So it's been a hot minute since I last made a post here. I've been caught in the eternal struggle of not feeling like a post is good enough, causing me to revise and revise until I'm at the point we are at now - I've got a lot of catching up to do. Since I last posted, I attended two on-snow camps over the summer, attended two fitness testings, received my diploma in Show Production & Event Management, and turned 24. A lot has happened since my season ended in April, so welcome to my mini-novel summarizing the summer!
In June, I travelled to Mt. Hood in Oregon to train for 6 days on snow. It was the shortest, yet most physically demanding camp I've had so far. I’ve never been so tired in my life at 9pm! We trained early in the morning for around 4 hours, and ended at lunch, coming back down from the mountain to eat and do our boards before dryland training. Dryland sessions consisted of working out and playing ultimate frisbee in a field that had so much flower fluff blowing around that it looked like Christmas, working out in a gym down at Hood River, and hiking in the unbelievably beautiful trails of Oregon. Hiking and hill sprints in the rain were two highlights of the camp. One hiking session became quite the workout, consisting of walking quickly in single file, then having the person at the back of the line sprint to the front, and so forth until we reached our destination. Needless to say, my heart felt like it was about to explode and I fell behind after only a few sprints; The woes of having short legs.
Despite feeling like I was nearing my breaking point physically, I can look back on the camp now and be grateful for what it taught me mentally.
The theme of the camp: Grit.
2 months later and I was back on snow at El Colorado in Chile. It was 3 weeks of on-snow training with amazing conditions and tons of time in gates. Another exhausting camp, we trained 5 days a week with two weekends off. Our mornings consisted of 15 minutes of walking up the winding road to reach the clubhouse, then getting on the T-bar as the sun began to emerge over the peak of the mountain. It goes without saying that training before the sun was up was cold. We were incredibly lucky to have amazing snow the entire time, and even have a powder day closer to the end of the camp. I learned my lesson that even though there's lots of powder on the surface, once your head breaks through, it can be quite solid underneath.
On our second weekend off, we headed to the coast. After nearly a 5 hour road trip to the coast, through the craziest, bumpiest, muddiest roads I've ever been on, we had arrived at Puertecillo, an incredibly secluded surf spot, hidden away from the rest of the world by the difficult roads that led to it. The weekend consisted of hiking along the coast and up into the incredibly diverse flora-covered hiking trails. It was also my first time surfing. The spectacularly ice-cold water of the Pacific was a refreshing wake-up, but apparently not cold enough to get me up and out of the water, standing on my board. (I got enough of a workout just trying to paddle against the waves!) So I settled with just kneeling or lying on my board and letting the waves take me wherever they pleased. (I go where Mother Nature says I go...)
During the months between trips, I’ve been working my absolute gluteal muscles off in the gym. I’ve never particularly enjoyed working out (big surprise…) but the people I’ve worked with at TWIST Performance + Wellness in Burlington have been continuously pushing me to perform to greater levels every session. This has been my second summer training in a gym (late start, I know) and it's been an incredible experience to look back and see how far I've come in nearly all exercises I've been doing. Never have I felt more inspired in and out of the gym. I’m excited to apply this newfound energy and strength into my riding when I get back on snow.
In June I learned that I didn't qualify for development carding for this year like I had last year. I was able to make the Development Group team, but not the Senior National Team. The past season was an interesting one. At the end of the 2015/2016 season, I had earned a personal World Cup spot through placing third on the NorAm (North American) Cup circuit. This gave me the advantage of being able to go to any World Cup I chose without having to qualify for them. The choice was made to concentrate on World Cups over the NorAm Cups, thus creating a double-edged sword.
On the one hand, I gained a lot more knowledge about how a World Cup is run. I have more experience in the start gate countdown, the atmosphere at the top of the hill, all the different slopes they use for races, and how I personally feel when I stand at the top of the hill. This learning experience was invaluable and I'm enormously grateful I got to experience it all. The downside, however, was that I didn't perform at the level I needed to perform at to keep my spot on the Senior National Team, nor my NorAm title spot. So this season we're "starting from scratch" again, so to speak; and it starts with our next camp in the Yukon.
Next Thursday, I'll be back on snow at Mount Sima in the Yukon, training in gates and competing in time trials to determine who will get to go to the first two World Cups in December. This season will be the toughest one yet, and I’m both excited and nervous to go into this season with a new – no pun intended – mountain to climb. Things will pick up quickly starting with the Yukon camp, and I promise to keep you updated on the next chapter of this exciting journey.