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Diggins, Kern Trade Running Shoes For Ski Boots

By Tom Horrocks
August, 23 2019
Julia Kern and Jessie Diggins
Julia Kern and Jessie Diggins traveled more than 20 hours to jump back on snow in New Zealand.

For most people, spending 23 hours on an airplane certainly doesn’t sound like an enjoyable experience. But it's just part of the job if you’re a winter athlete looking to escape the summer heat and humidity of Vermont and Massachusetts.

Jessie Diggins (Afton, Minn.) and Julia Kern (Waltham, Mass.), along with U.S. Cross Country Team Coach Jason Cork, recently made the trip to Snow Farm, near Wanaka, New Zealand, to jump back on snow and enjoy the area’s 55k of groomed trails. But most importantly, they were looking for a change of scenery and the unique opportunity to mix up their training regime for a few weeks. 

Following a heavy training block that included The Presidential Traverse - a 21-mile trail run that features 9,000 feet of climbing across all 10 of the mountains in the Presidential Range of the White Mountains in New Hampshire, Diggins was more than happy to trade in her running shoes for ski boots.

“It’s really incredible to be back on snow, and I’m so excited for this three-week opportunity to continue working on my technique and on-snow classic striding. There are some things you can only really improve on when you’re actually on skis and skiing on real snow, and I’m ready to take advantage of every training day this camp!”
   – Jessie Diggins

While a number of their U.S. Cross Country Ski Team teammates have donned race bibs in a number of roller ski events recently, Diggins and Kern will get their opportunity at the Merino Muster World Loppet race on August 31. In addition, they also plan to participate in a couple of the NZ Winter Games races Sept. 3-5.

“The chance to put a bib on again and practice race-day tactics, dialing in the wax and overall effort is perfect at this time of year,” Diggins added.

Diggins and Kern make the 23-hour return trip back home in September to resume their training programs prior to the next round of training camps for the U.S. Cross Country Team Oct. 7-20 in Park City, Utah, and Lake Placid, N.Y.