What I’ve Been Up To

Since coming off the Eagle Glacier after the first APU camp, I spent a few days relaxing in Anchorage before going up to Kiana, where my mother grew up and my grandmother operates a store. Shout-out to Blankenship Trading Post. If you ever find yourself lost in the wild of the Arctic and need to buy anything from guns to “aged cheddar”, this is your place.

Aged Cheddar
Aged Cheddar. Yumm

While I was in Kiana, my sister and I put on a running camp for the kids in the village. There is not much to do in Kiana during the summer for the kids so they were all excited to have something new to try. We had about 50 kids between ages two to 19 for each day of the three day camp, which is about a third of the kids in the community.

Lickety-Splits Running Camp Kiana. These kids were quick!
running camp
Everyone was pretty excited about new people in town to play with for a few days.

The other reason for going North is to see some of my cousins I haven’t seen for a really long time. A few of them, Katy, Peter, and Kaylor, helped coach our camp, too. It was a pretty fun rest week and a really good to get away from focused training for a bit.

Balance beam
My cousins and me on a playground next to the school in Kiana.

After I got back from Kiana, we jumped right back into training. The team usually meets six times a week and we usually get the weekend to ourselves. Sometimes we stay in town, but the best part of living in Anchorage is its accessibility to so many different places within a few hours.

Every year, it seems like half of Anchorage convenes to the city of Kenai for two weeks in July to subsistence fish for the winter. It is called dip netting, and only Alaskan residents are allowed. The process involves three to six foot nets held out in the water ideally to catch red salmon. The first year I went, I caught 25. Last year, my sister and a friend caught 80. This year, I went with a few friends. We caught 10 total. I was allowed to bring 55 home so I was a bit bummed with only three.

sprinting out
Lex and David demonstrating what they would do if they actually caught a fish. (photo: Emily Russell) 
lars cleaning
One of my old teammates at UAF, Lars, helping us clean one of the few fish we caught. (photo: Emily Russell)

We still had a lot of fun and enjoyed the great people. We don’t have very many professional sports in Alaska, so this is our entertainment for the year where a bunch of different people come together for the same goal: conquering¬†Salmon. This year, Kenai had another massive red salmon run with 1.3 million getting past our nets and into their spawning grounds.

david eating fish
David pulled a few flounder in. Normally we throw them back, but he was hungry. (photo: Emily Russell)
child and seagulls
There are an abundance of seagulls due to people filleting their fish on the beach. Also, a child is practicing the art of killing salmon. (photo: Emily Russell)

It’s never a bad thing when you get to bring home a fresh meal for the night.

One of the filets I cut up for the night’s dinner.

After three weeks in town, the APU men made it up to Eagle Glacier for our second and last Glacier camp of the summer. We had a few guests up this time. US Ski Team member Noah Hoffman wrote a pretty good blog post about it and my teammate Reese Hanneman has one here.

We were greeted by a family of Ptarmigan this camp.

The weather was perfect again this camp. We had five amazing days and it just started to take a turn as we were leaving. This was my third glacier camp and I am really excited by the improvements I have made since the last two. With four hours of skiing a day, instant coaching, and quality rest, Eagle Glacier is a well oiled machine meant for making skiers fast. It is one of the best tools APU has offered me.

pillows of cloud
This was our view for the first five days. Cloudy down in town, but perfect on the glacier!
The trail past our drinking pond on the way to ski.
Helicopter coming in to take us down.

We get flown up from Girdwood every camp by Alpine Air. These guys are amazing and if you are ever in need of an adventure, call these guys up!

heli drop
Swing load of food for the camp after us.
Nightfall in Alaska. The darkness is starting to creep in.

I am now on my way to join my team in Park City for our first altitude camp. Soldier Hollow, which is close to Park City, will be hosting the 2014 US National Championships leading up to the Olympics, so this camp will be extra special in preparation for the winter.

Until next time!


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