Team USA

Team USA
Sloan's Lake

31 December 2008

31 December 2008

I’m not sure how many days I’ve had on snow at this point but it’s getting close to double digits. It’s crazy to think that I have had less than 10 days on snow and January is tomorrow. I guess that’s how it goes.

This week has been one of my best weeks yet। I got into gates for the first time since last year on Monday. I didn’t ski the whole course and I sure didn’t ski well, but I did it and I was pleased with that. At this point, I don’t have high expectations with training but it feels good to do it. I was extremely sore after my efforts Monday but a day off and some Advil fixes a lot.

Today we had Super G training and I was reluctant to go out। Speed skis are not exactly the easiest to ski and I wasn’t sure if I could even control them, let alone turn them। Thanks to a great tune by a local guy Bob, and some previous experience, I had no issues. I had the best day I’ve had all year! I wasn’t laying down clean arcs and ripping it up, but I was going fast, feeling the snow, and skiing Super G! I was SO happy when I came off the mountain today. Thanks goodness for small miracles and great tunes!

11 December 2008

Ski Spec 2008

Monday and Tuesday were the first races of the season for the disabled circuit. Since I’m not skiing right now I obviously didn’t race. I wasn’t sure logistically if I could get to the hill to watch the SL so I waited for some reports from my teammates and concluded that I definitely would go over and watch the GS. I was able to take the chairlift up and down so I didn’t have to walk around on the snow too much. Unfortunately it was very cold, I think the high of the day was 18 degrees F, but the sun was out and there was racing. I could see quite a bit of the course from the bottom, so I hung out in the finish area and cheered on my teammates. I know at least a few people appreciated me being there and that felt good. It was hard to watch and not race, but I’ll be back soon… I hope.

Below is a photo of me with two of the
Disabilities Without Boundaries scholarship recipients; Stephanie Jallen, and Meghan Erickson. We couldn’t grab the third recipient Danelle D'Aquanni Umstead, USADA had her occupied. The other photo is me and my friend/ teammate Mary Riddell after her first race back in like 5 years.

It was nice to be surrounded by happy smiling faces, way to go ladies!

01 December 2008

Still Fighting

I’m STILL working on trying to figure out how to get my body to work again. I’m going to physical therapy once a week, seeing different physicians and just trying to get it figured out. It’s tough now that we actually have some decent snow to not be out on the hill. The crazy part is that I was ski racing for months (maybe years) with my hip not in the socket properly and now that it’s all fixed up I’m worse off than I was the day before my surgery. I KNOW I needed this surgery and it wasn’t an option, but now I just want my body back.

The first races of the season are next week but for the first time since 2003 I won’t be starting. That's hard emotionally but I know there are worse things in life other than not being able to ski race.

I’m trying to be smart and take care of my body rather than beat it up. I haven't skied since opening day and I'm hoping the extra time off snow will pay off, maybe just maybe things are about to turn around. It'd be so nice to be back to work on the ambulance and back out in sun and the snow skiing. I'm not holding my breath, but I'm hopeful.

18 November 2008

First Day Back

These days it seems that things just don’t go as planned. My first day back on snow was not an exception to this and did NOT go as I had hoped. It was nice to be back out in the sunshine and on the snow, but beyond that my day was not very fun. I didn’t think I had high expectations but apparently even my low expectations were too high for my ability at the moment. For the first time since I was young I felt inept. I am good skier and to feel like a beginner was very disheartening. I know that I didn’t ski as bad as I felt but it was still very poor skiing. I was on the only open slope, which is a green run. Usually I just bomb around and make lap after lap but I was only able to make it through 4 runs. This was beyond my goal of one but it was by sheer will. My right leg just wouldn’t cooperate with me and I had very little control of my hip. Putting pressure on my right leg was a challenge mentally and physically. I walked away from the day very disappointed and nervous about my ability to ski. I’m crossing my fingers that it will truly just be a matter of time before I’ll get it back. I'm not giving up, but it appears that I'll have to give myself more time than I thought, my race season seems to really be slipping away, I want so bad for this to be temporary!

