Erik Bjornsen works out with an up-and-coming cross country athlete in Bend, Oregon. (U.S. Cross Country Ski Team-Bryan Fish)
After a productive first week of training in Bend, Oregon, the U.S. Cross Country Ski Team athletes took a break to run around with some of the speediest youngsters in the area on Sunday. The women hosted a Fast and Female event, while the guys hosted ‘Speed Camp.’
Founded by Simi Hamilton and Andy Newell, Speed Camp came around four years ago while training in New Zealand. Similar to Fast and Female, the idea was to create a fun and exciting clinic for junior boys, while helping sport development along the way. This time, 30 juniors turned up for a two-hour dryland training workout.
“We had everything from foot agility to bounding to a super hard strength session to a game of speed ball,” shared Hamilton.
This year, Newell and Hamilton led in the camp, along with Noah Hoffman (who led the super hard strength session), Erik Bjornsen, Patrick Caldwell and rookie Ian Torchia.
“It is really cool for us to show these kids some of the stuff that we do on a daily basis as full time ski racers,” added Hamilton. “They get a glimpse of what our training is like and understand that becoming a World Cup skier is not rocket science. All it takes is many years of hard work and having fun, and many of the things that they are already doing with their junior club programs are not that different from what we do every day.”
At the end of the day, the camp is about inspiring kids and making sure they’re having fun. “Although we always get in a great workout and create a valuable training experience for the kids, we make the afternoon really fun and show the younger kids that we never take ourselves too seriously and love to joke around,” said Hamilton. “We are really looking forward to continuing the sessions and making them more widely known, as well as handing our creation off to the next generation of U.S. Ski Team skiers.”