It’s just where you go

A short reflection on skiing in the west with a misquote of Robert Penn Warren from “All The Kings Men”:

Far West is where we all plan to go some day. It is where you go when the land gives out and the old-field pines encroach. It is where you go when you get the letter saying: “Flee, all is discovered.” It is where you go when you look down at the blade in your hand and see the blood on it. It is where you go when you are told that you are a bubble on the tide of empire. It is where you go when you hear that thar’s gold in them-thar hills. It is where you go to grow up with the country. It is where you go to spend your old age. Or it is just where you go.

Both Bright Eyes and Radiohead came out with new albums this week, check out Shell Games.

The Good Life

Yesterday was my first day back in Tahoe after a couple weeks…and oh how it is fun to be back.  I have absolutely loved racing this season and it is something I want to continue.  But it is so fun for me to be with the juniors (mostly because we have such similar levels of maturity).  They have been such a source of inspiration for me, in the beginning because they were such intimidating critics… and now their childlike enthusiasm for my racing.   And, simply, they make me laugh about every two minutes and I do love to laugh.

A message left on my phone from a couple boys after I was 2nd in the BMT (in reference to prize money won and the fact that I find hummus so delicious)-

Boys: “Um, so I hope you’re happy now.  Now that you can buy. All the hummus. You can eat. Mmmm.  Call us back.”

Me:  sitting in my room, alone, dying laughing

And then when I went to meet the kids for a ski, of course I am late and in a rush because I missed the email and instead just assumed we were skiing at Royal Gorge, when really we are going to do downhill practice at Sugar Bowl (where I might add it is blowing snow sideways and rather wet).  Late, I ski up and meet them wearing, idiotically, tights and long johns.  Jeff suggests I go put warm-ups on but I insist that I’m fine because 1) I am stubborn and 2)I already feel guilty about being late.  I end up, quite literally, freezing my bum off.  (I should mention that skiing downhill runs with a bunch of Nordic kids, on Nordic gear, is incredibly entertaining, to say the least).

When we get down I am absolutely shivering.  Brilliantly Evan says to me-“Chelsea, don’t you wish you weren’t so stubborn”….umm let me think on it.

Then in the afternoon I got this urge to go running behind my house in Glenshire; it’s always beautiful in the late afternoon.  Though snowing on the summit yesterday it was warm and sunny all afternoon in Glenshire…this means that all morning the old compacted snow was corning up and then by the time I went running it started to freeze.  Of course I started to punch through, not too bad at first…but then really badly.   At some point I find myself half an hour out, muttering angrily to myself like a crazy person.  As I look down at my ankles-now bright red and beginning to bleed, I think to myself, now this is karma.

The reasons karma got me:

1) I generally find snowshoes silly and tend to think (smirking to myself)…who on earth ever actually does that of free will?

2) When I went to Rossland, B.C. to race in December a couple of us went running on the ski trails in the evening after traveling.  Matt, weighing a bit more than me, was punching through significantly more than I.  And I of course just giggled devilishly to myself.  (I have the unfortunate and childlike instinct of laughter during inappropriate situations and at others benign misfortunes.  I’m not saying I laugh at grisly accidents…just during serious lectures and what not.)

3) I started punching through, deep, five minutes in.  I could easily have turned back.  But I convinced myself that it, at some point will get better.  And half an hour later when it isn’t I refuse to go back the same way, because, how boring does that sound, right? I am bull headed.

Yes Evan, you are right, sometimes I wish I wasn’t so stubborn.  These foolish moments will not change…I’ll do it again in two months I am sure.  This I am not concerned with-it’s the many years I stubbornly refused to put my heart into learning to properly classic ski- these are the moments (years) of stubbornness I regret.

The good side of stubbornness is persistence I suppose.  I may be tough to convince sometimes, and often I am indecisive and impulsive but once I know what I want, I go after it with fire and determination.  That’s how I feel about racing right now.  It’s something I think I haven’t had in awhile-and it’s amazing.

