Thursday, November 8, 2012

Oh how time flies when your having fun!

The view from the bottom of the chair at Coronet Peak, New Zealand.  (Queenstown is just slightly to the right of this photo)

My University of Vermont team proudly showing off our championship rings from last years NCAA Championship win!
Physics Class:  Electricity and Magnetism
September started off with a BANG!  While I was still in New Zealand my second year of Civil Engineering at the University of Vermont got underway.  This semester I am taking Statics (the study of structural bodies in equilibrium...i.e. Bridges, Buildings etc), Electricity and Magnetism (an introduction to circuits and wiring basically and how electricity works!), Geomatics ( An introduction to Engineer Surveying and GIS...i.e. the people you see on the side of highways and job sites with the yellow tripod and a meterstick) and lastly an online English course.  So far these courses have been extremely interesting!  They are not the easiest courses out there but I wouldnt change what I am studying for anything!  I am really enjoying Statics especially.  I cant stop looking at cranes, building and bridges without thinking about the applied loading  and moments created about their joints!
After New Zealand I went back to Burlington for two weeks then it was off again back to Switzerland. We had a great two week long camp in Saas-Fee.  Despite getting altitude sickness for the first time in my life and some bad weather days it was an excellent camp!  After Saas-Fee we headed home for the final three weak break before the season began.  
Beach Volleyball Court in Saas-Fee, Switzerland



Meui, my roommates cat taking a nap

Burlington is a beautiful place in the fall.  I had a great time at home trying to find the brightest leaves.  I was also thoroughly amused by Meui, my room mates massive ginger cat.  While at home I had my classes and labs as well as all of my workouts to do.  I felt very busy but I had a great time!  I left Vermont on Sunday the 28th of october very comfortable that I was going to have an easy trip over to Europe.  This was not to be the case.  As you may know this was the day before Hurricane Sandy hit the east coast.  My flight from Burlington left a half hour late (this seems fairly standard now from Burlington on United)  this made me a little nervous but still left me with 30 minutes to switch gates to my next flight in Newark Airport.  Unfortunately when we arrived we were told we would have to wait on the tarmac because another plane was currently sitting in our gate.  We ended up waiting 30 minutes.  I missed my flight to Munich and after immediately heading to Customer Services realized I was in big trouble.  Staring back at me from every TV screen in the airport was the massive photos of Hurricane Sandy and warnings to basically not be anywhere near New York City or New Jersey (Newark airport is about twenty minutes from downtown New York...and in New Jersey).  I arrived at the desk after waiting in line for 20 minutes to the news that they could only book me on stand by the the night of the 31st.  That was the earliest flight available from the east coast to Europe.  The airport was closing by this time and I started to weigh my options.  I looked into hotels near the airport (though the prospect of sitting in a hotel during a hurricane wasnt very appealing) and very luckily for me my boyfriend told me to look at buses.  There were none running to most of the big urban centers ( they are all along the coast) but I found one going to Albany and booked it.  It was the very last bus leaving New York City.  The rest were cancelled indefinitely.  I made my way on public transit from the airport to Newark Penn. Station.  Must say it is very confusing that there are a New York and a Newark Penn.  Station twenty minutes apart.  But I arrived there ok and was confronted with a closed Greyhound station!  Luckily for me after about twenty minutes of tense waiting my bus did show up.  I feel very lucky that I was able to get out.  At that point the city was warm and very still.  No cars or people on the streets and lit up skies from the low cloud.  It was eerie and silent.  New York without people is a bizarre place.  I arrived in Albany at 2:50 am.  My boyfriend drove my car down from Burlington to pick me up.  We arrived back in Burlington at 5: 40 am...just as it started getting light.  After a few hours nap I headed to class for the day.  What else can you do?  I immediately got in touch with the National teams travel agents and arranged for a new flight out of Montreal the next day.  Then we settled day and waited for the hurricane to hit.  Each gust of wind seemed like the start of it and each cloud the first of many to come.  Luckily, Burlington and most of Vermont escaped unscathed but we watched on TV as the every place I was 12 hours before was drowned in water and cut with wind.  Once again,  I feel very lucky to have been able to get out of Newark.

