I hope you’re all enjoying the holiday season, hopefully with family, friends, and loved ones! I’m currently in Park City soaking up all the time I can get with family before the next portion of my season kicks off!
Since the first World Cup of the season in Ruka, Finland, the World Cup Tour has taken me to Idre Fjäll, Sweden, and Alpe d’Huez, France, for four more World Cup events/Olympic Qualifiers.
I’m loving getting back into the swing of things with back-to-back competition weekends! Already this season, I’ve had just as many competition days as I had during the 2020-21 season (which was shortened due to COVID and my return from ACL injury). I’ve deeply missed the ins and outs of the World Cup Tour: the thrill of stepping in the competition gate, the achievements and incredible runs from teammates and competitors alike, learning the nuances of each mogul course, traveling to different countries each weekend.
Immediately following the event in Ruka, my team and I flew to Stockholm, then drove to Idre Fjäll for a singles and a duals event. The strategy to ski well on that course is quite different from Ruka — it was much flatter and the bumps were tighter. On singles day, I had a tough break on the bottom air, where I overrotated my cork 7, keeping myself out of finals. Still, I was happy with the way I had approached the day and continued into the next event with more determination and resolve.
I bounced back on the next day of competition, where I finished 4th in duals! I was incredibly happy with that performance on the final day of competition in Idre Fjäll, as it was certainly a testimony to my mental fortitude to be able to put the previous day behind me and get back to being a top contender. That day, I worked out a plan with my coaches that would ensure I skied the cleanest and fastest runs possible by addressing my line choice and trick package. That strategic initiative paid off; I was incredibly proud of my competitive process on that particular day and left Idre feeling excited for my next steps.
Upon our arrival at Alpe d’Huez, my teammates and I were greeted with bright, sunny, bluebird days; slushy spring-like conditions; and delectable French food. I’ve only competed in France once before — and never at Alpe d’Huez — so I felt like a little kid again when I insatiably soaked up the novelty of sunshine (we hadn’t seen it in a month!) and breathtaking views.
I learned from my competition experience at Idre Fjäll as I adjusted to the next course in Alpe d’Huez, making a conscious effort to adapt to the course quicker and learn tactics as efficiently as I could. Despite skiing well in both qualifications runs (for both singles and duals) and during official training, I was unfortunately unable to put my runs down the way I wanted to in finals.
However, I left Alpe d’Huez feeling healthy and beyond thankful. I’m grateful for the fact that all of my hard work has put me in a fantastic position to be at the top of the women’s mogul field — exactly where I want to be! I’m thankful that I have such an awesome support crew around me, who’s there to help me figure out how I can improve each day to consistently better my best!
Also in Alpe d’Huez, one of my longtime teammates and friends, Morgan Schild, tore her ACL for the fourth time in finals training… That day, she decided to retire from mogul skiing, waving to the live streaming cameras as she descended her last mogul competition run with a blown knee. I’ll never forget that moment: Tess and I were standing together at the top of the course, blowing kisses and waving to Morgan as she stood in the start gate. Both of our top coaches, Riley and Bryon (who were invaluable to her career), stood with her as tears streamed down her face. It was pretty incredible to see her time mogul skiing culminate in such a heartfelt, genuine moment.
I first met Morgan back when I was just 12 years old at a summer ski camp. I remember being incredibly impressed by her grit, determination, and inherent fire that was evident in everything she did — especially with regards to how she approached training and competing. She was one of my biggest role models within the sport, and it has been such an honor to watch her firsthand as she’s learned countless lessons, persevered through some crazy challenges, and achieved incredible successes — both on and off the hill. (She’s an Olympian, a World Cup winner, and was one of the first women to consistently compete cork 7 in today’s generation of mogul skiers, effectively pushing the women’s side of sport.) I’m going to miss her presence on World Cup, in the gym, and at training camps, but have a feeling that she won’t stray far from the sport…
After this first segment of the World Cup Tour, I’m looking forward to continuing to focus on my competitive process and enjoying the ride! The next events in January are a clean slate, and I’m thankful to have the opportunity to compete again so very soon!!
I’ll head off to a camp at Granby Ranch, Colorado (yet another new location I have yet to experience!) early next week. In terms of competitions, four Olympic Qualifying events/World Cups remain: two in Mont Tremblant, Canada (January 7th & 8th) and two in Deer Valley (January 13-14)!
As always, thank you all for following along — and happy holidays!