The idea arose after Brooks’ successful completion of the Kuusamo Mini-Tour where she finished 23rd overall amongst over 90 women. However, coaches and Brooks were waiting to see how the races in Davos went before making an official decision about her race schedule. Brooks proved that she belongs on the Tour de Ski roster without question. In Saturday’s distance event in Davos, after 50 starters Brooks was leading the race. Until approximately 10km (into the 15k event) she was as high as seventh place overall. While she faded towards the end of the race, Brooks finished 13th place, five seconds out of tenth to bring home the best result of the day for the USA. Aside from Kikkan Randall’s 8th place in Sjujsoen and an 11th place in the 2011 Lahti, Finland pursuit, Brooks’ 15km result in Davos might be one of the best female distance race results since Alison Kiesel in the mid 1980s!
Following this weekend’s performance Holly has consistently scored points in five of seven individual race starts. World Cup points have come in both techniques, skate and classic as well as both racing styles, distance and sprint events. Brooks has proved that she is a well-rounded racer, capable of skiing well in any event, and any distance; a skill that will prove valuable in the 9-stage, 11- day Tour de Ski!
Brooks’ enthusiasm for the Tour format matches her stellar, World Cup start. “I am really, really excited for the Tour and the opportunity to race day after day here in Europe. My favorite part of the World Cup are the race weekends and in the Tour, it’s like having five race weekends condensed into one event. I feel like my training with APU has prepared me with the fitness to race day in and day out.
“I’ve gathered both mental and physical strength from my long days in the mountains growing up with my dad and at home, in Alaska with my husband Rob. I am excited for the challenge and cannot wait for the Tour to begin!”
In the overall World Cup standings Brooks currently sits in 26th place overall, and perhaps more notably, is ranked 19th in the World for distance skiing.
This year’s Tour will begin in Oberhof, Germany on December 29th with a 2.5km freestyle Prologue event. The Tour will then continue on to Obersdorf (Germany), Toblach (Italy), Cortina (Italy), and finally conclude in Val di Femme (Italy) where the final stage will take place in the form of a 9-kilometer uphill ski. (Val di Femme is also the site of the 2013 Nordic World Championships so racing at this venue will prove valuable in more ways than one!).
The full Tour de Ski schedule of events can be found in the attached World Cup Calendar document. For more information on the actual event, check the website HERE.
The first event of the Tour is scheduled to begin 10 days after the upcoming World Cup weekend in Rogla, Slovenia. This means Brook will spend Christmas in Ramsau, Austria with other members of the US Ski Team in order to participate in a pre-Tour training camp. Brooks, along with US Ski Team members Kikkan Randall and Liz Stephan, will miss the 2012 US Nationals being held in Rumford, Maine. The US Championships is scheduled in direct conflict with the Tour de Ski.
The 2012 Tour de Ski is the banner event for the 2011-2012 season; a year where there is no World Championships or Olympic Games. As such, many of the top athletes are gunning to have their best performances at the Tour.
Last year’s Tour de Ski proved to be tough as close to two thirds of the field dropped out before the final hill climb. This year completion rates are expected to be higher as skiers aren’t worried about “saving themselves” for a Championship event. Still, the unique stage race will prove to be tough physically, mentally, logistically, and finally, financially.
The chance to participate in the Tour de Ski is a wonderful opportunity, one that Holly will not pass up. Unfortunately, the invitation for the Tour comes with no funding and Holly is responsible for paying her costs directly out of pocket. If she continues to turn in good results there may be an opportunity to finish out the entire World Cup season, through the end of March. What initially began as a six week trip has the likelihood of turning into a full, five month World Cup season!
In order to participate in the Tour and the remainder of the World Cup season Holly is faced with raising an additional $17,500. This sum pays for basic expenses (room & board + transportation) alone with no “in-pocket income.” Several fundraising campaigns are currently in the works to support Holly’s Tour de Ski and World Cup efforts. For more information or if you would like to participate, donations can be made via paypal on her blog or, contact Holly directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.