Park City, UT
It’s no secret that competing in Nordic combined involves a lot of time spent away from home. Since I’ve been on the national team, it’s safe to say that I’ve spent most of each winter season overseas and away from home. Being gone for the winter is something that I’ve grown used to, and my family has learned to accept the high chance that I’ll be missing holidays, birthdays, and family trips if they fall between November and March. My teammates, coaches, and I still make the most of the time we spend away from home, and we celebrate holidays with a twist when we have to. Here’s a fun recollection of holidays over the last few years.
Thanksgiving of 2021 was spent at a Continental Cup in Nizhny Tagil, Russia. Instead of the usual feast that I would have at home with my family and friends, we had a lovely meal of salted pasta and crepes.
At least I got to spend last Christmas with my mom, but in true “Christmas Story” fashion, we had Chinese food in our airport hotel lobby. My mom had come to Lake Placid to watch Olympic Trials last year, and following the competition we drove back to Albany, NY. The only food option near our hotel was a Chinese restaurant, so while this wouldn’t be the typical Christmas meal, at least I got to spend it with my family.
My family was never one to send out Christmas cards, so this photo (top of story) with Santa Claus in Rovaniemi, Finland is the closest I’ve had to a Christmas photo. We were enroute to the Ruka World Cup, and Gregor had told us he had a surprise for us when we landed at the Rovaniemi airport. I was nervous for whatever the surprise would be, but did not expect it to be a photo with Santa Claus. Fun fact: we learned that Santa Claus used to be a ski jumper!
My birthday is at the beginning of March, which usually means I am at some event every year for it. This year, my team and I were in Oslo for our last world cup of the year, and I had a piece of cake and a muffin before the race as my birthday cake. This day was also Taylor Fletcher’s last world cup event, so the champagne we used to celebrate his career also doubled as a birthday celebration.
Because of the Covid restrictions and quarantine requirements to travel back and forth overseas during the first season with Covid, my teammates and I spent Christmas 2020 at an apartment in Austria. Thankfully our hosts Beatte and Helmut were absolutely incredible and cooked us a 5-star meal.
Christmas this year is going to look a little bit more normal. Thankfully our competition schedule allowed for us all to travel home for Christmas, so for the first time in a few years I am going to wake up Christmas morning in my own bed. The holidays are all about spending time with the people that you care about, and while I’m excited to be at home with my family this Christmas, it’s been a fun few years of atypical holidays spent with my teammates and coaches around the world.