Lake Louise Women’s World Cup

After two years with out clicking into my downhill skis, I stepped into my bindings at Lake Louise. On Monday the day before official training started, we were there to do a test run of the track, with only a quick inspection of the course. Since crashing in my first downhill race speed has been something I have had to fight against I was nerves but I have been confident and comfortable on the slope before, so at the start I focused on calming my nerves and, keeping my  body forward to ski confidently. I had watched the run many times, and replayed it again and again in my head, helping grow my confidence to race down the Lake Louise downhill track. I came down to the bottom, wanting to improve and the desire to go faster; I was very proud of myself for what I accomplished that day.

2012-11-27 13.20.13

2012-12-02 08.09.51

On day two the track was much faster, more than most of us expected. I was taken-aback by the speed and had a hard time trying to get ahead of it; looking forward, Then on the third day I was more nervous, and reflecting back, could have been in a better head space. Coming into the more challenging part of the course I may have had too much direction, gotten in the back seat or was thrown off by the snow structure.  The next thing I was heading towards the net, I thought for an instant “can I save myself?” Then I new that there was no chance and was going to end up in the nets. I rode along the suspended  a-net for what felt like a while, hit the snow, and slid down the pitch. I sat up with my lips numb from the cold snow. When I sat up I was in shock, trying to decipher what had happened. I got up and skied down with a patrol, still very much in shock.

2012-11-27 10.04.32

Since then it had been a bit of a battle, fighting the negative thoughts away, and questing the condition of my head. I was told to precaution this as a head injury, witch was very concerning for me considering my past. It seems though that I have only suffered from blunt force trauma to my back and neck, and I know I am lucky to get off with only a minor injury.

Things are seeming to be moving in a positive direction though. I spent the last few days of the race hanging out and being cared for by my parents and did some easy free skiing with my dad. I started to see physio, massage/sport therapist, and chiro, who are all helping me get back on my skis again.

2012-12-02 08.51.55

ALPINE SKIING

Photo Cred: Reuters
Lake Louise World Cup Downhill

ALPINE SKIING

Photo Cred: Reuters
Lake Louise World Cup Downhill

Prepping for the Season

As the air becomes frigid and the trees turn golden, my anticipation begins to rise; the snow is coming. Whenever I head out on the road with my bike I am now never without leggings and the long sleeves my forest green merino wool. When the time comes for Autumn to introduce himself again my modes change as I begin to prepare. As we are securing a home for the winter and equipment gathering I cannot help but think about the next chapter that is about to begin.

As others have been preparing for the season by training in Portillo, Chile and Tignes, France, Steven and I are working hard at the physical aspects of training. Since we began our off-season training on July 8th the two of us have been in the gym four days a week and no less than 3 hours (except recovery week: 1-2 hrs). Yoga sessions, ultimate Frisbee, aerobic and anaerobic thresholds, recovery rides, 30-45 min core session and max intervals have some how managed to fit in between. No wonder why we are so anxious to  put on our ski boots.

DB Cleans

I can honestly say that were are stronger and more powerful than ever; beating personal records and pushing each other to do our best everyday, every session. Even after injuries and incomplete seasons, our training program put us back on track and will allow us to return to snow with bigger more powerful and agile bodies. I am confident in the steps in which the two of us have taken to prepare ourselves. Not being on snow at this time does not concern me, being that I want to return to the white iced mountains as healthy, powerful and motivated as I can be.

In the next three to four weeks I will be busy preparing for the season: packing ski bags to containers of food, prepping skis, mental training, securing our small apartment, and various other things. The next weeks will fly by and in not time I will be back on the mountains.

Keep posted on my season by following my blog. You will notified by e-mail when ever I post something new!

Feed back on way that I can improve my blog and writing are always welcome!

Power Squat and Trusty Spotter

Cable Push-Pull Complex

Fire In My Belly

While driving with my dad, we came upon the topic of being obsessed.  He mentioned to me that it was similar to my focus towards skiing, inspiring this post…

I have put a lot of energy and time into what I do, and will continue to do so.  I want to work as hard as I can, and make it as far as I can in ski racing. I am beginning  to realize the commitment that it takes, hours in the gym, on the bike, resting  effectively and not always having time for other things. To really excel at what you do it takes a lot of time, energy, dedication, and focus. Some might say obsession. It does not come easy to be the best you can be.

To reach your potential  in any sport at some point will require 100 percent commitment to what you are doing. It does not come at an easy price. In the book by Terry Orlick, “In the Pursuit of Excellence,” there is a section in which he interviews Thomas Grandi. One of his question for Thomas was, “What kind of commitment does it take to achieve your goals in your sport?”(pg. 82) and Grandi’s reply was this,

“Every decision I make is weighted on weather or not it will help me in my quest. If something is not going to help me in this quest, it probably won’t happen. To reach the top of any sport requires a huge time commitment and huge desire.” (pg. 82-83)

There is this desire I have, a certain “fire in my belly”, that keeps me inspired. It is becoming a  persistent image in my head of what I want to achieve.  After some harsh set backs over the past couple of years with concussions, I continue to get back up.  I love what I do deep down. I love the life style, having something to work towards, and the learning process. I appreciate the lessons about life skiing has taught me and because of this I want to do it for as long as I can. In the end what I would like to gain out of this journey is a sense of accomplishment for myself and to give back to others for what they have given on the way. To be able to say, “Yeah, I did it,” and have others standing beside me sharing my success. I don’t know exactly where that point is but I believe that if I keep committed and working hard in all aspects I can achieve my personal excellence.

