Autumn travels

Lindsey Van made history in 2009 by becoming the first women's ski jumping world champion. Now she’s training for the Sochi Olympics, where her sport will be contested in the Games for the first time. She gives us a look at what this past fall was like for her and her teammates.

Courtesy of Jessica Jerome

Darko Technologies. Ogden, Utah.
November 15, 2013.

This is me, in the wind tunnel where we get to practice our flying. It allows us minutes at a time to feel what we usually feel on the ski jump for only a few seconds. It's like having a whole summer season of jumping in a single two-hour session of wind tunnel. I had a blast and learned a lot that I will try to transfer to the hill.

Courtesy of Lindsey Van

Lake Placid, New York.
October 13, 2013.

I took this picture while on an early-morning walk when the sun was rising. I’m a morning person and I like to go outside to get some fresh air and get my blood moving. This was the morning of the U.S. championships in Lake Placid. I liked the silhouette of the ski jumps in the distance.

Courtesy of Lindsey Van

Cecret Lake. Alta, Utah.
October 22, 2013.

I free ski at Alta, Utah, in the winter, but I don't get many chances to hike around here in the summer and fall. This lake is frozen in the winter and usually goes unnoticed -- in fact, I always knew there was a lake there, but I had never seen it.

It was a perfect fall day for a hike -- mid-60s with the higher mountains capped in the first snow. The lake is runoff water from the spring melt, so it's chilly. It was neat to see, uncovered, what I ski on in the winter.

Courtesy of Lindsey Van

USOC Training Center. Chula Vista, California.
November 7, 2013.

My teammate Jessica Jerome is squatting 100kg during a weight session at our training camp with trainer Michael Naperalsky spotting her. The Visa Team is looking strong and fit and we are motivated for the upcoming 2013-14 season.

Lindsey Van

Armstrong Trail. Park City Mountain Resort, Park City, Utah.
October 24, 2013.

I was getting in one of my last mountain-bike rides of the season in late October. The first snow had already come and weighted down the last of the leaves. I rode on the trails surrounding Park City all spring, summer and fall.

On this day it was quiet with all the leaves on the ground, but they did crunch below my tires. It's fun to experience these mountains in all seasons. Each season is so unique and I enjoy every one for different reason.

Courtesy of Lindsey Van

Dog Lake. Mill Creek Canyon, Salt Lake City, Utah.
October 26, 2013.

I love to hike. It’s one way I do cardio during the offseason. I went hiking with some friends to Dog Lake in Salt Lake City, so naturally we brought our dogs. This is Jack, a friend’s pooch, who enjoyed the hike and, especially, fetching the ball in the lake. Jack is also prone to getting his human friends wet by shaking himself off after. Here I tried to capture that moment with a cool camera filter.

Courtesy of Lindsey Van

Mirror Lake. Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest, Utah.
October 20 2013.

This was a day or two after one of the first snowfalls of the year. The Uinta Mountains are above 10,000 feet, and the road closes early in the season because of the snowpack. I head up there in the summer for cooler hiking and camping.

I wanted to get in one last trip before the road closed. It was a perfect bluebird day, crisp and quiet. I took this picture of Bald Mountain while walking around Mirror Lake. It's a busy destination in the summer, but this day I was peacefully alone.

Courtesy of Lindsey Van

Silver Strand State Beach. San Diego, California.
November 4, 2013.

Our team traveled to San Diego for an intensity training camp. We went through track workouts, mobility, weights, plyometrics, hiking, beach sessions, volleyball and surfing -- all geared to motivate us and update our normal work sessions back in Park City. This is a picture of my teammates Jessica Jerome and Abby Hughes prior to a beach workout. It was great weather. It was nice to see the sun and play in the ocean before our winter season begins.

Lindsey Van

Mission Beach. San Diego, California.
November 6, 2013.

During our training camp in Chula Vista, we learned to surf. This is a picture of the Visa Women’s Ski Jumping Team before we took to the sea. Everybody performed great and we were all able to stand up with no problems. I discovered a new hobby and fully plan to be surfing again next spring.

Courtesy of Lindsey Van

Round Valley Trail. Park City, Utah.
November 1, 2013.

The lower mountains and hills around Park City were snowless but muddy on the first day of November. I hike, bike and cross-country ski on these trails. Snow caps the higher-elevation mountains but leaves the lower stuff still usable for hiking and biking in the late fall. This picture is looking west at the Canyons Ski Resort.