Friday, December 30, 2011

22nd in Lienz

I am going to start with yesterday, my 22nd place in Lienz, Austria, and then blog again about Christmastime! I wish I was a writer and could piece together my blogs like a book, figuring out the ended and deciding just how I will get there. However, I will do the best I can do and just start with Lienz (obviously I have been reading too much recently).


Yesterday was our 4th World Cup slalom of the year in Lienz, Austria. Before heading there I was told the hill was very long, with a long pitch at the end. I anticipated the length of this course, and knew that it was important to attack right to the bottom. However, upon arriving, I think they moved the start down from previous years and the race was not quite as long. To give you a visual, the start began on a bit of a pitch. After pushing awkwardly out of the start made the day before there were a few gates on the pitch and then we had to work the flats. These flats turned a bit of a corner, and sloped more gradually into another pitch. This became flat again over a bridge that gapped a road, and then the course turned a bit and then gradually began to slope more steeply into the finish. All in all, my kind of interesting hill!

I started 28th on the first run and ended up 21st. I was lacking some of the attack and crisp skiing that I had brought into my skiing the races before. I could blame it on all the turkey for Christmas, however... I didn't have any. Cakes maybe? Chocolate? (Just kidding athletes never eat these things....)

Okay one more story before I get back on track...
I met a comedian recently and he told me that embarrassing stories are funny, so as a New Year's resolution... maybe I'll be funny. Well two embarrassing stories happened to me on race day.
1) I can't tell you because I am still embarrassed... all I will say is everyone has been there (or at least that's what I'm telling myself)

2) The second embarrassing story happened during second run inspection. I decided to do up my buckles and practice my start out of that awkward start hut. So as I was trying to look all professional, I buckled up, looked out and kick started. Well, my pole had buried itself in a hole in the start gate and decided that it would stay there for a while, and why not keep my mitt too for company. I stopped as quickly as I could, looked up and saw my pole with the kidnapped mitten laughing at me from up above, as was one of the Swiss girls. After a good laugh, she threw my pole down to me. It hit my figure, but I was so embarrassed that I pretended nothing happened.

HOWEVER, here is the twist in my story. The Swiss girl practiced her start as well, and.... guess where her pole decided to make a home for awhile... and it brought her mitten along as a friend as well. Thus, the next girl had to retrieve this pole for her too, and guess who it was... yep, Marlies Schild, who has won every slalom this year and most of the slaloms last year. Well, maybe the laugh I gave her helped on her victory that day, one can only hope. This little slip up of mine made me break the strap that holds my pole in place, good thing I had one extra in my bag, for my right hand.
(I should have told the other story... my days as a comedian are over)

Okay, back for the real thing. I started second run with more fire in my heart. I lost time out of the start, made up time and then lost time again down the last section of the course. I came down into 3rd, missing the leader's box again, and ended up 22nd for the day. Of course, it is always good to create World Cup points, and I am not unhappy, however I am not satisfied. I have a lot more to give, and I am figuring out a little bit more every race!

*Don't worry Mom, my thumb is fine... just a little cut from the gate. It is almost all healed. A nick really. I'll post a picture of it soon because I know how much you like gore...

Mitch finished 14th for the day, making her way into the top 15 for the standings, ensuring that she gets to participate in her first bib draw! Mitch could start 8th in the next race on the 3rd!
Sarah Schleper, who roars loudly in the start, sadly retired in Lienz. I only met Sarah a few years ago, but I will miss her greatly. She had a long, successful career, which was slightly interrupted when she had her son. On her last run, she wore a short dress and stopped halfway down to pick up her son. He was able to race her last World Cup race with her! Happy retirement Sarah.


On that same day, another US girl put her name in the record books. Mikaela Shiffrin, who is 16 and started around 40th, finished 3rd on the day, winning the second run. Amazing job!

More to come... (I don't want to take up too much of your time, especially after the novel I just wrote. No wonder my teachers limited the number of words I was allowed to write in school. I wonder if they knew that I changed the font to 11.5?)

Sunday, December 25, 2011

MERRY CHRISTMAS! Makes you think!

