Hannah looks to ski career’s next phase | SteamboatToday.com

Hannah looks to ski career’s next phase

About 160 athletes took part in a juniors Nordic skiing camp in Norway earlier this month

— Like millions of children and young adults preparing this month for the first day of school, Lars Hannah is both nervous and excited.

He's sure of his plan, however, and a trip earlier this month to Scandinavia for a skiing camp didn't change that. A national champion last winter, Hannah is going to attend school at University of Denver.

He's not yet sure what he wants to study there, filing as undeclared, but he's sure he wants to continue skiing.

"Some of the kids take a year off, but I'm trying to get a little better at skiing," he said. "For Nordic skiing, it seems like the most competitive route nowadays for kids is to go to an NCAA team as opposed to not going to school and just training to try and make the U.S. Ski Team."

He got a window into what that world may be like with a recent trip to Norway and Sweden for a skiing camp. He earned that honor thanks to his sterling results from last season, highlighted by his winning the U20 men's junior national championship in March.

This summer, he spent time with some of the world's premier up-and-coming Nordic ski talent.

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The trip included a pre-camp stop with U.S. skiers in Torsby, Sweden, for work in a 1.5-kilometer ski tunnel, a welcome relief from the endless roller skiing that typically defines summer training.

It also included stints in Oslo and at a small resort near Lillehammer, Norway, for the International Junior Camp.

"We did a lot of distance running, roller skiing and uphill running tests, "Hannah said. "It was super fun, a great experience."

The camp included about 160 athletes — young men and women from around the Nordic skiing world — and it provided plenty to aspire too.

"You don't really ski with these Norwegians or other top athletes until races at World Juniors, and then they seem far better than you are," Hannah said. "But, when you see them early in the season, it seems more possible you could reach that level of skiing."

For now, though, he's focused on the same thing as many other soon-to-be-students: packing up and preparing to head to college.

Even spending time with those Norwegians and Swedes, many of whom will compete to make their nation's ski teams, didn't change Hannah's plans.

"It looks fun, focusing on skiing all year long, but school is pretty fun, too," he said. "Hopefully, I'll ski all four years at school; then, who knows what will happen after that."

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253, email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @JReich9