Classic
40 KM Skating
[from their website] “Noon forecast of 35 and possible showers.  Daytime high of 41 with clouds and showers… Saturday looks like the better of the two weekend days with a high of 40 and cloudy. Sunday looks to be a bit wetter with a high of 44 with clouds and rain tapering during the day.  Monday looks nice with a high of 42 and mostly sunny.”

Mountaintop Inn & Resort, Chittenden VT
5 hr drive (central VT)
2/23/18 report
1 KM Open (manmade loop)

Rikert Nordic Center, Ripton VT
5 hr drive (central VT)
2/23/18 report
Base 2 – 15″
32 KM Open
3 KM Groomed
[from their website] “Middlebury Carnival is here! Feb 23-24. Come and cheer in the morning – trails will be open to the public in the early afternoon for skiing.”

(* All drive time estimates based on leaving uptown Manhattan. Current conditions reports from snocountry.com, trailhub.org, ski area website reports, and some general detective work)

The infographic:

Daytime temps will be well above freezing throughout the northeast-NE. Possible snow or wintry mix in northern areas Saturday night-Sunday morning, but it will probably transition to rain.

wintry mix area forecast for Feb. 25, 2018
Wintry mix possible early Sunday

 

Snow depth 2018-0222
Current snow depth as of Feb 22 2018. Sad!

It’s the langrenn

No surprises:

This gold medal wasn’t a surprise- it was practiced by Randall, Diggins, and the others for years. They just needed the right opportunity.

I don’t generally go in for over-hyped events like the Olympics, but I’ll admit the medal ceremony made me a bit misty-eyed. They so earned it.

Credit: @FasterSkier

Commentariat:

I can’t figure out why this win isn’t front-page news on every site. (Joking- there’s lots of seriously important things happening elsewhere). But I could probably go on and on about this and what it says about ‘the human condition’.

I take issue with the tone of the article by Sam Anderson in the NYTImes magazine, but he did get one thing right: no one keeps going at a sport like this unless they really like it. See this photo gallery from The Anchorage Daily News and you’ll notice from the dates that Kikkan Randall probably took about ten years to get to internationally competitive form.

To me the story is not how surprising this win is, but how justified. If you scan the results of the women’s cross-country team over the last five or so years you see that they’ve been steadily improving. This isn’t the first time US women have gone head-to-head with Kalla, Bjoergen, Nilsson, Falla and the like. It’s the experience and work over those years that got them ready for the moment that happened Wednesday evening.

Viewing the whole race, you can see that the women executed really well, across both the semifinals and the finals. The US men did well in the execution of their semifinal and final, but they didn’t quite have enough to get in striking range of the podium. Yet.

The wonderful part about the win by Diggins and Randall isn’t that they pulled this victory out of their ***, it’s that they worked steadily and persistently for years to get to a place where just a little bit of lightning would make the difference between podium and fifth. We just got to see everything come together at the most absolutely perfect time and place.

Backstory of training from NBC Sports

Some choice bits from Fasterskier:

“I have never seen such a possessed, will-not-lose moment in my entire career”

 

Kikkan Randall: “We have an amazing group of junior skiers and U23 [athletes] that are coming up. They won a medal in the relay at the World Juniors last year, we had another girl that was on the podium twice at World Juniors this year, our junior men were on the podium at World Juniors, so I think the door has been opened.”

Jessie Diggins: “I think I asked [Randall], ‘Did we just win the Olympics?’… but I just was so excited and so happy and also I couldn’t feel my legs.”

Tiger Shaw, U.S. Ski & Snowboard President and CEO: “We were just screaming our brains out in amazement. Just thinking of the energy and the excitement of that I’ll never forget that for the rest of my life.”

Luke Bodensteiner, U.S. Ski & Snowboard Chief of Sport: “Our head coach in alpine texts me said, ‘I have never seen such a possessed, will-not-lose moment in my entire career.’”

Martin Johnsrud Sundby, Norwegian men’s team-sprint winner:”I think all athletes admire the head of Jessie Diggins. That’s fantastic.”
(A slightly puzzling comment but I think he’s referring to having a steady focus and will to win)

Interview with Jessie Diggins and mom by Pioneer Press

Feb. 24 weekend ski conditions

Wednesday outlook:

The big melt is on with temps in the 50’s and 60’s all the way to upstate NY and VT. Hope rides on fumes again for Thursday and Friday, as somewhat colder temps return along with a possible snow squall. See infographic below.