Christmas is upon us again! It doesn't feel like a year has passed since my last Ausrian Christmas. This year is a bit different than last though. This year we are in Saalfelden, Austria, in a normal hotel, and I had four days to spend with my Dad wherever we chose.
My Dad and I decided to go to Vienna, Austria and then Salzburg, Austria. We enjoyed the Austrian Christmas markets, drank some gluhwein and ate amazing food. I will say more on that soon, maybe in my next post.
Christmas always makes me think. I try not to talk about all my deep and intricate thoughts, because I'm already known to overthink everything. However, it is Christmas, so my mind is more active than usual.
I don't want to preach, but what I am thinking about are coincidences, or what we think of as coincidence. You see someone in a store, and think "What a coincidence", but is it really. I will give you a couple of examples.
1) When I was in grade 9 or 10, my mom decided to get necklaces made for my sister and I. We were able to choose any word we wanted to be written in the flowing silver. After a couple of days of thought, I decided that my favourite word was believe. From that point on, I wore the necklace hanging around my neck, as a simple reminder of something so great. About 4 or 5 years later, they announced the word that would define the 2010 Olympic Games. The word was- believe. A couple of months later, I was named to the Canadian Olympic Team. My believing payed off.

2) We just moved into a beautiful new house in Collingwood, which until this moment I believe I have called "the project". Well, my mom and Clay, began this amazing project before our old house had been sold. You all know what they are saying about the real estate market at the moment- it is a buyers market. This was not good timing for my mom. All summer, she tried to sell the house. There were hurried house showings, multiple showings in a day, and yellow flowers on the table. Finally, we got an offer, but it was a "low ball" offer and we let it go. Months passed, and no other offer came. They say that after Thanksgiving, the market hits a low point and most houses do not sell. Thanksgiving came and went and my mom still owned two houses. About a month ago, my mom said that she had a few house showings on the weekend and she said that these were probably the last showings that she would have before the winter. As we were saying goodbye, she said that she had a good feeling about this weekend, and joked about a "bidding war" starting on the second home that she has ever owned. Well, one offer came in and then another. She knew that she would accept either offer, and started taking things out of the house. Little did she know that there was one more showing, and a bidding war HAD actually started. Our house sold that weekend for the asking price, with nothing added in to the contract.

3) Possibly another "coincidence"- When I just entered high school, I was in an art course. My artistic abilities have definitely improved over the years, since I stopped gripping my pencil like it is a weapon (thanks to my friend Paul). However, I am not talented in the arts department. Nevertheless, my mom kept most of my artwork. I had to decorate my portfolio, and I creatively thought... Why not draw a skier? (creative right). I drew my skier racing around a paneled gate, as a sort of self portrait. On the panel I wrote, Vancouver 2010. After that art class, my mom put my portfolio away. Over the years, I had a lot of firsts in Whistler. I raced in my first international race, I had my first vacation (without skiing) here and I went on my first date with Kevin in Whistler. I just can't believe that it was a coincidence that Whistler was my first Olympic Games, where my entire family could come to watch. Especially not after pulling down the rough artwork I had done that had the words "Vancouver 2010" written across the panel. I was 14 when I drew that picture, before I even really knew the work that is to be done to go to an Olympics, before I made the Ontario team, 4 years before I made the Canadian Team. (This is also where my mom met Clay for the first time)
I have a few other personal stories, but also some stories that I would have to steal from others. Their tales on "coincidence" or survival.
One tale that I know I can tell, is my Dad's story. When I was 6 my dad got Strept-phneumoccus Pneumonia. He declined in health very quickly. Eventually he was hallucinating snakes on the floor and the priest thought that it would be a good idea to give him his last rights. My mom slept at the foot of his bed. My grandma prayed, saying that she would say the rosary every night if only my dad would live. In a moment of lucidity, my dad asked my mom to get him his medical books from school, he is a dentist. She brought his books, and after searching for symptoms, names, and I don't know what else, he found the disease that he thought he had. The doctors treated him. He has a large scar down his back, from where they took out a rib, with four smaller scars below this. Yet, to this day, my grandma says the rosary each night, and my dad is now able to spend Christmas with me in Europe. My dad is very talented at many things, his dream was to be a war photographer, but he became a dentist, and saved his own life.

Another skier's Christmas story! Brad Spence has the most amazing little fan there can be. He is not very old, not very tall, but had a huge heart! This little boy heard about how difficult it is to pay for everything involved with ski racing. He decided to bring it upon himself to be Brad's headgear sponsor. He put money into a piggy bank with Brad's name on it. A few days ago it was announced that Gage Ferguson will be Brad's headgear sponsor for the next world cup race in Wengen. Gage will fly there to see his favourite athlete wearing the name Gage Ferguson on his head!


I won't steal anymore stories at the moment (except there is one fairytale that I will tell you if I get permission!). However, we each have those moments when things seem to come together perfectly, whether you realize it at the time or not.

Sometimes it is easy to get mad when something doesn't go as planned, yet what if that one small setback makes you late and you miss a car crash. You have a tough year, and go to a race you aren't supposed to, but meet the love of your life. Your parents divorce and you move, but you meet irreplaceable friends, go to an amazing school and your dad can come to visit at Christmas more easily.