15 November 2008

Start of the 2008 Ski Season

15 November. Six and a half months post-op and my life is still not back to normal. I’d like to say that little by little things are getting better but that is not necessarily true.

My sensation did finally start to improve last week but my mobility and function are still much more limited than I think they should or want them to be. Yesterday, while at work for a class, I tried to lift a pram (cot) with a teaching dummy on it (who weighs like 100lbs) and was able to do it but barely. As soon as I got it into the lock position I nearly fell over as my leg just recoiled underneath me. Maybe my expectations are too high, maybe I’m not doing the right things to get better, I don’t know. Either way, it’s been difficult. I decided today as I was coming home from teaching a class that I want to try to ski, before the ski area opens. I ran into one of my WP coaches it’s either tomorrow or Monday…
… so tomorrow it is! This may not be one of my brightest moments but I have to try, and if it doesn’t go well then I know my season really won’t start for awhile. And if I make it through a run or two and can still walk at the end of the day, the light at the end of the tunnel will be shinning a lot brighter. I have no expectations, my goal is to simply get my boots on, get to the lift, and make it through one run without falling over or crying. Who know maybe it’ll go great and I’ll ski the whole morning. I’ll do a test run with my boots tonight and hope for the best tomorrow.

Below is a photo of my friend T saddling up her horse Casey for me to ride with her and then another of my Aunt Nancy with me riding the horse JR at my Mom/ Aunt’s ranch in Iowa. They say horseback riding is good therapy right?!

22 September 2008

Summer Fun

As I said before, my recovery is NOT going as planned. It's only been about 3 weeks now that I've finally been without crutches- yeah! The reason I was finally able to get off my crutches is that they changed my medication from Valium to Neurontin (yes I’ve really been on Valium since surgery.) I don't know why the Neurontin is working but it is, even my fever is being kept at bay. That was a long time coming. This whole thing has been one big challenge. Fever, nausea, vomiting, pain, and spasms for months, not fun.

Now that I'm off crutches it is very obvious that my muscles just don't seem to want to work with the pelvis now in a new position. In theory it should be a lot better but it just hasn't really worked out that way. So I'm still trying to work on it and trying to get back to normal, but still not working.

Because of all this I didn't get much of a summer but I was lucky enough to get out to the east coast and NYC. I had a great trip with my friend Annie and then my Dad joined us and we went to a Yankees game. Annie went home and Dad and I drove up to Gloucester, MA where my mom joined us and we visited some long time family friends. Here are some photos from that trip!

27 May 2008

Periacetabular Osteotomy

So it's been a month today since my surgery. Recovery has been anything but easy. I seem to run into one obstacle after another. Thankfully I’ve had lots of friends and family support to help me get through this. My problems began in the hospital when I I had to receive 3 units of blood because I was bleeding internally. Then, my 2 large bore IV’s both got irritated and had to be removed. Of course after that happened I started vomiting and couldn’t hold anything down including my medications, which made pain control very troublesome. Finally they got another IV started and were able to get the vomiting under control and was released about 5 days after surgery. Since being released from the hospital I have been at parents outside of Denver in Bennett. My parents have been really good and supporting through everything. My little sister Amy has come out here to help out quite a bit too. I just want to feel better. A big thanks to all that have called and come to visit because that’s what’s helping me get through this.

12 April 2008

Another Leap

I recently found out that I need to have another surgery.

This caught me completely off guard. I have been having some problems with my right hip for a while now, and I finally went to see someone. They took a bunch of x-rays and I went to see the hip specialist, Dr. Sink. He is a pediatric surgeon but he’s supposed to be one of the best with hips. During my appointment he went over my x-rays with me, told me the problem and then told me how he’d like to fix it. Basically, my femur is not in the socket properly and this is causing damage to the socket, pelvis and femur. Unfortunately, the surgery sounds absolutely horrendous. They will cut my pelvis in a couple different places, reposition my femur and the pelvic bones, then put in screws and pins to hold everything in place. The surgery is scheduled for 29th of April at The Children’s Hospital in Aurora. I’m not sure what the recovery entails but I’m sure a lot of hard work, so I’m putting on my game face and getting ready for a rough summer.

