I hope the occasional blog has given you a picture of the time away
and I hope they share their enthusiasm and a few stories on their
return before life at home resumes and everyone heads back to
We are en route to SF airport and for the first time in 4.5 weeks its
quiet. This camp has been superbly successful, and everyone to a tee
has been remarkably consistent in their commitment, efforts and focus
on the snow, and their camaraderie, good will towards one another
other, and willingness to live and cooperatively with 15
Today we tried out a new kind of winter activity. It included the athlete wearing metal bladed footwear and moving their legs in a diagonal motion to propel oneself forward. This is commonly known as figure skating or ice-skating for short. We attempted to master this technique at a nearby resort named Northstar. Some of us were maestros. But most of the team members, unfortunately, couldn’t grasp the concept and ended up falling over! It was a memorable experience for all.
Today a handful of us had the amazing opportunity of getting to be coached by the great Holly, a local high school cross country skii coach. She taught us better stride and double poling techniques, and was very helpful in fixing our blemishes and breaking down complicated techniques into such simple terminology. Meanwhile the other team members were expanding their knowledge with JC on classics.
As the cool front moves in 10 intelligent witty teenagers brave the Icy cold weather, blizzard snow fall and 1 meter vision to compete in a 5 km classic night race . With brilliant attire of USA leggings , giraffe onesies , coloured pants and retro Lycra the team was set to go for gold. With an extremely large and competitive field of 4 non Australian races it was to be that the Australians were to dominate. As the wax tecs peeped for 30 mins before the race , the wax did not exactly work but the walking on stilts due too snow sticking the wax and the lack of grip provided time for the circus of skiers to focus on technique and to admire the view (or the snow in their eyes ). The circus master JC set high expectations for his crew but everyone did really well and in the end the performance was above and beyond expectations and it was well worth the price of the ticket. In breaking news Ewan Watson ex - australian team member has come out of retirement to compete in his first major race. In even better news he managed to defend the name of the Australians and hold back 3 of the non Aussie competitors coming in a respectable 2nd. After collecting some well deserved chum and demolishing all food in site the spot prizes were distributed to everyone and a new race began. It was Jc , Olivia , Jeremy , Emma and alecia who managed it to the car first. Whilst the others looked on as the car pulled out it was Jc who felt sorry for his lonely circus performers in there crazy outfits and now after race coughs who turned around to collect them. After returning to the now clean house due to the team effort of the cleaning gang. It was time for the races second dinner and a chat before the night was to end with one circus member being wheeled out . Until the next day it's good bye from the circus tent .
Here you'll find the latest results from the Tahoe Donner Night Races
The team was lucky enough to have the opportunity to spend a day downhill skiing at Sugar Bowl Downhill Resort. Our inspirational alarms sounded at 6:30 trying to tempt us to get out of bed, but even the excitement of going ‘down’ the hills all day left us stumbling sleepy-eyed to another delicious breakfast of porridge.
We skipped our morning run and boarded the bus to Sugar Bowl. To our disappointment there was no actual bowls made of sugar, just an amazing expanse of wilderness and plenty of snow. After the complicated process of hiring gear (which was even more complicated with the accent barrier) we made our way to the ski school for our lesson. One group headed off to participate in a newly introduced program ‘Freestyle Friday’. This program turns innocent cross-country skiers into reckless terrain park rats and many were very excited to take part in the lesson. They spent the two hours learning how to ride the park safely and use park etiquette whilst showing off what they could do. The first skill learnt was sliding boxes sideways. This proved to be a challenge for most. Other new skills included rotating off jumps and many more.
The other group headed out to explore the mountain whilst getting their downhill ski legs back and learning some helpful ways to fine-tune their technique.
After an overpriced lunch (still not as bad as Buller) we headed out for our afternoon session in which we skied the mountain in small groups enjoying the amazing terrain. We skied countless tree trails and found plenty of powder to satisfy us.
The day was concluded with a heavy snow shower leaving the bowl full of sugar and a group of tired, yet satisfied skiers ready for bed.
The Victorian skiers decided to put on their coaching hats on today and help out with an open day Tahoe Donner was running. The open day allowed people to register and receive a free trail pass as well as a lesson. As expected, the turn out was huge and there was never a dull moment for us. It was a new and very rewarding experience for all, as many members of the team had never taught someone the basics of how to ski. From Alecia’s group of Libyan diplomats to Stella, Catherine and Emma’s group of four year olds there were some interesting learning experiences to be had. It is safe to say that our patience levels were tested several times as well. As amazing and naturally talented we were, we think we should hand the coaching back to JC, Ewan and Ronice for the rest of the trip…
We all rose out of our beds at 7am to go for a very hectic and tiring run (1k) to prepare us for todays self-discovering 10km duathlon race (5km classic and 5km skate) - the group began to feel a few nerves as the start line drew nearer! Expectations were not fulfilled to the highest quality when it came to warming up before the race (although we are spending this next week trying to improve this!). Firstly, the race was a mass start, and consisted of three diabolical hills and a very needed downhill section.
Everyone’s changeovers from classic to skate were performed to perfection, due to our long and hard practice sessions for the last two days. Everyone achieved to their highest potential of racing skills, although we could have improved our technical technique! We were all pleasantly pleased with ourselves for completing the 10k duathlon, and were extremely content with the traditional complementary local cuisine of chilli and spuds provided afterwards. After our hard efforts on the track we were rewarded with another afternoon 30-minute jog. We all slept like a like log that night, and were pumped for the next day ahead.
We arose from our slumber with a slight hangover from the dehydration of our race efforts yesterday. Our morning session of skiing consisted of useful classic technical advice from Ewan and JC. Following this we got into groups of three or four people with similar skiing abilities. Our task was to complete a slow paced but difficult uphill long distance ski (LSD) for 1½ hours. Although it was an easier day, we still slept well after dinner!
Getting up earlier than usual and forgoing the usual morning run, the group split up and half went and did intervals with the Sugar Bowl Academy whilst the other group did a classic technic session with Glen Jobbe (an Olympic skier/coach). After the interval session, the first group skiid at Royal Gorge, which had a variety of different Cross Country ski trails, and was perfect for our afternoon training session. The temperature was around 5°C - which was extremely hot compared to our usual -6 skiing conditions. We all enjoyed our session at Royal Gorge and our fitness level increased immensely. Thanks to JC Ronice and Ewan for the coaching and putting up with us for the past week, as well as Glenn – we are having a great time, and are getting really tired!