The last training camp before winter is in the books for USA Nordic. The camp took place at the end of October. In attendance was the entire USA Nordic squad. For most of the year, teams split up into their separate disciplines. For this camp, all disciplines converged together.
The camp started in Novi Vinodolski, Croatia, just a two-hour drive from the ski jumping hills in Kranj, Slovenia- one of the main hubs for USA Nordic. The athletes encountered cloudy weather in Croatia which wasn’t picturesque of a training camp at the beach, however, the warmth, views, and salty water did not disappoint.
The team stayed in Croatia four nights and five days. The athletes were put through three training sessions a day. The morning sessions consisted of circuit training specifically for ski jumping. The coaches ran the athletes through balance, core, plyos, jumping imitations, and rollerblade drills. These roller blade drills are a staple of the jumping team but relatively new to the Nordic combiners. That was the beauty of this camp. “There are a lot of different people going about it in a lot of different ways,” says ski jumper Casey Larson. Each discipline taught each other some new things over the course of the camp.
In the afternoon, the team would take part in another jumping specific training session or complete a strength session in the weight room. On a few occasions, the Nordic Combined team hit the local roads with their rollerskis for interval sessions. Every evening the entire team took part in a yoga session to end the day.
When asked about whether this training camp felt like a vacation, Jasper Good said, “It wasn’t that restful.” These athletes were certainly not on a beach vacation, however, the change of scenery was nice. “It was beautiful and great to be at the sea,” says Tara Geraghty Moats. The athletes got to use some of their free time exploring the coast and taking dips in the quite frigid sea.
The athletes enjoyed the opportunity of all being together for an extended time. “The team energy was great and full of good vibes,” says Tara Geraghty Moats. The coaches believed a camp in Europe together as one team would be productive for the athletes. “There are more personalities and more energy,” continued Tara Geraghty Moats. While not training or out exploring, the team could be found playing cards or watching shows on Netflix together. The ultimate team bonding.
After Croatia, the teams stuck together and headed to Oberstdorf, Germany. One of the appeals of Oberstdorf, Germany at the end of October is the ice track. Instead of the usual porcelain inrun tracks found on ski jumps all summer and fall, the tracks are iced in Oberstdorf giving the athletes feelings they will experience this winter.
Since these were the last jumps before the winter, every session on the hill was critical for the USA Nordic athletes. The conditions on the large hill in Oberstdorf were nearly perfect for flying. “We had some good sessions in headwind… I was working on getting my skis flatter and attacking the second half of the flight,” says Casey Larson. Each athlete was focused on making the tweaks necessary to start the season at a high level.
These tweaks weren’t limited to the physical side of the sport. On hand was Nicole Detling, the team’s Sports Psychologist. The athletes met with Nicole individually and together as a whole team. The multiple week camp left no side of the sport untapped, physical or mental. “We are just trying to get better quickly and have fun doing it,” says Casey Larson. When asked how he thought the camp went, Jasper Good said, “For the first ever USA Nordic team camp, it went really well. The atmosphere was awesome, everyone was feeding off each other.”
Now the athletes have returned to their respective homes. All eyes are set on the fast approaching season. Here are the dates of USA Nordic’s season openers:
Wisla Men’s Ski Jumping: 16-18 November
Lillehammer Women’s Ski Jumping: 29 November-2 December
Lillehammer Men’s Nordic Combined: 29 November-2 December
Steamboat Springs Women’s Nordic Combined: 14-15 December