I spent most of January in Europe with the team training and competing in various events. Lets just say that we can chalk this trip up as a valuable learning experience. For the most part I was feeling really good in training but when it came to race day it just was not happening for me. It is a completely different feeling racing in Europe and I did not adapt to the tough conditions and stacked race fields. I definitely got in my own way of skiing fast. I did get to race at some pretty amazing venues though, including the World Cup GS at Adelboden and the DH Europa Cup in Wengen. Both are classic races and I learned a ton skiing the tracks. I came home very disappointed but looked forward to getting a fresh start for the last half of the season. I met with my sports psychologist while I was home and came up with a plan to move forward with. I am very happy with where my head space is now so hopefully I can bring this confidence to the upcoming Norams in Vail.
Night Slalom in Chamonix
Take-off in Wengen
Landing from Below
While I was home for a short break, I was able to drive up to Collingwood and help out at the Podborski Cup Speed Camp for U14s and U12s at Craigleith, my home club. Yes, I went skiing on my very few days off! I was a part of this event when I was young so it was great to get out and ski with the kids and hopefully teach them a few things. Ski Cross athletes and Olympians, Davy Barr and Julia Murray were also there to help out for the week and it was great to have them around. It was terribly cold both days of the camp but all the kids from across the escarpment were toughing it out and giving it their all in several different stations. My favourite station was the DH jump that was built at the top of the Comet trail. Many of the athletes were quite nervous about it at first but after a couple runs where they were a bit timid off the jump you could see their confidence building and soon they were bombing off the jump like nothing! Overall, I had a blast at the Pod Cup! It always feels good to go back to where I starting skiing and hang out with the young up and comer athletes.
Hanging out with the U12’s before inspection
Inspecting with the athletes
The man himself, Head Coach Dave Campbell
Davy Barr and I
Davy, Julia and I with some Craigleith Coaches
Following me off the Jump!
Thanks to Cam Powell for the amazing photos! Below is a link to a sweet video Dave Campbell made from the Pod Cup Camp, Check it out!
Now I am in Colorado where we have been training for a few days to prep for the Vail Noram Tech series which starts on Thursday. After this hopefully I will head back to Europe for more races in February but it all depends on how strong I ski this week!
First of all, I would like to extend to everyone a very Happy New Year. I wish all of you a very healthy and prosperous year in 2013 and beyond!
December was an extremely hectic month for myself and the rest of my team. I was so focused on racing that I got a bit lazy and did not send any updates through the website. I apologize for this but I will do my best to sum up my last month of 2012 in this post! Since my last post from the Colorado Norams, I had a crazy schedule. Racing my first World Cup of the year in Beaver Creek then continuing in Colorado with a Noram speed series followed by a trip up to Panorama for another long series of speed and tech Norams. Luckily after all the racing I was able to go back to Toronto for a quick break to celebrate Christmas with my family and friends then hopped back on a plane across the Atlantic to spend some time in Europe, where I am now!
Lets start with the Beaver Creek World Cup. Leading up to the event I had butterflies in my stomach, I could not wait to get in that start gate on a hill that I have always wanted to race. To make things better, my entire family was able to make the trip to watch and experience the event with me. My parents and eldest Sister, Tara, had never experienced a World Cup before so for them to be there watching me was very exciting! Unfortunately, come race day I did not perform anywhere close to my potential and was very disappointed in myself that day. I had a blast during the race, but with the perfect Colorado snow, it was easy to over ski the hill…and that is what I did. In my head I was ready to charge the hill and though it may be cliche, I wanted to lay it all on the line. For some reason which I had a hard time figuring out, once I was on course, I did not do any of this. The brain does some unexplainable things sometimes and I believe that my head let me down that day! Oh well, Live and Learn for next time right?