Prospect Mountain, Timber Creek, Garnet Hill, Wild Wings are closed. Grafton Trails is open, Lapland Lake still has 20k groomed, Gore Mountain, Viking Nordic, Okemo, Cascade, Mt. van Hoevenberg, Osceola are open. Conditions are wet granular

State of the touring centers

Day trip range*:

palapa on barren beach
Sorry, keep driving

Early start day trip, or a 36-hour getaway*:

Maple Corner Farm, Blandford MA
3+ hr hr drive (southwestern MA I-90 corridor)
2/19/18 report
Closed

Prospect Mountain, Woodford VT
3-1/2 hr drive (southern VT)
2/21/18 report
Base 1 – 3″
Closed

Notchview Reservation, Windsor MA
3-1/2 hr drive (Berkshires, Rt 9 corridor)
2/20/18 report
Closed for skiing

Northfield Mountain Cross Country Ski Area, Northfield MA
3-1/2 hr drive (Berkshires, northwestern MA)
2/21/18 report
Closed

Stump Sprouts Ski Touring and Guest Lodge, Charlemont MA
3-1/2 hr drive (Berkshires, off Rt 2)
2/18/18 report
Open (but no update since Sunday)

Brattleboro Outing Club, Brattleboro VT
3-1/2 hr drive (southern VT)
2/21/18 report
Base 0 – 6″
17KM Open
3 KM groomed

Weston Ski Track, Weston MA
3-1/2 hr drive (Boston area)
2/21/18 report
1.5 KM open

If you can stay a night or two*:

Gore Mountain Nordic Center, Johnsburg NY
4 hr drive (southern Adirondacks)
2/21/18 report
Base 12 – 20″
Wet snow

Lapland Lake Nordic Vacation Center, Northville NY
4 hr drive (Albany region)
2/21/18 report
Base 10 – 18″
20 KM  Classic
20 KM  Skating

Grafton Trails & Outdoor Center, Grafton VT
4 hr drive (southern VT)
2/2118 report
Base 5″, wet packed
11 KM Open

Timber Creek Cross Country Ski Center, West Dover VT
4 hr drive (southern VT)
2/21/18 report
Closed for Wednesday
[from their website] “Cold temperatures get to refreezing Thursday night.
Maybe some snow late Thursday afternoon/evening 1-4””

Viking Nordic Center, Londonderry VT
4 hr drive (southern VT)
2/21/18 report
Base 2 – 8″, wet snow
20 KM Open today, closed for Thursday

Garnet Hill Lodge XC Ski Center, North River NY
4-1/2 hr drive (southern Adirondacks)
2/21/18 report
Base 1 – 2″
Closed

Okemo Valley Nordic Center, Okemo VT
4-1/2 hr drive (central VT)
2/21/18 report
Base 2″
18 KM Skating

Wild Wings Ski Touring Center, Peru VT
4-1/2 hr drive (southern VT)
2/21/18 report
Closed

Cascade Cross Country Center, Lake Placid NY
5 hr drive (High Peaks region)
2/21/18 report
Base 5 – 6″ , loose granular
15 KM Classic

Olympic Sports Complex at Mt Van Hoevenberg, Lake Placid NY
5 hr drive (High Peaks region)
2/21/18 report
Base 4″, wet powder on hard pack
50 KM Open

Osceola Tug Hill Cross Country Ski Center, NY
5 hr drive (northern NY)
2/21/18 report
Base 12 – 15″, wet and variable snow
40 KM Classic
40 KM Skating
(no grooming today due to warm temp)

Mountaintop Inn & Resort, Chittenden VT
5 hr drive (central VT)
2/21/18 report
1 KM Open

Rikert Nordic Center, Ripton VT
5 hr drive (central VT)
2/18/18 report
Base 2 – 15″
43 KM Open
40 KM Groomed
(but no update after the weekend)

(* All drive time estimates based on leaving uptown Manhattan. Current conditions reports from snocountry.com, trailhub.org, ski area website reports, and some general detective work)

The infographic:

Light snow or wintry mix could occur on Thursday and Friday in areas from the mid-Hudson valley up to the Adirondacks and east  to southern VT, moving NE during the weekend.

snowforecast 2018-0222_19
Snow forecast for Feb. 22 2018, 7pm
snowforecast 2018-0223_13
Snow forecast for Feb. 23 2018, 1pm

Got glitter?

F’ Yeah. Gold glitter.

Jessica Diggins and Kikkan Randall, cross-country team sprint winners
Jessica Diggins and Kikkan Randall after winning gold

Articles:

NYTimes: “U.S. Shocks Cross-Country Field With Sprint Gold Medal”

TeamUSA.org: “Kikkan Randall & Jessie Diggins Win Team USA’s First Women’s Cross-Country Skiing Olympic Medal – And It’s Gold!”

Washington Post: “Jessie Diggins and Kikkan Randall win United States’ first-ever medal in women’s Olympic cross-country”

NPR: “Kikkan Randall, The Only Mom On Team USA, Just Won A Gold Medal In Her Last Event”

Photos:

Less than 0.5 km to go, and the podium is a lock:

(Diggins is on the upper right; Norway’s Maiken Caspersen Falla is in the lead, with Sweden’s Stina Nilsson on the left)

And because it’s called a “team”:

Team USA group photo
Team USA after Kikkan Randall and Jessie Diggins (c) won gold in the women’s freestyle team sprint on Wednesday at the 2018 Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea. (Photo: FlyingPointRoad)

Video:

Two different commentator tracks for the finish:

  1. Controlled enthusiasm
  2. Ape-**** orgasmic (turn up the sound in the Instagram video)

Afterwards, the athletes themselves describe the feeling:

NBC interview with Randall and Diggins

President’s Day weekend ski conditions

Summary:

Hope rides on fumes this weekend for a couple of small snow squalls (see infographic below). In the meantime there’s spring skiing in southern VT and southern Adirondacks.

