Last week, the US send a delegation of the top Junior skiers from across the country to Sjusjøen, Norway to attend the Norweigan Ski Federation’s (NSF) International Junior Ski Camp. In the forests north of Lillehammer, a group of over 200 athletes who represent some of the most promising young talent in the world – 22 different ski federations sent delegations – got together to learn from each other, push each other, and reach out across country and federation in the interest of connecting skiers the world wide.

Among the US delegation was Mansfield Nordic’s (Vermont) Ava Thurston. The Junior National champion traveled alongside a group of her peers from across the country, and US Ski Team Development coach Greta Anderson. With tales of competition, bog running, and even a Klæbo sighting, Ava gives us an exciting look into what happens when US skiers get to meet up with their counterparts from around the world!

Greetings from Sjusjøen, Norway! 

Our group of ten USA juniors, including myself, Haley Brewster (University of Vermont), Marit Flora (Alaska Pacific University), Emma Reeder (Dartmouth), Samantha Smith (US Ski Team/Sun Valley), Fin Bailey (Stratton), Aidan Burt (University of Vermont), Max Kluck (Bridger Ski Foundation), Trey Jones (Steamboat Springs), and Wally Magill (Dartmouth) just returned home after an intense week of training at International Junior Camp. The camp brought together over 200 athletes from 22 countries, creating an exciting atmosphere of friendly competition with lots of opportunities to learn from other skiers and coaches. In this post we’ll share with you a little overview of some of our favorite workouts of the week. 

Day 2: Uphill running intervals at Hafjell

The group rolled into the first intensity session of camp without any hesitation. The pack took off fast from the start, challenging athletes to push themselves out of their comfort zone in order to hang with a group. Here is a video from the workout that features quite a few of our American athletes — how many can you spot?

Day 4: Classic sprint

A long and exciting day, the classic sprint created a competitive arena that gave skiers the chance to learn from the many world class athletes around them. After completing a qualifier, the sprint format was king/queens court, formatted so that after each heat first place moved up, sixth down, and second-fifth remained. Shoutouts of the day go to Fin and Emma, both of whom hit the pavement hard, but got back up and finished off the rounds. 

Day 5: Skate agility

It’s become somewhat of a known fact that Americans are darn good at agility, and we certainly proved that again this camp. The course was an impressive 3.3k long and was filled with a range of obstacles from cone sets and figure eights, to mazes, rollers, and, of course, a jump. The American boys showed off their big air skills by jumping our coach, Greta Anderson, who was brave enough to lie next to the jump.

Day 6: Bog Intervals

An infamous workout, the bog intervals certainly lived up to their hype. After a long warmup, the group began the intervals, which took place on a 600 meter loop. As we ran, the bog got deeper and deeper, and our legs and bodies tired quickly, making it one of the hardest workouts of camp. Afterwards, athletes spent time goofing off in the thigh deep mud, which soon became a landing pit for cannonballs and front flips. 

Day 7: OD run

The final workout of camp was an OD run with the option to do either a three or five hour loop. This year, all the US athletes decided to go for the longer route, which wound runners through bogs, over hills, and along quiet gravel roads. The loop was just over 23 miles, but many athletes went farther to get the marathon distance. Shoutout to the coaches and cooking staff for the clutch food station of waffles and sweet rolls, and special thanks to Sammy for leading a front group at a fast pace for the tough final miles. 


And of course, camp wouldn’t have been complete without a little bit of volleyball practice here and there. (Watch out US volleyball, we’re getting better each camp!)

Thanks so much to NNF for helping to fund such an amazing trip and learning opportunity for all the athletes and coaches involved! And thanks for following along if you made it this far 🙂

Vi snakkes (talk to you later) 

Ava Thurston

(Photos courtesy of Morten Nordli).

Share This