In my mind it is important to find a balance  between doing everything you can and knowing when it is enough. Between giving every last bit that you have and still finding joy in what you do. It is pushing your limits but also knowing when to give it a break . You need to find a balance between the two or else you will run out of esteem. That I believe is the difference between obsession and dedication.

“When you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe, then you’ll be successful” 

Thomas Grandi

 I would like to thank all of you who read my blog, your support means a lot to me. I want to ask for your help by sharing my posts and blog on your social media sites, with friends, or any way you can think of. And please don’t be afraid to comment!

Does Ski Racing Need to Change for the Better of the Sport?

Just the other day I was checking out some things online and reading some other blogs, reading up on the changes that FIS is making to the radius and length of racing skis. I was reading through Ted Ligety’s Blog and came across an article he wrote about an non-FIS event called V Pay Rockfest. This was the second race of it kinds. The first event was in 2009 and the latter in Paganella, Italy on December, 23, 2012. The event format is a Giant Slalom ‘sprint’ race that consists of four timed elimination rounds, starting with a round of sixteen competitors, twelve, eight and the finals ending with four and the winner taking home 60,000 euros. The event ends with an Après-ski party and Rock concert in the finishing area. The event is specifically designed to bring more attention from the viewers to the sport of alpine ski racing, “The number one goal was to attract people from outside alpine life and snow sport to the mountains and their TV’s for an exciting evening of musical & sport entertainment.” (http://www.vpayalpinerockfest.com/worldalpinerockfest.com/Event_Summary.html)The event this year gave away free lift tickets to registers FIS card holders and 10.00 euro lift tickets to the public in hope of getting more people out there watching the sport.

V PAY ALPINE ROCKFEST 2011 INTERVIEW HIGHLIGHTS from Phil McNichol on Vimeo.

In 2009 the winner of V Pay Rockfest, Cyprien Richard took home the largest single prize money in skiing history. On the World Cup circuit hosted by FIS, athletes do not make near as much money compared to other world-class athletes, especially considering that this how they make their living. This is partially because of how the sport is watched by viewers and the attention that it draws. Ted Ligety elaborates furthermore on that aspect that would make the sport more engaging to watch,

“I’ve always believed ski racing is presented and formatted poorly. I can’t think of any successful sports that have a 3-hour half time and fans only see their favorite athlete twice for a max of 4 minutes. I can’t imagine going to a basketball game to watch Lebron James play for 1 minute then wait 3-hours to see him play for another minute. It would not make sense for TV or the fans. Yet this is how a ski race is run. I race at 9am for 1 minute 20 then wait until 1:30pm to do my second run. How is a fan supposed to get into that, live or on TV?”

“Along with formatting changes, every GS and SL should be held at night. That way most tourists near the area of the race (significant number in most winter resort areas) would come to the race for evening entertainment, instead of now most skiers prefer to ski during the day, so the race misses a huge number of spectators at the venue and on TV because people are skiing. (As they should be). This would also create a party atmosphere since there could be a band playing (like Rockfest) which would draw more than just hardcore ski fans, which should be the goal.”

This is a harsh but true fact and International Ski Federation (FIS) is not making many amends to develop ski racing for the better. This season I have seen a few improvements of visuals of television broad cast such as a ghost cam replay of the first and second place in the Kitzbuhel Slalom, and new filming techniques and better camera angles that really show the pitches and terrain that these skiers send themselves down, “Camera angles are also a problem; coaches on the side of the hill often shoot better footage…then the TV crews. Most TV angles don’t show our speed and the difficulty of the hill well, there are many creative ways (Rockfest had a cable cam last time) to shoot us in a more appealing fashion.”, Ted Ligety elaborates furthermore on that aspect that would make the sport more engage to watch. In the past two seasons we have also seen team events and parallel slalom which have been held close to large cities, and result in more viewers coming out to watch the sport. The alpine racing events are being run in the same format as they were when ski racing was fist developed, and a lot has changed I can assure you as can any one who has been around on the slopes for over a decade.

Often such changes can be hard to accepted, sometimes risky and do not often go into place with ease and without controversy but I believe that to keep this sport alive that some changes are going to have to be made, “Instead of investing in making our sport better they are slowly breeding it dry by creating stifling rules and running a monopoly on ski racing.” A lot of the time change is beneficial and keeps things alive, “It’s events like Rockfest that can breath new life into ski racing.” Personally I fear large changes to the sport because I love it now for what it is but I also believe that more events like V Pay Rockfest be just what the sport needs to breed new excitement and spirit into the sport. If there were more people who were drawn int the sport then there would also be more money to be made for these athletes, like any other professional who is trying to make a living doing what they do. I would really like to see them do an event like this for women!

The Begining

Tomorrow, Wednesday November 9th we are
packing up all of my bags into the back of our Honda Ridgeline and driving to Invermere, BC. This is where I will be residing for the winter of 2011/2012 with my teammate, dryland buddy an boyfriend: Steven Fry. We will be facing many new challenges. It will be the longest time we will be spending away from home and we have to figure out many things on our own. We will be living part-time with our coach Helmut Spiegl and his family, and we will have to stay on top of healthy nutrition along with cooking all of our own meals and of course a relationship.

This will be the beginning our ski season and many new adventures, and I find myself continuously picturing the positives things this year will bring. Let the adventure begin!