Monday, December 31, 2012

How to spend the Christmas Break?

We had to make a decision before we came out to Europe on the best case scenario for the lapse of time between races.  Normally, Noelle would come home for about 12 days for Christmas and return back to Europe, but we thought that would be a tough feat for the kids.  We also played around with different scenarios and determined it would save us a good deal of money if we were to just stay here in Europe and not make the jet lagged and expensive round trip home and back, so we stayed.  I will create posts for each of our stopping locations over the course of our little break.  There should be 4 in total.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

La Plagne & the French Alps

We're still alive!!  Sorry for the long delay in updating the blog, I will make sure to keep you all informed more frequently.  There was a slight change to our plans for the La Plagne race.  We were told that another athlete would be coming out to race to try and earn points for a 3rd spot in World Championships at the end of January.  It was definitely difficult for Noelle to go there and forerun knowing she would not be racing.  She was sliding very well there, but she at least got some experience there for the World Cup race next year.  I learned that there are some of you who woke up earlier in the morning to watch the race and did not know that Noelle had been replaced.  I am sorry for that, I didn't realize that there were more than a few "Die Hard Fans".  That was her first time down that track.  It was very bumpy and painful on the neck and head.
Enjoy the pics below of our journey from Winterberg, Germany through La Plagne, France.

 We found a Burger King along our drive just before leaving Germany.

We were able to stop in Bern, Switzerland and stop outside the temple.  It was really pretty with all of the snow.  It was a 30 min detour to stop by on our 10 hour drive to France.  Because of the long drive we were unable to find a church, so it worked out perfect that we were at least able to find the Temple.  (FYI, Switzerland charges about $50 just to drive your car in their country, it is good for 1 year though).

Bern, Switzerland Temple.

This was the amazing view from our room in La Plagne.

The kids found something to do.  They don't stop!  Traycen is on a mission to destroy everything.  He'll just walk around pulling things down and making sure he leaves his trail.

This is Noelle at the start of the La Plagne track, with her coach Tuffy filming her push.

 The kids found this little ramp right next to the track that kept them busy sliding, throwing snowballs and making mini snowmen.

 There are many hotels in La Plagne, probably one of the most insane villages I have seen.  It is all crowded up in the top of the alps, how they built everything up there, amazes me.  We had all of our meals covered in the hotel restaurant.  The kids definitely were dined on the best they will ever get.  This is a pic of a fancy desert after lunch.

 Another picture of us at dinner with some of the team in the background.  Lacee and Traycen entertained everyone.  Traycen would only eat the inside of the bread out.  The outside was a little tough so he hollowed about 15 pieces each meal.

 For some reason Lacee likes playing "jail and dungeons".  They were locked up temporarily.

We stopped into a neat old town "Moutiers" which was about 30 minutes away.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Winterberg Wonderland!!!

This portion of our journey lands us in Winterberg Germany.  It is about 2 hours north of Frankfurt (although it took us about 4 hours with some snowy weather and bad traffic).  This was Noelle's 2nd World Cup competition.  She ranks 9th in the World now after this race.  That is a really good position considering she has competed in only 2 of the 4 World cup race.  She does have some ICC races that have filled in the missing points.  Just to give you a quick briefing, a 1st place finish in an ICC race is equivalent in points to a 13th place finish in a World Cup, and a 1st place finish in an Americas Cup race is equivalent to a 19th place finish in a World Cup.
For those of you who are unaware, Noelle had to compete in 4 Americas Cup races on 2 different tracks this year before she was qualified to race in any World Cup races.  This is the reason she missed the first 2 WC races in Lake Placid and Park City.  She has been working together as a team to obtain a 3rd US sled to compete in World Championships this year and hopefully onto the World Cup circuit next year (there are currently only 2 US world cup spots due to last years results).

The four of us after the race, after Noelle claimed Bronze!

On Dec. 6th St. Nick visits to leave gifts in shoes left outside the door.  Lacee and I were fortunate to see St. Nick in the town that night.  It was really cold and St. Nick didn't speak english, but we managed to get a picture with him.  Lacee loved it.

 The kids got umbrellas, a little souveneir from Winterberg.

 We met Noelle at the top of the track after her first run. 

 I pushed the kids down the track to a waffle house!  That's right, imagine a bobsled/skeleton track that has waffle houses, not one but 3 of them.  This place was crowded with people.  They take their sports serious here, not just basketball and baseball.  They go all out!

 I captured one of the German sliders in Kreisel (a full circle) during the 2nd run of the race.  If you noticed the kids have a new hat, we found a hat with a hole for the face.  It was really cold here and this really helped the chubby cheeked kids from turning red and purple from the cold.

 Here is a picture of Noelle at the finish after the race, in midst of the media coverage.

