Laura is sad to see the snow melt. Just like many skiers and winter sport enthusiasts when spring arrives in the Adirondacks. But, she’ll make do. Her running shoes are worn in and she’s ready to begin training for mountain races. A native of Anchorage, Alaska, Laura currently lives in Queensbury, New York, with her ultra-hiker boyfriend, Cory DeLavalle, and works as a physical therapist.
When it comes to Nordic skiing, Laura entered the game late. Unlike many of her teammates, she wasn’t on skis as soon as she could walk. Instead, she was a teenager when she begged her parents to let her do it. Thankfully, they caved. In high school, she started at the middle of the pack, trained hard and continued racing in college.
One of the principles that has enabled Laura to be a highly competitive racer and athlete is that she’s a woman of discipline.
“I like routine.”Laura Tuttle
Most days, she’s up by 6 a.m., makes a pot of coffee and is out of the house by 7 a.m. or earlier to run, hike or ski. She is a fan of Dawn Patrol at Whiteface mountain and fitting in a morning workout before jetting off to a full day of work. She’s a fashionable and colorful mountain athlete, paring black and pink leggings with a neon green zip top, blue base layer and purple shell. When I’m around her, I’m inspired to train harder. And that’s what got Laura from the middle of the pack to the top. Hard work, dedication and a deep passion to play in the mountains.
Bethany: What was the last race you competed in?
Laura: This was actually the last Skimo race of the season for the New England series in Sunday River, ME called “Something Bigger.” The race conditions ended up being pretty technical and variable, which made for quite a few mind games on each lap. I think everyone competing that day came away with an interesting story.
Bethany: How do you typically feel before races?
Laura: When I first started racing, I use to get pretty nervous, but now I go into races with the number one goal to have fun. Being able to take the pressure off of myself and not really worry about how others have prepared has made racing much more enjoyable.
Bethany: What’s your routine before a big race?
Laura: Three hours before the race I’ll eat breakfast with a cup of coffee and then get my race kit together. Then about 30-45min before the race, I’ll get a good dynamic warm-up in.
Laura: A good burger or piece of pizza
Bethany: Do you have a most memorable racing experience?
Laura: To date competing in Mount Marathon for the first time was a pretty special experience. I grew up watching the race and being inspired by local legends. Finally being able to toe the line was a blast, and after the finish line even though my legs were wrecked and muddy, I was already thinking of how to improve my time for next year.
Bethany: What does your weekly training look like?
Laura: Overall, I prefer to focus my workouts more on vertical gain, rather than straight mileage. Usually, I’ll train between 7-12 hours a week, often adapting my training to how I’m feeling and how much time I have before work. Typically, I’ll try to include 1-2 intensity sessions mid-week and a long run/hike or ski on the weekend.
Bethany: What are your athletic ambitions for the next five years?
Laura: I’d like to transition to some longer races, both in running and skiing. This year, I enjoyed getting into a few Skimo races, including the Power of Four in Aspen, CO. Following this season, I definitely have an interest in seeking out similar races out west and potentially in Europe. As far as running, I’d like to compete in more of the Skyrunning series and build into some 50K races. However, apart from racing, there are certainly some interesting projects out there that I’d like to include in future goals.
Bethany: Do you have a favorite piece of gear?
Laura: Right now, the Scott Supertrac RC shoes have been my go-to for racing and muddy conditions. For the winter, it’s been my Hagan Ultra 65 Skis.
Bethany: Best advice you ever received?
Laura: Be open to new experiences, change begins at the end of your comfort zone.
Laura: To not pursue Nordic Skiing beyond high school.
Bethany: Favorite trails in the Adirondacks?
Laura: Usually anything with very little switchbacks, Noonmark and Colden are ones that I really like coming back to, due to the amazing views. In winter, taking the trail from Calamity Brook to Flowed Lands is pretty unique. Once frozen, it’s a fun trek to gain access to the High Peaks from a different vantage point.
Bethany: Outside the Adirondacks?
Laura: This is a tough one, I have quite a few: the Bigelow Range in Maine, Reed Lakes in the Talkeetna Mountains, Crow Pass, and Lost Lake, all of which are in Alaska.
Bethany: Piece of advice you’d give your younger self?
Laura: Value those who support your passions and bring positivity to your life.