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Men’s XC Team Finishes High-Intensity France Camp

By Reese Brown
July, 24 2018
Men's France Camp
The U.S. Men’s Cross Country Team concluded a high-quality camp with a classic roller ski up Alpe d’Huez. (U.S. Ski & Snowboard - Chris Grover)

The U.S. Men’s Cross Country Team just completed a small camp in Villard-de-Lans, France with a focus on high-quality sessions, including roller skiing intensity, long mountain runs and beautiful hikes up several prominent peaks. The camp concluded with a classic roller ski up Alpe d’Huez.

Attending the camp were Erik Bjornsen (Anchorage, Alaska), Simi Hamilton (Aspen, Colo.), Paddy Caldwell (Lyme, N.H.) and Ian Torcia (Marquette, Mich.). They were joined by Adrien Backscheider from the French National Team and U.S. Women’s Cross Country team member Sophie Caldwell (Stratton Mountain, Vt.), who each participated for a few days.

“Our training camp in France was incredible,” said Hamilton. “The venue on the Vercors plateau was an ideal place for cross country ski training with its 8k rollerski track, an unbelievable network of trails for running and endless limestone peaks for high mountain adventures. We capped off 10 high-quality days of training with a ski up the famous Alpe d’Huez, followed by a run on the downhill ski area. It’s a tough climb for sure, averaging around 9 percent for 15k. But you forget all about how hard you’re breathing and that your legs are tired when you are getting yelled at encouragingly from base to summit by people from all over the world who came to watch the Tour (de France).”

“It was great to have a camp in my second home, Villard-de-Lans,” said Bjornsen, who came to the camp directly following his wedding on July 9 to Marine Dusser-Bjornsen in Villard-De-Lans, Rhone-Alpes, France. “We had three intensity sessions in 10 days with a fair amount of volume. I was a little tired after the wedding week, but intervals felt relatively easy compared to wedding planning. We finished off the camp by skiing up Alpe d’Huez, which was pretty cool.”

“On our final day of camp we rollerskied up Alpe d'Huez, one of the most famous Tour de France mountain stages,” commented Paddy Caldwell on his favorite moment of the camp. “The Tour was going up d'Huez two days later so when we skied up the road it was totally packed with bikers and people camping along the road to stake out places to cheer. It was amazing seeing the energy of the Tour fans, being part of the spectacle and skiing in such a beautiful place!”

The men’s and women’s team come together next for the New Zealand camp beginning August 18 at the Snow Farm in New Zealand.