Over the past week I competed in two Summer Grand Prix competitions. The first of which took place in Oberwiesenthal, Germany. On Saturday morning we had a provisional round of jumping. Only the top 50 competitors from the provisional jump qualified to compete in the individual competition on Sunday. Unfortunately I missed the top 50 by one tenth of a point so I didn't get to compete in the individual competition. 

On Saturday afternoon there was a two man team sprint competition. I was paired up with NTG team member Ben Berend. We both had solid jumps and started out the cross country race in 17th out of 30 teams. The race was very fast paced and neither of us were able to hang on to a group of racers. We eventually were lapped by the leaders and had to pull out of the race. 

The weekend in Oberwiesenthal was very disappointing but on Wednesday I had another chance to get some better results in Villach. I put together a solid jump and started the race in 46th place. However I did not feel as strong as I have been in the cross country race. This is probably due to the large training load we have been putting on this summer so, although I didn't see the results I wanted, I'm confident that once my training load goes down for the winter I'll start racing faster. 

Overall I was not thrilled with my results, but thats part of the sport, there are ups and downs. Every day brings a new challenge and opportunity to improve and there are so many factors that go into having a good competition. My results in these Grand Prix events may have been frustrating but I gained valuable experience that will make me that much more prepared the next time I am on a big international stage. 

Sometimes it is easy to get much too wrapped up in results and performance. It's always good to take a step back and remember that I am blessed with the opportunity to do the sport I love in some of the most beautiful places in the world. I would like to say how thankful I am to have the support of my family, the National Nordic Foundation, and everyone else. Thanks!
PictureThe Jumps at Erdinger Arena
Last Sunday we headed West to Oberstdorf, Germany to meet up with the Czech National team for some training and a friendly competition. The jumps in Oberstdorf are some of the best in the world and are a regular training spot for just about every national jumping team in the world. It was quite the experience to jump alongside the legendary Finnish jumper Janne Ahonen, a jumper that I've been watching since I started ski jumping. 

On Thursday we had a competition with Czech team, jumping on the K120 meter hill and a 10 kilometer race. After some below par jumping I started the race in 7th 2 seconds behind teammate Ben Berend. I went into the race hoping to work together with him to catch some of the Czech guys but I crashed on the first lap and had to battle my way back to him. I finished in 6th place but I'm still happy with that result and the way I'm skiing. My fellow teammate Tyler Smith crushed the cross country portion and put in the 3rd fastest time of the day. It will be exciting to see how our team matches up against the best in the world when we compete in the Summer Grand Prix in Oberwiesenthal, Germany next week. 

Czech Ski Team member and good friend Ales Vodsadelak
After the competition with the Czech team we headed to Liberec, Czech Republic. Our time here has been spent getting in some high intensity intervals and good recovery in preparation for next weekends competitions. I saw a great diagram for training involving popcorn the other day. It basically said that nobody likes burnt "overtrained" popcorn but you also want to get as many kernels popped as possible i.e. maximize your potential. Over the past year I've seen this example to be very true. At times I've been the burnt popcorn and other times I've been that bag of popcorn with half the kernels still sitting unpopped. My best results have come when I pay attention to whether I'm absorbing the workload well or if I need to pop a few more kernels. It's all about that happy medium. 

Stay tuned for updates on the Summer Grand Prix!
Thanks for reading!
Euro Van!!
Thank you NNF! Left to right: Nicholas Madden, Jasper Good, Tyler Smith, Aleck Gantick, Spencer Knickerbocker, Ben Berend
NTG team member Ben Berend is all smiles
The great views of Ramsau, Austria
360 panorama of the Oberstdorf, Germany Jumping stadium
This is the fourth year that I am partaking in a month-long trip all around Europe and there is no better place to start the journey than scenic Ramsau, Austria. This small town is situated at the base of the Dachstein mountain and boasts great training facilities with a full 10k of roller ski tracks, endless running and hiking trails, and a 90 meter ski jump. 

