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Archive for September, 2013

One of my favorite things about returning home after a long training camp away is walking around the Outdoor Center and discovering what new things happened while I was gone. Craftsbury is a community of creative people with many different skills and there are always some interesting projects in progress. 2 weeks ago, I arrived home after a training camp with the National Team in Europe. Here is a look at what I noticed during those first couple days back:

20130922-084848.jpgI know we have turned the corner into fall when the apple cider press appears next to the pizza oven.

20130922-084950.jpgTomatoes! The green houses were just starting to ripen when I left. The harvest season is in full swing now with lots of different produce showing up in the dining hall. We have had to start covering outdoor crops for occasional overnight frosts.

20130917-115849.jpgOktoberfest at Craftsbury is coming up on October 5th and 6th. By the look of the wax bench in Elinor’s House, the GRP skiers are busy preparing.

20130916-171129.jpgFreshly cut single track. The bike trail system has continued to expand.

20130917-114501.jpgKeith’s continuing process of smoothing and widening the ski trails continues. There will be no bottlenecks in races along the Bailey-Hazen cut-off trail.

20130917-115133.jpgThe view from the parking lot suddenly changed drastically from my childhood memories of skiing at Craftsbury. A new Touring Center is in the works, scheduled to open in May ’14. Our post lunch entertainment this week was watching the blasting begin at the construction sight.

20130917-115700.jpgEric preping the piston bullies for trail grooming.

20130917-115540.jpgI spotted some freshly harvested bunches of garlic hanging to dry in the shed’s rafters. The recently acquired machine underneath, an older piston bully, will soon be retrofitted with a manure spreader to transport and spread man-made snow.

20130917-114323.jpgThe new woodshed filled up while I was away. This wood will be burned in a wood boiler to help heat Cedar Dorm and the garage. But that is only one source of energy in this heating system…

20130917-115404.jpgAnother component is the waste heat from the snow making system. Lucas and the maintenance team have engineered a way to capture waste heat from the pump’s generator (yellow machine on left). The cylindrical heat exchanger (center) transfers the generator’s waste heat into hot water.

20130922-085108.jpgHot water from both the snowmaking system and the wood boiler will flow through this series of newly installed coils, heating up water inside this underground 20,000 gallon storage tank. Water from the tank will heat the buildings.

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35 weeks per year. That’s the amount of time I spend on the road away from Craftsbury for racing and training with the national biathlon team. A big chunk of that time (the entire winter) is spent in Europe, thousands of miles from family, friends and familiar culture. Luckily our team has a home base that we visit a lot, a place where we feel very comfortable: Ruhpolding in Bavaria, Germany.

Between World Cup racing, winter break and our annual summer European training camp, we usually visit Ruhpolding 3 times a year. Several of our team’s staff live in the surrounding area and we have gotten to know them and their families. After staying at the same hotels over and over again, we have also gotten to know the people who run them. We know where all the grocery stores are in the surrounding villages and the layouts of each one. Bavarian-specific phrases and words like “habe die Ehre!” have become part of the team’s frequently used vocabulary and we are scheming how we might procure a pair of Lederhosen or a Dirndl for everyone on the team.

20130901-204436.jpgEnjoying life in the beautiful village of Inzell! We are in the middle of our summer European camp and just finished two weeks of training in Ruhpolding.

20130901-204103.jpgEnjoying a day off from training

20130901-203540.jpgFood and beer: always a central part of life in Bavaria

20130901-203020.jpgSometimes hanging out at the table after dinner we were visited by the local fauna. This hedgehog lives under an outdoor grill.

20130901-204348.jpgOne afternoon we visited a local mill to buy some flour and grains for bread baking. It has been in operation for over 500 years! (Yeah, I’m an American. That type of thing impresses me.)

20130901-203411.jpg A view of antique milling equipment on display inside.

20130901-203659.jpgEntering the Ruhpolding stadium.

20130901-202906.jpgSkiing under the mountains

20130901-203936.jpg Ruhpolding’s stockpiled snow- saved every year for the World Cup races in case Mother Nature refuses to cooperate.

20130901-204214.jpgSara made some friends as we skied up the Roßfeldstraße. They ran after us along the fence line as we rollerskied away. Some scenes from the Sound of Music were filmed at the top of this mountain road. Unfortunately we skied up on a cloudy day and couldn’t enjoy the view.

20130903-211212.jpg More friends! I took a short break to say hi on route to a mountain alm. (Photo: Sara Studebaker)

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