Lapland Lake and Osceola are reporting good snow base so those are the best bets based on drive time. Gore, Okemo, Garnet Hill, the Lake Placid areas (van Hoevenberg and Cascade), and Mountaintop Inn are also looking good or decent.

State of the touring centers

Day trip range*:

palapa on barren beach
Sorry, keep driving

Early start day trip, or a 36-hour getaway*:

Prospect Mountain, Woodford VT
3-1/2 hr drive (southern VT)
2/15/18 report
Base 6 – 9″
Granular snow, spring skiing conditions

Weston Ski Track, Weston MA
3-1/2 hr drive (Boston area)
2/15/18 report
2 KM open

Northfield Mountain Cross Country Ski Area, Northfield MA
3-1/2 hr drive (Berkshires, northwestern MA)
2/15/18 report
Closed

Stump Sprouts Ski Touring and Guest Lodge, Charlemont MA
3-1/2 hr drive (Berkshires, off Rt 2)
2/13/18 report
[from their website] “We have held onto our base despite rains over the past weekend. There is more warm weather on the way, so it remains to be seen if we will be able to offer skiing this coming weekend.”

Brattleboro Outing Club, Brattleboro VT
3-1/2 hr drive (southern VT)
2/10/18 report
Base 0 – 9″
28 KM open

If you can stay a night or two*:

Gore Mountain Nordic Center, Johnsburg NY
4 hr drive (southern Adirondacks)
2/15/18 report
Base 12 – 20″
Loose granular surface

Lapland Lake Nordic Vacation Center, Northville NY
4 hr drive (Albany region)
2/15/18 report
Base 20 – 26″
38 KM  Classic
35 KM  Skating

Maple Corner Farm, Blandford MA
4 hr drive (southwestern MA I-90 corridor)
2/10/18 report
Closed

Notchview Reservation, Windsor MA
4 hr drive (Berkshires, Rt 9 corridor)
2/15/18 report
[from their website] “2.5 Km that we can recommend: Berkshire, upper Circuit, part of Shaw Road, and part of Windsor. These are patched and groomed. Remainder is skiable with caution especially as the day warms. Expect icy patches.”

Grafton Trails & Outdoor Center, Grafton VT
4 hr drive (southern VT)
2/15/18 report
Base 18″
11 KM Open

Timber Creek Cross Country Ski Center, West Dover VT
4 hr drive (southern VT)
2/14/18 report
Will reopen Sunday 2/17

Viking Nordic Center, Londonderry VT
4 hr drive (southern VT)
2/15/18 report
Base 8 – 10″, Loose granular
20 KM Open

Garnet Hill Lodge XC Ski Center, North River NY
4-1/2 hr drive (southern Adirondacks)
2/15/18 report
Base 6 – 10″
40 KM Open

Okemo Valley Nordic Center, Okemo VT
4-1/2 hr drive (central VT)
2/15/18 report
Base 8″
21 KM Classic
21 KM Skating

Wild Wings Ski Touring Center, Peru VT
4-1/2 hr drive (southern VT)
2/15/18 report
22 KM Classic

Cascade Cross Country Center, Lake Placid NY
5 hr drive (High Peaks region)
2/15/18 report
Base 5 – 6″ , loose granular
15 KM Classic

Olympic Sports Complex at Mt Van Hoevenberg, Lake Placid NY
5 hr drive (High Peaks region)
2/15/18 report
Base 5″, wet powder on hard pack
50 KM Open

Osceola Tug Hill Cross Country Ski Center, NY
5 hr drive (northern NY)
2/15/18 report
Base 16 – 24″, variable
40 KM Classic
40 KM Skating

Mountaintop Inn & Resort, Chittenden VT
5 hr drive (central VT)
2/15/18 report
Base 4 – 24″
40 KM Open

Rikert Nordic Center, Ripton VT
5 hr drive (central VT)
2/15/18 report
Base 2 – 12″
43 KM Open
15 KM Groomed

(* All drive time estimates based on leaving uptown Manhattan. Current conditions reports from snocountry.com, trailhub.org, ski area website reports, and some general detective work)

The infographic:

Two small snow squalls on Friday and Saturday evenings could freshen up the snow in upstate NY and VT.

Snow forecast 2018-0216
Snow forecast for evening of Feb 16 2018
Snow forecast 2018-0217
Snow forecast for evening of Feb 17 2018