I was extremely excited to head to Lake Louise this month for my first World Cup Start – two downhills and a SuperG! Admittedly, I was a little nervous since I only had one downhill training session and it was months ago in Chile. The anxiety was compounded since my last experience on the track in 2016 ended in the A-net with a dislocated shoulder. It was a relief to get through my first training run. After that, I built confidence and quickly improved.
I Just spent two weeks in Pitztal, Austria. I always joke that Pitztal is where ski racing dreams go to die. Pitztal has this huge icy pitch that just darkens your whole world as a ski racer. You could be on an extreme high in your ski racing career, skiing at your very best, but Pitztal will humble you. It has this way of bringing out your flaws, no matter how small or disguised they may be. It was a long two weeks, but I feel like I always leave this place more prepared than I arrived, because if you can tackle the "fall off the face of the earth" pitch in Pitztal then you can handle just about anything else the season will bring.
My first Chilean experience was a good one. We spent two weeks in Valle Nevado, and I think it might have been one of my best on snow camps of all time. We trained almost full length DH, and full length SG, GS, and SL on some fabulous terrain. During my first DH training day I was riding the chair when I realized this was the first time I had ever trained DH aside from pre-race training runs. The whole camp was just such an amazing experience, and I feel like I accomplished an learned so much in that short time. It didn’t hurt that we barely saw a cloud in the sky during our whole camp!
Now we're back in the gym for a couple of weeks before we head across the pond for our first Eurotrip of the year!
And the 2017-18 season has officially started. We just finished up our first on-snow camp down in Ushuaia, Argentina. The ski racing lifestyle is an exciting one, don't get me wrong, but at times it can become a little bit tedious as well; training in the same places, skiing the same runs, lapping on the same chairlifts. That's why this camp gave me so much to look forward to; first time skiing in South America, first time working with this coaching staff, first "return to snow" of the season, first time being the oldest athlete on my team… I embraced the new on this trip and at times it was overwhelming. It challenged me in ways I wasn't completely prepared for, but damn was it exciting.
I never looked up where Ushuaia was on a map until I had already been there a day or two, and it is quite literally the "fin del mundo", I recall hearing someone saying that it is the southest city in the world. It's not the cleanest city, and we get stared at when we walk around town with blonde hair, but it does have some beautiful street art. The town is surprisingly colourful despite the grey and ominous weather we tend to experience here, but I enjoyed wandering around and getting lost in the graffiti and murals.
One of my favourite things about the national team program is the centralized dryland program in the summer. When you can't chose where you spend your time all winter the last thing you want is to be told where you're going to spend your summer too… Luckily, I like Calgary, in fact I just got an apartment here for the next year that's how much I like it.
Our trainers and support staff put together cool activities for us to do so that we aren't just stuck in the gym all day everyday. One of my previous years with the national team we got to go paintballing and play bubble soccer. This summer we've been boxing every week at the velodrome. Boxing is so cool, probably the highlight of my summer. Every week after leaving the ring I felt like I sweat out at least half of the water in my body. I have no doubt that as soon as I'm done training for skiing the first gym I'm going to join will be a boxing gym.
My body is starting to feel strong after this big strength block, especially considering the rehabbing I had to do for both my shoulder and knee. Being in Calgary is a game changer because we get to work so closely with our trainers and physiotherapists. I'm really looking forward to getting back on snow these next few months!
With summer school back in full swing June was all about the weekend warrior life. I was finally cleared by the doc to start mountain biking again, so I packed up the car to hit the trails.
The last few months have been the most tedious and mundane of my life. My daily activities exclusively consisting of physical therapy, school, and being insufferably bored. I expected the physical challenges after surgery, but had not anticipated the mental and emotional challenges of feeling so useless for so long. Being able to mountain bike has made me start feeling like myself again, challenging myself and testing my limits. Can't go full send yet, but getting close.
One month out from surgery! I got to lose the massive sling my right arm has been living in for the past month and just in time for the end of the school year. With two arms again (sort of) and a TON of free time (2 weeks until the start of summer school) I decided to start up solo trip 2k17.
My last exam was Monday and I had a post-op doctors appointment Thursday, so I packed up my car a started driving on Friday! I started in Zion, made my way down to Arizona, and then decided the wander on over to the coast of California to see the ocean.
It was a much needed trip to soothe the body and mind after a long season and stressful school year. I love taking time just for myself, for solo adventures. I enjoy setting my own agenda and being able to spend as much or as little time in each place, not having to wait on anyone else. It's so liberating!
After about 4 years of shoulder problems and another dislocation when I crashed at Lake Louise, I finally decided that I would go under the knife once the season was over. The 6 month recovery kept me from doing it in the past, but doing the sport you love starts to be a little bit less fun when it becomes synonymous with pain.
I got surgery on the 4th and the surgeon was very positive about he results. There was a lot more damage in the joint than we had originally anticipated, but I'm excited to have it all put back together now and to get back on the grind to recovery.
Luckily I have a lot of friends to hangout with during my recovery, and I had so much time to catch up on homework since my other preferred activities were off-limits.
Wow! NCAA Champions! We knew we had a chance, but I don't think any of us were expecting to break the decade long NCAA championship drought at Utah! I can't even begin to explain the emotions that were going through me as I chased our nordic team around the track on the last day of races. Us alpiners knew that we had a less than perfect SL performance the day before and we left a bit of a deficit for our nordies to pick up, but we had no doubt that they were capable of doing it.
Finally, it was time to hand out the awards and still we hadn't been told the conclusive point totals. They called up Denver to receive their third place trophies, the suspense was building. University of Colorado was called up for 2nd place and all of us just exploded in screams of excitement, everyone was hugging everyone, people were crying, emotion was just flooded over the whole team.
As ski racers winning tends to be an individual feeling, not one that we can share with many others. College ski racing gives us that privilege, and it is an exceptional feeling. Being able to win with my team, even though I may not have had my best performance, we all came together and achieved what we spent the whole year working towards. It left me speechless, hands down one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.