I spent a pretty boring summer in PG in 2017, working and training pretty much by myself. The only thing that kept me sane was that we had dryland camps in Calgary and ski camps in Whistler and Mt. Hood. I realized over that summer just how hard it is to motivate yourself. I do way better if I’m in an environment surrounded by fellow teammates or athletes.
In September I moved to Calgary for the ski season again. This time living with two ski cross athletes, one of them my best friend. Of course we had our little squabbles, but really, I can’t imagine having better roommates than those two. And our team this year! It was amazing! We had 8 girls on the devo team, and we all got along super well. Also, the guys on the team were a good fit, even though it always seemed like us gals were outnumbering them. We had our mix of personalities, but we all shared an equal passion for skiing, adventure and competitiveness. Ok, maybe some of us where more competitive than others... me included :)
Some of the adventures I managed to sneak in between training and school was an overnight hike in the snow (we went fishing and found fossils!), going to Cranbrook for Thanksgiving Spätzle, coming home to Prince George for a friends wedding, and hucking some cliffs after a hike near Fernie.
Training and school were going good. We ended up just skiing around Calgary; the furthest we went was Panorama. By the beginning of December I couldn’t wait to race, but I had to wait all the way till January before our first competition. I had an awesome (and cold) Christmas in PG, training with the Prince George Ski Club crew.
Sunridge was the only race that we had before the Nakiska World Cup, which was supposed to be the biggest event of the year. It would be the first World Cup for six of us on the team! The 25 second course didn’t really prepare us for the World Cup course, but at least we were amped up. All of us on the devo team felt intimidated by the Nakiska course, since it included bigger jumps than we’d hit that year, a tricky start section, and so many rollers and doubles. It was just a big jump from anything else we had done that year. We only ended up getting two training runs in the course, which, let me tell you, did not feel like enough. We barely made it down the first time, how could we do it with 3 other people? Oh well, first we would have to qualify... We were all so nervous, but with a big Canadian crew, we found ways to distract ourselves.
It was my turn for qualifications. I felt nervous, but also prepared. I prayed the prayer that I always pray in the start gate. “God, please keep me safe, and give me the focus I need. Whatever your will is, let it be. This one’s for you.” On the course, all that I could do is keep telling myself “be aero”. It wasn’t a clean run, and as I approached the finish, I remember thinking “darn”. BUT, then I looked up, and saw a “9” beside my time. Super confused I looked at the big screen. What? I got 9th! Oh my goodness!! God, how did you do this? (Later on I was told that I had executed all the tricky sections well, so the other less than perfect sections hadn`t punished my time too much)
It was such a good feeling: seeing the grins on my parents faces, seeing my teammates and friends jumping up and down, and hearing the crowd roaring. It still gives me good butterflies to think about it.
Now that I had qualified, I had to race... I hadn’t thought about this at all. I had purposely just thought about qualifying, because why worry about something that might not happen? Now I was worrying. Oh well, I decided to use the same strategy this time around; I focused on only the first heat. I had a plan, and that was all that I let myself think about. Have a good start, and tuck in behind the leader. Now I’m in the start gate, just breathing. Pray my quick prayer. And then the race is on.
My strategy worked!! I finished that heat second. Ahh! That meant I now had two more races! I was freaking out just a bit. The team physiologist had told me “remember, this is just another race”. I just kept repeating that to myself. And thank goodness that I have God on my side. He gave me peace and relaxation, and the ability to race my hardest. The next round I came 4th, which placed me into the small final. One more heat left. After a bad start, I was in third place. I kept going, arched the one turn that I had been nailing, and started catching up. I executed a pass and stayed in second till the finish. That meant... I had gotten 6th place at my first World Cup! I could not of imagined a better way for my first World Cup to play out! 6th, at a Canadian race, with friends and family cheering me on. I couldn’t stop grinning like a lunatic for days.
As you might be able to tell, Nakiska was the highlight of my season. But I had other races too. We had a 5 week long race block, starting in North America, then heading to Europe, a stop in Russia, and then back to North America. I had some great heats, some exciting passes, some stellar courses, and 2 more World Cup starts, ending up with another 8th and 12th place.
The season ended in Red Mountain, BC at Nationals. It was a cool event since it was also alpine Nationals. Our two sports don`t end up colliding a lot, so all of us really enjoyed being around our old sport. I got 3rd at Nationals and won the NorAm title. This means that I secured a World Cup spot for myself next year!
In May I got the news that I was now on the B team. That means I am now on the National team. Crazy. Mindblowing. Exciting. Nervewracking. We`ll see what the next season has to offer!