Thursday, December 23, 2010

Monday, December 13, 2010

Turn that frown upside down. Hey, that's not an upside down frown

So there were some rough times in Val d'Isere this weekend. Other than Ted absolutely dominating the gs for the second weekend in a row (and second out of two races this year), nobody else scored points. There was some hope in sl with Ted and Will Brandenburg cruising to two first run top 15s but both straddled during the second run. One of these days you know something big is going to happen in for the U.S. in sl so we always have that to look forward to. The next world cup on the schedule is a speed series at Val Gardena and then Alta Badia gs next Sunday. Sl won't be until Zagreb in early January. For us techy guys, we have some european cups that will essentially host a full world cup field because there are really no other races going on in Europe right now. Back to back night sls will definitely be the highlight Friday and Saturday.

We had another 8-9 hour drive out of Val d'Isere to get to Paganella, Italy yesterday afternoon. Luckily, I rode with Ted and Dane Spencer and had a good audio book to listen to. Made the ride seem a lot shorter than it was, and being super tired helped a little bit. The book we listened to was SuperFreakonomics by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner. All I can say about it is that I'm sure there is much controversy about many of the topics they discuss, especially the chapter on climate change. I'm not going to comment on the subject for lack of knowledge but from what I had read elsewhere and learned at school this spring, this book is definitely someone's opinion backed by the experiments of that same person. You tend to find things the way you want them to when you build your research and experiments around it...

I am in the process of sorting out details to start writing blogs for www.outsidetelevision.com. Outside Television, operated by the same company that publishes Outside Magazine, is what was formerly known as RSN Television(resort sports network). I will probably post the same blog that I submit to them but I encourage you to check out some of their other blogs and info on the site. Looks to be an "every other week" blog with Laurenne Ross (U.S. Women's Alpine) blogging on the off weeks. More details to come.

----Video teaser coming very soon----

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Eurotrip

Today was pretty brutal. Well, not just today but the past couple days. I started my trip in Beaver Creek, Colorado then headed to Denver to fly to Munich, Germany. Once we arrived in Munich (roughly 14 hours later) we went to a hotel to meet up and reorganize everything. The plan was for two coaches, Will Brandenburg, Dave Choudunsky and myself to go to Switzerland for a day of slalom training before going to Val d'Isere for the race this weekend. Unfortunately, there isn't much snow anywhere due to an abundance of rain the past few days. This caused for our plans to change and so instead of going to Switzerland, we were headed for France to settle in and train there.

There were 4 people trying to get into 3 seats in the car so it was decided that an epic Rock-Paper-Scissor battle would take place for "shotgun" and that battle was between Mr. Warner Nickerson and me. It was a fierce battle, the winner would claim the front seat of the car and the loser had to wait another hour for the next car to come. As usual, the best of 3 match went to the deciding throw and I won it, I actually won the premier seat! My scissors shredded Warner's paper and left him waiting to get picked up with some of the other guys.

So I jumped in a car with Will, Dave and our head coach, Mike Day, and we started our journey that was supposed to take a bit under 9 hours. The GPS in the car was leading the way and we all soon realized that we were not going what anyone would consider the normal way. Our map was set to send us south going from Germany to France, through Switzerland and Italy. Things were going smoothly until we misinterpreted a command at a tricky intersection and had to backtrack through Milan to get righted. There was a solid 30 minutes lost to an already daunting drive. Not even 45 minutes later, a difficult to read sign left us on the wrong side of a barrier that one way headed north of Val d'Isere and dropped in and the other to continue south towards Torino, Italy and come up over some Tour-de-France-esque mountain roads. Since we missed the turn and the GPS knew the next best way to go, we kept going to head over the mountains.

The small town off the highway that began this mountain road had some signs in italian that we could not interpret. All we knew was that they said something about the boarder to France and snow. The road looked fine so we proceeded up the mountain becoming more and more skeptical the entire time. Finally, we got into France but only a few hundred yards past that, the road just stopped being plowed. The meaning of the signs became clear and we were distraught. Only 70km was between us and our destination and we would have to turn around and go another 230km to missed the closed mountain passes... A lot of tolls and a fair amount of driving later, we arrived in Val d'Isere, 10 hours and 30 minutes after we started our journey.

