2012 – 2013 Season in the Books

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!

Slalom podium, Vail

The boys and Coaches in Vail

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!

Looking down from the start of the team event

Mike in inspection

Erin and I before racing the Swiss

Mike and I after the race

Team event Highlights!

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!

finish auditorium

mom, dad and Bruce watching the race

Mom and Dad being CBC celebrities haha

Family Pic in 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:

Coach Dusan, Myself and Service man – Skube after winning the GS

Robby Kelly taking selfies on the podium

Overall Podium

Podium shots

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!

Johnny D and I finding some Pow

Team shot celebrating the boys retiring!

Nationals GS – Photo Cred. Andy Mielzynski

First runner up!

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!

Phil Brown

 

 

Podborski Cup

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

Hinteriet

Adelboden

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!

Thanks for reading!

Phil

Happy New Year from Switzerland!

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

Sibling love.

 

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.

 

Panorama GS

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!!!

Happy New Year and talk to you soon!

Phil