06 April 2008


Once again Ski TAM was a huge party and a lot of fun. I always enjoy the chance to get out in Vail and ski with sponsors. Steve and all the folks with Scientific Atlanta/ Cisco are always very good to me and make the weekend wonderful.

A highlight of the weekend was finding out that I have been nominated back to the U.S. Disabled Ski Team! I will be back on the team as a member of the D team. This means that I will train and travel and race with them but they will not support me financially at all. This is a win-win situation for me as I am still able to keep my own schedule and have no obligations to the team but will receive the benefits. This puts me in a better position to improve my racing. Financially, things could be more difficult but there are a lot of different factors involved so we’ll see how it plays out.

I was even more excited to learn that several of my Winter Park teammates made the team as well. Congrats to John Knudsen, Ricci Kilgore, Ian Jansing and John Whitney - way to go WP!

29 March 2008

No Puedo Terminar una Carrera

I did not finish AGAIN today. I don’t know if I’m more broken hearted or frustrated. It has been years since I have had such a bad race. This is 4 of 4 for the Europa Cup! I came to Spain for a few reasons; to ski well, have fun and gain some confidence in myself and my ski racing in an international field. I think all I have done is crashed and enjoyed the sun.

I’m not sure if I’m skiing well and pushing myself and therefore crashing or if I’m skiing poorly and crashing. Maybe for the Super G races, I was pushing myself? I WAS skiing outside my comfort zone and ended up crashing both runs. The GS, I made a mistake and had some bad luck. Today- I just don’t know. I went out on like the 10th gate!

To give you a better picture of what happened let me explain. The hill is very steep and that it was very warm yesterday then froze overnight, so we had FIRM snow this morning. SO, right out of the start a lot of people were sliding around the first few gates, I was no exception. BUT, I didn’t want to ski like that so I said to myself, “close the buckles and let’s go!” The good thing was that I did it! To my dismay, 2 gates later I hooked a tip (or hit it on the base of a gate), lost my ski and went sliding down the hill for yet another time this week. I gathered myself up, with a smile and said oh well because what else can I do? I was definitely NOT the minority as nearly half the field did not finish first run, but it still sucks. I could’ve really used the finish, and the points.

On a different note, my roommate for the trip, Natasha and my friend Katja both got 2nd today. Also, this girl Petra from Slovakia got her first win ever- so at least I can be happy for them.
Katja getting her medal

Stand up ladies SL Podium

Katja and Petra
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Hanging at the hill

Tallen (from the British Team) and I

Fritz (my friend and fellow American, Scott Meyer's friend/ helper)

Tallen and Fritz
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Podium shots

Visually Impaired Ladies GS Podium, with my friend/roommate this trip Natasha in 3rd, and other friend Sabine in 1st

Stand up Ladies GS podium

Sitting Men SG 2 Podiuim, with my friend and NSCD teammate (from Serbia) 3rd
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28 March 2008

Another day at the races

I try really hard to appreciate the opportunities that I have and how lucky I am to be able to travel around and ski race. This morning riding up the lift with the sun shinning looking down at the snow I felt very appreciative. I had a good outlook on the day; I was going to race and whatever happened I was going to enjoy my situation. I came pretty close. I was smiling and happy in the start and the finish but there were a few obstacles to hurdle to stay positive. First run the snow was firm but still very bumpy and once again, the bumps took a toll. I skied the top section well, and I was able to stay on my feet down the pitch and finish the race, but, I had to nearly stop before the flats in order to stay in the course. SO, my time was VERY slow. I was disappointed but at the same time relieved, because I did finish. I needed the points but I’m sick of skiing for points or just to get through, so I’ll take the good things from my run with me and leave the rest on the hill.

It got REALLY warm today and by the second run inspection the snow was so slushy we were nearly water skiing. The cross ruts were so bad that people were getting air during inspection. As I went through inspection I was seriously considering not starting second run because I was already out of the points and I could seriously hurt myself. I’m a much better SL skier and I rather save myself for that. Ironically enough I was told I didn’t qualify anyway.

Despite it all I enjoyed the sun and the racing here at La Molina today and hope for a better day of SL tomorrow.

