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?
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!
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.
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.
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.
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…
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!