Tuesday, March 29, 2011

7AM GONDOLA LINE

In Whistler we decided to do First Tracks!
I assure you, these are not the faces I saw upon waking up, but we got there. 

The mountains were beautiful in the morning.


Who is that monster?

I am usually on the hill early training or warming up, however it is amazing what you miss if you aren't looking.

I have been the first one on the hill multiple times, but I take it for granted. I never noticed how peaceful it is, how the corduroy feels under you feet, how the mountain feels like my home. 

Sometimes you have to slow down your life to realize all of these things. To see the tracks you made on the snow, to realize how much you truly love every day in this paradise.

And of course you have to cherish best friends!

And family!

And inukshuks? Okay I'll stop there...

Chhaaaaliieee!

I met Charlie waterskiing when I was little. He would come ski at the ski school I trained at. Years later I met Kevin. They are cousins. It's a small world!

Rock and rollers!

Jump fail. Facial expression by me.... success.... no fail.

Alright we'll just stand and pose.

Peak to Peak! AHHHH


I guess I always have to remember to take a second and realize just how amazing that corduroy really is. Sometimes when people try to live their lives, they fill their lives and forget to take that second to really appreciate what is really in their lives.

Question answered: I did decide to do speed at Nationals. I'll report more soon (hopefully with pictures!) 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

NOR AM FINALS!

It has been quite a while since I last blogged and it has been SO busy. We had our final World Cup in Spindleruv, Czech. I came into the race 33rd in the World Cup standings, and needed to place about 5th to place in the top 25 and make it to World Cup Finals. I went out of the gate trying to attack and go for it as much as I could. I ended up straddling fairly early in the course, ending my day far too early!

After the race on Saturday, we flew to Vancouver to race in the Nor Am finals on Tuesday. During our travel time my body finally gave into the cold that was going around. I felt horrible when we were flying and couldn't wait until we finally made it to Whistler and could stay in one place for a while.

The girls raced slalom on Tuesday and Wednesday, while the boys raced GS. The next two days we changed disciplines. Most of my immediate family came to Whistler for my Grandpa's 80th birthday and my Grandma's birthday and it was lucky that our races were during this time.

When I arrived in Canada I was able to see the support of the Georgian Peaks Club and their athletes!!
They made me this card for the world champs. It means the world to me that I have so much support back home. It raised the hair on my arms and brings a smile to my face, even when I am not looking at such amazing pictures as these. 




THANKS EVERYONE!!! Hopefully I will see you all soon! 


I knew what I wanted to do in the slaloms and I set my mind to doing just that. We went up for the first race day to find typical Whistler conditions... snow! We slipped many times and finally the races were able to run. During the first run I was skiing aggressively, then all of a sudden my pole got stuck between my legs. I pulled it out quickly, it planted in the snow and I punched myself in the face... I must be the weirdest skier there is. I finished the course and came down into 7th 1.4 off the leader. I knew that I had to make up a lot of time during the second run, but it is slalom and anything can happen.... that's why I love slalom. I ended up taking the lead by a little for my first Nor Am victory... ever


Before the race the next day Tim told me that I had to put absolutely everything I had into the final slalom. I tried to get myself in the mindset to do just that. I put absolutely all my energy, all my concentration, anything and everything I had into those runs, especially my second run. I ended up taking the lead and it is one of the first times I haven't lost the lead from first run to second run.


Did I mention that out of six races Maddy Irwin placed, 2nd, 2nd, 3rd, 3rd, with other results in there as well. Yay Maddy! MP won the GS Nor Am title! They have Swag!


Over on the GS side, Kevin was racing! We were finally able to race on the same day, in the same country, at the same races! However, the conditions were much more difficult for GS, one mistake was very costly.



But the second day was a little better.



