by Max Durtschi
This season has proven to be a different thus far - a great opportunity to be adaptable, explore new areas, and challenge myself as an athlete. Because my resident room at the Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid, NY has been closed due to COVID-19, I have been located in northern Minnesota, living with my fiancé and her family since I ended my season in Minsk, Belarus in March. This has been a blessing in disguise, as I have had the chance to spend valuable time with family, after having spent the entire season in Europe. Furthermore, the training opportunities in Minnesota have blown me away with far more options than I had imagined.
My core training principles have remained the same this summer, with some adaption including a shift to at-home gym workouts, and with the absence of any national team training camps thus far. I have embraced these months as an opportunity to modify my training activities slightly in the hopes of challenging my body in new ways. For instance, a have been able to spend far more time mountain biking in Minnesota's brand-new Tioga Recreational Area (and can't wait to check out the new trails in Chisholm, MN as well)! This has provided me with a refreshing exercise - perfect for recharging my mental energy after a long season.
Looking forward - I hope to travel out west, if possible, in the next months and explore some new venues. Bozeman - Montana, Casper - Wyoming, and Soldier Hollow - Utah all provide state-of-the art biathlon facilities surrounded by fantastic natural training grounds. In particular, I am heartened to see the progress being made by CrossCut in Bozeman - and look forward to training at their world class venue!
SkiPost: Max, one of your goals this summer was to "spend time exploring the western venues and returning to my Rocky Mountain roots". You are not alone, many East-coast and Midwestern skiers spend their off-time daydreaming about summer training in Idaho & the pacific northwest. Tell us from your point of view, what is the draw & should exploring western venues be something on other up & coming skier's "to-do" list? Any perks specific to biathletes out west?
Max: Having grown up in the Rocky Mountains, I would urge any cross country/ biathlon athlete to take advantage of the western United States. The draws are countless and include excellent weather, endless trails and wilderness area, as well as superb ski venues such as Sun Valley (Idaho), Crosscut (Montana), and Soldier Hollow (Utah). The hiking, mountain biking, and running are particularly good in these areas. Additionally, during the pandemic, these venues offer numerous camping opportunities, allowing athletes to find a safe and responsible way to exercise while being respectful of local areas. While in the west, be sure to fish, hike, and river raft if you have the chance!