The next day my good friend Ben drove me to Montreal and dropped me off.  My route to Europe this time took me through Toronto.  A much safer route!  In the Toronto lounge I had a most amazing act of kindness!  I happened to also lose my credit card while I was in the Newark airport.  While in the Toronto lounge I happened upon a sale online on a pair of boots I have been looking at since the summer.  Jokingly (well kind of jokingly) I called my brother to beg him to buy them for me since I had no credit card to pay for them.  A lady sitting near me heard this conversation.  She bought my boots for me!  I am still amazed at this.  She didnt even want me to pay her back!  Never has someone offered to purchase an item for me out of the blue!  I will definitely be sending her a very kind and thankful gift when I get back as well as a cheque for the boots!  I will also never forget her kindness!  I am super excited to get my boots!

So after this exciting trip I landed safe and sound in Europe and proceeded via train to Solden.  We did two days of soft snow training and relocated to Reiteralm where we had another two days of great training.  I am now in Helsinki about to board my flight up to Levi!  I am very excited to race this Saturday in the first World Cup slalom of the year!

Solden, Austria

Sample of my statics homework!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Summer 2012

Hello everyone,

This summer has gone by in a flash.  It seems like yesterday that  I was pulling into Canmore after driving across Canada for my five weeks of Dryland with the Canadian Ski Team.  During this time I also started a distance e. Multivariable Calculus course.  So this summer when I have not been in the gym or on the ski hill I have been solving double and triple integrals!  Our dryland in Canmore went amazingly well.  At the end I felt strong, healthy, fit and ready to get on the ski hill!  We did some very diverse training this summer including but not limited to boxing, diving, velodrome cycling, pilates, yoga, power lifting etc.  It was great to try new activities!

After Canmore we headed home for a very needed break.  This was only my second week home since last January!  As is usual when at home the time flew by seeing friends, swimming at the lake, working out and getting all appointments out of the way before I headed out of Canada for the extended part of a  year.

I left home and flew to Munich in July.  I had a whirl wind tour of Germany, Austria and Switzerland within one day as I had to go get boots fit in Austria in the morning then drive to Zurich that same day.  Amazingly it only takes about 5 hours to drive!  From Zurich the next day we took the train to Zermatt.  This is the town right below the Matterhorn.  For those who don't know the Matterhorn...its the mountain that is featured on the Toblerone Bar!  We had an epic ski camp with a ton of freeskiing and drills.  Considering how variable the weather is known to be in Zermatt the camp went by very smoothly with us only missing three days of skiing due to wind and rain.  At the end of this camp I was very happy with my GS and Slalom.  Making progress it both events.

During our stay in in Switzerland the Olympics started.  It is always interesting seeing the Olympics.  Especially when you are trying to qualify for the next ones!  It was incredible to watch the opening ceremonies and see the emotions playing across the athletes faces and think "wow, that could honestly be me in 2 years".  Makes you see the ceremonies in a different tinged light.  It was, as always, incredibly hard to tear ourselves away from the tv screen for the next two weeks.  After I arrived back in Burlington I would watch the track and field events then go do my sprint/interval workouts afterwards in the cool night air.  Even the Olympic commercials seemed inspiring!  Its kind of funny looking back at the 2010 Olympics and knowing I was in one of those commercials!

As I mentioned above after Zermatt I went back to Burlington.  I will be missing the first week and a half of school so I decided to use this time in the summer to meet with my teachers and get my textbooks before heading down to New Zealand.  My parents visited during this time and I was able to give them the full tour of my new home!  This was of course an extremely weird feeling!

I have now been in New Zealand since the 12th of August.  So far our camp has been great!  We spent the first 9 days of skiing in Mt Hutt, which is right near Christchurch.  The snow was excellent, and we had mostly sunny skies!  We stayed in the little town of Methven where there really isnt anything to do!  This turned out very well for me as it left me plenty of time to concentrate on Calculus!  Ive been burning through it!!!  We just made the move down the Queenstown to train in Coronet Peak for the remainder of our camp.  We have had two days off.  Looking at the Coronet Peak across the lake for the past two days has me excited and I cant wait to ski again tomorrow!

