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All’s well that ends well

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Wow, is the season over already? I cannot believe that it’s April already – where did all of those other months go? Every year I am amazed at how quickly the race season passes by because when I look at the schedule at the beginning of the season it seems as though it will take forever.

One day the race season is starting, and the next thing I know I’m standing in the finish area of the last race and wondering where it all went. But along the way there is always plenty of excitement and some great moments to remember.

This season the team experienced plenty of ups, some downs, some podium finishes and some crashes. The best part of this past season, I feel, was our overall team consistency and the continuous move upward by both the male and female squads.

I am happy to be home in Whistler for the month getting some well-needed rest and time off. The couch and I are becoming good friends.

Soon enough the summer training schedule will begin for the next season and I’ll leave my good friend until next April.

Our first on-snow training camp for the summer starts May 5 at Sunshine Village in Alberta. Sunshine usually has great snow conditions at this time of the year and easily accommodates our training needs. From there we will start our physical training programs, but first we have to endure a series of fitness tests at the University of Calgary. For most of us the anticipation of these test makes us anxious but in reality they really aren’t too bad.

Over two days we go through several different tests on the bike as the fitness appraisers monitor our heart rates and the levels of lactic acid in our legs. We also do some strength tests in the gym.

All of this is mainly to see where our fitness is at entering the training season and to find the areas where each individual athlete needs the most improvement. A little anxiety turns up some important information, especially when you consider that the test results help each athlete focus on training specifics for them that will enhance their performance for the next season.

I used to absolutely dread testing and still don’t enjoy going through it, but I do appreciate the information that I get, and use the results to find out where my own fitness level is.

Once this testing is over, the training season is truly underway.

After Sunshine, the next on-snow training camps for the woman’s technical team – our second and third camps – will be held near Invermere on Farnham Glacier.

The development of this spot has been on going for the last several years and when it’s completed, it will be a new national training site for snow sports in Canada.

This June we will get our first opportunity to try it out. We have two 10-day camps there, one in June and one in July and I am really looking forward to being able to train close to home and within my home province – although, I will miss the trip to New Zealand.

I think the use of the Farnham Glacier as a summer training site will be a great boost for the team, and another important step Canada needs to take to promote the development of top-level amateur sports in this country.

I wish everyone a great summer – I hope the rain will pass soon and the sun will shine!

Thank you for reading. I hope you have learned a few things and, if not, I hope you’ve been entertained. It’s nice to come home to a town filled with so much support for the whole Canadian ski team and myself.

I leave this season happy, and hungry for a World Cup podium finish. That’s the ambition that will drive me during the summer training season.

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