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Mountain musings: Dancers blog from Nebelhorn

Cannuscio, McManus report from senior 'B' event in Oberstdorf, Germany
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Members of Team USA competing at 2015 Nebelhorn Trophy enjoy dinner together at an Italian restaurant. -Anastasia Cannuscio and Colin McManus

Anastasia Cannuscio and Colin McManus are in Oberstdorf, Germany, to compete at the 2015 Nebelhorn Trophy. They are keeping a blog of their experiences for icenetwork.

Saturday, Sept. 26

Our final day in Germany was fabulous! It started out just like any other day here in Deutschland, with a delicious breakfast and a brisk walk to the rink.

Practice went well, and then we were back to the hotel for a second breakfast and some rest.

The free dance event went really well. We felt we performed the program just like we do at home, and we were very pleased. We are excited to get back to training so we can improve our levels and perform even better at Skate America.

What was the first thing we did after the competition? We got Spaghetti-Eis! It's ice cream that looks like spaghetti -- Spaghetti! We've had our eyes on it all week. Basically, they push vanilla ice cream through a form (kind of like play-doh) which makes it look like spaghetti. They then pour strawberry sauce on top. Unfortunately, they were out of the strawberry sauce, but the chocolate sauce was just as tasty. Maybe not quite as spaghetti-esque, but still delicious.

We then headed back to the rink again for the team awards ceremony and the exhibition. Colin and I were chosen by the team to accept the team trophy! We were honored to stand on the podium on behalf of Team USA.

We then quickly headed to the dressing room to get ready for the exhibition!

Nebelhorn Trophy has been an amazing experience and the perfect way to start off our season. We had a great team, and I can't wait to travel with all of them again.

Bringing home five medals for Team USA!

Thank you so much to all our fans. Your support means so much to us!

Auf wiedersehen, Germany! We'll miss you!

Stasia and Colin 

Friday, Sept. 25

Friday was a great day because we got to sleep in! Unfortunately, we can't say the same about tomorrow morning, but one day is better than no days.

We headed down to breakfast and were joined by Grant [Hochstein] and the two Karens (Ludington, Kwan Oppegard). Well, Grant was only partly there -- it was more like a zombie that kind of resembled Grant. For some reason, he hasn't been able to sleep at all since he's been here. I'm going to blame it on the church bells that not only ring on the hour but every 15 minutes in between as well.

The walk to the rink was lovely today; it was much warmer and pretty clear. Practice was great, aside from the sun blinding us through the beautiful windows along one side of the rink. It's pretty, but not always practical. We did, however, appreciate the vitamin D...didn't have to take our supplements today! 

We ran back to the hotel and quickly dropped off our things. We met up with Maddie [Chock] and her parents to go to the top of Nebelhorn. On the way to the gondolas, we and the Chock clan stopped at the souvenir shops, managing to get gifts for most of the people on our lists. Of course, Christmas ornaments are always a must have.

The ride up to the top of the mountain consists of 2-3 gondola stops/transfers, depending on how high you want to go. As we were walking into the stop at the base of the mountain, we ran into Alex Paul's parents, who had just come down, and they told us to be sure to get off at the second stop for warm apple strudel and hot chocolate. I think we just about sprinted into the station after they told us about that.

The gondola ride up the mountain was absolutely beautiful, and as we were just about to make it to strudel heaven, we rode into the clouds. We were pretty much surrounded by white fog, and we could not really see any civilization below. So, our view from the top was less than stellar, but safe to say that the strudel and hot chocolate did not disappoint. Germany makes a mean strudel...go figure! 

After a few photo ops, and Maddie getting stuck on the playground, we made our way back down and out of the clouds. We hit a few more shops before having some dinner at another Italian place very close to our hotel.

They had the rugby world cup on, which is the most intriguing sport. There's people being thrown in the air, people huddling and moving down the field, and a ton of energy exerted for basically no gain. What are the rules? Why aren't helmets required? Why doesn't the play stop once the player with the ball gets tackled to the ground? These are things we may never fully understand. Oh rugby, you mysterious minx. Dinner was delicious, as has been the case with all of our meals here in Germany.

Time for some shuteye to prepare for the free dance tomorrow! 

Good night, all!

Thursday, Sept. 24

We started off the day with a nice and early wake-up call and then headed downstairs for some bread-fast. Oops -- I mean breakfast.

Our morning began with a mini heart attack when Evan Bates came downstairs and said, "I think you guys have practice at 8:30."

It was 8 a.m.

Thankfully, Evan was wrong. Our practice did, in fact, start at 9:15 like we originally thought. Who needs coffee when you have Evan Bates telling you your practice starts in 30 minutes?