Hope everyone had a great summer!  I will try to keep my blog more updated in the coming months!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The end of my freshman year...and the beginning of something new!

Hello everyone!

Since my last post I have been incredibly busy hitting the books studying for final exams!  I am happy to say that today I am officially finished my freshman year of civil engineering!  WOW!  How did it go by so quickly?  I could never have imagined how much I enjoyed this year.  I have really been enjoying school the past few weeks.  Its the first time since before ski season that I have been able to get into a rhythm and have a set schedule.  It was nice.  My marks really took an upturn since the end of the ski season and I feel like my exams went fairly well!  Today I showed up to hand over and test my final project in Matlab (a computer programming course).  We had to make a computer script which would tell the iRoomba robot (you know the little robot which is actually a vacuum) to sweep an area looking for "survivors" in a "disaster zone".  Our teacher set up rocks, water jugs, "cliffs" (black paper) and walls which our robot had to navigate.  It was really cool to see something that I designed on the computer take shape in real life....well sort of.  As I walked out afterwards I felt an immediate sense of FREEDOM!!!  And the thought "Well what should I do now?".  And as usual that thought led me to the great gym on campus for a spin and lower body.  This April/ May has been great for my favourite activities of running and playing tennis.  I even got new grips for my tennis racket....BRIGHT Pink (So I'd better improve my game quickly!!!!).  About a week and a half ago I ran 10 miles!  That is the furthest I have ever gone!  So its been a great spring!

Today I can officially say that I have been selected to once again be on the Canadian Team!  I am SUPER excited to represent Canada and the University of Vermont in the upcoming season!  I will keep everyone updated throughout the summer!

Thanks for all the well wishes and support it couldnt have been done without you!


Saturday, March 24, 2012

The end of the season

The University of Vermont Alpine Ski Team Girls
My NorAm plate!
A really cool wall in Zagreb, Croatia
UVM winning the NCAA title!

This has been my most busy season by lanyards. The combination of school and skiing has been difficult, rewarding, tiring, stressful and strangely successful despite some setbacks.

When I came back from Barcelona I was motivated, caught up in school and super excited about the upcoming races. That Friday I was racing the Williams Carnival in Jiminy Peak, Massachusetts when I suffered a concussion during my second run. I didn't think much of it initially. I didn't lose consciousness I just realized that I had really rung my bell. However as soon as I got up and skied towards the finish line I became nauseous. A symptom that stayed with me for 11 days. I was unable to attend school or ski. I stayed in a dark room and tried not to think. I have never felt so stifled. I have had other concussions but none where my symptoms lasted so long! It was very frustrating. I finally visited a chiropractor who treated my neck for whiplash and that finally started the process of relieving my headaches and nausea. Unfortunately, because of this I was unable to attend the next World Cup race in Ofterschwang. In retrospect it is very sad because it was my friend and Canadian Team member Erin Mielzynskis first World Cup win! As soon as I got the clear I did one day of training then headed to Boseman, Montana to compete with my University team in NCAA Championships. It was a very fun and exciting week which culminated with the University of Vermont team winning the NCAA championships with the largest margin of victory since the new points system came out! It was amazing to be a part of a team with so much momentum behind it. It was also fun cheering on our Nordic team whom we never get to see race. They did a great job!
It wasn't until afterwards that I found out that our team, as National Champions, will get to shake hands with the president of the United States! As a Canadian, shaking hands with Obama was not something I ever thought I would get to do! I am very excited!