Rules are rules, right?

I found myself in the middle of yet another rule debate today.

When there are more than 120 racers they put into affect the 80% rule. (Rule 614.4 pg 26.) This means that they let only the top 80% of the finishers move on to the second run. The thing is that I know this rule because a few years ago they changed it a little bit, mostly to help the classes with a smaller field. They made it so that if your class would have less than 10 racers after the 20% was taken away then they would not apply the rule to that class. Today, this was the case with my class (standing women). We only had 10 finishers so, the rule should not have been applied. Unfortunately, it was and because I had such a slow first run I was second to last, putting me out of the 80%. When I saw the second run start list and I was not on it, I went to find the chief of race or a member of the jury or SOMEBODY. I ended up arguing in Spanish and English and got no where. I was so frustrated. In France I was told that I could not start because they had printed some things wrong and the rule book was the definitive answer and that trumps all. Today I KNEW the rule, I KNEW the page in the rule book but I still didn’t get to start.

How is it possible that the rules only are applied when they want to? Now because I technically don’t have a team captain I had to go to the team captain’s meeting and argue it out myself- oh what fun. I won, they were wrong, but that doesn’t give me my second run. Maybe it will prevent it from happening in the future.

27 March 2008


The deal for the day was that the jury was making a decision on what race to run at 0645 this morning. That way we could pack the appropriate skis and head to the hill. I was so excited when they said we were running the 2 Super G’s because I have been skiing well and I need the SG points. Well things didn’t exactly work out so well for me today. The snow was firm, but you could put an edge into it, but also very bumpy. I knew the little bumps would be tough but I was confident I could pull it off.

I guess confidence is sometimes stupidity. As I began first run I already knew I was in trouble the track was tough and I couldn’t seem to get off my edge to start the new turn. I was struggling but I kept fighting because that’s what you do when you’re racing. Well the hill won. I came onto the bottom pitch, got sideways (which is never good) tried to straighten it out but my ski railed out and I lost it. I went head over heals a few times, losing a ski in the process, then slid down the rest of the pitch which was about 100 yards. Not fun. I was a little shaken up and my left leg was wedged underneath me, but I was able to get up, get collected and ski off..

After I raced I decided to go around and watch the men, to get a better idea of what to do for the next run. I’m not sure if that was a good or bad idea because it became very clear this was not an easy course, because of the set, the snow and the hill. I watch several men crash but I had a new plan for next run. I de-tuned my edges a little bit so they weren't so grabby and basically, the plan was; relax, take a high line to stay out of some of the crappy spots and keep moving. In the start it was F--- it and ski. I knew straight out of the start that my skis were better, one breath of relief. I had a high line and was avoiding some of the holes, another breath of relief. I got to the spot that caught me the first run and got a little low but said to myself “not again” and I made a strong move to get off the edge, into the new turn and I was through it. One more breath of relief, but it was short lived as then it started to get REALLY bumpy. I just kept trying to move down the hill and hang on, I knew I was pushing it but I was so close to the finish and then…
… another bump, the straw that broke the camels back. I was done, I tried to hang on but my skis were bouncing off the snow and the next thing I knew I was in the air going head first down the hill. Then, WACK, ouch, wack, leg twisting, sliding, and then finally I came to a stop- OMG am I okay? After a little help getting my legs untwisted and putting snow on my bleeding face, I was able to ski off. I should be good to ski tomorrow. Unfortunately, I think I cracked my cool, brand new helmet and it might have to be retired already, but it did its job and that’s important.

26 March 2008

Spanish SL Champion

I won the race today! I think I’m actually the Slalom co-champion, officially, because I can’t be Spanish Champion since I’m not Spanish. It doesn’t really matter the title, I won the women’s stand-up and that feels good. My first run was a lot better than my second run. Second run was a lot faster course which means that you have to be on and off your edge quickly and that’s not exactly my forte. So each gate I got a little and little behind, which isn’t super fast, but sometimes the winner is the one who is the most persistent. There weren't a lot of girls starting today, especially Spanish girls, but I looked at the stand-up men and I think I would’ve been 4th, not bad. It makes me excited for the Europa Cup SL in a few days. For now I’m looking forward to the Super G that is suppose to happen tomorrow but there are already rumors flying that they are going to cancel because the snow is getting too soft and slushy. Slush can be very dangerous for speed events because it’s very inconsistent and when you’re going fast (40-60mph) you don’t want the snow to break away. As always, we’ll see what happens.

