Friday, March 19, 2010
The Ski Gymnasium in Solleftea, Sweden has sent the official invitation, the dates for the Summer Ski School are set and we are getting the word out early so interested parties can do some planning. The trip is an immersion in the training culture of two of the world’s top Cross-country ski nations and an opportunity to get a first hand taste of Scandinavia from the shores of the Baltic to the Sognefjord in Norway. It isn’t just a look. Participants are there, in it!. During the first week participants live with Swedish kids, and work with top athletes and coaches including World Cup winners Emil Joensson, Robin Bryntesson, Britta Nordgren, Anna Haag, and Solleftea alum and World Junior skier Jesper Modin. The second half of the trip is in Norway’s Jotunheimen region above the fjord country. On-snow training on freshly groomed trails takes place twice a day. There are always top club teams and frequently National teams here. It is educational and inspiring to be surrounded by so many great skiers.
The trip is early in the summer when the Solleftea Ski Gymnasium in Sweden is best able to schedule the guest athletes. Early also guarantees the best snow in Norway. This year’s dates for initial planning are June 9-29. Participants from J3 — OJ are welcome to apply. Space is limited to 12 athletes. Interest is already active. Applicants should be eager about the sport and familiar with it. It is a training trip. We keep careful track of athletes to make sure the hours and training loads are appropriate to age, and to previous training and later training plans. For this reason we like to know a bit about plans and training histories.
Flights can be arranged individually according to a group schedule. This allows “Air Miles” to be used. We try to fly close in to our final destination (normally Ostersund) to minimize the time spent on the road, and maximize the time on the ground. The ground cost of the trip is $2500.00.
Word Pictures from Previous Trips
First Report: “The Sweden Trip” 2008
The Solleftea Summer Ski School got underway this afternoon with interval and strength sessions. Strength moved two groups back and forth between a variety of circuits and a double pole exercise. The interval session succeeded in instruction, illustration, and creation of a hard workout. Without really noticing the transitions athletes learned and practiced techniques of ski-walking, and moose-hooves, and light, ankle-driven skate hops from short max-power bursts. These were followed up by short, 15-on-15-off, medium, 3 minute, and long, 7+ minute, intervals. After an hour and a half groups switched and guys went to strength and girls went to the interval hills.
This evening the whole camp got together for some games and laughs and then went on to “Second Dinner”. The stucco-cracking thump of a soccer ball against the wall of the building and a happy crescendo of American and Swedish expletives is a clear sign of a good start. It is now after ten o’clock and things are quieting down. There is a light rain and the sky is over cast. A deep-salmon colored slash in the north shows where the sun will take its brief sojourn below the sub-arctic horizon. It doesn’t get dark. The river is silvery down in the valley and the town is still brightly colored dabs against the spring forest. Nice evening.
So far the trip has been smooth. No matter how you cut it the travel is long. After drives, flights, layovers, and drives again, bed …sleeping bags in the moss and lingonberry bushes, or bunk space in the old hunting cottage…felt pretty good. Working on the theory that the best way to confront jet-lag is to stay busy we have reconnoitered the roller ski track, played three rounds of capture the flag with the twist of various core exercises when tagged, grilled chicken on an island, swum in the river and a lake high over the coast, put in a three hour OD session on the “High Coast Trail”, visited the town of Ornskjoldsvik for dinner, killed thousands of mosquitoes, and consumed ten pots of “cowboy-coffee”. The hotel bed…a real one with a down comforter and clean sheets looks pretty good. The troops have settled in with their new Swedish roommates. That all sounds largely good with initial ratings from “My roommates don’t talk,” to “Gustaf is cool”. The halls have fallen silent and after a short minute just to enjoy being back here and to touch base with the special and somewhat eerie stillness of the Northern summer night…no shortage of evidence of why Trolls and nisse populate the folklore…I am headed for the sack.
Eight bells on the evening watch and all is well. The sun has just dropped down between the cloud cover and the horizon and the colors and patterns of light over the midnight country side are fantastic.