After that, we were off to the arena. The rain held out, and we had a much drier walk to the rink. Practice felt great, and we headed back to the hotel for a quick rest.

After watching a few episodes of How I Met Your Mother, fixing my hair and makeup, and doing Colin's makeup, we were off to the arena.

We were very happy with the way we skated our short! We had a few levels that we thought would be higher, but we are very much looking forward to the free dance. Maddie [Chock] and Evan were beautiful as always, and we are looking forward to joining them in the last warmup group Saturday.

After the event, we cheered on Alexa [Scimeca] and Chris [Knierim] before heading to Wienerwald, a fast-food restaurant that, ironically, is known for its chicken.

The only thing better than the chicken was the free Wi-Fi, am I right? To answer my own question -- yes.

We ran into Maddie's parents, who recommended the chicken soup. It was delicious. If you ever come to Oberstdorf, we recommend Wienerwald! There are pretzels hanging from the ceiling, so you know it's good.

After loading up on chicken soup, we headed back to the rink to watch the men. Nebelhorn is off to a great start, and we can't wait for more events tomorrow.

Good night from Germany!

Wednesday, Sept. 23

We started the day off with some breakfast at the hotel. It included the usual European fare, with yogurts, coffee, meats and cheeses, but here they have the most massive bowl filled with every kind of bread you can imagine. It looked like it was straight out of a carb lovers dream. There were white rolls, wheat rolls, pumpkin seed bread, croissants, baguettes and everything in between. 

After getting all carbed up, we went for a rainy walk to the rink for our first practice of the day. Anywhere else we would have been a bit more miserable, but everything is so scenic that it didn't even matter that it was raining. We walked into the competition rink, and it looked like the florists had a field day in there. There were flower boxes along the boards, and the kiss and cry couch is practically hidden behind a jungle of trees. As caught off-guard as we were, it all looks wonderful and really adds to the beauty of the arena. 

Our first practice went really well. Afterward, we had just enough time to walk back to the hotel, throw our short dance costumes in our garment bags and walk back over to the rink for the draw. We drew third, and Madison [Chock] and Evan [Bates] drew fourth. I think all of us were just happy we didn't draw first, but we got pretty close!

After the draw, we had a good amount of time to hang out at the rink before our second practice. We got to catch up with Max [Aaron] and talk a little fantasy football (which is more like listening to Max try and trade players with Stasia, and Stasia turning down every single offer). It just goes to show you can fly all the way to Germany, but you can't get away from dealing with shady trades. 

Joined by Max, Grant [Hochstein] and the two Karens (Ludington, Kwan Oppegard), we ended the night with dinner at another Italian place right across from the rink. It worked out great for Grant, because he ended up leaving his shoes at the rink earlier today. You might think, "Who could lose a pair of shoes?"…Grant can lose a pair of shoes. But kudos to him, he knew exactly where to look. The dinner was great. You can't really go wrong with Italian…you know, the carbs.

So, a quick recap from Germany: rain, carbs, beautiful mountains, shady fantasy football trades, lost shoes and more carbs.

We're looking forward to the short dance tomorrow and cheering on our teammates as they compete!

Tuesday, Sept. 22

Hello all! Anastasia and Colin, reporting from Oberstdorf.

It is our first time competing at Nebelhorn Trophy, and we are so excited to see firsthand all of the lovely things we've heard about the place. Traveling went very well. We had a direct flight from Philadelphia (amazing!) and made it to Munich safely. A couple of hours on a bus later, and we made it. The last time we traveled internationally -- to Finlandia Trophy -- Stasia accidentally punched our coach, Karen [Ludington], in the face whilst traveling to the hotel (long story). Anyway, we made it without any brutality, and Karen is very appreciative.

The village is absolutely beautiful. As our team doctor said, it looks like Epcot in Disney World, because everything is so perfect. All I know is he said something about Disney World, which means 'Stasia is now his best friend.

We took a walk to the rink and got registered for the competition. The rink is beautiful and full of history. We found out that the German dance team Angelika Buck and Erich Buck, who invented the Ravensburger Waltz, trained at the the rink in Obersdorf. So it's awesome that we get to compete the dance here and tie in some ice dance history!

We concluded the day with the team dinner at the Italian place right around the corner from our hotel. It was a special dinner because we got the opportunity to honor judge Joe Inman on his last international judging assignment. It was great to come together as a team to celebrate all of his dedication and to thank him for everything he has given to this sport.

We all had a great time per usual, and who doesn't love a good carb load-up before competition? We have a full day of practices tomorrow...we are excited to see what this beautiful place has in store for us!

Talk to you tomorrow!