Hello! Hannah here, checking in with a quick end of season recap! In Mid-March I flew across the pond to Italy where I represented the U.S at OPA Cup Finals. One of the things I love most about this OPA trip is the fact that we get to come together as one U.S team. With there being many different professional teams and clubs in the U.S, it is rare that we get to join forces and train, travel and learn from one another during a race setting.
This year, the first OPA Finals race was a Skate sprint. The sprint course in Tobalch takes place exclusively in the stadium, making 1.5 laps around the area. This layout makes spectating pretty spectacular as you can see almost the entire race while standing in one position. We had some solid results with several U.S skiers moving on to the heats!
The next two races of the weekend were a 10k skate and a 15k classic pursuit. With the spring weather in full force, the snow conditions were typically firm in the early mornings but then quickly breaking down once the sun came over the mountain. A lot of us have not been used to this kind of sloppy, variable, klister weather, so it was great experience to ski in conditions that are very common for the European racers.
Being in Europe racing against skiers that are bouncing between OPA and World Cup for their respective countries is an experience that really elevates U.S athletes. Not only are we getting to race against really fast skiers, but we’re also skiing on technical World Cup trails, practicing adjusting quickly to new time zones, and learning to ski in conditions we’re not accustomed to.
After the last race was complete, we hopped on a plane and travelled to Craftsbury, VT for U.S Spring Nationals. We had four races during the week, including a 10k Classic, a Team Relay, a Skate Sprint, and a 42k Classic. After travelling from Europe, I was feeling pretty tired, but I tried to keep the momentum moving through the week and finish the season strong!
Thank you to all who have supported me and cheered me on throughout the winter! I could not do what I do without the amazing support from my community and from Pioneer Midwest.