Sunday, May 10, 2015

Part III: The Final Leg

Photo: Maddie P.
Well as it’s most apparent from the last three posts, I had written over the winter… I just never had a good enough internet connection (that would work with my dinosaur of a computer) to post anything. It now being May and finals are over for school, and not to mention I have brand new computer I can start posting again starting with those updates.

Junior World Championships in Belarus went well. Four races consisting of the Individual, Sprint Pursuit and Relay. The races went okay, my prone once again outshone my standing, but I pulled through when I needed it. None of the races went particularly well excluding the relay races, which proved to be my best race of the week. With a clean prone and only needing to use one spare for the standing shooting. I pulled through with some okay skiing. 
The Boys enjoying the fanfare! Who dosen't want a team picture?
The incredibly warm weather was a big change, it had been warm in Estonia and Germany but in Belarus it was in the 40’sF (0-8C)  for nearly the entire event, making for some very slushy skiing.
You can see just how warm it was that the snow was melting at rapid speed, we almost had to use roller skis!
The trip overall was an incredible experience to be able to experience the culture and racing atmosphere of Belarus; On a personal level it was a great achievement to be the first member the Kul’s of my family to visit the “homeland” for the first time since they originally left . 

It also gave me the great opportunity to practice the Russian I had learned whilst at Vermont Academy, turns out I can have great conversations with small children…not even close to a full on adult conversation yet..oh well

It was amazing to see how much work and effort went into making this event the best it could be, the people where so excited to be hosting Junior World Championships. Despite the first impression that the country was very gray and almost bleak looking.
A brief view of the stadium, you can almost see the range behind the green grass bump
It was hard to keep that mindset after visiting the venue and appreciating how much work went into it. There was colorful streamers everywhere, the events Mascot and Giant Skiing Squirrel was on the water bottles, the flags, posters around town and of course running around the stadium dancing up a storm.  

We didn’t get much time to explore the city or the surrounding area, it was a ½ hour shuttle ride both to and from the stadium (where we spent most of our time), and we did have the chance one evening to take a tour bus through the city to see of the sights around, and learn a bit of the city’s history. On our last night there we were all treated to a local dinner at a restaurant in town thanks to Algis’s!
Great team!!
Overall the trip was a great experience. And I’m very and lucky to have had the chance to go. In addition to my Belarus trip, I was also lucky enough this winter to get to go Sweden with USBA for their exchange trip as well. This trip was an amazing opportunity to make new friends and get a few more races in before the season ended! In Sweden we were able to participate in Swedish nationals, and interact with the athletes/student at the Solleftea Ski School. It was an amazing way to end the ski season of 14/15. 
The Great Stadium in Ostersund that hosted Swedish Nationals 

The Range in Ostersund!

The Amazing Ski Trails!

Stadium Map

Haha the proof that for our very short flight to Stockholm I had an empty row! 

Sweden was an amazing trip with amazing people! I would go back in a heart beat to visit my new friends and explore more of the great skiing there!

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