By Adam Loomis, USA Nordic Combined Team Member
Summer competitions ended way back in early September for the USA Nordic Combined Team, after the fast and furious 8-day Summer Grand Prix tour. Since then, no one has rested on their laurels; we’ve been busy putting in the work to make this winter a success.
This summer, we decided to spend much more time overseas, where we could train amongst other athletes and on many of the venues that we compete at in the wintertime. We rented an apartment in Planica, Slovenia, which we made our home-base for a month and a half.
From our home in Planica, we lived as total athletes: training twice a-day, cooking nutritious meals for ourselves and enjoying the abundant opportunities for training nearby. At the complex in Planica, just up the road from our apartment, we jumped on a HS105m and HS138m. The venue also has a hilly and technical 2km rollerski loop, which we skied countless times in intervals and two test competitions. Next to the track, we also got on snow every week at the newly built indoor ski tunnel. This was an awesome opportunity to get snow training in during the summer – something that we usually can’t do until it snows in November in Park City. Rollerskiing is pretty close, but there’s no way to replicate the real deal without actually being on snow.
Team members Ben Berend, Jasper Good and I, along with juniors Grant Andrews and Koby Vargas, have been in Europe since the Summer Grand Prix. Some of the team has been back in the states, but we all reunited for the final week of prep training. Stephen Schumann and Ben Loomis went back to Park City to sneak in a little school. Both of them are still in high school at the Winter Sports School. (Ben will be graduating at the end of the school year in November. Stephen (16), will be off for the winter, until starting his Senior year next April.)
Bryan Fletcher also spent most of the summer at home – for a good reason – the birth of his first daughter with his wife Nikki! Ellery Fletcher was born happy and healthy on August 29. Taylor also flew home for a couple weeks after SGP to visit his new niece.
From Planica, we were able to take a few trips to other venues. After Taylor came back over, we headed to Ramsau, Austria in late September. It was great to practice on this hill, where we have a World Cup every December. We also jumped on the large hill in nearby Bischofschofen, and Grant Andrews and Ben Berend both set personal records in one morning! Beckett Ledger, a promising junior from Lake Placid, was also with us for this time. He missed out on the junior camp in August due to a broken toe, but was able to train with us for two weeks – and jump on 5 different hills in this time!
We finished off the training block with a great jumping camp in Oberstdorf, Germany, with the entire team fully united for the first time since August. Bryan, our experienced veteran, flew over to join us, and on the jump hill we could tell that he’s been working just as hard as the rest of us!
We all traveled back home on Wednesday. Now the countdown for winter begins! Bryan, Taylor and Ben Berend will start the season at the World Cup in Ruka, Finland on November 24th. In December, the entire team will be competing internationally, either in Klingenthal, Germany at the Continental Cup or at the World Cup in Ramsau.
Before you go, here’s a few pictures and videos from our training.