I'm not saying the world is perfect. It is hard, messy and beautiful. It is Christmas, so I wanted to share a few of my stories with you. Maybe it will make you think too...
If you have any stories of your own, I would love to hear them! I think many people would. We hear so many stories of despair, that one story of hope goes a long way.

Oh and I almost forgot. MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL!! I hope you spend it the way you want too!

Friday, December 23, 2011

14th at Flachau

Better late than never... Just keep that saying in mind sometimes when it comes to my blog!!
After our race in Courchevel, we had a night off and then drove 9 hours to Flachau the next day. The drive didn't feel too long, but then again I did take two naps and have my book "The Book Thief" on hand at all times.
After arriving, we got prepared for the first NIGHT SLALOM of the year. It was my third time racing in Flachau, and I had the mentality that "the third time's the charm". I don't think I have to explain about last year, or the year before, that quote just about sums it up! Some salt water may have been involved...

I am getting distracted! So this year, we were able to free ski on the race hill in the morning, relax during lunch and then prepare for the race at night. As the sun began to set, the lights came on and the first racer pushed through the start wand. At this moment, I was up at the lodge, getting ready, and staring at my bib, #34. I headed down to the start with my clear lenses and prepared for my start.
(photo: Eve Routhier) 


As soon as I pushed out of the gate, I felt like I was finally ready for this hill. I had fun in the course, especially through the hairpin, gate, delay, hairpin. Oh how I love weird courses! I ended up coming down into 13th! Mitch was sitting in 11th.

For my second run, the sun had set completely, the dark had settled in for the night, people were full of gluwein and the lights were beconing me to race them to the bottom.
I ended up placing 14th overall! I came down into 3rd place, and oh how I wanted to stand in the leader's box. Next time! Mitch placed 9th, which is her first top 10 this year! Yay Mitch!

After the race I headed to Vienna with my Dad for some days off before Christmas! I will post a couple of pictures soon!

Now on another, less Christmassy, note. Eve Routhier, my skiing twin, injured her leg at the race in Courchevel this weekend. She is in good spirits and home for the holidays. To find out more, you can go to her blog: routhierski.blogspot.com or to send her a little note of love. We already miss her smiling face!!
photo: Eve Routh

Merry Christmas everyone! I hope your Christmases are filled with laughter, good food and family. I will be thinking about you here, and hoping your hills soon fill with snow!

Monday, December 19, 2011

NOR AMS & 13TH IN COURCHEVEL

The past week has been CRAZY!
On Dec 11th, I traveled to Panorama for two Nor Ams. It was good to see people that I usually don't get to see, and it is always nice to race at the same place as Kevin.
I felt ready to go on the first day. I was leading after the first run, with Anna right behind me. On my second run, I made a mistake up top and really tried to attack and make up time on the bottom. When I finished, a story that my mom once told me popped into my head. She said that this one man was racing a cross country race. He fell, struggled and fought for the whole race, and ended up by himself with seemingly no hope of catching up to the people in front of him. He thought about giving up and giving himself a break, however he wanted to push through and finish at least. This man came through the finish in first, without realizing where the other competitors were or what struggles they faced. Obviously I faced this to a MUCH lesser extent, but the story popped into my head nonetheless. I ended up coming away with the gold, but it was a tough race in general. Our Canadians placed 1st, 2nd, 4th and 5th.

The second day was much more consistent. I tried to attack my first run like I did on the bottom of my second run. I had a solid first run, 8tenths ahead, and a solid, but safe second run. Eve killed the second run! I barely came away with the gold, with my skiing twin right behind me with the silver!

After that we drove to Calgary for a flight to Geneva the next day! After a delayed flight and long drive, we arrived in Courchevel to find this... (photo:Anna)

At 8pm (After we arrived) we had our meeting and heard that Courchevel got at least a meter of new snow. The race was on for Saturday, but there was less than 50% chance of running.
After inspection the next day, the race was canceled. (photo:Anna)

SO WE WENT POWDER SKIING!! You know there is a lot of snow when they have to blow snow out of the lift lines...

Woohoooo

I admit that I did have some trouble keeping my tips up and fell a handful of times... not so much fun after the 5th time...

