Oberstdorf Tour de Ski

Again, this is a mostly-pictures post. I took a plane from Salt Lake City to Munich, arriving on the morning of January 2nd. From there a few trains took me to Blaichach, a small town in Bavaria that had rooms free in an outdoor center when Elise and I were looking to book somewhere to stay (it also happens to be about 30 minutes’ walk from two different train stops that take you to Oberstdorf). I met up with Elise in our room that afternoon. Due to inclement weather (it was basically raining the entire time that races weren’t going on) and long travel times from our hotel to the venue in Oberstdorf, we didn’t explore the neighboring towns too much. In fact, we ended up watching Firefly in the evenings and eating at the same restaurant, a 2 minute walk from our room, both nights. The first time was because it was getting late, we had been walking around for over an hour, and Blaichach apparently didn’t have any other restaurants open; the second time, it was pouring rain and we didn’t feel like adding an hour of walking in the dark and rain to our evening plans after a day spent standing in the cold. Not that it was a bad restaurant (quite the opposite); I just wish the weather would have cooperated a bit more so we could have gone for a nice evening exploration of Sonthofen.

Beautiful Bavarian fields and mountains on the train to Blaichach.
Beautiful Bavarian fields and mountains on the train to Blaichach.
Outdoorzentrum Allgau, where Elise and I stayed. Our room is the one with the light on.
Outdoorzentrum Allgau, where Elise and I stayed. Our room is the one with the light on.
Blaichach and Sonthofen from a nearby hill; I decided to go for a little run in the rain before dinner.
Sonthofen from a nearby hill; I decided to go for a little run in the rain before dinner.

The main attraction wasn’t the food, of course, but the opening races of the Tour de Ski in Oberstdorf: a freestyle prologue (3 km for women, 4 km for men) on the first day, which determined the racers’ start order/time in the classic pursuit (10 km for women, 15 km for men) on the second. There were two Dartmouth alumnae helping represent the USA: Ida Sargent ’11 and Sophie Caldwell ’12, and it was really exciting to see them racing internationally in person! Elise and I were originally planning to meet up with Sophie’s family for this trip, but unfortunately that didn’t end up working out. We did get the surprise pleasure of meeting and cheering with Ida’s parents, and they kindly gave us rides back from the stadium to town after both days of racing.

Elise captures one of the skier signs on the way to the stadium in Oberstdorf.
Elise captures one of the skier signs on the way to the stadium in Oberstdorf.
First view of the course! It was a grey day at this point.
First view of the course! It was a grey day at this point.
Ida warms up with a little "coaches' skate" up one of the big hills on the course.
Jessie Diggins warms up with a little “coaches’ skate” up one of the big hills on the course.
Somebody powering through her first lap!
Jessie powering through her first lap!
Somebody on her first lap.
I missed Sophie on her first lap (too busy cheering), but here she is on her second.
Somebody on her first lap.
Ida on her first lap. Looking good!
Strong skating from somebody on her second lap.
Strong skating from Kikkan (you can tell it’s her because of the pink hair) on her second lap.
Somebody coming through for her second lap.
Ida coming through for her second lap.
Marit Bjorgen crushing it on her second lap.
Marit Bjoergen crushing it on her second lap.
It actually turned out to be a lovely day for a bit!
It actually turned out to be a lovely day for a bit!

Unfortunately, I didn’t get any good pictures of either of the men’s races, with the exception of one view of the pack on the second day, so the photos here are skipping straight to the second day of races.

Warming up and wax testing on day 2.
Warming up and wax testing on day 2.
Marit cruises up a hill in the classic 10k pursuit.
Marit cruises up a hill in the classic 10k pursuit.
Somebody and somebody.
That’s Liz Stephen in the middle (in the USA suit).
Somebody striding with the pack.
Sophie striding with the pack.
Somebody
Kikkan is in mid-stride back there.
Ida
Ida!
Oh yeah, there was this band playing before and between the races on both days. The first day they had weird, winter/snow-themed costumes. I liked their colorful steampunk-ish getup from the second day a lot better.
Oh yeah, there was this local band playing before and between the races on both days. The first day they had weird, winter/snow-themed costumes. I liked their colorful steampunk-ish getup from the second day a lot better.
Watching the guys from my previous vantage point, but looking down instead of up. Their race was a lot tighter, but the Americans weren't as close to the front of the pack.
Watching the guys from my previous vantage point, but looking down instead of up. Their race was a lot tighter, but the Americans weren’t as close to the front of the pack. On the plus side, Alex Harvey did North America proud with a 2nd place finish!
About half of the American cheering squad (Elise and Ida's dad) is visible here; Ida's mom is walking in front of them. Good luck to the U.S. skiers for the rest of the tour!
About half of the American cheering squad (Elise and Ida’s dad) is visible here; Ida’s mom is walking in front of them. Good luck to the U.S. skiers for the rest of the tour!

Full race results for the 2015 Oberstdorf Tour de Ski races can be found here:

Women’s 3 km freestyle prologue

Men’s 4 km freestyle prologue

Women’s 10 km classic pursuit

Men’s 15 km classic pursuit

It’s been exciting seeing results from the rest of the tour (you can easily find them from any one of those links), and it was really nice to spend more time with Elise! I’m glad that being in Cambridge facilitates a little bit of continental exploration. 🙂

Next up: photos from Basel!

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