Trains, Planes, and Automobiles, Trish O’Brien-Style
U.S. Ski & Snowboard athletes travel all over the globe to train and race at premier mountain resorts, but do they ever get the chance to venture beyond the slopes? To visit uncharted territory in the form of cityscapes? Explore culture in small alleyways with cobblestone streets, or hop on a bike and take it all in? Pop into cafes to grab a flaky, buttery croissant with a latte while tracing the movement of the city with their eyes?
Two up-and-coming tech athletes from the alpine B and C Teams, and fellow Dartmouth College students—Nina O’Brien (Edwards, Colo.) and Tricia Mangan (Derby, N.Y.)—recently took advantage of being overseas while at a prep period camp. The traveling duo, otherwise known as “Trish O’Brien” (make sure to check out their Ski Racing column), left their bulky ski bags with their coaches and headed to Amsterdam and Berlin for a week and a half of adventure.
“A big part of the challenge is that when we’re on a ski trip, we’re there to ski and perform our best,” reflects O’Brien, “not only does that mean traveling with tons of ski bags and gear, but we also have to be rested and energized on the hill.”
This was the first time both O’Brien and Mangan had enough time between camps to squeeze in some sightseeing. The two had been training in Saas-Fee, Switzerland, and at the indoor slope at Ski & Snowboard Centre Snow Valley in Peer, Belgium with an unusual—and very welcomed—break between prep period camps. They were able to temporarily hop off their skis and hop on a two-hour train to Amsterdam, as well as a quick flight to Berlin. “Trish and I have been talking about doing a sightseeing trip for years, but this fall was the first time everything fell into place,” says O’Brien.
O’Brien and Mangan made the perfect pair for this adventure. They have both been interested in seeing Berlin since their German 1 course at Dartmouth. And they loved the idea of being able to see Amsterdam, with sticking to a tight budget and quenching their desire to see as much as possible in the little time they had. With O’Brien’s knack for finding great food and Mangan’s stellar navigation skills, the two were able to see, and experience, a lot.
It’s no surprise these two remained active while sightseeing. In order to see as much as possible, O’Brien and Mangan biked everywhere. According to O’Brien, they managed to bike 40 miles in the two days they were in Amsterdam. Biking was their main mode of transportation, which is reflective of the European lifestyle. “I absolutely loved that everyone rode bikes and was fit and friendly and it was beautiful,” reflected Mangan. Matcha ice cream on the daily, picnics in the parks, dancing wherever they went, and an overall feeling of gratitude for the experience was common on Trish O’Brien’s adventures.
O’Brien felt the same gratitude towards the quick trip, noting that it was a chance to take a small break between intense training camps. “I love the small European mountain towns that we visit in the winter,” says O’Brien, “but it felt refreshing and invigorating to bike the canals of Amsterdam, check out a Banksy exhibit, walk the East Side Gallery in Berlin, and see some more hidden gems in each city.”
The two athletes are currently back on the snow for intense training prior to the World Cup kickoff in Soelden, Austria Oct. 27, but they are glad to have a chance to experience something new.
“I would 100 percent recommend traveling even for a couple of days after a training camp,” says Mangan. Not only did she and O’Brien get the chance to experience something outside of mountain life, gifting them a rare sense of freedom in the life of a professional ski racer, but they were able to do it together. “We both agreed that traveling together made the experience SO much more fun. We make a pretty good team,” stated O’Brien.
With healthier minds and rejuvenated souls, “Trish O'Brien” is ready to take on the season, and hopefully, experience some new cultures along the way!