Then I moved on to GS and Kevin moved on to slalom. I packed away my slalom gear and unpacked everything I needed for the GS. I tried not to step on my tails or cross my tips in the inspection with the longer skis on my feet. The GS days were really fun days for me. There was almost no pressure on me and I could just try to push it as much as I could. On the first run I ended up 15th and knew that I needed to make some changes for second run. Kevin took me on a free ski run and told me a few things he has been thinking of, and I went up to the start for my second run. I placed 3rd on the second run, finishing 7th overall. The next day was a bit of a struggle. I felt like my skiing was more solid and I felt in a better position to push it, but I came to the bottom of the course and couldn't see the last, blind gate. I think the outside gate was blended into the fences and the protective barriers blocking the timing.  I didn't want to give it any respect and ended up on the wrong side of the gate. GS- 1 Erin- 0.

Kevin scored an 18 though, so he made up for my lack of skiing.

At the awards ceremony, my Grandpa and I posed for a picture with Nancy Green. 

But here is a better picture of him. Which I actually found (again) in the Zoomer magazine in the lounge, which my cousin Carly Bumstead now writes for!


The next two days were Super G races, which I didn't race. I took some time to myself and to get organized after being in Europe for so long. I guess I have to say that getting organized generals means sleeping and relaxing for most of the day. Well.. I organized well. On the second last day we had the NATION'S CUP dual slalom. This means that 4 girls and 4 guys and chosen from both Canada and the USA to race against each other. And guess what... CANADA WON!! We finally were able to race as a team, with no man for himself, and the team was strong! (Or trash talking may have needed some work...)

 The girls: Me, MP, Britt and Eve

The next day I went up with Kevin's family and friends for First Tracks. We got in line at 7am, ate breakfast at the top of the mountain and skied perfectly groomed hills with no one on them. It was amazing!!
That concluded the Nor Am finals. The conditions were tough, but the competition was tougher. I'd like that thank all of the volunteers out there because they put on some amazing races. Also, my family, the Drury's and everyone staying there made these races extremely enjoyable!
I am in Calgary now waiting for the Nationals to start. The downhill is first... will I or will I not race... That is the question for me right now.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Stumble Upon

I have yet to take any pictures in Spindlruv, Czech.
First of all, my thoughts go out to everyone in Japan. I heard about the 8.9 earthquake and resulting tsunami this morning from a friend. It's incredible how these things seem to happen so suddenly. One of my best friends is in Tokyo right now and luckily she is safe, but I couldn't help thinking how many crazy experiences people witness in a lifetime. How many terrifying times people escape from, survive through, or just miss by the width of a hair. My friend was 3 hours from the epicenter, but I wish she was here with me or back home with everyone else.
Today was the women's GS World Cup in Spindl. The girls doing the slalom had the morning off, and I took full advantage of it! I enjoyed some Banana Berry tea at breakfast. I love anything that tastes like banana and decided to try out a new site- stumbleupon.com. Basically you sign up, for free, and choose things that you want to see sites about, such as music, art, animals, etc. A page comes up that has something to do with what you chose, you look at it, then push stumble and a new page comes up. Basically an internet addicts dream, which I hope I don't become after this.
Some of these things are unbelievable... almost.


Or a tale of two unlikely friends thrown together after the tsunami in 2004...


Also a few...
Words That Don’t Exist in the English Language

Gheegle: (Filipino) The urge to pinch or squeeze something that is unbearably cute.

Cualacino: (Italian) The mark left on a table by a cold glass.

L’esprit de escalier: (French) The feeling you get after leaving a conversation, when you think of all the things you should have said. Translated it means “the spirit of the staircase.”

Pari-pari and Saku-saku: (Japanese) Hard-crispy verses Soft-crispy, i.e. a rice cracker versus fried chicken

Stam: (Hebrew) An agreement out of amusement and frustration that something doesn’t have a satisfactory answer among those talking.

Forelsket: (Norwegian) The euphoria you experience when you are first falling in love.

Pena ajena: (Mexican Spanish) The embarrassment you feel watching someone else’s humiliation.

