I’m confident in saying that most of my fellow Nordic skiers from the United States are still here racing, whether in college, high school, or professionally because of the people they do it with. I surely would not be training daily, rain or shine, if I couldn’t do it side by side with people with whom I’ll be friends with forever.

There is no exception to that statement on this National Nordic Foundation supported trip to Italy for OPA Cup Finals. This trip is particularly cool because I get to have 20+ of my friends to live, eat, train, and race with for almost two weeks in one of the most beautiful places on planet earth, the Dolomites.

While the snow conditions are variable to say the least, the vibes of the team are immaculate. This group of Americans is strong and dangerously hungry for success on this trip and beyond.

To tune up for the big show, we jumped in some Italian Cup races in Falcade, Italy this past weekend. The courses for the 10k Classic and the 15k Skate were wicked fast, sub 30 minute 15k fast. For a relatively small field, the competition was stiff but exactly what we needed to shake off the jet lag and get the blood flowing. We had some serious showings on the women’s side, multiple podiums and a variety of top 10s. The men raced hard, but obviously were saving the real juice for the OPA Finals in Toblach this weekend.

A second crew of skiers just arrived from NCAA Champs, so the crew is officially monstrous. We’re super excited to represent the US Ski Team, our colleges, our clubs and the stars and stripes this weekend. We would not be able to be the ski powerhouse we are today and will continue to be without the support of the National Nordic Foundation. So we thank them and everyone who supports them for that.

I’ve been fortunate enough to receive NNF support for multiple camps and trips in the past 10 years and would not be the skier I am today without them.

Peter Wolter is a senior skier from Sun Valley, ID. He currently competes for the Sun Valley Gold Team. He prefers to race fast.

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