Team USA

Team USA
Sloan's Lake

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.