There are also sites that are useful for:
1) Finding a new book: whatshouldireadnext.com
2) Emergency and Disaster Information in the world: rsoe.hu

After my prolonged internet obsession this morning we went to the hill to watch second run and train for our race tomorrow! MP came 18th (just missing making World Champs) and Mitch came 19th, one hundredth behind MP. Way to go girls! 

After the race we went up to train slalom on the top of the SL hill. It was hailing like crazy and Tim thought he had been given a whole new set of pores. I was happy about the bandaid on my chin, for once, because at least the little bullets couldn't hit me there. We are all prepared for the race tomorrow! As always, it should be interesting! I was thinking today, when I was getting ready, how strange it is that tomorrow is so close, but we never know what the day holds. We can think about it, hope for it, prepare for it, but you can never know what will happen from one minute to the next. I guess that's why life is so exciting. It's like driving down a road in heavy fog. You may have driven on the road before, but you never know what will lie ahead of you, what the conditions on the road will be like, or exactly where the next turn will start. 

Now that I have finished my completely random, overly thoughtful blog. I will leave you with this: 
Don't Judge People too quickly!!


THE RACE IS ON... well it will be at 10 tomorrow!!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

GS and The Eagle's Nest

After our last slalom in Slovakia we traveled back to Germany for two GS races! The first day went surprisingly well considering it was a very flat hill and straight course. It was a lot of fun!! I actually scored too.. just by a little, but I'm still happy. MP came second and Maddy scored huge!
The next day I think I was expecting a little more, and I didn't do nearly as well. It was still a fun day. I got huge bruises on my arms and felt my long skis under my feet! I probably looked like I had a huge upper body second run because I put Eve's stealth over top of mine. It was a strange day because we had to hike about 7 gs gates to the start twice per day because they didn't start the chair that goes all the way up to the top until after the race started. Also, for the second run, they moved down the start by about 20 seconds so that they would have more room for the public to ski. Strange!! MP WON and again Maddy scored HUGE!! Good job guys!!!
I didn't take any pictures (I know... that constitutes for a boring blog), so I dug up these treasures from our last trip to Europe. (Most of these are of Eve!)

True Beauty...

Brooke, Julia, Eve and Anna

"Wait... you missed it, I'm trying again!" I don't think Eve would be jumping into any huge piles of snow at the moment. Elle est malade.

After the race we went on a little field trip with our physio Jenny and Jay, one of our coaches. We were trying to go to Obersalzberg to visit a house given to Hitler by his friend called Eagle's Nest. Hitler didn't go up to the place often because he was scared of heights... poor him.
We weren't able to go all the way up because it is dangerous when there is a lot of snow, so I grabbed this off of the internet. 

We went on a walk through the documentation center and walked around in the bunkers. Obersalzberg is where Hitler's mountain home was, called Berghof. There is a lot of history behind this place and I think everyone learned a lot. I wasn't very interested in history when I was in school, but I find that I am becoming more and more interested in learning about the past. My favourite books are historical fiction, so I've read a lot about World War II, but nothing is as striking as going to the actual place some of these events occurred.

On a different note, tomorrow we are heading to Czech Republic for the last World Cup of the season in Spindleruv, before World Cup Finals. We're all gearing up to go, but we are missing our teammate Anna Goodman. She found out a little while ago that she tore her Posterior Labrum (in her hip), so she has to end her season early (annagoody.ca). She is already planning a strong comeback and we all have no doubt she'll come back stronger than ever! We miss you Anna!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

POLAND! and SLOVAKIA

After Venice we trained two days of slalom in Hinterreit, Austria.
Maddy striking a pose after training!
I did a couple loads of laundry in the sink and we headed to Bodele, Austia. We raced one day in Bodele, but decided to leave a day early because the snow was so soft. The soft snow, mixed with the flat hill and FIS race made our decision for us. So the next day, we hit the road! We drove 10.5 hours and FINALLY arrived in Poland. As everyone has been saying "Back to the Motherland"! It was my first trip to Poland.. ever! 