 Noelle is enjoying a hot cocoa just before the awards ceremony.

 The top 3 finishers get their flag raised during the awards ceremony.

 Here are the top 6 of the Winterberg world cup.

 Noelle, Tuffy and Zach (coaches), Travis and Chad (trainers) and Lacee.

  A little celebration pose with her trophy.  No medals were given here just trophies and stuffed dogs :).

 Remember how I said they went all out?  Well here is a picture of band playing through the cold weather.  Below is a video of the madness.  It was pretty exciting, kids loved it.

 This is Team USA 2 (Noelle's team) during the team competition.  They placed fourth, Noelle had the fastest time out of the skeleton racers.

 We celebrated Noelle's 30th birthday here.  The cooks at the hotel were extremely nice and baked her a cake.  The entire USA bosled/skeleton team sang Happy Birthday.

 This is Noelle's team during the team race on Saturday.  USA 2 TRESS, Kyle / MEYERS, Elana / JONES, Lolo / PIKUS-PACE, Noelle /CUNNINGHAM, Nick / LANGTON, Chris.  This is a new race that is only held 2-4 times a season.  They combine the times of Women's bobsled, Men's skeleton, Women's skeleton and Men's bobsled.  They each get 1 run and they total all of their times.  We placed fourth, and the other USA team placed fifth.

 Lacee making a snow angel during one of Noelle's practice days. 

This is a firework display after the team event.  Like I said: they go all out here.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Farewell Whistler! Gold Noelle!

It is really late or really early right now (1 a.m.).  We had the 2nd ICC race tonight where Noelle had the 2 fastest runs and WON it!!!  Wahoo!!  A good way to end our 2 week stay here in Whistler, Canada.  We will hit the road tomorrow morning for Winterberg, Germany where Noelle will compete in her 2nd World Cup race next week.  Stay tuned to the blog and I will keep it updated with her schedule and race times.  Just a heads up though, these races in Europe will most likely be at the weee hours of the morning.  I know there might be a few die hards out there, so if you're one of them, the races might be broadcast live on youtube or the ipad app.
Thanks for all the prayers, thoughts and support we couldn't do this without you all!  Here are some highlights from the last couple of days.

Noelle made a top 25 list we just heard about today:

 He was a handful, so I had to stuff him in the stroller!

 Us in front of the Whistler start house.

 You can't ever run out of toys- just find a pillow bag and walah!  

 Tired, plus really cold, plus really wet, plus a delay on the track, plus really hungry =, this.

 Noelle pushing on her 2nd run on the 2nd ICC race.

 Awards on the first night where Noelle placed 2nd.

 Day 2, rain stopped and snow started!  Lacee found a natural elephant to ride.

 We made a mini snowman, and yes he has an apple for a mouth and a banana peel for a hat.

 Race 2, Noelle placed 1st and claimed the Gold in style!

Team USA on ICC in Whistler.

Either the kids found the podium or Noelle and I shrunk!

Can you see 4 people in the picture?  Once you find the 4th, go watch "The Nightmare Before Christmas  and tell me who it is.  (Not planned, somehow Traycen uncovered the beast!)

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Whistler Counting Down!

The ICC races will be tomorrow and Saturday at 6:00 p.m. PST.  These races will not be broadcast on t.v or the internet.  I will update the blog with the results or you may visit:  There will most likely be a press release after the races.

We will leave for Germany this Sunday for a World Cup race next week.  That race will be broadcast live on youtube and the ipad app, but the times will most likely be in middle of the night for everyone at home.  You still might be able to view the races after on youtube.

We are here finishing up our 2nd week in Whistler, BC.  We moved from our last 2 bdr condo to a no bedroom loft suite just down the road.  Not an ideal situation with kids.  Sound travels and you can't shut a door to get away from the kids.  It was hard getting used to at first, but after a couple of days were semi-situated.
Family picture on Thanksgiving

 Our Thanksgiving dinner with the team.  We had ham, turkey and everything else!

 What you're looking at here is $46 worth of groceries.  Priced a little steep if you ask me.  I have no idea how people can afford to live up here.

 Lacee on Race Day

 Noelle after finishing her run with her coach Zach carrying the sled.  This is a picture of her old pod, unfortunately there was a problem and we had to make some changes to her sled.  She now has a grayish/black pod.  So you won't be seeing this one anymore. :(

 Noelle after her run.

 Traycen at the Race.

 Lacee taking a picture of silly daddy at the bottom of the track.

 Daddy taking a picture of silly Lacee.

 Noelle with Traycen while receiving her medal after the race.  Traycen kept crying so she picked him up.

 Noelle getting recognized at the awards ceremony with the kids in hand.

We just broke Traycen of the crib and he is sleeping a little wild, that is when we can get him to stay in bed.