25 March 2008

You win some and you lose some

For anyone reading this that has never skied in Europe let me explain something; the grooming here is very different! I don’t think the race hill was groomed last night at all and if it was- they did a horrible job. The snow was soft and the hill was VERY bumpy. I saw this during inspection and I was prepared to ski a rodeo but it was worse than I expected. I started bib 24 and when it was my turn to run, the course was not like what I had inspected. Out of the gate I knew it was going to be bumpy but I got jostled around almost every turn. The race line I was trying to ski was like a mini mogul field. Unfortunately, I’m not so very good at absorbing bumps, especially consecutive ones. I got to one of the only technical parts of the course, which was a break over and I tried to put my ski in the fall line and hang on but I hit yet another bump and got tossed. I don’t know that the initial mistake was that spectacular but I did a few somersaults for anyone watching, losing my ski in the process, so my day was over. I decided rather than call it a day I’d go over to the Europa Cup race hill and do a few runs on that. The hill is a lot steeper and the snow a lot firmer so it was very good for my confidence.

24 March 2008

Ski Racing is a Winter Sport

Sometimes things just don’t go how they are supposed to go.

Ski racing is a winter sport but ironically enough the weather can really mess up our days. Today we woke up at 0530 to a full on snow storm and about 3 inches of new snow. It was a very early morning as first run inspection was intended to begin at 0715. So we (a fellow American skier Scott, me and the Belgium Team) ate some breakfast and made our way up the hill. We arrived at the lift to find no one around. It was a little before 0700 and no sign of movement. We hung out a little while and then got the word that there would not be a race today. I have to say that I was more relieved than disappointed. We probably got nearly 8 inches of snow, making tomorrows race questionable, but the sun did come out this afternoon so there is still hope.

Today was going to be the first day of the Spanish Championships, but for me the race would not have mattered as it’s not a scored race. Meaning it would not benefit my points. I made a decision to run these races because it would give me a few days here in La Molina to get over any jet lag, and ski the hill. Unfortunately, I found out yesterday that the Spanish Championships are not on the same race hill as Europa Cup finals. Needless to say, I’m not too broken hearted about not racing today. I decided that I have had enough powder skiing this season that I needed the rest more than I needed to be on snow.

Long Day

I am absolutely exhausted. My travels were very long. I left Colorado at 0830 Saturday morning and arrived here in La Molina yesterday (Sunday) at about 4 o’clock PM. Basically 30 hours of travel with only an hour of sleep on one flight and about the same on a different flight. The good thing was that after Sylvana picked me up at the airport yesterday she and a friend of hers from the IPC took me around Barcelona for a few hours. The things done by the artist Gaudi are some of the most popular sites but we just mostly drove by and walked around which was very enjoyable. I was very happy when we went to a Tapas bar(I've never been to one and there is no place like the origin to start.) I As tired as I was I was very grateful for the opportunity to see the city a little bit. It is not very often that I get a chance to see some of the cool things around the places I go to race. The bummer was that I was not able to get to sleep until after ten last night because here in Spain, like much of Europe, you do not eat dinner until after 8PM. Needless to say I don’t feel too rested.

10 March 2008

US Nationals 2008

This year Nationals was scheduled at Solider Mountain, ID –a place that we could actually have an official speed event so that was a major highlight. Overall, I had a really good week of racing. We were fortunate enough to be able to get 2 DH races, which was a huge thing. The last time that we had a disabled downhill was the Paralympics so it was good to finally make it happen. I skied both races well but just didn’t have the guts to stay in my tuck in two key spots, and then didn’t trust myself to finish the last pitch strong, but I took 3rd both races, and I was okay with that. The Super G, and the GS didn’t go as well as I wanted but I skied strong and made improvements from my previous races and that’s all I could do. I took 3rd in the SG and 4th in the GS. Slalom went really well. First run I laid down a really nice run and I was within reach of the leader, despite the horrible set. I had a good second run but not as good as my first and took 3rd. I was okay with that because it was probably the closest I’ve been in a SL race all year. Now I’m off to Spain for Spanish Championships and Europa Cup Finals.

