I’m done with the early season races now and am resting before another month and a half on the road. Looking back to the first NORAM cup races in Loveland and Aspen, Colorado makes me see how much I have progressed in the past month. I was having some trouble “cutting the line off” at the top of the turn in those early races. I noticed it more in Giant Slalom than anything else, but still felt it occasionally in my Slalom. I was 0-4 in that series, but didn’t let it get me down. I think it’s really important to use times like that to focus on the little things that went well and poorly without the distraction of a result or a time. It’s the perfect training for the mind.
After those races we went to Birds of Prey at Beaver Creek to forerun the World Cup Downhill. Unfortunately I didn’t get to run, but I was still there and got to inspect the track and watch all the big guys on the hill. What an experience! It’s hard to go to a hill like that with the best athletes in the world and not be impressed and a bit awed. Pretty cool stuff. During the free time between inspection and the race each day I had the opportunity for some GS training, and felt like I got a lot more work done on the line. I really like having races followed by some time to train and work on the different aspects that weren’t performed well in competition.
After Colorado I went up north for the NORAMS in Lake Louise, AB and Panorama, BC. I felt like I really had a breakthrough in speed in Lake Louise. It is hard to describe, but it felt like I was moving differently on the skis and getting much more power out of them than I ever have before. I scored in one of the Downhills, and had a pretty bad mistake in the other, but was very pleased with the series as a whole. From there I went to the tech/Super G series in Panorama. I had some trouble in the Super G’s on the soft snow, and felt like my pressuring was too aggressive for the conditions. I lost the pressure on the outside ski every time the snow gave out, and ended up running a low line—not very fast on a flat hill. I skied much better in the Giant Slalom the day after, but crossed my tips in the first run and went down on my side right before a flat. I ended up 58th after the first run and thus qualified for a second run, in which I executed my plan very well, finishing 40th overall. The slalom was a blast! I always like slalom, but the ridiculously turny course set on steep terrain with variable snow made this one more fun and exciting than usual I skied really well and felt like I was very solid and comfortable on my skis, which was an accomplishment I thought, considering it had been 3 weeks since I touched slalom gear. All in all I am happy with where I am right now and feel confident moving into these next 40 days of racing!
Skiing at home with my team and local friends is great. I’ve coached the younger kids a couple of days, trained some slalom (although the snow is too soft), been the pacesetter for NASTAR, and done a lot of free skiing. I’ve missed free skiing thus far this year; I feel it helps every aspect of my racing. I got some sweet powder skis for Christmas, it’s supposed to storm tonight, and I’ve got a seat on the Selkirk Powder Company Snow cat tomorrow.. Should be a great day! :)