The CXC/ Birkie Summer Camp was well staffed for the twenty camp participants. The coaching staff included recent Olympian, Abby Larson, former Olympian and Russian National Coach, Igor Badamshin, U23 World Championship team member and CXC team member Brian Gregg, CXC CEO Yuriy Gusev, and CXC Team Coach, Bryan Fish.
The four day camp focused on assessing general fitness, ski specific fitness and technique. There were two evening discussions that focused on training and lifestyle decisions necessary for improving ski performance. Brian Gregg led a discussion on his training from a junior level to present day. Brian emphasized the fact that although he was not a top caliber junior level skier, he has continued to train hard, plan diligently and keep skiing fun. He feels his persistence, patience and hard work has been responsible for the progress he has made in the sport of skiing. Abby Larson led a discussion on nutrition and its vital importance to a competitive skier. Abby stressed the fact that a well balanced diet containing complex carbohydrates, protein and fats is necessary for a healthy lifestyle and even more crucial for fueling the endurance athlete. Abby stated that foods that are not processed are often the most nutritious. Whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables as well as fresh meat, eggs and fish are more nutritious than canned and other forms of processing.
Each morning started with a light jog and stretch before breakfast. Abby Larson led the athletes through a yoga session for stretching, which combined stretching with balance and light body resistance strength.
Monday, July 31st was balmy and humid. The temperature struck the low 90’s with a humidity that rivaled the temperature. A 3,000 meter running time trial on the track was the first scheduled activity. It was decided to move the track time trial to Tuesday morning and replace it with the general strength assessment. Neither camp participant nor any coach disputed this decision. The goal of the strength and running assessment is to provide the camp participants an overall evaluation on their general fitness. General fitness tests do not directly correlate to performance on skis, but they do demonstrate areas of overall strength and weakness in an individual. Monday concluded with a short skate rollerski technique session. Most of the session was done without poles to focus on balance and weight transfer.
Tuesday, August 1 started with the 3,000 meter on the track. The conditions for the remainder of the week were more conducive to training and Tuesday was no exception. The temperature dropped from low 90’s into the 70’s, which made the conditions for the 3,000 meter run much more pleasant. The session Tuesday afternoon was ski walking on Mt. Telemark followed by plyometric jumps.
The morning session on Wednesday, August 2 was rollerski skate technique followed by a distance skate. The climax of the Birkie camp was the distance classic ski on North Lake Owen Drive followed by a picnic and water ski. The Lake Owen ski and picnic has become a tradition over the past several years and special thanks goes out to Dennis Kruse for the picnic and the use of his boat.
The camp concluded on Thursday, August 3 with a circuit strength regimen. An easy distance rollerski closed the camp.