Bummer... And Warner's car beat us to the hotel starting an hour later.

Bedtime now, jet lag is also tough, especially coming all the way from Colorado.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Racing

So we're doing some racing. I've been at Loveland and Aspen the past few days and tomorrow for NorAm Cup races. Pretty sweet as there are a bunch of top 7 guys in the world here and many more are are top 30 and World Cup regulars.

The first two days were slalom races at Loveland followed by two days in a little place called Aspen. I'm skiing pretty well, just not able to put that second run down right now. One more giant slalom race tomorrow then off to Beaver Creek to train before the world cup over there.

Got some sweet pow skis and hoping some snow falls so I can take them out.
GoPro + Powder skis + powder = a good ole time.

Tommy Ford and I are getting our brains going trying to find out something sweet to do. Have a full on movie idea zooming around in the noggin but not sure how to bring it to fruition. Also think this whole writing thing could be done better, we'll get back to you on that.

Monday, November 22, 2010

A Little R&R

Levi was an experience. I had to do a lot of things I hadn't done in a long time and possibly even learned a few things. We saw some fast skiing and some guys struggling early in the season.

Right off the bat, the airlines lost my backpack. Normally this wouldn't be that big of a deal but on a trip like this, traveling so far for one race, it's tough to deal with. This bag had contained all my essentials including helmet, goggles, suit, jacket, pants, shorts and shin guards. To find these things at a race where everyone packed light because of the distance and length of trip is almost impossible. I trained in random equipment leading up to the race, even using jeans and sweatpants on different occasions. I ended up using Lindsey Vonn's rainbow sl suit, Mike Janyk's helmet and goggles, Hailey Duke's mittens and Julien Lizeroux's shin guards. Unfortunately, I only made it a few gates before getting into trouble and skiing out of the course. Long trip for an early exit when it counted. Well, there's always next year... but in the meantime, check out Will Brandenburg's runs! He started 35 and blazed to an 8th place finish on the first run but ran into some issues and straddled on the second run. It's fun to see guys charging and doing well, especially a guy like Will.

After the Levi world cup had ended, everyone headed back to their respective homes for a little rest and recovery. I have a week off at home before traveling to Vail for another training block. Next weekend we have the opening NorAm events, two sl and two gs races, at Loveland and Aspen respectively. The following weekend is Beaver Creek, where I will be racing the gs. I'm really excited about racing in front of the home crowd. These five races are my only races in the states this year besides U.S. National Champs at Winter Park in April.

Friday, November 5, 2010

LEVI PREP

Here is some video from the past few days in Vail, Colorado. The U.S. Men's tech team has been training in preparation for the second world cup of the year in Levi, Finland. Since there were open spots for the race, 7 guys fought head to head in a time trial for the last remaining one. The format took your best time out of 3 runs, fastest guy get the spot. Five guys already had confirmed spots for the race before the time trial happened. Headlining the group is Ted Ligety and Bode Miller with Will Brandenburg, Tim Jitoff and myself also planning on competing. This left the rest of the guys to try for that last spot. Even though the five of us were already in for the race, we participated in the time trial to make it more of a race simulation. I was able to set the pace early with the fastest first run time followed by Will and the others. Will made a race of it having a great second run and pulling to within .01 of my first run time. My second run didn't fare as well, failing to finish after a couple bobbles and an impeding broken gate. At this point, Tommy Ford was leading for the guys trying to get the last spot. With one run to go, some guys were feeling the pressure and other stepped up to the plate. I managed to almost replicate my first run, tying Will's second run, .01 off my best time while Will threw down the fastest time of the day, but was DQed after straddling a gate in one of the under gates. Colby Granstrom stepped up and finished his third run leading all the the guys vying for the Levi spot but a few guys still had to take their last run. Nick Daniels found some fire and was able to ski really well but missed beating Colby by only seven hundredths. That sealed it for Colby and he will be our sixths starter in Levi and also making his world cup debut. You know what that means... Look out for Colby rocking a brand new hairstyle to be cut this week. Below are some of the fastest times from the time trial and some video to go with it.