My time in Ramsau was very productive with 3 solid jumping sessions getting better each jump and a few intensity workouts in the afternoon. For me it is key to start out a trip like this with good jumps so I don't get into a jumping "slump". We also took a day trip down the valley to Bischofshofen, Austria to jump a K125 meter hill. I feel jumping a large hill is something I need to vastly improve in and was very pleased to have some of my best large hill jumps ever on the K125 in Bischofshofen. 

The jump in Bischofshofen, Austria.
After a morning of high intensity running intervals we packed up and headed to Oberstdorf, Germany for our second leg of the trip. I'm looking forward to getting more jumps on a large hill and continuing to improve my endurance. 
More updates coming! Stay tuned.

A HUGE thank you to the National Nordic Foundation and Rocky Mountain Division for supporting this trip. We couldn't be doing this without your continued support!
This past weekend I headed out to Park City, Utah to compete in the 15th annual Springer Tournee and Large Hill Nationals. The competition consisted of a k90 jumping competition, a hill climb roller ski race, and a competition on the k120 meter hill. After jumping the same small k70 meter hill in Steamboat for the past month I didn’t know what to expect. I had very few training jumps on the larger hills and felt very unprepared for a competition. Despite feeling unprepared I put together a solid jump of 86 meters putting me in 5th place to start the roller ski hill climb. The beginning of the race was brutal with temperature in the 90’s and a strong headwind. About halfway up the first steep pitch I realized I had gassed the first portion of the race to much, but I was able to slow my tempo down and finish strong in 6th place. I was very pleased with my overall result, being the first non ski team member at the finish. I feel like my cross country skiing has come a long way this summer and I am now starting to see the results come. I would like to say a big congrats to Ben Berend for putting in a great weekend of competition the fastest cross country time out of the juniors. It's great to have so many teammates competing at a high level and pushing each other everyday.

Despite seeing success in the k90 competition I struggled to find my footing on the k120 meter hill. I was disappointed but I look forward to getting some good jump training on bigger hills when we fly over to Europe on Monday. The NTG squad (Tyler Smith, Ben Berend, Jasper Good, and I) along with Nicholas Madden and Spencer Knickerbocker will be training and competing all around Europe for a month. I'm beyond excited for this trip and would like to take the time to thank everyone who make trips like this possible. Thanks to everyone for their support!

Stay tuned for updates about training and competitions in Europe!

Thank you to Paul Smith and Remi Smith for the awesome pictures of Springer Tournee.

Congrats to the Fletcher brothers and Brett Denny on the podium
The past couple of weeks have been filled with lots of training hours, 2 running time trials, and 2 roller ski time trials. Over all I showed some great improvement in both running and roller skiing. The running time trials were done on a very steep 2.5 mile dirt road near the Strawberry Park Hot Springs. The first attempt was at the end of a very hard intensity block of training and I did not feel 100% but after a week of recovery I improved my time by a full minute only 1.5 minutes off the fastest time of the day. 

The roller ski time trials took place on the typical fish creek course that we have been skiing for years. The first time trial I did not perform well and was actually a couple seconds slower than earlier in the summer. The most recent time trial however, was a different story. I put in my best time ever and improved by close to two minutes!

Overall I am happy with the improvement I've been showing in our time trials. Part of the reason we do so many time trials is to judge if our training throughout the summer is paying off. This allows us to see if we need to switch something up such as focus on recovery or do more speed work. Looking at my results from the past weeks it is safe to say I'm on the right track as far as training and I'm happy to see some consistent improvement. 

Next on my agenda is a short trip to Park City, Utah for the 15th annual Springer Tournee and Large Hill Nationals. After that I get to spend a month in Europe with the NTG where we will be training and competing in Summer Grand Prix, the summer equivalent to World Cup. Words cannot describe how excited I am for the upcoming month. Stay tuned for some updates on the most exciting part of the summer for myself and all of the NTG boys.

Here are a couple pictures of the past couple weeks. 

Having fun during a threshold workout
Roller skiing on a hot day
Swimming in Fish Creek after a very hot workout