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!