Beaver Creek Bib
Beaver Creek World Cup
in the start
approaching the finish
Brown family in Beaver Creek
Mom and Dad!! 🙂
Following this event we drove straight over the Vail Pass to Copper Mtn. where the first Noram Speed series was being held. This venue is the US Ski Team’s National training centre for their pre season. Safe to say, the Canadians were at a serious disadvantage on this track and it definitely showed. I heard from an American friend that they had run that track over 100 times each leading up to this event. This isn’t exactly an excuse for us, it just meant that we had 7 days to try and figure out a hill they had been practising on for the last month. We all worked hard on and off the hill to analyze the track, but it was clear that the Americans were untouchable here. They dominated. It left our group a little bit frustrated by the end of the week because for the most part, we were skiing the way we wanted to but just did not have the same speed as our neighbours from the south. Personally, I was able to achieve some of my goals in the Downhill event which I was pleased with but I felt as if I under-performed in the Super G. I would have a chance to redeem myself up in Panorama though!
Met a real life Wizard in Denver – He told me my luck would turn soon
Panorama has been on the Noram tour for as long as I have been racing the circuit. The slalom hill is as tough as any that we will race all year, whereas the GS and SG tracks are both quite simple in terms of difficulty level. Although, this does not make it easy to be fast! It seems every year there are one or two people who figure out the right balance of attack, aggression and subtleness on this track. This year it was my buddy Brennan Rubie from the US. He was lights on this week, winning both GS by a considerable margin as well as the final SG. My teammate, Morgan Pridy, was also able to figure something out earning his first Noram podiums with a silver medal in both Super G’s that week. We were all super pumped for him as he has worked his butt off over the summer to make this happen! Congrats to him! Below are some action shots from the Panorama Norams.
Dragging hand? – whoops! Lost my pole at the start, video below!
My personal highlight of that week was earning my first Noram Slalom medal with a 2nd place finish. It is funny how this sport works. The first day of slalom, I made some big mistakes and was really quite slow compared to how I had been skiing in training. Like a flick of a switch, my confidence seemed to be gone and I was pretty down on myself…for no reason really. Luckily my coach was able to give me a bit of a pep talk that afternoon after I told him how I felt. He said “tomorrow you still have to race. Whether you are racing with confidence or not, you have to do it. Its just the way it is and you can’t control that…Since when do you need to have confidence to be able to ski fast?” We left it at that. I had never really though about that before, but it makes sense. I went out the next day, feeling like an underdog but with no nerves…and I skied into second place behind my teammate and good buddy Trevor Philp. Canadians held the first 4 positions that day and it was a huge boost for me our whole team! Later in the week I was also able to have some solid Super G runs and landed another podium with a 3rd place in the Super Combined.
Panorama Slalom – 2nd place
Philp 1st – Brown 2nd – White 3rd – Zaitsoff 4th – CANADA!
After 3 weeks straight of racing it was time for rest. Our team split up and went separate directions to wherever we call home. I flew to Toronto where I was able to spend a little over a week with my family and friends celebrating the Christmas Holidays. I attended a few family gatherings and had a couple excellent Christmas feasts, which I look forward to every year! I was also able to attend and compete in the annual “Feats of Strength” event held by one of my old trainers, Dave Ablack. This is a fun event where we all get together and push our limits to lift as much as we can. I hadn’t been involved in this event for a few years now but it was a lot of fun to be back in it! This year, the event was dedicated to our friend and former ski racer, Nik Zoricic, who passed away this spring. Nik was also trained by Ablack and had always been a part of FOS. We all miss Nik on a regular basis, and it was not the same without him there.
Feats of Strength 2012 with Nik Zoricic T-shirt
Christmas morning at the Browns!
Mama Bear opening her stocking
Papa Bear with his new hockey stick and gloves
On the 27th of December, I jumped on a plane from Toronto to Zurich. From there I took a train to a town called Sion to train at the Veysonaz ski resort. We have had 3 days of excellent training to prep for the next 3 weeks of racing in Europe. Our NYE celebration included a Fondue dinner with the team and back to the room by 9pm. I don’t think anyone actually stayed up to midnight to celebrate although I did wake up to the sound of fireworks! Life of a ski racer…
Ski Room in Veysonaz
Last run of 2012 with Sasha
Tomorrow we will drive to Chamonix where we will race in 2 Europa Cup night slaloms. Chamonix is one of the most beautiful places in the world so I can not wait to arrive there and I am sure that these races will have an amazing atmosphere with an extremely tough field of racers. After this, my schedule is a little bit unknown. The rest of the month will be racing Europa Cups and hopefully some World Cups. Stay tuned!
