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2194_60777605738_505285738_2075384_7285_nI imagine it is a little to late to blog now, but here goes nothing…

I am just nineteen. Too old now for the junior circuit, and too young to be what I seem to have become- heading into my senior year in college. It all comes full circle in the end- it worries me a little to be a senior in ski racing as I, like all skiers, spent the first 19 years of my life as a junior.

My dearest Katrin, thank you for the note you gave me. “Somewhere behind the athlete you’ve become and the hours of practice and the coaches who have pushed you is a little girl who fell in love with skiing and never looked back…keep skiing for her.” She wrote it in gel pen on a little scrap of paper and it is somehow more beautiful than any calligraphy in the world. Coming from the most disappointing finish of my career (had to happen sometime) into the world of Far West was like coming back home, where they love you for who you are. And you are right, my up and coming rockstar, and I will keep skiing for her, because once I was 4 and a half feet tall and wondered that anyone real was fast enough to with a junior national title.

I’ve roomed with Annika every JOs, and even the year she was too young to come she was still there- she is as eternal in my memories of skiing as Jeff and Glenn are- as the Sierra spruce’s, their legacy stretches far before mine and surely will continue long after. I am so old, in fact, that I recall the day when Ben came for his first day of coaching. You are all in my memories, you are to me what defines skiing- the years in which it is not all grueling training but love for the sport and each other and the eternal California sun.

I thought every year that it would be my last year of skiing. Every junior nationals, every year at college even. But something drew me back every time. I hope that you all find that beauty and joy, whether you choose Matt Gelso’s path and continue on into a life of only skiing (at least for now) or go off to a college in Southern California and love the sport from afar (Justin Ondry). Learn from them, you can be an enthusiast no matter what you choose. Unless you are Jessie Diggins (power to my friend across the sea, keep rocking!) I don’t recommend that you dive into the sport with reckless abandon at the expense of everything else. Learn to fight for what you want, like her. There is a reason there are 90 year old masters skiers still cruising around the trails. And of all the things I miss, being away in Boulder on the college circuit, it is those dedicated masters I miss most of all. Learn to love what you do from them. Have the courage of Adele Espy, to make the World Junior team and be within one race of a spot on the US Ski Team, and then acquire a chronic disease–but still love and support your friends in the same sport that ripped your dreams from you.

It is not magic or genes or inborn talent that pushes you to the top of the podium, it is hard work, pure and simple. I’ve lived with, laughed with, danced with Eliska Hajkova and Jessie Diggins, both world cup skiers of the finest caliber, and they are as real and as wonderful as you could imagine, and impossibly hard workers. Be brave, be strong, ski fast, ski free. Love your coaches, your teammates, your life, and rise up and live it.

Thank you Far West for the years you have given me. I am proud to have borne your team name from a 50th place at JOs to the top of the Junior National podium to the top of the college podium, and all the way inbetween. Wherever I am, however I ski or do not ski, I am a Cali girl until the end, and I will always be rooting for each and every one of you.

This one is for you ,Ben, I’m off to try to put some tele-turns in the corn, but mostly likely I’ll end up face first in the snow. The day you walked into the ASC locker room is not a day I’ll ever forget- I’ve never met a more free spirit than you.

Dream big, my Far West family, and I’ll see you on the trails.

First NCAA title!

The highlight of the day is a tie between Adam Zika, CU freshman, taking the NCAA Giant Slalom champion title and the three Buff alpine girls ALL placing in the top 10. First CU individual title of the week!! Hopefully not the last.

On the strength of their finish, CU moved into second after the girls alpine. For those of you who don’t follow college skiing, alpine and nordic are scored together, so our races are equally as important.

In an interview yesterday, the reporter asked if it was tough to carry all the load from our alpine team because the nordic team was stronger.
Me: Our nordic team is stronger?
Reporter: Yeah, so is it tough to carry all the pressure?
Me: I don’t think we are better…? Maybe more consistent.
Reporter: You are stronger scorers- has it ever bothered you?
Me: *blank stare* Um…. obviously not.

So, with girls alpine saving the day, we head into classic mass start day at the same time Junior Nationals does – WOOHOO!

some Buff love out there

Rough day for my buffaloes out here in Montana on skate day. It is crystal blue skis and sunny at about twenty degrees, but somehow we didn’t post the results we were hoping for. Rune (our top Norwegian guy) and I led our stampede in fifth and sixth respectively, but when the scores were totaled at the end of the day, CU was sitting in fifth. Not the greatest for the team looking to defend our title, but we did our best. However, we are primarily (except for me, a pure skater) classic skiers.

We are donning our boots (these $10,000 monstrosities that are supposed to take the lactic acid out of our legs by doing a bunch of weird things with air pressure) in preparation to regroup and ride to war again.

And to my teammates on Far West? I will get you your flag back – I AM COMING FOR YOU, PNSA, and you know who I am.

Buffalo Soldiers

Today, we achieved a new level of awesome here in Montana. All three of us (three is the maximum racers allowed to start any given category) fell on our face. I leave the normal falls to my teammates, on downhill corners or when their classic skis grabbed, and take the special fall for myself. Somehow I fell going uphill? I seem to have found my pole between my legs five times today – what was it doing there??

My roommate and best friend Eliska, the current defending champion for the 15km classic race at NCAAs and I are currently jumping on our bed singing to a little kid’s TV show explaining how to squeeze your toothpaste. Being 24 and 19 doesn’t make you any more mature if you don’t let it.

I feel old when I look at the results and haven’t a clue who anyone is. All the people I raced with at World Juniors are now U23s and either on World Cup or Supertour or occasionally the collegiate circuit. For being the youngest skier on my team three years in a row – WHY DO I FEEL OLD?

Eliska and I proved our dedication to our NCAA success by playing frisbee in the stadium – frisbee full of dives, falls, and general failure to either throw or catch. Needless to say, we received a lot of funny looks, but hey! It worked for us last year.

Practice those downhills, Far West!!! (And squeeze your toothpaste from the far end)

Montana

Spazzing Internet in Bozeman- big surprise, so I’m doing it on my phone which has an interesting idea of when to post, my apologies for repeats.

Montana is hitting 50 degrees today and it is HOT HOT HOT. As a past and current Far West skier and current CU Buffalo, I am posting before I join the team in Soldier Hollow.

The Montana course hasn’t changed much in the four years I’ve skied here, and I heard from my mom it has changed much in twenty years. Same sideways, off kilter hill with brutal herringbone hills and 180 degree turns.

With some intervals today, we started our week hard, hoping to defend our national title against Utah, which will be difficult.

Wishing my teammates good luck tomorrow on the sprint course- DRAFT DRAFT DRAFT.

Riding the Montana Hills

NCAAs is kicking off and will run to completion before I join the Junior National team in Soldier Hollow for the relay.