Yukon: Reaching New Limits

I can confidently say that I've never been so tired in my life.

Don't get me wrong, it's a sort of "great-feeling" kind of tiredness! From November 11th to November 22nd, I traveled to Whitehorse to participate in a National Team/National Development Group training camp. It's strange to think that around the same time last year, I was attending a training camp at Echo Mountain in Colorado, preparing for the first North American race of the season - a NorAm that kickstarted one whirlwind of a season, might I add!

On November 11th, I began my journey to the Yukon - the farthest North I've ever been. Over the past year, I've had the privilege to see so many incredible landscapes, and this new landscape did not disappoint. As we pressed on through our two hour flight from Vancouver to Whitehorse, I peered down at hundreds of thousands kilometres of undeveloped land. I've never seen so much untouched nature in my life. That far North, the trees sprawl out for what seems like eternity, only periodically interrupted by rivers and snow-capped mountains - not a road nor town in sight. Arriving at the tiny Whitehorse airport really reinforced just how small the territory's capital really is.

At 30,000 feet, the seemingly never-ending expanse of nature is nothing short of majestic.

And with that, the first training camp of the season began. Our schedule was five days of Slalom training on snow, one day off, and then four more days of on-snow Giant Slalom training. One of the shortest camps I've ever been to, it was definitely one of the most intense. Our day would start with waking up at 7AM, having breakfast and getting our gear ready to leave the hotel at 8:30. Arriving at the hill around 9AM, we would get ready to be going up the lift at 9:30. Training would then run until around 11:45-12, at which point we would have around an hour long lunch, back on snow at 1PM. From there, we would finish the day up at 3PM. After driving back to the hotel, we would have an hour to change into gym clothes and drive to the Canada Games Centre, an enormous recreation centre that included two hockey rinks, a large turf soccer field, a basketball court, swimming pools, an indoor track, stretching room, weights room, and much more. We would then spend about an hour using the stationary bikes to cool down before moving onto stretching to help keep our bodies from stiffening up. After that, we would head home, shower, get dinner, and tune our boards for the following day. Unfortunately, this didn't leave us with many hours in the day to explore the surrounding area. My apologies for not getting the usual amount of pictures I would normally take. However, while I'm usually devastated when I don't get enough pictures on a trip, this allowed me to concentrate 100% on snowboarding.

 On our one day off, we decided to take a quick walk around town, making it down to the Yukon River.

On our one day off, we decided to take a quick walk around town, making it down to the Yukon River.

I believe that concentrating solely on snowboarding for such a long period of time each day has already started to show in my riding. There's still a long way to go, don't get me wrong, but every day of training is another step in the right direction; There are no steps back.

Aside from being the most tired I've ever been, I was also the coldest I've ever been. At -16˚, I don't usually complain as much as I do when it's -40˚. On this trip, the wetness in the air cut through any layers we may have had on. How expensive are heated jackets?

Asking for a friend...

Here's me wearing two sweaters, a t-shirt, a base layer, two pairs of gloves, and two pairs of long johns. Spoiler alert: I still froze.

The training allowed me to push myself to my limits, exploring what it felt like to reach the point where I was both mentally and physically exhausted and see the effects it had on every run. Once again, I think back to last season and how going in physically prepared this season is already making a difference. I've been in the gym for half a year at this point and it has without a doubt been life-changing. I'm excited to see how much I can change in another half year!

Now on top of this trip being an absolute blast, I also now have a brand new board! It's been a long 16 years waiting to be able to own a board that's not been previously owned. Undoubtedly, the trouble with early season training is the lack of snow. I can still hear the terrible grinding noises from my poor snowboards churning up loose rocks from the thin snow. There's a reason I didn't unwrap my new board! It will have to wait just a little while longer until my next trip to Austria and Italy on December 5th-18th, where I will be attending my first Europa Cup and World Cups of the season.

My life hasn't stopped being a whirlwind, continuing from last season, and I am so lucky to be able to share these experiences with you all. Thank you for following my story and I hope to see you on the next post!

On to the next adventure.