Hi! I’m Jessie. I’m a professional cross country skier. In other words, I sweat, wear spandex and ski uphill for a living! My year looks something like this: starting May 1st, I begin training. Originally from Minnesota, I now train with my club team out of Stratton, Vermont, and that’s where I live when I’m not at US Ski Team camps in Oregon, Alaska, New Zealand and Utah. I usually train twice a day, 6 days a week, and although I love it…it’s brutally hard. We train with a mix of roller skiing, running, weight lifting and other cross training modes like biking or swimming. Each week I will have intensity workouts, speed/sprint workouts, long slow distance and gym sessions. In the winter I race the World Cup circuit from November through March, racing both sprints and distance every weekend in a new country before traveling to the next stop!
My most recent training camp was in New Zealand, one of the most beautiful places in the world. It was a lot of high volume training, meaning that each day I skied between 4-5 hours. It’s like running 25 miles a day for 2.5 weeks! Which means that I really had to stay on top of my nutrition and hydration so that my training could stay high quality throughout the camp.
Currently, my favorite flavor of Kate’s bar is the Stash, but I like them all! And I eat a lot of them. Our sessions can be anywhere from a one hour recovery run to a 4 hour distance ski or run in the mountains. So I need to be able to eat on the go to keep from “bonking”, the term we use for running out of energy and experiencing a massive crash during training. The other important thing for me is to make sure that after each session, I begin re-hydrating and have a snack containing a mix of carbohydrates, protein and fat within 20 minutes. I want to give my body the building blocks it needs to repair my muscles and grow stronger and faster!
Some of my favorite workouts from camp were long adventure skis or runs. One day I joined a coach and two of the boys on a 3.5 hour easy run up the Matukituki river valley. Yep, you pronounce it just like it’s spelled…and it’s so much fun to say! We ran though bog, over rocks, through a mossy, wet and dripping forest. On the way back we forged our own trail and crossed the freezing cold river, bush whacked through ferns and crawled under electric cow fences. It was so exciting! People are often surprised at how “un-scientific” our training often seems. But the truth is that when you need to train so many hours and train so hard, once you come up with a plan for what your body needs, it’s important to have fun along the way!
My other favorite workout was a group crust ski we did at sunrise on our last morning before flying home. We woke up at 6:30 and skied off the trail, flying along on the hard crust formed by melting snow the day before that froze up hard overnight. It was great skills practice as it forced me to be light and agile on my feet! Going up into the mountains to see the fog burn off in a spectacular sunrise was a truly inspiring experience, and reminded me why I love skiing so much - I love to race, but more than anything I love the feeling of being strong and capable of any adventure!