Well lets see where should I begin. Once again I slacked off and failed to update the website regularly as the season winded down. The schedule for the last couple months was pretty hectic to say the least, although I know that is no excuse. It is easy to get caught up focusing on the daily routine of making sure I am skiing fast and doing the little things off the hill to be ready for the next races. Although, at this point, part of the gig is to make sure my sponsors, fans, friends and family know where I am and what I am up to. So I apologize for not staying up to date on this crazy thing we call the internet…
Ill take you through 4 main race series/events that I was involved in over the last couple months – Vail Norams, World Championships, Noram Finals and Nationals.
When I left you last I was prepping for the Noram Tech series in Vail. At the time I had been struggling to find my rhythm and was hoping to use this series to turn things around. This is almost exactly what happened. I worked a lot with my sports psych prior to this series to develop a plan for the final stretch of the season. My coach was on board with this plan and it definitely seemed to help my performance once I had a clear mindset on what I needed to focus on each day of skiing. I learned that by writing down daily/weekly focus goals that I can attain, it kept me focused on the process rather then worrying about what will happen in the future. I had two days of GS racing in Vail where some bad luck with weather and course conditions kept me from reaching the podium, but I actually skied really well and achieved the small focus goals I had written down. Because of this it was easy for me to accept the poor results and move on without being bitter (this was a huge step for me and my overly competitive spirit). I went into the slalom races knowing I was skiing well at the time but came in with a nothing-to-lose approach and tried to make sure I was having fun every time I took a run in the race. This seemed to work, as I ended up in 3rd place both days behind 2 other Canadians (Paul Stutz and Mike Janyk) and achieved my best slalom results by a massive margin to date!
As a result of smart skiing in Vail, I was selected to compete in my first World Championships in Schladming, Austria. What an amazing experience and opportunity this was for me. The vibe in the town throughout the week was incredible and it was amazing to be a part of my first real big event. The highlight of the week was competing in the Team Event for Canada with 3 other athletes (Mike Janyk, Erin Mielzynski, and Marie Michele Gagnon). Our team was ranked 10th going into the event but we were able to beat out the Swiss and then the Czech teams to move into the semi-finals. Here we lost to the Swedish team but still had a chance to beat the Germans for a Bronze medal. I was the final racer against a well-known name for the Germany, Fritz Dopfer. I remember being in the start looking down over about 20 000 spectators and staring at Dopfer across from me thinking…Wow, lets do this, I can beat him! Unfortunately I fell just short, coming through the finish 0.01 behind him. In the rutty course, the two of us were faster then all but one person throughout the evening, Marcel Hirscher. We were that close to a medal at World Champs! Our team finished 4th, but the amount of support we had from fellow nations in the following days was incredible. Everyone was rooting for us and proud of our fighting attitude throughout the evening as the definite underdogs! In true Canadian fashion, our team pushed right to the end and put up a good battle. The 4 of us all left there with our heads high and proud to be Canadian!
After such a high, I experienced some major lows. I did not ski to my potential in the technical events and was truly disappointed. I was lucky enough to have my parents there experiencing the event with me which made it much better! Sportcheck, one of our team sponsors, flew my parents over to Europe along with a film crew to tape a commercial as a promo for Family Day Weekend. If you didn’t see the video, have a look! The film crew also left me with a handful of cool pictures from the week. Thanks again Sportcheck for allowing my parents to come to Schladming!
After Schladming we had a quick turn around to fly to Alberta for Noram Finals. Going into the week I had a shot at winning the GS title if I skied well and had some good results. This was my main focus and I was lucky enough to finally get some good GS results. Finishing 2nd the first day and then Winning the second day. My first win of the year was also enough to secure the title and earn a World Cup spot in GS for all of next year. This was a massive goal I had set for myself before the season started so it felt really good to attain this and it was a huge step in the right direction moving forward. I was extremely happy with my ability to perform under pressure that I had never felt before. In the final GS race there were 3 guys who all had a chance of taking the title, and after the first run we were placed 1-2-3. Essentially it came down to whoever would win the race. I was definitely pleased to come out on top! In the slalom races, which were held on a brand new hill in Calgary, I under performed and essentially made too many mistakes to be in position for podium results. Thats slalom though. I ended up finishing 2nd in the Overall Noram title which was another major accomplishment. Below are some pictures from Noram Finals.
Here is a clip following the race I won in Nakiska:
Finally, the Noram season was finished and all we had left was Nationals in Whistler. It is always a blast to be in Whistler where you are almost guaranteed to have bad weather for racing and good weather for free skiing. This was not exactly the case. We had 8 days of sun and incredible racing conditions. We were able to get a few runs of powder in the early days though! In the GS race, I couldn’t keep up with my teammate and College racer, Trevor Philp, who took the title and I settled for runner up. Nationals is always fun though. It is one of the only events in the year where the girls and guys are racing at the same venue. Having the other gender around definitely keeps things light and not too serious! It was great to see all the familiar faces who I have been good friends and teammates with for so long.
We were also able to celebrate the retirement of several Canadian ski team members. JP Roy, Trevor White, Patrick Biggs, Ryan Semple and Kelly Vanderbeek. All of these racers had amazing careers and it was definitely sad to see them go. I wish them all the best in whatever the future brings them!
Well thats all for now. If you made it to this point in the blog, I commend you! I am back in Toronto hanging out for a couple weeks before our first on snow camp in Sunshine. Stay tuned for more updates through the spring and summer months!
Special thanks to all my Sponsors – Skiis and Biikes, JD Barnes, Black & McDonald, and Craigleith Ski Club. As well as my equipment sponsors – Rossignol, Swix and Dainese. Biggest thanks to everyone who has supported me through the season! It really means a lot to have such amazing friends and fans!