If you made it this far into the blog, Thanks!! Hopefully I was able to keep you interested.
Below is a video I put together of some of my races and training runs throughout december. Enjoy!!!
Every year I struggle a little bit to get through the long summer training season. Working hard in the gym for a few months and then spending long days on the glaciers trying to prep my skills so I am ready to race. These days are essential to learn and get better as a racer but the extremely competitive side of me cannot wait for racing to begin! It is always a different feeling than training, especially at the beginning of a season… Everyone wants to know how they will stack up against other competitors and if they will be able to perform come race day. Its a long season and there will be plenty of ups and downs, but if you can get off to a solid start it can be a major confidence boost moving forward!
The Colorado Norams always include some top notch skiers from around the World. Many World Cup racers are in town getting ready for the Beaver Creek GS and these races are a great warm up for that event. This year was even more stacked than recent years. American and Canadian world cup teams were racing, as well as some German, Swiss, French, Fins, Italian, Austrian, Swedish and Norwegian racers. Everyone brought their A-game and there were definitely some excellent racers to follow and watch!
First we had the Slalom races at Loveland. In the past Slalom has not been my strongest event but I had some good training coming in and I felt pretty strong. I was able to ski into 11th place the first day which was excellent considering my best ever finish at that particular place was 25th. The second day I skied very well but was not able to finish the first run. We then moved over to Aspen for 2 GS races. The track was in incredible condition following the Women’s World Cup the previous days. I skied very well both days finishing 10th and 6th respectively earning some very valuable Noram Points. It was a great series for me and I am looking forward to building off these results!!
Next up for me is the World Cup GS at Beaver Creek on Sunday! My family is flying down to watch me for the first time at the World Cup level which is very exciting. I can’t wait to get in the start gate and charge down a track that I have been wanting to race for several years now. We will have 5 Canadians competing on Sunday so be sure to check it out!
On Monday evening, in Downtown Toronto at the Cleveland Clinic a fundraiser was held to support Maddy Irwin and I in our upcoming season. I have to say that I was blown away at how many people showed up to support us. The ski community is such a tightly knit group, especially in Ontario, and it is incredible to see how many people are backing us in our Career.
The Cleveland Clinic was kind enough to allow us to use their facilities for this event. The venue was absolutely incredible! In the heart of Toronto, on the 30th floor looking out onto the lake Ontario, a great scene for everyone to get together. I have to thank John Danson and Mike Kessel for hosting the event and taking a lot of time to organize and plan it!
We were also fortunate enough to have Brian Williams and his family join us. Brian has been involved with ski racing and other Olympic sports now for many years and his experience showed when he took the stand to speak. He was an amazing guest speaker and shared some incredible stories from his time as a broadcaster. Thanks a lot to Brian for finding time out of his extremely busy travel schedule to come to our event!
Also joining us were ex National Team members and Olympians, Brian Stemmle and Lisa Savijarvi. It was great to meet both of them and hear some of the stories that they had from their ski careers. Both were very accomplished racers and I can only hope that my career will be as successful!
The silent auction was a big hit on Monday evening. We had some great items donated to us from Alpine Canada, Alpine Ontario, TSN, Molson, Rossignol, Head, Skiis and Biikes as well as personal donations from my teammates, Mike Janyk and Larisa Yurkiw. Maddy and I decided prior to the event that all of the proceeds from the silent auction would be donated to the Nik Zoricic foundation. Nik was such a major influence to Maddy and I growing up ski racing at Craigleith and we could not have thought of a better way to support his foundation. Thanks to everyone who purchased items, we were able to raise $6500 for the NZ foundation!!
Once again, thanks a lot to everyone who came out! It was great to see so many familiar faces and to meet some new people who were all there for the same reason! Maddy and I both really appreciate it!
Now it is time to do my job, which is ski fast! I am currently in Nakiska, Alberta which is where our team often comes at this time of year for our pre season training. I will be here for the next couple works working on dialling everything in so that I can be ready for the first race of the year in Colorado.
Below are some pictures from Monday’s fundraiser. Click on the thumbnails to scroll through the gallery.
