Team USA

Team USA
Sloan's Lake

15 November 2011

Be Brave Enough to Be...

...Willing to Fall

By Hannah from

Ever since I can remember I have been far from graceful on my feet. I have fallen and picked myself up more times than I can count. Because of that, one might think that I’m an expert, but I’m not. My constant struggle with physical balance is both literal and a metaphor for so many other things in life. Each stumble, each fall is a reminder that life is uncertain and that me and my body are fallible. Falling is scary and it can hurt, so being willing to fall is a hard thing to do.

 Recently both my body and the universe have been throwing a lot at me and if I was afraid to fall I wouldn’t be able to move forward. Trusting that my leg will swing through and catch me with my next step is not any different than believing that hard work, preparation and training will take you where you want to go. They both make perfect sense but they both seem very unlikely at random times. Despite the fear of falling, in order to get ahead you have to put yourself out there, even if it’s just one foot at a time or you may never know the strength you have.

Last October Team A.W.E. participated in an extraordinary event. We were part of the Tedx CrestmoorPark in Denver. The event was about community and empowerment and we were given 15 minutes to speak. We were all comfortable speaking on our own in front of groups of various sizes but this was a whole new ballgame. We had to prepare and execute a speech as a team while making a positive impact on the people listening. Being relative perfectionists in the days leading up to the speech we were unsure and it would have easier to take the easy route and do something we were more familiar with, but that’s not the kind of people we are. We were out of our comfort zones and at times it was difficult, frustrating, time consuming...

…and so WORTH IT!! We were the final speakers of the night so we had listened to all the amazing stories of the strong people who spoke before us and knew we had big shoes to fill. We got up there, presented ourselves and our speech about as well as we could have, and in return we were given a standing ovation! It was unbelievable and beyond our expectations! We had taken a risk and put ourselves out there and it paid off!! We met many beautiful and motivated people, earned respect as speakers and individuals, renewed our spirits and opened doors to continue to grow as a team.

 Being brave enough to fall really meant that we were brave enough to succeed!

13 July 2011

Be Brave Enough to Be...

I recently decided to become part of a very strong group of women- Team AWE-Able Women Empowering. We came together to help each other as well as other athletes to excel in whatever they chose to do.

As World-Class athletes with disabilities, our mission is to provide support to women brave enough to pursue specific athletic goals for themselves through financial opportunities, education support, inspiration, and motivation.

In the process of establishing this wonderful team I have also decided to take another leap, I am trying to find another sport. At this time I am pursuing the sport of Paracanoe. Below is my latest blog post at

Be Brave Enough To…

… Try.

Everything in life is a challenge if you aren’t good at it or don’t know what you’re doing. The catch is that in order to master anything at some point you have to take that first step and try it. New adventures and activities can be very humbling and my latest task proved no different.

Inspired by my good friend from Slovenia and the great ladies that are part of Team A.W.E I decided to try out the sport of Paracanoe. I packed my blazer up and drove 1200 miles to Seattle with my puppy in the passenger seat. I knew when I left that it was very likely to be tough and that there was a real possibility I’d be no good at all. You can’t win if you don’t try so I was going to give it a solid attempt.

I spent a total of 6 days on the water at Green Lake with Robert Picardo and Vadim Kin from the Seattle Canoe and Kayak Club (SCKC). My first day was almost comical as I completely embarrassed myself. I had been traveling for lots of hours with very little sleep and my body was not happy. Vadim and I spent some time setting the boat up so I could try to paddle and no sooner did I get away from the dock, and trying to stay balanced than I was tipped over and taking a swim. The air temp was about 63° F and the water a whopping 55°F. It wouldn’t have been so embarrassing if a former US Canoe/Kayak team member hadn’t been there on the dock to watch the whole thing and then I was so worn out and cold that I couldn’t stop shivering enough to get back in the boat. Not the start I was looking for, but I’ve never been easily deterred, so I showed up the next day to try again.

All but one of days I was on the water I tipped over and had to swim back to the dock or to shore with my boat and paddle in hand. Sometimes it was a long swim and the water didn’t warm up but my drive to improve kept me going and motivated me to get back in the boat cold and wet whether it was sunny or rainy. My boat handling skills progressed and was assured that I have potential to be a good racer. I might not be ready to enter a regatta tomorrow but I got better each and every day. I was brave enough to try & I might have just found a new sport!

16 May 2011

Life is about change

Change can be both positive and negative but it’s mostly what you make of it.

I decided to update my ski racing blog because it might have to change and become my “racing” blog. Yes I’m still retired from ski racing and I have no intention of going back. Between the money, politics and physical demand I’m happy to be done. Winter Park is still my home and I’m still very involved with the NSCD Alpine Ski Team. I helped out with camps and new athletes this past season, but in truth; I know I made the right decision moving on. Over the past 15 months I’ve opened the next chapter in my life and my main focus has been trying to finish my bachelor’s degree in Biology. That being said I’m an athlete and a competitor. It’s in my blood. I have a very hard time being stagnant.

Last season the NSCD welcomed Nordic, Biathlon and Snowboard into their program& Snowboard cross has actually been added to the Paralympic Games for Sochi 2014!! After a little contemplation and very little persuasion I decided I needed to at least give it a go. I have only been on a snowboard a handful of times before this season but I was ready to suck it up and see if I could figure it out.

Not a big surprise, but I stunk. I wanted to pressure the edge like a ski but I didn’t have the momentum or balance to keep up with it. The head coach Brent and the guys that ride with him were very supportive and enthusiastic towards my efforts. I know I’m not very good but I did improve each time I strapped into the board. Unfortunately just as I thought I was figuring it out, I made a poor decision and went out on a day that the sun was shining but the snow was hard. I ended up catching an edge, landing just wrong. I limped my way down without assistance but finished my day at Granby Medical Center getting a CT. It showed I had disrupted one of the disks in my lower spine- huge bummer!! Not an injury I’ve dealt with or wanted to deal with. It all happened 1st March so I decided to play it safe and stay off the board for the rest of the season while the inflammation in my spine and surrounding tissues went down.
Hopefully this coming season will go a little better. I’d love to say I’m going to rip it up and be able to hang with boys and enter a comp and just be an all around Snowboard Betty Bad Ass… but my plan is to get good enough to just ride. I hope to ride with the NSCD snowboard team and see how much I can improve.

Below are a couple photos from Wells Fargo Weekend in Winter Park 2011.