My alarm goes off at 7:00 this morning to the sound of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros “Home”. Instant instinct is to press the snooze button. Three minutes later, its time to get up. Danie is already out of the room and heading to breakfast. I take a look outside and sigh at the thick clouds hovering around the top of the mountains here in Saas Fee, Switzerland. Darting around the room, I get my ski gear ready for the day as my eyes adjust to the blinding lights.
Breakfast is served in a neighboring hotel and features the typical Euro cuisine. Hard boiled eggs, bread, jams, cold cuts, cheese, yogurt, Corn Flakes, croissants, Nutella, orange juice and fruit. While the server isn’t looking we make a few sandwiches to keep us going till we get off the hill around 1pm. Breakfast is done and the long trek to the glacier has dawned upon us.
We head down to the ski room to pick up our equipment. A 15 minute walk
to the bottom of the mountain, two gondola rides, a train ride through a mountain, 20 steps and we are finally at the glacier. The lodge is crowded with avid alpine racers and the odd snowboarder. We fight for a spot just to sit down and put our boots on.
9:30 am rolls by just in time to click the last buckle on our boots and head out for the day of training. The snow is grippy despite the fresh layer of soft stuff that fell over night. I take a few free runs to work on basic technique before heading over to the ski cross course. The track has changed since we first arrived.
Out of the start there is a series of rollers before ripping into a burly berm and off a gap jump into another banked turn. Two massive rollers follow spitting us out into a bank and over another large double. In the previous days, it was
easy to make the gap between the two rollers but with this soft snow it’s a toss up between absorbing and slapping or popping and flying high to make the transition point. Into corner four we go, fighting glacial ice and G-forces. There is one more big bank before we are flying over a small step down, two rollers, and a table top heading towards the finish line. All this only takes about 40 seconds but it feels like I just finished running a marathon. The thin air at 3500 meters makes it tough to inhale enough oxygen to fuel our muscles.
On snow training is done for the day. Back into the crowded lodge we go to take off our gear. Fighting for a place to stand, I head down the mountain by the same means I arrived earlier in the day. All that is left now is the 20 minute uphill walk back to our apartment style room while my muscles burn from the accumulation of lactic acid. Finally some lunch and a quick nap before dryland.
Dryland has varied over the last few days. Today we go to the sports fields to do a quick agility and coordination work out. 30 minutes and the scheduled training is done. It is now time for some fun and games. The boys and Danie take on the Swissies in a soccer match while the rest of us play beach volleyball in the cold sand. The sun is beginning to set behind the mountains and the temperature quickly drops.
I rush to Kristi’s room for a massage appointment. She works out all the kinks in my back and calfs. She always finds the right spots leaving me feeling relaxed and refreshed for the following days. 7:00 pm – my massage is over and its time for dinner. After dinner coach Arch runs us through the schedule for tomorrow while video is playing on the big screen displaying todays training.
The day is over and its time to unwind with a few episodes of Greys Anatomy before curling up in our quaint single beds. Ahh sleeping time! One last check of the alarm to make sure the wake up time is still correct. Everything checks out. I close my eyes for the night.
7:00 am my alarm goes off…