Enjoy and Thanks Again!!!
Uncle Phil and I
Registration Crew, Thanks!
Dad and Brother, Phil
Silent Auction area
Wildridge Family and I
Chatting with an old teammate, Paul Atkinson
Grant Irwin and Brian Stemmle
Brian Williams speaking
Lisa Savijari and Brian Stemmle
Brian Williams and I
Dad, Brian Williams, John Danson
Brian Williams with myself, Mom and Dad
Mom and I speaking to Brian
Robyn McDonald and I
My family with Jason Price
Tom, Me, Sean, Allie, Tara
Allie and Tara
Robyn McDonald, Carol Irwin, Brian Williams and his Family, Me
Hey guys, Sorry for the long update…I sat down this morning in the airport lounge and started writing and realized I had a lot to talk about then all of a sudden my page looked like this. Hopefully I can update this thing more frequently so I can keep it shorter. But hopefully you enjoy the read!
The last couple weeks have been pretty hectic over here in Europe. Crazy weather, tough conditions for training and quite a bit of driving around to different ski areas.
Glacier ice under fresh snow in Hintertux
Brotherly love – Morgan and Conrad Pridy
Myself, JP and Dustin ended up leaving Hintertux pretty randomly one morning because we found out that we had the opportunity to have 2 days of training on the race hill in Solden. As some of you may know, the track at Solden is fairly extreme and probably one of the toughest on the men’s GS circuit. At 2500m and over a minute long (3/4 of it is on an extremely steep pitch) it is physically and mentally demanding. So the more runs you can get on the hill before race day, the better! We also found out that on our 2nd day, Dustin and I would be racing in a qualifier to see who would have Canadas final spot in the World Cup the following weekend! We were all pretty rusty the first day (except JP who is a wily Vet. on that hill) but learned a lot and were ready to go for the quail the next day. Unfortunately, Dustin skied better then me that day and earned the spot for the race the next weekend. It is always a bit of a bummer when you lose a quail but it definitely puts fuel in the fire for when the next opportunity arises to qualify for a big race!!
From there we moved over to the Pitztal Glacier for some training to prep the guys for Solden. I was lucky enough to come along even though I wasn’t racing but it was a wicked opportunity for me to feel like a part of the team and try to learn as much as possible so I can be fast moving forward. The coaches were able to work with the Norwegians and Swiss teams to inject the hill and with clear skies and hard snow it made for the best training of the year so far. JP, Dustin and Trevor Philp (aka Junior, aka College) were getting everything dialled in so they would be ready for race day and I was doing the same even though I wasn’t racing. We had a lot of staff during this training block for the small amount of athletes so it was a great way to make some changes in my skiing and try to get the next skis figured out.
Trev Philp “Junior in the new suit at Pitztal
Dustin and Skube talking about skis probably
Junior about to crush!
By the end of the week, the hay was in the barn and we were ready to move back over to Solden for the World Cup Opener. I have been to Solden to watch the race a couple time but being there with the team and being more involved in the race was definitely a different feeling. The atmosphere at this race is incredible, with all the Austrian fans piling into the town for a weekend of partying and ski racing!
The Girls (Mitch, MP and Erin) raced on saturday. Winter weather rolled in and it made for some pretty interesting race day conditions but luckily they were able to get the race off. Mitch and MP both qualified for 2nd run which was incredible!! They ended up 6th and 19th respectively and you could tell that this provided our guys with some extra energy and incentive to have a great day on Sunday.
We woke up Sunday morning to complete winter…Tons of snow had fallen and it continued to dump as we went up for inspection. I was able to sneak in a few powder runs while the boys were inspecting and getting ready for the race. All the snow, combined with the new skis, made for a rather interesting race. But, the race still went on and there was still going to be a winner at the end of the day. Dustin had an amazing first run and was able to move from bib 54 to 27th place and qualify for the second run for the first time in his career. He ended up 22nd scoring his first ever World Cup points, a major accomplishment so congrats to Cookie!! JP also skied well and finished 19th! The story of the day was Ted Ligety though. He was absolutely lights out in tough conditions winning the race by 2.75!!! An absolutely ridiculous margin proving to the world that regardless of the conditions and new ski equipment, the best skier will still win the race! Overall, it was an exciting day for our entire team and being there to witness all the success over the weekend definitely made me hungry and gave me some belief that I can do it too, just need to be patient and work my ass off.