When we returned we immediately drove up to Mont Garceau Quebec to compete in the next NorAm series. I came 7th in the GS and 5th in the slalom in Val St. Come. After that quick trip we returned to school to hit the books for a week. This past weeks weather in Burlington was amazing. It was nearly 30 degrees every day. I played a ton of tennis, attended an outdoor BBQ, went biking and running and thoroughly enjoyed the incredible summer (in March!) weather. However, this weather decimated the snowpack in the east. NorAm finals in Le Massif and Mont Ste. Anne Quebec, were supposed to be a full schedule of racing from Downhill through to slalom. Unfortunately, the only race they were able to hold were the slaloms. So yesterday in about 15 degree weather we raced the final NorAm slalom. It was very interesting snow and a beautiful clear blue day. I ended up 9th after making a mistake on the second run and truly not skiing my best. After two weeks of sitting and the subsequent lack of training I did not feel comfortable on my skis all day. HOWEVER, I am extremely happy and proud to say that this was a good enough result to secure the OVERALL SLALOM NORAM TITLE!!!!!!! YAY!! After two years of losing it on the very last day I finally have garnered my own World Cup spot for next year. I couldn't be more happy!

Tomorrow we will race the Canadian Nationals Slalom (the other events were cancelled). This will (I believe) be my last race this season. I am very excited to race and also very excited to be able to fully commit to my schooling for the rest of the spring! I feel I am still catching up after missing so much school in February and early March.

Looking back over the season I am very happy with how it went. I gained my first World CUp points, raced in 5 World Cup slaloms, raced the full NorAm circuit and won the overall slalom title, was named rookie of the year for the Eastern Inter-Collegiate Ski Association, raced at NCAA championships and achieved all eastern and all american first team status in both slalom and gs, my team won the NCAA title (HUGE DEAL!!!) and I get to meet Obama. Not a bad year!

To finish off this post I'd like to thank everyone for all their support this year. I couldn't have done it without you!!! I'd also like to say that obviously skiing and University can go hand in hand...something I really wanted to prove this year. Just because you are not on a national team doesn't mean you cannot achieve success. It is possible to get an education (even in a hard discipline like civil engineering) and still be an elite athlete.

Hope evryone has an awesome spring!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Back to Europe....

Since my last post I hammered the books at school...and did a little skiing! I competed in my first Carnival Races with my University team. I have to say they are incredibly fun races! There is nothing like having a pretty good field of athletes...and parents that bring a load of food! It was like a mix of ski racing and soccer (remember how all the parents would bring orange slices?)! It seemed that the parents of the different schools were competing for who could bring the best spread! We ended up with sandwiches, oranges, apples, gatorade, incredible homemade oatmeal chocolate chip cookies and wait for it....strawberry cheesecake...AT A RACE! It was very hard to hold back on the cheesecake until after our second run. Another great feature of these races is the team spirit. It was lovely to be in the finish line and have your entire team cheering for you and vis versa. UVM did incredibly well at both the Carnivals I attended. The boys swept the podium almost every day and my team mate Christina won the first GS...I was second and I won both the slaloms. It was a great experience!

After the carnival two weekends ago I received some terrible unexpected news that my Opa (my grandfather) died. It was incredibly hard to be away from my family during this time. It was also difficult because I haven't seen my Opa since July. I still cannot believe he is gone. The following Tuesday I left to compete in the NorAM series in Vail Colorado. We started out with GS. This is an event I feel I am always still having to readjust to. I ended up 11th and 10th. I had better luck in the slaloms. I ended up 3rd and then 2nd. I had an interesting experience as I really wanted to do well at these races in honour of my Opa. The first day when I finished the second run I had a serious moment of fighting back tears. Not because I was particularly unhappy with how I skied but I had wanted to win for my Opa and I felt I let him down. After a few minutes my more rational brain kicked in and I realized it was incredibly vain and selfish of me to think that way. My Opa would just be happy that I was doing something that I love. He taught me how to be an incredibly hard worker and to enjoy the small things in life. He taught me about caring and being gracious with others. These are traits I hope I never lose sight of. I will miss him incredibly but in myself and my family I know he will always be around in our actions.

