Tuesday, April 29, 2014


One of the best ancillary benefits of chasing the ski racing dream comes in travelling. Living a little like a gypsy might not always be peaches-and-cream, but it is the perfect way to meet new friends and old, and to broadens one's perspective. Come springtime, I try to take these memories from the races and the road, and pass what I can onto the schools and classes I visit. With this in mind, here is a little intro video I put together to help share in the stories. Put to Johnny Cash's rendition of I've Been Everywhere, of course.

Sunday, April 13, 2014


My last day in the Nation's Capitol was jammed packed. I got up early and got in a run into the Georgetown neighborhood, along the Potomac River, then through the National Mall in Washington DC. Once I got back, it was soon time to head to the USA Today / Gannet Media offices across the river in Virginia. As I was coming from DC, the managing editor of the sports page picked me up right outside my hotel. I couldn't almost believe it, and made for a great way to learn a little bit more about the communication industry. From the managing editor and her team; from the most read section of the most read paper in America, no less.

While at USA Today, I got to shadow reporters as they had their daily meetings about when they expected to write and add articles to their online offerings. Most of the time, though, the conversations centered over what articles, graphics, and images would make the print edition. Between meetings, different journalists would take me aside, and show me what they were working on. Filing open records requests, investigative journalism, determining online layout, editorial decisions, designing for digital readership today and tomorrow were all areas I got to go and peak behind the curtain. Many thanks for Roxanne Scott, Mary Byrne, and many others at USA Today. 

After DC, I headed for Arizona. My grandparents are snowbirds, calling the Twin Cities of Minnesota their home during the summer months, and Arizona their refuge when the cold weather, snow and ice hit their home state. My favorite time of the day in Arizona are the evenings. During the day, the heat just hits you so hard, but the nights are just about perfect. When the sun starts setting, I always head out and do something, be it running a few miles, hitting a bucket of balls, or catch up with friends I haven't seen for far too long on the telephone.

The last day in Arizona, I was helping my Grandma out with some of the ins-and-outs of the digital world. We came along some old photos. Here's one of my favorites, from the late 1950s at Clear Lake, Minnesota.  

To Hab's 6th Grade Class at Orchard Elementary, I'm getting closer to my return! To the best of times, and those that will be.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Life on the Nation's Capitol

So much about sports is the hard stuff, the hours spent running and roller skiing, the tiredness that seeps into the body from all the training, or the feelings of disappointment that can linger when one does not fully reach their potential in a competition. Fortunately, the Team USA visit to the White House is not like this. At all. The US Olympic Committee really takes care of the returning Olympians. I got flown in to the nation's capitol from Zurich, picked up at the airport, and ushered to a Hilton on the Virginia side of Washington D.C.

The first day in the Nation's Capitol, I was whisked away to Capitol Hill. It was fascinating to see the U.S. Congress in action.  While so many times it might not seem like the political system doesn't feel like it's working, I can tell you Senators Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Amy Kobluchar (D-Minn.) were operating at some of the highest levels I've seen in business or politics.

The Hill just hummed with the energy of efficiency and purpose. And what looked like the just about all the young, hungry, over-worked, under-paid interns in America. A peak into a different world, for sure.

Who knew walking the Senate halls I'd run into the moose.  Also interesting, every Capitol Hill member I met not-so-subtlety mentioned that on the close of the business week in DC they were on a plane back to their home constituents. Every week.

Another cool point of mention is how both Team USA and the Olympic movement is the respect of opportunities given to Paralympians. The Olympic movement prescribes to the Greek (and not English) meaning to the prefix para:  "at or to one side, beside, side by side." When you think about it, this is a refrain of the most beautiful quality. 

On April 7th, NBC will play the "Best of US" television special we filmed while on the White House visit. If you tune in, you'll get to hear Paralympian downhiller Mark Bathum (pictured above) give an acceptance speech that should send shivers up your spine. I know it did mine.

For an American writer, I think the most revered recognition of your work would be to have your book in the Presidential library. Every book in there was written by an American, with the exception of the Qiran and the Bible. Maybe it was mostly the setting, but the book I most wanted to pick up off the shelves was one titled "The Making of an American." How can you not but wonder how you'd measure up? 

 I can think of no better ending to this large helping of patriotic words and images than to play for you a little video I put together for Mr. Haberberger's class following the conclusion of the Sochi Games:

                     "Never curb your enthusiasm. Put the whole of yourself into it." -Percy Cerutty

To the best of times. And those that will be. -Torin