That afternoon, they watered the track and it turned to ice! My start number was 33 and I felt much more ready to race than Saturday. I told myself to believe in the start, and I attacked! I ended up 14th after the first run. It was a bit rough, but much better than Saturday, and it was the kind of fight that I needed. (photocred: Andy Mielzynski)

The sun came out for the second run, and I tried to repeat my first run. I attacked out of the start, but made quite a few mistakes during the run. After each mistake I told myself to make up the time and keep going. My Mom said that I proved myself to be a cat... I prefer bear, but I don't get much say in these matters.
I fought to the bottom, and ended up placing 13th overall! Which ties my best result to date!!
We had 4 Canadians in the second run, which is the most Canadian women that we have had in a second run in a long time. Mitch placed 8th first run, but unfortunately straddled on the second run. She was going for it! Anna placed 11th from bib 47! Elli earned her first World Cup points placing 23rd. Eve attacked right out of the gate, but straddled a pin near the bottom of the course. 

After the race we relaxed for a while and then played in the snow! (These next pictures are all Anna's!)

Snow woman?! 

 We love MP's cold curves! (How does she still have Swag?!)

What happened here? 

 Oh... nothing much.

Christmas is coming!! However, we have one more race before my Dad and I travel somewhere new (we don't know where yet) and celebrate in a father/daughter sort of way.

Until then, please snow at home.... and hold off the snow until after the men race on the 21st here!
I know... I ask a lot for Christmas!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

GEORGIAN PEAKS!

Recently, I blogged about my new head sponsor with Polar Securities.
Now I would like to introduce my new shoulder sponsor- THE GEORGIAN PEAKS SKI CLUB.

(Photo from georgianpeaks.com)


 Again, this sponsor is very close to my heart. I began skiing at "The Peaks", when I was two years old, and it has always been my home hill. I made my way through the racing program, racing my first race when I was six and making my way up until I reached FIS. The memories I made there as some of the best that I have, trying to make it up the lift before the ski patrols, so that I could get just one more run in, or trying my first 360 by the Poma. (This is not my picture)

I moved schools and houses many times when I was growing up, but the Peaks is the one place that has always stayed constant!
It has amazing views, great runs, and fun people!!
Thank you for everything that you have ever done for me. I wear the patch proud!! (On my right shoulder!)
Here are a few pictures from the last week that my Dad took! (photocredit: Andy Mielzynski!)

Fewf, this one is from the back, so you can't see my.... ummm WAR FACE.

Yeah Rossignol!


And a shout out to our men that raced Beaver Creek!
Robbie Dixon- 4th Super G!

Jan Hudec


To look at more results from Beaver Creek- click this link
http://www.fis-ski.com/uk/604/1228.html?event_id=30007&cal_suchsector=AL

The men race slalom at Beaver Creek tomorrow!! They will be doing a little bit of this (Point of View of a Slalom Skier!)....


Your best bet to watch is on CBC or Rogers Sportsnet, yet if you are like me and rely on a computer try....
http://www.sportlemon.tv/

Sunday, December 4, 2011

My Skiing Sisters!

As promised....
Anna Goodman started writing for Ski Presse, a Canadian Skiing Magazine, a little while ago. Her most recent articles have been along the lines of "get to know the team".

Here is the link for the newest article (Please check it out!!):
http://issuu.com/skipressnews/docs/vol26n02_lr_qc
(page 22, 24)
*I changed the link... it should work now....*

As usual an Anna inspired photo-shoot accompanied the article.... Need I say more

Eve: The princess
Mitch: Fire
Maddy Irwin:... Where's Maddy?
Anna: Coffee Lover

MP: Stylista
Britt: Daredevil

If you want to check out the previous article click below:
http://issuu.com/skipressnews/docs/skipressevol25-02lr?viewMode=magazine
(page 10,12)


YEA ANNA!

Friday, December 2, 2011

SPEED!!

*Contains a few scary stories/videos (but no crashes) 

Before I post the "interesting, get to know us" pictures, I'll admit.... I have speed on the mind.
I used to do quite a bit of speed when I was younger, racing on tracks such as Lake Louise and the men's track in Whistler. I usually felt nervous before speed races, but I had a lot of fun and was always interested in what the day would have in store for me!
When I raced my first downhill in Mount St. Anne, I was so nervous that I thought the finish line was higher and actually stopped before the finish line... rookie mistake.
Speed Tip #1:... DO NOT stop before the finish line. This is not fast.

The next downhill I did was in Lake Louise when I was 16. I was starting number 45, and I was a bit nervous for the race. When I was standing in the gate there was a hold on course because a girl on my team hit the fence and was being taken down on a toboggan. The wait was so long that they send a forerunner who flew off the jump at coaches and hurt herself. Next thing I knew the starter was saying, "Racer number 45, you're up."

I had some fun races this year, and the following years; trying to find the patience which I lack, finding it hard to trust the line that I was on, and trying to make up for lost time on the flats!

