Welcome back to the blog – it’s been a little while since my last entry, but I’m excited to update you all on the past couple of months! This blog will be a bit different than my standard chronological format, as I want to discuss some of my favorite and toughest moments competing since January when I last updated you all!
Now, for the most memorable experiences of the past month and a half for me:
1. Deer Valley, 2/2 & 2/4
Competing at Deer Valley under the lights for the first time since COVID! This event, in particular, was quite fun for a few reasons: I made finals under the lights for the first time since 2017! This event is pretty special for me because it’s the site of many of the firsts in my World Cup career (first-ever World Cup, first final, first top 4 result, and the place where I learned that I’d officially qualified for the Olympics!). And, of course, since this is the most regular United States World Cup stop, this is where my family gets to watch me ski and compete each season. This is always special since they’re my best support crew. ❤️
On singles day, I had qualified in 3rd but unfortunately crashed in my finals run. Despite my love for DV, this was simultaneously one of the toughest moments because I didn’t quite perform to my absolute capability in finals and therefore missed out on super finals (the last round of competition of the night where the top 6 fight for podium spots). However, the mistake I made was due to me pushing my limits and trying to attack the course as best as I could — a big improvement I’ve been working on implementing in this competition season. (On duals day, I made finals but barely lost in the next round because I was just a bit slower than my opponent, Rino.)
2. Valmalenco, 2/11
Another one of my favorite moments from the past few months was paradoxically wrapped up in one of the most difficult. In Valmalenco, Italy, our last event right before World Championships in Georgia, a nasty bout of some sort of food poisoning/norovirus crushed quite a few athletes on Tour, including most of our team. I woke up on the morning of the competition a few hours early to my own stomach, fighting a war against me. The entire competition proved to be an extraordinarily difficult mental battle in which I committed to doing my best no matter what – and how often my body told me to stop. I pushed through my queasy stomach and impending bodily functions run by run to ultimately match my best result of the season — just off the podium in 4th.
After the event, I was completely spent — and very thankful that we had several days’ worth of rest and training prior to heading to Georgia. Though that was one of the single toughest days of my career thus far, I proved to myself what I’m capable of when I trust my body to execute all the training I’ve done. That was a lesson I carried with me into Georgia, my 3rd World Championships. Oftentimes, it’s tough for me to remember to trust myself and my abilities, so this also served as a welcome reminder.
3. Bakuriani, Feb. 24-25
After the duals World Cup and some training in Valmalenco, our crew headed to Georgia. Exploring a new and unfamiliar culture and location for the first time is always fun, and we welcomed the experience (though we didn’t end up having time to walk around much, other than the little town of Bakuriani, where words were held).
The mountains were astonishingly vast — albeit windblown — and we were greeted with several inches of fresh snow on the venue most days (before the third day of training, I even got some pow laps in!). Training felt quite good, and I was largely pretty psyched with how I was skiing going into the events.
On singles day, I ended up qualifying 3rd but couldn’t hold it together on the bottom air in finals. This mistake was particularly excruciating – not to mention confusing! – because I completely believed in my capabilities, was quite confident in myself, and had a ripping run until that point.
On duals day, I found equilibrium in my performance and consistency and achieved my process goals, although I didn’t make it as far in the event as I had hoped. That’s all you can ask for and all you can really control on any given competition day!
Following World Championships, I had a bit of a break back home. As always, this gave me some time to reset and reflect on the past month and a half – not just Worlds. My performances this season (so far- we’re not done yet!) have been tough to swallow at times because I’ve felt so close to skiing my best on many occasions, yet my potential seems to be just out of my grasp. To some extent, the competitive consistency I’ve fought so hard to obtain — and maintain! — over the course of the 2+ years since my ACL injury has been sacrificed to improve my speed (so that in the long term, I can be more competitive in this realm, too). Though the latter IS improving, it’s hard for me to keep that progress in mind when I can nearly taste my fulfilling my capabilities. I want to have my cake and eat it, too!
In light of all this, here are my goals to finish the season strong!
→ Continue to prioritize and invest in my process over results! This solution focus has gotten me to where I am now, and I think that’s my current #1 contributor to everyday improvement.
→ Give myself a little more grace. Though I want everything right now, that’s not always how life works, and that’s okay. As long as I continue to show up, put all my effort in, and view it all with a little added perspective, I’ll continue to improve and learn in unprecedented and new ways every day.
Above all, I’m thankful for these opportunities to better myself as a human being, competitor, and athlete every time I click into my skis. I’m endlessly grateful to the people in my life who make it possible for me to succeed and fail, especially those who help me stand back up after I fall.
Next up: World Cup Finals in Kazakhstan (3/18 & 3/19) and US Nationals in Waterville Valley, NH (3/25 & 3/26). Stay tuned for more frequent updates on my Instagram @oliviagiaccio!
Until next time,