This is Natalie Nicholas, and I ski for Bridger Ski Foundation (BSF) in Bozeman, Montana.

I’m writing from Falun, Sweden where 11 other athletes and I are preparing for three races this weekend. Friday, we start with a skate sprint, then do back-to-back 10 k races, with a classic race Saturday, and a skate race Sunday, as part of the Nordic Nation’s Cup.

First of all, I want to give a HUGE thank you to NNF for making this trip possible. We are just reaching the half-way point and already I have had so many invaluable experiences and met so many amazing people.

After flying into Stockholm on Sunday, the team met up and drove up to Falun. The drive was snowy, dark, and sleepy. Unfortunately, not much Swedish scenery to be seen.

The last two days have been spent attempting to recover from jet lag, making new friends, enjoying new foods, and exploring the courses in Falun. The skiing here is beautiful and not only makes me excited to race, but has reminded me why I love skiing so much in the first place. And, of course, I have been enjoying the very large Swedish breakfast spreads available to us at the hotel.

Tomorrow, we are testing skis and doing some skate sprint race prep. It’s an amazing opportunity to work with the US coaches that we have here, and I’m looking forward to it. I’m also so excited for the opportunity to race on a World Cup course!

Again, I want to thank NNF for this opportunity, and I can’t wait for the rest of the week!

Results from this weekend’s Nordic Nation’s Cup races are available here.

(Photos: Courtesy Images, Dr. Katie Eichten)

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