Nolan Kasper- 41.87 run 1
Will Brandenburg- 41.88 run 2
Colby Granstrom- 42.49 run 3
Nick Daniels- 42.56 run 3
Tommy Ford- 42.96 run 2
Dave Chodounsky- 43.16 run 3
Andy Phillips- 43.50 run 2
Will Gregorak- 43.54 run 1
Michael Ankeny 43.68 run 1

TT Video

Nolan run 1

Will B run 2

Nolan run 3


Nolan 11/4/10


Will B 11/4/10




Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Soelden

The 2010/11 season is kicking off this weekend with a pair of GS races in Soelden, Austria. It's always an exciting race and a good one to watch in person because you can see most of the hill from the bottom. The U.S. World Cup team has been training mainly in Stubai, Austria for the past week and we are heading over to Soelden this afternoon for a couple more days before the weekend. Things have been going pretty well here, a lot of guys are charging and making some sweet turns. It's been fun watching Bode and Ted prepare for their first real race of the season. There is a lot I can learn from them and hope to do so as I continue my career.

Be sure to look for Will Gregorak sporting a new haircut for his World Cup debut. I was going to post some video of training the past few days but unfortunately, the internet here is not very good. I'll see what I can do when I get to Soelden but chances are that I will still be unsuccessful.

The women run Saturday, first run starting at 10am CET or 4am EST. We have 4 ladies starting this year, Lindsey Vonn, Julia Mancuso, Sarah Schleper and Megan McJames.

On Sunday, the men open the season with a 10am CET start. There are 7 U.S. men running Soleden including Bode Miller, Ted Ligety, Tim Jitloff, Tommy Ford, Warner Nickerson, Will Gregorak and myself.

I will try to take some pictures and put them online if the video doesn't work.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Home

I'm home from my second trip to New Zealand. Unfortuantely, it didn't go as expected because of weather and my crash from the first day. We did get a couple great days at the end of camp to end things on a better note.

I will now turn my efforts back into a dryland training block at home for the next few weeks. I also get to go to the New England Ski Ball on October 6th in Boston, Massachusetts. I'm hoping this will be fun and should be judging from the line up of athletes that will be there.

Here is a cool video I saw the other day.

Death to the tinman
- Watch more Videos at Vodpod.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

New Zealand Edit

Here's a little video that Tommy Ford put together from the start of this camp in New Zealand

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

New Zealand Round 2

Hello all,

So we are now skiing in New Zealand again, but this time we are a little further north at a mountain call Mt. Hutt. Yesterday was our first day skiing so we started taking it easy with a little super g free skiing and gs training. After the gs, a few of us decided to get back on super g skis and start tuck running down where we trained and pop a roller. The goal was to have fun and get as much airtime as possible. We kept pushing the speed and taking more risks. Unfortuantely, I was the one to crash on our last run of the day. Will Brandenburg, Tommy Ford and I were going rapid fire and they estimated I had been going upwards of 70 mph and flying somewhere around 240 ft. I popped on my last jump (very poor idea at that speed) and catch wind in my chest and immediately was pushed backwards. I knew I was in trouble right from the takeoff and did the standard "rolling down the windows" to see if I could get myself to a position to land without crashing. The further I went, I more I knew I couldn't get anywhere near that position. I essentially landed directly on my back with both skis ripping off. From there, my feet dug into the snow and catapulted me forwards, front flipping through the base of a gate. At some point during all this, my ski cut my leg pretty deep. I finished rag dolling down the hill dazed and without a few pieces of equipment I started with. Someone pointed out that my suit was cut and that's when I noticed I had a deep gash. I was very lucky to walk away from that crash and I will still be skiing whenever the weather permits us to. That's all for now. I'll update more as things happen down here in New Zealand.

