Frankowski: World Cup Period 1 Update
Hello ski supporters!
I hope this email finds you doing well, enjoying lots of snow and skiing, and getting a bit of rest and relaxation at this holiday time.
I just returned to the United States from Period 1 of the FIS World Cup, and am enjoying some time in Minnesota with my family. Period 1 was quite the experience, and as all of you are key in supporting this season and making it a reality, I want to update you on the ups, downs and everything in between!
If you wish to not receive these emails, please email me individually and let me know. No hard feelings!
Anchorage to Beitostolen, Norway: FIS Races Season Opener
I started off my international season in Beitostolen, Norway, a little town in the “mountains” of Norway, about 3-4 hours by car from Oslo. Beitostolen is a skiing paradise with trails meandering through town and off to the next town, and a fun little venue for some very high level competition races. I traveled from Alaska to join the US Ski Team, and spent the first 5 days dealing with the jet lag that comes from a 10 hour time difference. Luckily I recovered in time for the races that weekend: classic 10k on Saturday, and a skate 10k on Sunday. Waking up on the classic 10k day, we had to deal with crazy snow conditions as it was 32 degrees F and snowing—a wax technician’s nightmare. But Jack Novak, my hired wax tech for the entire trip, threw together a pair of skis and off we went to start the season! I finished 22nd in a field of top Norwegian talent. Unfortunately, the next day, the skate race didn’t go as well. I broke my pole around 2.5 kilometers into the race, and had to get two new ones throughout the next 5 kilometers (as my first replacement pole was taller than me!). But I finished the race, and was excited to head to Ruka, Finland, for the actual World Cup to kick off.
Ruka, Finland: World Cup Weekend 1
From Beitostolen we had a 2 day travel to Ruka, Finland, through Rovaniemi—right on the Arctic Circle. I was really excited to head to Ruka because I had never been to Finland before. It was exactly how I imagined it: tons of snow, and not very much daylight, but sparkling like a dark snow globe. We raced a mini-tour there, which means we do 3 races in a row on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Your final position in the mini-tour is all of your times added together, with bonuses for good performances in the sprint. As a distance racer, sprinting is not my forte and on Friday, I just wanted to finish without falling. Once I had that successfully under my belt, I turned to Sunday where we raced a 10 kilometer classic on a decently hilly course with some major downhills. I finished a disappointing 68th, with no reason why the race felt pretty bad. But there was no time to overthink as we had to race a third time on Sunday in the 10k skate pursuit. This means all the racers go out in order of who is leading the mini-tour overall. I was in a big group of American women and we raced a lot of the 10k skate race together. I managed to put myself in the top 30 at the top of the course before the one kilometer downhill finish, but then was out sprinted by 4 girls at the line. Nonetheless, it felt a lot better than the previous day and was an improvement in results as I was 42nd, but less than 10 seconds from top 30.
Lillehammer, Norway: World Cup Weekend 2
We arrived in Lillehammer after a looonggg travel day of delays, missed flights and long bus rides. One surprising element of the World Cup is the amount of travel each week. It is really important to stay healthy and that gets quite hard when you are on and off of 3 different flights and 2 bus or train rides each Monday! Anyways, I had never been to Lillehammer, the host of 1994 Olympics, and it was amazing! The trails were probably some of the hardest I have raced on ever, and the tourist trails (including the Norwegian Birkenbeiner trail) were all groomed to perfection all week. The town itself hosts a Christmas market and was decked out for the holiday. I was loving every second, and it showed in some fantastic races. I was 33rd in the 15k skiathlon (half classic and half skate all in the same race), even after being dead last for the first kilometer. This was especially great because it was against a field of Norwegians, and is typically known as one of the most competitive World Cups all year. Finally, Sunday, we had a 4 x 5 kilometer relay and I was on the second relay team (teams of 4 women who each ski 5 kilometers). Unfortunately, our fourth teammate was sick and couldn’t race, so in official results we were a “Did Not Finish". But, in my leg, I finished 7th out of 13th, less than a minute down from the 2018 Olympic gold medalist in 10k skate (Ragnild Haga from Norway), so that was a win!
Davos, Switzerland: World Cup Weekend 3
Finally, we traveled to my fourth weekend of racing in Europe in Davos, Switzerland. I had never raced in Davos, but spent time there in winter 2019 for a training camp before the 2019 World Championships. It is a skier’s paradise with amazing trails, mountain views everywhere and (usually) lots of sun (especially after very dark Scandinavia). We didn’t get sun until race day on Sunday, but once it came out, it was magic! I had an amazing race, partly due to the course being a very fitness based grind (until the final 2k of downhill), and the fact that Davos is located at 5,000 ft of altitude. I was 10th after the first 3k, 16th at 7k, and then lost a fair amount of time on the final downhill (I still need to work on keeping up with all those skiers with a bit more mass), but still finished 23rd overall, as my best World Cup finish ever and first time scoring World Cup points (given out to top 30). It was a great way to finish Period 1 before heading back to the U.S.
So what’s next?
I was nominated for a start right to the World Cup Tour de Ski in late December, but unfortunately, had already booked a ticket back to the U.S. While I had a great time learning the ropes of Period 1, I realize that the stress and craziness of the World Cup really takes a toll on your body and on your mind. I needed a break with a deep breath, some time to see family and friends, and get some great training in, so I am now in the Midwest preparing for U.S. Nationals in early January in Houghton, MI. From there, I hope to qualify for more World Cup distance races, and be able to head back to Europe in mid-January for another round of high level racing.
If you are located in the Midwest, I hope to catch ya out on the trails—make sure to wave and say hi! If not, happy holidays and feel free to reach out any time!
Thank you again for being key in making this season a reality! I am really proud to represent Anchorage, Minneapolis and the U.S. this season!
About the author...
Rosie Frankowski learned to ski on the trails of Wirth Park with the Southwest High School Nordic team, and now races for APU Nordic Ski Center and will represent the U.S.A. on the World Cup this season.
As a non-National team member, Frankowski financially supports her own racing, including all travel, room and board, and wax support, by working throughout the year. That alone is not enough to cover racing expenses. She would be grateful for any contributions or support to help cover racing costs. Please reach out through her website.