However, many of the situations we ran into were questionable. We arrived at our "hotel" to find that everyone, coaches and athletes were staying in a house. This is pretty unheard of. The girls took one floor while the coaches took another. Britt Phelan decided to "improve" her bed, by putting a foam mattress from the futon under her mattress and putting a few sheets over top of both mattresses. There is nothing like waking up in the middle of the night to find that the sheets have been pulled off of a public mattress. Five girls sharing one washroom is another adventure in itself. Usually everything was okay, but in the morning, when it is rush hour, be prepared to hold it. The other funny thing is that the bathroom door had a tinted glass window, so everyone could see your silhouette... strange. The food at the hotel was another interesting venture. 
However, I did find "cows", a type of polish candy that my Baba Cecile would bring back from Poland for my sister and I at Christmas. I guess they are actually called Krówki! 

Anyways, on to less delicious things. Since we left a day early from Bodele we were able to train at the hill in Zakopane before the race. The snow was a little soft, but it was a beautiful day!  
Apparently the people in Zakopane still use coal to heat their homes, so it creates a layer of fog over the city.


After training Maddy and I decided to go for a few free runs in the soft snow. We put on our mirrored lenses, took down our suits and pretended to be skiing in the '80s with over exaggerated pole plants. Excuse the band-aid on my face...

 MAD-DOG!

My fellow Collingwood skier! I love having her on the road!! 

I'm working on my Camouflage skills.

Maddy slouching and me standing up straight so that we could be close to the same height... FAIL 

"Erin, try to lick your bar... Wow, I thought that would be a lot funnier." 
Apparently, it is a little close to my face. Big chin?

I felt at home in the mother... no fatherland, especially when Shania Twain came on over the speakers. 

That night I went to my first public bib draw! A little girl drew my number out of a hat, then I had to pick another kid out of a row. That girl gave me my bib and it was EIGHT! My favourite number and the lowest number I could have chosen!

The next day we were at the lift at 6:30am to start warming up. Apparently Eve was not happy about the early morning. Or maybe she hit traffic on the way to the bathroom?

I guess it turned out alright...


They had to run the race early and fairly quickly because they were worried that the snow would get soft again. The first run was really turny and a bit of a grinder, but that's what I like... turning. I just love to turn. I ended up second on the first run, 1 tenth behind the leader.
On the second run, I won't lie, I was a bit nervous. My run was solid, but I held back a little bit and that was enough to move me into third. However, it was still an amazing day! My first Europa Cup podium.



And my bags were already overweight... Glass vase not included. 

After the race we met with our sponsor from Hermes, Dariusz Jasiczes,and his family for coffee and cake! They were so thoughtful and brought me a box of traditional Polish candies and a book about Poland, so I could learn more about my roots.
After this we headed to Jasna, Slovaki for our final Europa Cup race of the season. On the way we played Boggle and got a high score!!

The race in Slovakia didn't go very well. The hill was very flat if you aren't on it, you are slow. I wasn't on it...
After the race we drove to Bischofsweisen, Germany for a couple of GS races. You know you have been on the road for a while when a 7 hour drive is considered fairly short. We have a day off today and I was hoping to find a laundromat... so far Fail.

I'll leave you with some funny things that have happened recently:
- I hate when I misspeak and say something I didn't mean at all! Tim at dinner "Hotel- $75, Beer- $3, Erin's embarrassing comment- priceless"
- Things Eve says: "What are those two holes in your nose called?" Elli- "Nostrils" It's like Catch Phrase real life...
- Stuff Tim says: "It takes the Canadian Team 2 hours for dinner, 10minutes to eat 1h 50min to decide what to get"
 - Stuff Tim says "I got so bored I blow dried my hair" Maddy "It looks very... tall"

Now on to GS... I don't need shin guards for that one right?