I posted some pictures up in the Pictures section of my blog.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

August's End

As August ends, so does my first ski camp of the summer. New Zealand is a great place for training in the summer. They have winter snow, a lot to do off the hill, and people that speak English.

Firstly, the snow at Coronet Peak (Queenstown, NZ) can be amazing just as long as the weather cooperates. Our coaches did a great job with watering the hill and when the weather was fair, we had productive training sessions. Unfortunately, the weather on the south island is rarely stable and we lost a few days. Regardless, I made a lot of progress on the hill and I know many of the other guys did too.

Off the hill is just as important as on the hill when we are at a training camp. It's key to be able to have something to get your mind off skiing for awhile and unwind. Being so close to Queenstown allowed us to access things we can't normally during the season because of how remote many areas are. Things like a legitimate disc golf course, skydiving, bungee jumping, movie theater, etc.
Over the past few summers disc golf has become more of a ski team activity and we had our second annual Disc International Championship at the Queenstown Gardens course. This is a pretty epic course that goes out onto a peninsula into Lake Wakatipu. This year, Adam Perrault won a 3 hole playoff to claim the trophy.
I also had a chance to go skydiving with Ted Ligety, Will Brandenburg and our nutritionist and general badass, Adam (aka Bama). I suggest everyone go skydiving once in their life. The rush and the views are worth the price, especially in New Zealand.
Car jumping... car jumping... car jumping... The past 3 years, the guys get together and either purchase or obtain a car that they take jumping. This year was my first experience with it but many of the other guys are seasoned veterans. I thought the impact would have been a lot rougher than it was but I came out unscathed and even a little smarter from tinkering with a broken down car. There is some video of the events posted on Jon Olsson's blog- http://www.jon-olsson.com/?cat=1

Well that's all for now. I'm going to start trying to make some video blogs in the future once my computer gets back from the repair man.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Life

Hey, so I have been miserable at updating the blog since the ski season, my apologies. A few fun things have happened since then, mainly the fact that I was able to start school at Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH this spring. Right now, we are almost 6 weeks into the 10 week term and things are going pretty well. It's funny being back at school for the first time in 3 years but I find that things come back quicker than I thought they would. I am meeting new people and hanging out with old friends that I haven't seen in awhile. And the weather has been pretty awesome, getting up above 90 degrees fahrenheit last weekend!

Another new facet to my life is that I switched ski companies from Dynastar to Rossignol. This is mainly due to Dynastar leaving the U.S. ski pool meaning that no skier on the national team can use their products for racing. It was an easy decision going to Rossignol, the skis are very similar and I will be working with the same staff as this past year. Hopefully this will turn into some great skiing for the upcoming season. I know I am also looking forward to getting some of the fancy rocker powder skis, haha.

That is all for now. I will keep toughing out the last half of the spring term and then off to Park City, Utah for a couple months of off-snow training before getting back at in New Zealand.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Spring is coming...

It's been awhile since I have posted but not too much has happened.

I went and participated in my first Olympic Winter Games up in Whistler, B.C. It was an amazing experience and hopefully there will be more to come in the future. The race itself was tough and made tougher due to the fact that the weather and snow conditions up in Whistler that time of year are never consistent. Regardless, the race organizers and course crew did a great job getting the hill in shape during the entire games with what they had to work with. I finished 29th first run from bib 46 and moved up a few more spots to 24th by the end of the race.

One of the main highlights of the Olympics for me was walking in the opening and closing ceremonies down in Vancouver with the rest of the athletes in the games. Both times, we entered a few groups before Canada and the place would erupt when team Canada walked into the stadium. It was also awesome getting to meet and hang out with other athletes down there. Pretty cool knowing many of them won medals, helping the U.S. lead the medal count at these 2010 games.