The toughest downhill I ever did was the men's track in Whistler, yet it is also the most exciting and thrilling track. I will never live down the story of losing my outside ski coming into one of the steepest parts of the course (Weasel). I flew over the break-over and tried to put my ski down, but it wasn't there. I flailed down the rest of that pitch on one ski, and upon reaching the flats, screamed and threw myself to the ground... Girly I know.
Not quite as graceful as this...


Or Bode skiing up on the fencing...


Now that I am mainly a tech skier, with the occasional speed race now and then... I have speed on the mind. I miss the feel of being in the air, and trying to find the most aerodynamic position. Yet, in saying that, I still feel the nerves in my stomach.... unless I ate something bad for breakfast.


And now today, I am cheering on my teammates in Lake Louise (ladies) and Beaver Creek (men). Unfortunately, I will be on the plane when these races take place, so when I speed off towards Burlington, they will be speeding down the mountain towards the finish line (without stopping!).

Here is a point of view that Conrad Pridy (Men's Canadian Speed Team) made of Lake Louise during a training run! (The skiing starts at about 1:10 into the video!)


You can cheer on our team in Lake Louise and in Beaver Creek, while they go 120-130km/h!

Lake Louise 
Sarah Freeman 54
Tess Davies 58

*First World Cup race for these two young guns!


Beaver Creek
Jan Hudec   4
Erik Guay   9
Robbie Dixon   35
Ben Thomsen   54
Kelby Halbert   57
Louis- Pierre Helie  60    (fellow waterskier!)
Conrad Pridy   62
Ryan Semply   65

2011-12 Alpine Skiing on CBC Schedule  (cbcsports.ca)
Saturday 12/3, 12:00pm – Lake Louise: Women’s Downhill #1
Saturday 12/3, 1:00pm – Beaver Creek: Men’s Super-G
Saturday 12/3, 2:30pm – Lake Louise: Women’s Downhill #2
Sunday 12/4, 3:00pm – Lake Louise: Women’s Super-G (MITCH IS RACING!)

Rogers Sportnet                                                              East         Ont         West         Pacific    One
Friday 12/2 Beaver Creek: Men’s Downhill 4:00pm 4:00pm 4:00pm 4:00pm 7:00pm

Or checkout my previous blog posts for how to watch on live timing or online!!

TRUE NORTH STRONG AND FREE!!!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

A Week on the Job

We have been skiing for a week straight now and a lot has happened!!

1) Our first World Cup slalom race of the year was in Aspen, CO. This race is a lot of fun because my family comes out, the town is beautiful, the food is good, and there is shopping right down the street. I came into this race with my ts crossed and my is dotted, and I felt ready. I started 30th, which is my best bib to date. However, skiing is a tough sport sometimes and I didn't end up with the result that I am pushing for.
I let the first race get to me and I didn't ski the way that I have been training. I let off the gas pedal and just missed making the top 30 cut by about 4 hundredths of a second.
However, it was an exciting race nonetheless. Anna attacked from the back and came 8th first run, while Mitch came 10th. Anna ended up placing 20th, while Mitch came 11th. Congratulations girls!! It is exciting to see how well our team is doing because we all saw what we are capable of. Our team is progressing together and it will be a great year!


2) After our race in Aspen we drove 2 hours back to Loveland for two slalom races. I tried to use these races to practice, racing.
Day 1: I felt good again on my skis and pushed it on my first run. I had some trouble at a difficult delay on my first run, and ended up 4th with quite a bit of time to make up. I didn't finish my next run. (Mitch placed 2nd!!)


Day 2: I had a solid day without any mistakes and ended up 4th, but there is more gas in the tank!!

3) After these two slaloms we drove back to Aspen for 2 GS races. I was excited to ski some GS, and work a little more on a) my race gear and b) my GS! I have been excited about skiing GS this year, and I was excited to finally conquer Aspen!
Day 1: I started 12th, and had a fairly good first run, ending up 13th. It felt good to be on my GS skis again! However, the second run, I let my old habits come through and fell back to 16th. I felt tired from all the days on snow... so I had a steak for dinner and prepared for one final day of racing.
Day 2: I started 34th, because I was bumped out of the top 15 after the first day. The course was quite rough, and many girls didn't finish. I ended up 13th on that run, and 11th overall. It was a step in the right direction for my GS and I look forward to more to come!
(MP won on both days!! Domination!)

Now I am in Denver, waiting to fly to Burlington tomorrow to visit Kevin for a few days. After that I head to Panorama for a few Nor Ams and then off to Europe for our next World Cup races.
**Pray for snow because so far there is NONE!!**

I will post some.... interesting pictures soon so you can get to know my SKIING SISTERS!!