Text by Nina Schamberger, images by @flyingpoint
Hi, this is Nina Schamberger from Summit, Colorado, and I just finished the Junior Worlds trip in Norway! First of all, I’d like to thank NNF and all the staff on this trip for the support; you helped make an amazing trip for us athletes.
We spent the first week in Hafjell, which is close to Lillehammer, for our pre-camp, and it was stunning. There were hundreds and hundreds of kilometers of groomed trails less than a minute away from our front door, and an app showed how recently each trail had been groomed. I had some of the most beautiful skis of my life during that time as I adjusted to the time change, which was a slightly less beautiful process. During our precamp, we also got to ski at the Lillehammer venue where World Cup races are regularly held. It was very eye opening to say the least. The hills were steep, the course was wide, and the stadium was huge! Everything that is shown on TV looks so much bigger in person. It was a testament to just how good world cup skiers are in real life.
After our precamp, we drove down to Oslo, where we stayed for the World Juniors. The venue at Lygna was about a 45 minute bus ride away. The first day I went to preski the Lygna courses, my mind snapped back into focus. I have to admit, my head was a bit in the clouds during pre-camp because it was just so pretty and unreal! I loved the courses at Lygna. I felt that there was a good range of different types of terrain and as for things that aren’t often as noted, the layout of everything was really efficient. The athlete tent was close to the wax trailer, which was close to the start area, making the experience a lot less stressful.
My first race was the 15km skate mass start, which was also my first ever international race!! I was definitely a little nervous (how could I not be?!) but mostly excited to get to race at that level. When the gun went off, I had probably the best start of my life and managed to make my way close to the front, but then suffered a broken pole and some bad luck getting a new one after a few kilometers. I was disappointed with my result, but very happy that I got such good pack racing experience; it is much tighter here than in the states and the girls ski a lot more aggressively to get a good position.
The next day, I got the privilege of racing the 3rd leg in the relay for the USA. That was probably my best race in Lygna and it was really fun to get to work with my teammates as hard as we could and secure fifth place. Just a few hours later, we got to see the guys pull off a podium finish in their relay which was so cool! It really showed that we as a nation are strong in this sport, especially when we get to work together.
My last race was the Classic 5k individual start. It was not my best race ever, but I was still happy with it. Something important to note here is that my skis were flawless. And not just on that one day. Every single time I went out to ski, whether it be for training or racing, my skis were always ready right on time and waxed perfectly. Huge huge thank you to the wax techs for this; they did such an amazing job and this made my experiences more relaxed and less stressful
During the last few days, I got to explore some other Norwegian ski trails and watch a couple races to wrap up my first international trip! It was so awesome to get to represent the US and I can happily say that I gave it my all and got everything I wanted out of this trip. I look forward to future ones!
Thank you to the coaches, wax techs, race organizers, and everyone who made this happen for us, and to @flyingpoint for some awesome photos! And thank you so much to NNF for funding not only this trip but other camps that help bring us athletes to the next level; your support is invaluable and so generous!