Ghetty Images/Agence Zoom
Racing Super-G in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany
Yesterday I clicked into my bindings and stepped into the start gate for the last time this season. It felt good, sad, relieving, and strange. To think that the racing season is already over is somewhat mind-boggling…I still feel hungry and somewhat unsatisfied. It was my best racing season of my career, but I got a taste of what it feels like to contend at the highest level, and I didn’t get to take a real bite out of it.
free-skiing in Courchevel
I had 4 top tens in downhill this year, and 10 top fifteens in World Cups/World Champs. There were a few races that I was hauling ass in, headed for a top 5 result, a podium, possibly a win, and ended up crashing. Those were incredibly disappointing, frustrating, and eventually created this mental block that wouldn’t allow me to let go anymore. Because when I let go, ski freely, fast, on the edge, I am taking the risk of losing my balance, losing my stability and composure, and pushing things too far—often to the point of ending up in the fence or tumbling through snow expanses. These moments are scary, and they are something that I feel I have been working my whole career to avoid, but they are risks that we all take as athletes.
Ghetty Images / Agence Zoom
Racing DH in Méribel, France--about to crash....
I, for some reason, seem to be more prone than most other skiers to crashing.
This is a fact that I am trying to comprehend and accept, it is one that I have been working and fighting with, mulling over, and struggling to grasp my whole life. I guess I’m a bit clumsy—I drop things, trip, and stumble. But I’m also the strongest and most coordinated I’ve ever been, incredibly powerful, quick, and athletic once I’m fully aware and involved. As I try to narrow down the possible reasons for my blunders—and I realize there is not only one reason, but many—I understand that my awareness and presence are the most important pieces to the puzzle of my ski racing success.
looking up at the Mer de Glace in Chamonix, France
While I know I can get even stronger, more stable, more coordinated; I am accident-prone, a bit ungraceful and awkward, sometimes unlucky; I understand that even if I solve the above problems, I cannot use the skills or confidence learned unless I fully hone in and become intensely immersed, acutely aware, and fiercely focused on the moment and task at hand.
top of the training course in Méribel, France
I’m heading to Eugene, OR for the spring term at the University of Oregon, which starts on Monday. Although I have almost no time to sit down, unpack, settle down, and rest up between my stressful, extensive season and the beginning of another ambitious endeavor, I am so incredibly thrilled to stretch, tease and fill my brain with information, ideas, creativity, and knowledge. I learn and explore my boundaries every single day in ski racing, and doing the same in school, in a completely different sense, teaches me so much about myself and how I can be a better athlete. Spring is a time I use to regain my concept of balance, push my mental limits, and engage in a sense of myself that I often forget about. It is hard for many people to understand why I ‘put myself through this,’ (go to school) but it is something I need desperately to feel whole and maintain drive in all aspects of my life. And I truly believe it will make me a more knowledgable, aware, wise, and better skier.
finding my inner animal
Here’s to education! Hah ;) I’ll be in and out of Bend on the weekends, doing a bit of skiing and other work, but will try to stay focused in Eugene for the most part. I won’t be back on snow with the ski team until mid-July, which provides me with a long period to get strong, smart, motivated and eager to get back on the snow. I probably won’t be doing much updating over the next few months, but because I am taking photography, and have piled up so many photos over the season, I will be doing a POD (Photo Of the Day) every weekday during the spring, just to stay connected and to show you how I see things. So keep checking in on PODs, enjoy the blooming flowers, and feel the love in the air <3 <3 <3
Here are a few photos from the last couple of weeks. Enjoy.
inspecting in Garmisch
free skiing in Courchevel with Alice and our new friend Martin :)
castle-touring at Neuschwanstein
she did it again. two globes. what a comeback!!!
the after-party at La Folie Douce
messing around with Stacey in Sölden, Austria early March // photo by Mitch Gunn
one of the first walls of granite I saw in Chamonix, France. along the Petit Envers route
ripping down Grand Envers ::: photo by Stacey Cook
walking across some sketchiness, atop the Aguille du Midi
the Aiguille du Midi, Chamonix side
17:00 hrs -*-*- walking back through town to our home base
Stacey slashing the Mer de Glace
our lovely adorable hilarious hosts: Glen and Kimberly
sooooo many lines....... Mr. Plake enlightening the crew
happiness is fresh snow, a good guide, and a harness... and Chamonix.
(one of those smiley faces with hearts as eyes)
looking up at Grand Envers (Moyenne, ou Petit??)
adieu (from the Mer de Glace)
adventures to and from, here and there, home and away, around the world--through my eyes, lens, and mind