Third Day, Solleftea Camp 2009
Today was busy. On the docket were an uphill running time trial, a multi station classic roller ski work out, and the raft trip postponed from earlier in the week. All went off smoothly and the kids really acquitted themselves quite well in all three. The Hallsta Test is a time trial up a long two km of road that starts near the base of the ski area here and ends midway up one of the steeper pitches. Fifteen second interval starts send the athletes running and ski-walking for personal best times. The staff of the ski gymnasium uses it as a measure of engine capacity. It is tough. The men’s record is in the 7 minute range and women’s in the nines. Those were Olympians. Our kids all had strong performances led by Jack Hegman, with a 9:53, and Mitch Prevot in 10:01. Winning today was the Vancouver World Cup sprint relay gold medalist Robin Bryntesson with a 9:18. Hannah Boyer was our first girl at 11:11. Our two youngest were the two fastest today. Working as a team blind skier Zebastian Modin and his guide Albin Ackerot finished in a respectable 12:10.
Final Day, Solleftea Camp 2009
We finished up the camp in fine style...the kids were instrumental in getting the last night's disco hopping, and luring unprepared Swedish kids to think about sleeping out, and consequently a midnight, but daylight coaches' sweep of the lift tower cabins to round them (the Swedes) up and get them to bed. Ours stayed out...I knew the bugs would be ample censure and indeed they were.
Last work out was a fast paced series of gear-shifitng drills in skate technique. We went down to the Ski Gymnasium for the closing comments and were entertained again by Robin Bryntesson, the sprinter, who definitely has a career as a commentator waiting when his skiing days come to a close.
We then went out to Bengt's hunting cabin...everyone opted for that as opposed to the hotel for the last night in Solleftea, and then to Bengt's house for the traditional BBQ and game of "Kubb". I am sure that will sprout on the Burke campus this year. We didn't know that the night of the 18th was Bengt and Marits 28th anniverary, but Bengt told Marit that having us come and do the cooking was his present to her. A good time.
The cottage really is a special place, lost back in the forest near a little pond. Sleeping bags and bug nets went up and out and by midnight things were quiet. I know when I awake that I am in another world when the wake up comes from a cuckoo...a real one.
We are now in Bruksvallarna in the west of Sweden at Erik's family cabin. I am stealing a moment or two to catch up on business. The kids and Erik are out for a run with none other than Anders Sodergren...among other things on his CV are the gold medal in the 50 km at the Holmenkollen World Cup two years ago and silver at the World Champs. He had back surgery last year so missed most of the season but is back training. Erik and I were out for a walk last night and ran into Anders, who has a cabin almost next door to Erik. He was very interested in what we were up to and invited the kids on a training run with him and his two happy black labs, Alfonse and Nils. Pretty cool. He is a good model...one of the quiet champions.
Solleftea, Summer Ski School 2009
The afternoon was devoted to classic technique. I have been really pleased with the active involvement our athletes have had; they are listening to suggestions, trying them, and asking good questions when they have the chance. Four groups spread out around the roller ski track and each works on a different aspect of technique for twenty minutes then skis on to the next station. It is a great way to keep things moving and minimize stand-around time. Today the stations were; starts and impulse double poling, DP Kick, striding, and a transition cycle of downhill, double pole, kick double pole, stride, kick DP, DP and tuck. Robin, Tio Soderhielm, Charlotte Kalla and Britta Nordgren worked individually with each group. Our kids are enjoying the contact with top skiers. Each is very good at working with kids and open with his/her time.
These little bits give a pretty good picture of parts of the camp. It has proven to be an inspiration to a lot of US skiers, and has forged friendships across the country and the ocean. Two camp alumni were on the US team in Vancouver, and two of the Swedish alums won medals there!
Six athletes are signed up and there is a lot of interest. With successful Olympics for both Sweden and Norway enthusiasm is high and it should be fun year to be over there. Please contact us with interest or questions.
Head Nordic Coach
Burke Mountain Academy
802-626-1516-ext 1012, or 1527