20 February 2008

Training at home

I had one of the best days of training I’ve had in a very long time.
I’ve been home for several weeks now but I just haven’t been feeling like I have it together. I feel like I’ve been fighting the courses rather than skiing them. That changed the other day skiing GS, things actually started to come together. Then, today in SL I felt like a whole different person. I guess sometimes patience and persistence does pay off.

23 January 2008

Slalom 2 in France

The last day of races in France went well for my USA teammate Allison Jones as she took silver as did my Winter Park teammate Adam Hall from New Zealand- I’m happy for both of them! After the races they race organizers had this HUGE pie/ tarte brought up to the village- just for us. It took a while but it was really cool and quite tasty too!

The next 2 days were full of crazy traveling to get home. We drove from France to Monaco to Italy to Austria to Germany and got on a plane to the states. I think we ended up traveling for something like 48 hours by the time I arrived at my parent’s house on Sunday evening. I had good trip but relieved that it’s over.

17 January 2008

Slalom in France

Despite my unfortunate luck with SL points, I am happy to report that my Winter Park teammate and traveling partner from New Zealand, Adam Hall won his first World Cup race today! This was his first World Cup podium and first win- way to go! And a US teammate, Allison Jones took the bronze, nice job! Hope more good luck for my friends tomorrow.

End of the road

I got news last night that I will not be racing the Slalom races here in Queyras.

The reason that was given to me is that I do not have the appropriate points. Unfortunately, there is no way that I could have known this because they are basing this decision on a points list that I can't find because it isn't posted. I am very sad and disappointed. I try to know the rules and know where I stand so that I don’t end up in this position. It is what it is, and I’ll be heading home in a few days.

15 January 2008

French GS #2

We got about a foot of snow overnight and the race hill was super soft, and warm up was powder skiing but I skied better today! Still not super fast but I improved on my times yesterday so that was good. First run I had a better focus and fixed some of the things I needed to fix. Second run wasn’t as good. I was still a lot closer than I’ve been but I nearly missed a gate on the top, so I got late, ran a little too straight the rest of the run to try to make up for it and just seemed to fight my way down. I almost scored my first World Cup points of the year, but second run cost me too much time. Bummer. I ended up 12th.

Tomorrow is a day off and they are having a party for all the athletes tonight. The Euro's sure do know how to make World Cup fun :)
Then we have 2 more days of racing SLALOM- YEAH!

14 January 2008

French GS #1

I’d love to say that I had a fantastic day and I skied super fast but…
I just didn’t. The snow was soft but surprisingly the hill was in really good shape and the snow actually held up quite well. The courses were fun but the race hill is not steep enough to be forgiving at all.

First run I was able to hold my tuck most of the run to help keep my speed up but then made costly mistakes in the wrong places and ended up with a really slow time. Second run I got late, my line got lower and lower until I had to make a big move to fix it and that isn’t fast. Bottom line, I was slow today, and placed 10th.

The good thing is that I think I know where I can improve for tomorrow’s GS.

13 January 2008

Queyras, France

There is a joke among ski racers that if you want it to snow hold a ski race. Well this has happened here in France. Until yesterday morning the hill here had very little snow and it was mostly man-made. They had just cancelled the speed races that were scheduled because the hill didn’t have enough snow to hold the races. Now, they’ve gotten about two feet of snow in the past 24 hours. This is not so good for racing either.
I was very excited to come here and race some tech events on firm snow as I had a lot more confidence after racing in Abtenau. Now I’m not quite so optimistic. It’s always good for the mountains to receive snow but soft snow and flat hills are very unforgiving. For me unforgiving is bad. My feet and legs are not always as smooth and clean as I’d like and even little mistakes add up quickly in these types of conditions. I guess we’ll see how it goes.

I’m might do some powder skiing today but maybe I’ll just take the day off as we’re racing GS tomorrow.