Friday, April 23, 2010

Dear 4th Grade: My White House Visit

Hi Class,

I just wanted to say hello, since I've been away for awhile now. How are all of you?

I am in Denver, Colorado right now, and will be here for one more week before I head back to Lake Placid. I have had a very nice break from training and skiing out here, but wanted to fill you in on some events and programs I've been looking in to. I just spent the last two days in Washington, D.C. The US Olympic and Paralympic Teams were invited to the White House to meet President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice-President Biden and Mrs. Biden. This was an amazing experience. I got a chance to shake Obama's hand; star-struck, all I could say was "It is wonderful to meet you." What do you say to someone who has done such super-human and heroic things? Instead of shaking hands with Mrs. Obama, she gave us a warm hug, after the couple joked about biathlon and made funny gestures of a skier and then a shooter. After meeting all of us individually, each team got to take a photo with both the Obama's and the Biden's.

Not only was it cool to meet the President, and perhaps a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity, it was very special to meet Michelle Obama. I am very excited about her mission as First Lady and a leading mom. Among many initiatives, like growing a garden at the White House, she has started a new program called Let's Move! She is joining the national effort to create a healthier generation of kids - that is you that she is talking about! Here are some of the things her website has to say:

Let’s Move! has an ambitious but important goal: to solve the epidemic of childhood obesity within a generation. Let’s Move will give parents the support they need, provide healthier food in schools, help our kids to be more physically active, and make healthy, affordable food available in every part of our country. Join First Lady Michelle Obama, community leaders, teachers, doctors, nurses, moms and dads in a nationwide campaign to tackle the challenge of childhood obesity. (

The two common themes here are FOOD and ACTIVITY, and the need for healthy amounts of both. In the video address on the homepage she sites national sport programs as playing a major role in motivating kids to get off the couch, away from the computer and outside to play. That's why the Obama's were psyched Olympic athletes were coming to town. Unfortunately, only a handful of athletes got to get into the schools while in DC. But here is what some had to say: "Athletes and First Lady visit D.C. schools"

Athletes also represent a healthy, active lifestyle, which is not only about being active, but also about making important decisions about what we put in our bodies and how we keep ourselves healthy. The food we eat plays a critical role in our performance. Eating lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains and dairy products instead of processed and fast food makes us feel good, think well, and move fast. Listen to what Olympic Skeleton athlete Noelle Pikus-Pace has to say about Let's Move and her decisions as a mom and athlete to eat healthy and stay active.

My visit to the White House also coincided with Earth Day on April 22nd. We can't fully take care of ourselves without also taking care of the environment around us. These two ideas - keeping ourselves and our planet healthy - I think are inextricably linked now more than ever, and becoming a combined mainstream issue for our country. Another Olympic teammate, and north country skier, Bill Demong stayed in Washington to help promote Earth Day initiatives and action.

Look for an early post that displays Bill's call to action to sign a petition to urge Congress to pass a comprehensive climate bill. How our country governs our environment affects the food you eat in school and the places that you get to be active and enjoy the outdoors.

If you've got a moment in class, check out the following websites. See you again in few weeks!


*I forgot my camera for this visit, so once I gather some from friends, I will update this post.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

End of the Year Sponsor Update

I want to thank all of you for your part in helping me make it to the Olympic Games. Each year it has been my goal to be prepared to qualify for and to compete in the Olympic Games, but it would not have happened without the generosity and understanding from my sponsors, supporters, friends and family.

This group of people is multi-faceted, but collectively helps to keep my career sustainable, fun and meaningful:
My bag doesn't get packed without my Teko Socks (Boulder, CO) and their reminder to make environmentally and socially conscious choices in my life. I take some form of Food Science of Vermont (Essex, VT) vitamins daily, and especially attentive to this while in on the road for weeks. My Surefoot (Killington, VT) insoles are going strong despite multiple daily use and the wear and tear of wet and humid summers. I really have no excuse to not be limber and injury-free because I have some of the best self massage tools from Trigger Point Technologies (Austin, TX). And when I need some extra help, there's always Tim and his staff at Balance Bodyworks and Massage (Lake Placid, NY) that help me get back on track. And because much of training is really devoted to recovery and being fresh, Mix1 (Boulder, CO) protein drink and Sun Valley bars (Sun Valley, ID) help me get what I need during tough training days and when European food looses its novelty. Nutrition is paramount to what I do as a female athlete, and I am fortunate to have advice from Susie, a USOC nutrionist, and Green Goddess Natural Foods (Lake Placid, NY) to stock up before flights and months on the road. And when it comes time to get on snow and race this winter, it will be my 12th year exclusively on Rossignol (Park City, UT, France) equipment. Because all of this adds up, even down to the smallest custom piece on my rifle made by Jeff at Placid Industries (Lake Placid, NY) Kevin's custom homemade cuff or Pat's woodwork on my stock; it makes what I do affordable.

In addition to products, its the people. Within sport I consider my coaches and staff to be the inner circle of support, but one that functions only because of all of the people on the periphery. Their enthusiasm and generosity towards what I am aiming to achieve are like buttresses that I can always rely on; they are also the people that I work with on a daily basis. Sports psych time with Mara keeps my mind healthy and my goals at the forefront and Sports Med time with Peter, Jeremy and Megan keeps my body healthy. While on the road, it is always nice to come home to Lake Placid. I look forward to putting a card order together with Judi at Compass Printing and spending time, especially on skis, with Ms. Smith's 4th grade class at the Lake Placid Elementary School. I've benefited from countless other mentors, within friends, family and the ski world, whose advice and counsel has come in many forms. And such support wasn't more apparent than my crew at the Olympics! The Chagnon's, honorary family members, helped spearhead a huge family gather in Vancouver this winter that was unforgettable. Especially, since so many of my supporters don't get to see what I actually do when I spend my winters competing in Europe.

This is my 6th winter doing biathlon full-time and each year I can realistically consider continuing because of the financial support of US Biathlon, the US Olympic Committee, Jerry and J&J services, and a grant from the Uihlein-Ironman Sports Fund in Lake Placid. In addition, over the last two years, I have enjoyed professionally representing Lake Placid and ORDA as a sponsored athlete. And now I am proud to be a part of our town's Olympic heritage.

Now that its mid-April, its time for me to get in a few more weeks of rest and relaxation before gearing up for another year. Its also time to evaluate the training/competition year and set out my 2010/2011 goals - there is a World Cup in Fort Kent, ME and February and World Championships will be held in Khanty-mansysk, Russia. I remain on the US Biathlon National Team and will continue to train out of Lake Placid.

What's next?
April 19 - 2010/2011 training year begins in Lake Placid

Keep in touch either through my blog, on facebook, or by email.

We hope this finds you all well and enjoying the spring!
-Haley and Kara

Lars, Kara and I skiing in Steamboat Springs.

Karlan, Lars and Kara in Squamish, BC during the Olympics.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Because skiing isn't over yet...

Steamboat Springs skiing is up next:

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Enjoy the spring!

With the season over and taxes completed, I am looking forward to this spring break. My 2010-2011 training year will begin at the end of April back in Lake Placid. And news of note:
- my snowfall card stock will be refreshed at the Bookstore Plus next week
- the US Winter Olympic Team will be in Washington, DC April 20-22