Trev inspecting his first WC GS in a blizzard
Looking down the epic Solden pitch during inspection. Pic doesn’t do it justice!
Junior in the finish
Solden from the finish – It was sunny for a bit!
I am in Munich now, about to board a flight to head back to Canada!!! Its been a long trip and my body definitely has some aches and pains from a 3 and a half week camp. Looking forward to resting so I can be in tip top shape when I travel out west next week to prep for the season.
Thats all for now // Phil
PS. Check out this video from JP Roy’s second run in Solden. Commentary by American racer, Warner Nickerson…He should have done the whole race…I think Warner will make a great MC some day!!
Hey everyone!! As most of you know, ski racing (and most amateur sports) is an extremely expensive sport, that’s just the way it is. No matter what level you are at in this sport, you are always going to be spending money if you want to ski. Things like travel, accommodation, summer training, on-snow training, equipment, are just some of the expenses that add up through the year and put a major dent in your wallet! As a member of the Canadian alpine ski team, we are all required to pay a “team fee” which allows us to have a top-notch program so that we can compete at the same level as other nations.
In order for Maddy Irwin and myself to reach our World Cup and Olympic goals, we need your help!! We are holding a fundraising event in Toronto on November 5th to help pay for our upcoming season. We would like to invite anyone who is available to join us in our journey as ski racers, and come out for what will be an amazing event hosted by the Cleveland Clinic. Drinks and hors d’oeuvres will be served and we will have some amazing items up for auction during the event. Use this as an opportunity to get excited about the fast approaching ski season as well as a great way to support Maddy and I as we work our way up the ranks! So please, come out and socialize with others from the ski community at our event on November 5th.
Thanks, I look forward to seeing everyone at the event.
I am extremely excited to welcome all of you to my new site! The website has been in the development process for several weeks now and it is finally ready to be launched. I am not exactly the most tech savvy guy, so I won’t lie to you and say that I put in countless hours building this masterpiece. I was directly involved with the design and layout of the site but the knitty gritty work has to be credited to a few other individuals. Ralph Pieczonka (Novoveo Ventures) is an IT specialist who is hosting this site on his servers and was able to get the site up and running. Noel Mercieca (Break Point Design) is a graphic designer and can be credited for all the visual effects of the site as well as designing several different logos. I’d like to extend a massive Thank You to these men for putting in extra time to design and launch my site! I would also like to thank my Dad, Steve Brown, as he has also been very involved with the launch of Skifastphil.com.
This website has been created so that my friends, family and fans can check in and be a part of my journey as a member of the Canadian Alpine Ski Team. It may take some time for me to learn how I can optimize all of the features of this site, so be patient! Technically this is my first “blog” post of many to come so stay tuned and I will try to update it as frequently as possible. I am no photographer, but if I capture anything that I think is worthy of posting you will be able to find it here. I also plan on posting ski videos of training, racing, and anything else that you may enjoy watching. For now, feel free to explore everything the site has to offer and pass the word!
Currently I am on the road with the team at the Hintertux Glacier in Austria. It is the third year in a row that we have come here in October since it offers some great (but very tough) on snow training. I am returning to snow from a scope on my meniscus just over a month ago so I am slowly easing back into things, however the rest of the team has been having some extremely challenging days training. The snow is limited right now so we are basically skiing on black, rock hard, glacier ice. It’s extremely demanding to say the least but if you can figure out how to ski fast here then everything else will seem easy!
Our group will be in Austria for another 3 weeks before returning to Canada. That’s all for now, I will try to update the site as much as possible so you can stay up to speed with what my team and I are up to.
‘till next time – Phil
Crazy Euro line-up in the morning
Hintertux Glacier first thing in the morning
Hintertux Glacier – pretty good view from my office
The Boys and Physio getting ready to go! (Morgan, Sasha, Conrad, JP)
I jumped in for the next pic!
New Dainese set up with Skiis and Biikes head gear – Sweet!