From there, I returned home from the games on a break for a week before starting training again. I only have a few more races left this season including NorAm Finals, U.S. Nationals and Easter Cup Finals. After that, I head to Dartmouth to start school for the spring.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

January push

A lot has happened since my last post. First off, I traveled to Bankso, Bulgaria to compete in two Europa Cup SL races. The U.S. EC Team jumped on a flight with every other competitor in the race, got on buses in Sofia, Bulgaria and traveled to Bansko as a group. This is something that rarely happens in our sport. Bankso had a great atmosphere and a killer mountain. The snow was perfect and the event they put on was awesome. The went above and beyond, making these races feel like a World Cup race. We had a few good results with Will Brandenburg getting 2nd place in the second race and myself coming in 8th that same day. It's not often that Americans podium at a EC, a great day for Will!

From there, we traveled back to Austria and got to Kitzbuhel very late for the World Cup SL race the following day. Tim Kelly, Will Brandenburg and I race the following day along with U.S. skiers Bode Miller, Ted Ligety and Jimmy Cochran. This would be my second World Cup ever at a difficult venue. The race proved to be tough and many people had issues dealing with the terrain and snow conditions. Luckily, I was able to have a solid run with no big mistakes and qualify for my first second run ever! It was an amazing feeling to make a second run, especially at a place like Kitzbuhel. Unfortunately, my second run didn't fare so well, I straddled a gate part way down the hill and hiked, finishing too far out to receive my first world cup points. Ted Ligety also struggled, missing a gate and also hiking.

I was bummed about hiking in Kitzbuhel but I had a shot at redemption at the craziest, loudest, most popular race on the world cup circuit, Schladming night SL! I had dreamed about racing here ever since it got started in 1997, mainly because it was a night race. That helped turn this race into the most watched race on the circuit, bringing in more than 50,000 people on the hill in one evening. The snow is amazing and the hill is a challenging as any other. Moderate out of the start with a left foot fall away, then a big swing in the trail left over onto the pitch. The pitch is steep and icy with a small fall away on the right side. Not much terrain until you get towards the bottom of the hill where it flattens out then rolls over again to the finish. You get to the finish and look up the hill to see tens of thousand of people, it is truly amazing. The U.S. had a great day going after the first run getting all 4 starting racers into the top 30, qualifying fro the second run. A few mistakes and conservative skiing kept everyone in to the finish but set us at the back of the results. Ted Ligety ended up 19th, Jimmy Cochran 20th, I got 24th and Bode Miller finished 26th. It was a great day for me despite some big mistakes, I was able to secure my first world cup points ever!! In addition to that, I found out after the race that I was selected to represent the United States in the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics in SL! This is the pinnacle of our sport and I am honored the be able to represent my country. My good friends and teammates Tommy Ford and Will Brandenburg will also be representing our country but in different events along with a stellar field of U.S. athletes.

Now, I am heading to Kranjska Gora, Slovenia for two World Cup races this weekend before I head home to rest. The rest of the U.S. tech team will be here racing the final men's World Cups before the Olympic Games.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

EC Racing

Check out some video from my first Europa Cup experience. It was a Giant Slalom in Kirchberg, Austria and I started bib 47.



Today was a Europa Cup Slalom where I ended up 10th overall. Really good for me especially in my first EC Slalom. Now, we are off to Bansko, Bulgaria for some more Europa Cup SL racing.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Winter Break

Winter break is over and I have been racing the Nor Am circuit for the past week. We had some tech races up in Sunday River, Maine. It's always nice for me to go to Sunday River because it is close to home and the hill is pretty fun. Unfortunately we had some problems with wind, but that didn't stop us from getting a few good races off.

Right now, I am in Anadlo, Italy, having a day off before starting a training block these next few days at Paganella, the U.S. base for ski training in Europe. I woke up early to do some things and watch the men ans women's world cup races this morning. It's so nice being in Europe and having the word cup races live on tv and at a decent hour. The guys are racing SL at Adelboden in Switzerland while the girls are over in Austria racing SG at Haus Im Ennstal. I am just waiting to watch the second run at 1:30 CET.

I got a sweet Sony Handycam from Santa so I will now be taking more videos of things that happen. Here are some fun things I did with my friend Wyatt. The first is a small jump that I hit on a Mad River Rocket sled, the second is of Wyatt park-ratting it up. Enjoy...