On Oct. 31st I headed to Calgary for a little testing before heading down for a last little training block of slalom before our first race. We did 6 amazing days of slalom at Loveland Pass. The conditions were amazing, which led to absolutely great training. By the time we finished our camp we all felt very well prepared to race. Talk about a great team! As a group this is such an amazing team to train and live with. We push each other in training and are great friends off hill. Its a great environment for fostering support and success.
Training in the morning before the race
My reindeer friend
We did two days of training on the training slope as we adjusted to the time change. Race day was my first day not feeling super groggy when I woke up. We did a great warm up on hill. Our coaches shuttled us around in our Volvo rental cars as we pumped "mad tunes" and did four runs on great terrain. By the end of our training session I felt sharp and clear about what I had to do on my skis.
The race hill conditions were amazing and the first course was an absolute ripper. There was an uphill wind so I felt it was pretty important to really "crush" the flats from the very first gate. There are pretty abrupt rollers on the Levi course but after the training we did this summer in New Zealand where we did a slalom course through a terrain park-I felt very confident about my approach for them. I ended up skiing the way I have been in training.
First run...coming over the break over onto the pitch.
When I came through the finish on the first run and I saw that I was in 4th I was ecstatic! What felt amazing about it that I felt I could very easily replicate my skiing for the next run. I felt calm and tried not to focus on the result of the first run...I still had another run to do!
Second run the course was more turny on the pitch. I felt I could still rip the flats up top but I wanted to be a little more smart on the pitch. As I came over the pitch on my second run I hit my forearm very hard on a gate. My arm went instantly numb! Not the best feeling in the world but I refocused and continued to fight down the pitch. I felt I didn't really risk it as much as I had the first run but it was still very consistent. As I came into the finish I was a little disappointed to see how far I had moved back. I was 6th with 6 more racers to go. In my mind I thought I had moved into 13th position (the qualifying criteria for the Olympics is top 12)
Thinking I had just missed coming top 12.
When I realized I had come 11th I was super excited. I am now half way through qualifying for the Olympics, this is my BEST EVER result and I felt like I skied very normally for me. It was not a "super human" effort. It came naturally. It feels nice to know the training I did this summer was great. I am also EXTREMELY happy for my teammate Marie-Michele Gagnon who ended up 5th overall. It was great to see her smiling at awards and I know that our team has the potential to be up there every race! I can't wait till Courcheval!
Next, we head back to Colorado where I will be competing in the GS and SL Norams that will be taking place in Loveland pass. I am excited to strap on the "big boards" (GS skis are much longer than slalom....though downhillers have total permission to roll their eyes at my statement)
Thanks again to everyone who has supported me this summer. It has felt amazing to have such a great result right after all this fundraising! A weight off my shoulders!
Till next time!