After the NorAms I headed back to Burlington for a quick two days at school then this Wednesday I boarded a plane for Barcelona to compete in the World Cup slalom race in Soldeu-Grandvalira, Andorra. Yesterday the GS was cancelled due to high winds so they moved the slalom race up a day to give themselves a better chance of getting the GS off on Sunday. My bib today was 44. The hill was in great shape and the snow was grippy and hard. The terrain was flat and rolly onto the steepest/longest pitch I have skied this year. I knew that the pitch would give me trouble as I havent skied a pitch in a very long time and with the super grippy snow it is very easy to make a mistake....and starting 44 you cant make a mistake and come top 30....or not easily. Out of the gate I felt really good. I felt like I was letting my skis run and felt I was carrying speed despite the head wind. I made a big mistake coming onto the pitch which ended up costing my a second run! I came into a delay a little in the backseat and with the snow being super grippy it shot me out towards the outside gate....and I ended up crawling back into the course on the pitch. I then attacked the pitch as best I could but I am not good enough on pitches to make up for my mistake up top. My first two splits were good enough to be in the top 30...but I ended up 39th and .33 out from qualifying for second run. SO CLOSE AGAIN! I know I had a ripper up top and I know that I can make it so once again I am going to take the positives out of this race and wait impatiently for my next shot. I will be racing in Ofterschwang in Germany in the first week of March. Until then its back to school and the rest of the Carnival series.

THanks everyone for the support and I hope everyone is having a great February. I would ALSO like to put out a HUGE congratulations to fellow BC skier Ben Thompsen who came 2ND today in the World Cup Downhill in Sochi Russia. It is SO good to see someone do well who hasnt followed the traditional ski racing route!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Back to Work!

After a wonderful (and short) stay at home I am now back in Burlington. My time at home was great. I did a few days of training, saw family and friends and took care of a lot of business! It has been a great time to reflect on how good I am feeling and how thankful I am to all my supporters. There is nothing like coming home to make you feel truly awed by peoples kindness and support. I think I must come from the most supportive community (Sun Peaks Resort and Kamloops area) in the world! So what I am taking away with me from home is a profound sense of thanks and a strong desire to be as supportive and kind to others as people in my community have been to me. Let it never be said that there is no love in the world, that is a completely false statement.... it just shows itself slowly with small gestures instead of grand strokes. Thank You so MUCH!

With this in mind I am looking forward to starting school on Tuesday! I did a lot of running around this morning catching up on groceries and other things that need to be taken care of after a long absence. This afternoon will be spent reviewing calculus and physics!

Hope everyone has a wonderful week!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

This is a link to a better quality version of the video I posted last time!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Home for a Rest...

Here is a video of the footage from all the World Cups I did over in Europe. Tried to keep it short yet as unedited as possible...Thanks for all the support it was a great opportunity and look forward to doing my next world cups!

The last race I did over in Euroland was the Zagreb Night Slalom. This was an interesting experience for me as in the past two world cups I was SO close to qualifying so in the training in between Lienz and Zagreb I really searched for where I could close that .2 of a second gap. I really worked on being closer to the gate, in a more forward stable position and finishing my turn at the gate to keep my skis in the fall line. Unfortunately we didnt get a very good chance to warm up prior to the race in Zagreb with the serious lack of snow we found in Croatia. I think it would have been great to get some really good feedback with the "re-newed" focus on those certain areas of my skiing. Alas, as can happen regularly it seems on the eastern european tour this was not to be. So standing in the start I decided to really attack and take a fairly straight line out of the gate. However the course was a little turnier than expected and my straight line put me in a weak position to move cleanly through the corridor and I ended up making a large mistake on about the 4th gate which I was unable to make up time for. The course had a LOT of flats...and on hills like that is it very important to have as a mistake free run as possible. So my run ended up being slow. My worst result thus far in World Cup...41st. But I am overall very happy with my skiing and I like how I have been approaching these World Cups. I am currently sitting in the Vancouver airport waiting for my last little lag of the long journey home to Kamloops. This will be my first time home since JULY!!!! I am extremely excited to see my friends and family and to ski at my home resort of Sun Peaks. In fact I will be training there this weekend! Training GS...for the first time since the summer! Can't wait!

Hope everyone is having a wonderful January!


Monday, January 2, 2012

In honour of Sarah Schleppers retirement

Sarah Schlepper, a great American ski racer retired in Lienz. We are really going to miss her!