At the beginning of the season I worked with my coaches to set realistic and stretch goals for my season. Those included pushing to reach the podium at NorAms and to gain experience in Europa Cups. One thing that was not on my radar – Start my First World Cup.
Well I’m excited and honored to say that after a great first NorAm series where I ended up on my first NorAm junior podium I was selected for the SL discretionary World Cup spot. My teammate and good friend AJ Hurt also did well in the series and got the discretionary nod for GS. Now all we needed to do was get from Colorado to the Vermont on Thanksgiving day.
Participating in a World Cup event is like nothing I have ever experienced before. The entire event has this incredibly positive vibe and it was easy to get into the flow and excitement of the weekend. On Friday and Saturday I got the opportunity to ski the hill and do a bit of SL training.
Before I knew it, it was race day. A dip in temperatures the night before made the race course slick and bullet proof but fast. Slipping the course I was really confident and ready to go. Standing in the start gate getting ready to go was a rush. I found myself tearing up and telling myself that “I can do it.” Pushing out of the gate I was charging. Those first few turns felt really good and strong. Then before I knew it I had straddled and was out.
Where else can you DNF and still ski down to over 10,000 people cheering for you. It was an incredible feeling. That was second to walking out of the finish area to a line of young ski racers and their parents all waiting for me to sign autographs and take pictures. It was a humbling moment to realize that I had the opportunity to inspire these young racers. I spent the next 30-45 minutes meeting and making sure everyone who wanted an autograph or picture got one.
It was great to see familiar faces in the crowd at the finish. Friends I had grown up skiing with like Ella Pepin, Logan and Peyton Sundberg were there. Friends from Rowmark now in college in the east had come to watch. Thanks Riley, Zack, and Mike. It was an honor to be asked by Rowmark Alum and Olympic Silver Medalist Hillary Lindh for a picture and autograph with her family. It was so awesome to see Keely Ski Camper Casey who I had coached this past summer. She had convinced her family to make the 5 hour drive to come watch
What an incredible weekend and opportunity. Definitely an experience I will never forget. Now that I have had a taste of the World Cup…. It’s just a matter of time before I get the opportunity for another start and will work hard to get there.
Thank you to everyone who tuned in or came out to watch. It meant the world to me to know you were there for me.
Grateful, humbled and inspired.