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A breakthrough in confidence



Canadian Alpine Ski Team

I am writing to you this week from the beautiful town of Aspen, Colorado. I am here, along with my teammates, for the upcoming World Cup races on the weekend. We arrived Monday afternoon and have had a few days of training leading up to the races.

This is my fourth time to Aspen and it is definitely one of my favorite ski resorts – next to Whistler of course!

Last week, in preparation for the World Cup, I raced the NorAm series in Winter Park, Colorado. We had four races in total, two giant slaloms and two slaloms, and it was at those races where my teammates and I built our confidence up for the World Cups.

The races were great. The first day was pretty cold, and then the weather changed for the worse, at least as far as racers were concerned. For the next three days of racing we had snow, snow and more snow! I felt like I was right at home training on the Dave Murray Downhill.

These races were an important step for me entering this new season. I have some big goals for myself – I want top World Cup finishes and most of all to qualify for the Olympics in Torino.

However, I’m coming off of a season where I did not attain my goals as far as results go. So last week I left that start gate for every run with the objective of solidifying my race plan so that when I leave the start gate this weekend in Aspen I know exactly what to do.

I tried new things, changed my focus from one run to the next during the racess, always looking for what works best and, most importantly, what works the fastest.

In both the slalom and the GS I discovered how simple my focus needs to be. My fastest run last week was when I left the start with only two technical and tactical cues in mind, but otherwise just looked down the course with nothing to focus on but going faster.

Each day I took a few steps forward and my confidence grew. On the final day of racing I finished with a top four placing. I was unbelievably happy and, of course, my confidence meter went up yet again.

Skiing is a complex sport but at the same time if you think too much, you can become confused about what you want to accomplish. In racing thinking too much and overanalyzing what needs to be done equals slow skiing.

When it comes time to race, all of your training needs to be left behind and you need to draw confidence in the fact that you have worked hard and that you will know how and when to do all the right things when you leave the start gate. This is what I had been missing in my racing.

Last week I realized my strengths, assessed my weaknesses and moved forward from there with confidence!

A great example of how influential confidence can be is Eric Guay. Last week in Beaver Creek he finished on the podium in the downhill race, had a top six the next day in the super G, and his coaches decided to start him in the giant slalom race, where in the first run he skied into seventh place. He skied a little out of control on his second run, but his confidence from the previous days gave him the confidence to post his best World Cup result to date.

When it comes down to it, racing is about being the fastest from the first gate to the last gate. You take your talent, you work hard every day to get better, and when it’s time to race you just go!

And, of course, there’s always a little fun along the way, such as getting to stay and race in beautiful ski resorts like Aspen.

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