Hopefully these kids are learning along with me…the toughest part of coaching for me is, am I getting to them?  I hope I am.  Why is it that now all of a sudden I am ready to learn, that I have such a desire to learn, that I am truly learning from my mistakes?  It’s not as if I’ve read a wildly enlightening Oprah self-help book, there was never an ‘aha!’ moment…how do I spur this drive in them?

I think it must be a place that they all will reach on their own, whether now or later, in skiing or another part of life.  In this department I think I can only share my passion with them and hope that this, in a small way, helps them discover their own.

Cheesy, maybe, but how I feel.

California in Colorado

The Supertour made a stop in Aspen, CO this weekend for the Owl Creek Chase. For those of you that don’t know, this is a 21km point-to-point skate race. The course is great as the terrain is varied and the final large descent is on the alpine mountain (Buttermilk mountain to be exact). The weather was incredible: Hot and sunny without a cloud in the sky, hence California in Colorado.

Farm Team member Chelsea Holmes placed 2nd overall in the girls race. Here is a link to results:

Unfortunately I was still (and am still) recovering from sickness, apparently my immune system is on vacation. I discovered that one of the hardest things to do is watch a race you should be competing in. All I could think about while I stood on the race course, watching my competition have a great time and ski an outstanding race was, “wow, I should be right in there”. Anyone that knows me probably expects that my exact words/thoughts were  a little more vulgar than that, but for print media this will suffice. The fact of the matter is that these were great courses for me and I was very excited to race. It is so fun to be a gamer and get out there and throw down a tactical and explosive race. But, alas, I was forced to sit on the sidelines and watch, all the while keeping myself from throwing a tantrum.

It is really frustrating and difficult to get out and support your teammates racing when you should be racing alongside them, but it is the right thing to do. Standing on the sidelines watching makes you realize how much you actually do love racing and it makes you that much more energized to get healthy and get out on the course to race again.


I heart Mammoth

Hi all,

I had a great time out in Mammoth with the Far West contingent of skiers. We stayed a night in the high school gym, and got up the next morning to race the 20k classic race. The course was flat so there was a lot of double pole and kick double pole. Mostly, I wanted to post something today thanking all of the people who made the trip possible, and say how much fun it was to be around a group of skiers again in a team atmosphere. It reminded me a lot of my own experiences on ski trips as a junior. It really hasn’t been that long, but I’d almost forgotten what a post-meal pre-race meeting felt like.

here is a picture of the accommodations

and for music, here is a song by my favorite Beatle

Marathon Day in Mammoth

Junior Melanie Swick cruises to 6th place in the varsity race

I am not referring to the skiing marathon that takes place in Mammoth every April. This marathon was the other kind filled with driving and waxing. Friday was the first day I had been to Mammoth’s Tamarack XC since I was 10 or 11 years old. It’s a distant memory from the time when I thought that all classic skis have fishscales and that skating is just for ice rinks. It was strange to come back ~15 years later as a coach.

But enough nostalgia. Incline Nordic had an awesome day on Friday! I am told the weather and the waxing conditions were vastly better than they have been for several years. Freshman Evan Vomund and Juniors Melanie Swick and Ashley Vomund posted some of their best results yet in high school league racing. Evan notched his season best result with 2nd in open division and a stellar 10th overall when varsity and open results are combined. Melanie placed 6th in the varsity division, a season best for her as well. Ashley was 10th in open division and 13th in combined results. With top finishers coming in around 20 minutes, the course was slightly longer than other distance races in the high school racing circuit. Our skiers loved the course. View complete results and photos of the race.

The ride back was long. It builds team bonding or character or something else that’s good for you I am sure. I think everyone gained a richer appreciation of how hard Mammoth High has to work just to show up every Friday for 2 months of competition. To steal a page from Gus, I am going to share something from our admittedly trashy playlist on the way home. Dragostea din tei is a song everyone can enjoy, but no one can understand. The video is new to me and it’s sort of entertaining.