Nordic skiers end summer training |

Nordic skiers end summer training

Mark Nadell/Provided to the SunDayna Stimson of Crowley Lake leads a group of roller skiers with the spectacular Sierra Buttes in the background during Far West Nordic's Gold Lakes Camp.

It’s been an incredible summer of Nordic training in the Far West region, with the division wrapping up its final training event of the season over Labor Day weekend at the third Annual Bliss/Lake Tahoe camp.

The training camp season started off with a bang with Far West and Auburn Ski Club hosting the Western Regional Elite Group Camp at Claire Tappaan Lodge on Donner Summit, near Royal Gorge Cross Country Ski Area.

Fifty of the top athletes from the Western United States, along with 14 top coaches, including USST Development Team Coach Patrick Casey, found the training and terrain to be spectacular in the Sierra Nevada in June. With almost a full week of camp, athletes were treated to great roller skiing, running, swimming and some special strength workouts at the local park, including a unique orienteering experience at Donner Lake.

The month of July found the Far West Nordic juniors heading down to the incredible Eastern Sierra Nevada for the traditional June Lake Camp, led by former Olympian and national champion Nancy Fiddler.

Since the mid-90s, this camp has taken advantage of the spectacular scenery and training opportunities in the Sierra highcountry. Designed for serious junior athletes of all skiing levels, the June Lake camp is Far West’s opportunity to integrate the strong Eastern Sierra contingent from Mammoth Lakes and Bishop with the northern Sierra crew from Truckee, Tahoe City and environs.

Roller skiing with breathtaking Sierra backdrops, hill bounding at the alpine hill, and climbing either 12,000-plus-foot Mt. Conness or North Peak in Yosemite National Park were the highlights from this four-day camp.

The August training camp has traditionally been designed for the top-level Junior Olympic-qualified athletes, and in recent years has traveled to Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite, but this year found a new location for training in the Northern Sierra ” in the Gold Lakes area north of Truckee. Perfect terrain for roller skiing, ski walking, and running, Gold Lakes provided a great new opportunity for the top athletes to work hard and enjoy a new location for training.

The month of August also provided members of the Auburn Ski Club training teams a couple of opportunities for some daredevil cliff jumping into two of the local rivers near Truckee. The ASC Development team traveled to the South Fork of the Yuba River’s Emerald Pools for its traditional canyoneering excursion, while the higher-level Competition Team made the three- to four-hour trip down to the North Fork of the American River for a grueling but satisfying run to the sparkling pools of the “true” Royal Gorge.

Finally, the Labor Day weekend found a large contingent of athletes of all levels training at beautiful Lake Tahoe for the Bliss State Park camp.

With a multitude of activities packed into a tight two and a half days, it was non-stop training and fun for the crew, and included a spectacular run along the Rubicon Trail of Lake Tahoe, a kayak session from Bliss Park to Emerald Bay, a roller ski up Blackwood Canyon on Tahoe’s west shore, and finally a run up 8,700-foot Ellis Peak, overlooking the entire lake.

And perhaps the most lasting memory for some at this camp was a 1 a.m. visit from a local bear, and included gunfire shots into the air from the park ranger in an attempt to scare it back into the woods.

After all the fun and games and training of the summer, the Far West Nordic Juniors are ready for the more serious training of Autumn to prepare for this year’s race season.

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