Welcome back to the blog! I hope everyone has had a restful holiday with friends and family — and hopefully, enjoying some snow!
Over the course of the past month, I’ve had the opportunity to soak up some time at home with family and friends, enjoy some fresh powder, get back to training, and explore a little bit along the way. But first…let’s rewind to the first competition stint of the 2022-23 season!
This past November and December, I traveled to Idre Fjäll, Sweden; Ruka, Finland; [back to!] Idre Fjäll, Sweden; and finally to Alp d’Huez — all for training and competition. This 6-week trip makes for simultaneously one of the most challenging and exhilarating parts of each year’s World Cup Tour! Prior to the first World Cup of the season, my team and I had the opportunity to fine-tune our stuff during training, as well as compete in the FIS Open — a smaller competition in Sweden. I particularly enjoyed competing before the first World Cup of the year: I had the chance to put my process and previous training year’s improvements to the test in a competitive setting! We were also faced with a couple challenges — a more difficult course than the traditional World Cup setting; several fog holds that delayed the start of women’s qualifications — that further served as good practice for the real thing in a couple weeks’ time.
Following the FIS Open, the US Team and I headed to Ruka, Finland, where we trained for several days prior to the World Cup Opener. Here, I was mainly focused on continuing to improve and hone in on my speed, which I had worked on throughout the prep season in various ways. As a team, we made the most of the few sunny days in Ruka, soaking it all in; continued our tradition of our Friendsgiving away from home; and made some really productive changes to cap off the preparation season.
The first event in Ruka proved to be as fun as ever! It was awesome to open up the Tour at one of my favorite venues (due in part to the fact that it’s the site of my first World Cup win ☺️). I was pleased with my process throughout the day and was stoked to be carrying my momentum steadily into the next weekend of events. After a long day of intense process focus, I ended up finishing just off the podium in 4th!
Motivated for more, I relentlessly pushed into the events in Sweden with the firm resolve that I would continue to consistently perform my best at every stop. I finished out the first day of competition with another 4th place and was largely satisfied with my performance. (On this day, however, I noted the semi-consistent trend so far that my performance would fall off in the superfinal round — relative to qualifications and finals — and I would later focus in on that during the January break.) The following day marked our first duals event of the year, where I was able to qualify into finals, but unfortunately get knocked out by former teammate and now-Austrian skier, Avital Carroll, who is starting to come into her own on Tour!
This weekend was SUPER exciting for the whole team, since Nick Page snagged his first World Cup WIN and Liz Lemley achieved her first podium (also a win)!! Both of my teammates were able to back it up with another podium immediately following their first win, which as also pretty neat to witness.
If I’m being honest, duals day in Sweden was a bit of a tough pill to swallow in the sense that I had higher expectations for myself when it came to how I wanted to perform day in and day out on Tour. That thought in the back of my mind carried me into the third and final competition weekend of December in Alpe d’Huez. A relatively new spot on Tour, Alpe d’Huez was a welcome end to a long month and a half on the road, with what I anticipated to be (if it was like last year) seemingly endless spring-like slushy days of skiing. Instead, we were greeted with wet snow that just kept on coming! This made for difficult conditions compared to what we’d seen on Tour over the past few weeks, but it was definitely a welcome challenge. (As Mikaela Shiffrin mentioned in one of her recent Instagram posts: as soon as you think you’ve seen everything there is to see when it comes to competing, yet another challenge is thrown at you! — This is simultaneously one of the most frustrating and fun parts of competing on World Cup, in my opinion.)
On singles day, I let my internal expectations get the best of me and unfortunately didn’t perform to my capability, crashing and finishing the day in 16th. (Cole McDonald, another one of my teammates and fellow Olympians, crushed his first podium – a LONG time coming!!) On duals day, however, I was more determined than ever to cap off the first round of events this season on a high note. I took things run by run, round by round, and ended out the day proud of my performances as a whole: especially in my last run against Perrine Laffont (where I lost and ended my day in 5th), I was pleased with how I had pushed myself to my limit when it came to my comfort zone and speed in general.
Needless to say, I was headed home for Christmas — exhausted, ready to see my family, and excited to soak up a little bit of a break before returning to training later in the month. (That was the first time I had been back to Park City since the end of August because of my stint in school!) Back at home in the States, I spent much-needed time with family, friends, and my boyfriend; enjoyed the seemingly endless amount of powder; traveled to Jackson Hole, WY, for a weekend of freeskiing; and finished up finals via Zoom. (I was actually pretty psyched on one of my final projects: I created a podcast that interviewed members of the World Cup Tour from various countries about their home government and experiences traveling around the world for skiing! It was neat to have my two worlds so deliberately and interestingly intersect.)
Before long, however, I was back to training in Steamboat, CO, and Park City, UT. Over the past month of training, I had the opportunity to hone in my stuff with my current coaches and past mentors alike, which has been much appreciated. I also had the chance to make a couple of YouTube videos with alpine racing legend and Steamboat local Deb Armstrong! Deb is an Olympic Gold Medalist, PSIA instructor, and great human being. That was one of the most fun moments I’ve had on skis this season. It was awesome to witness the excitement and spontaneity that went into her filming, as well as to learn a little bit about her and her fascinatingly successful career. You can check out the two videos she made here and here — and if you’d like to brush up on your ski technique, take a peek at her YouTube channel, which provides tips for racers and mogul skiers alike 🙂
Overall, I’m feeling ready to rip and to focus on my process; I can’t wait to showcase what I’ve been working on in my skiing and jumping over the past few weeks especially… and can’t wait to see what the remainder of the season has in store!
I’m currently headed to Val St. Côme, Canada, for the next two events on the World Cup Tour this weekend! Keep your eyes peeled on my Instagram for how to watch the events! 🙂
All the best,