The 2001/02 season is winding down and wow has it ever gone by quickly. I feel like just last week I was writing about my first race of the season in Solden, Austria. This past week the Pontiac GMC National Championships wrapped up in Whistler, were we had four days of great racing and got in a few days of powder skiing. As usual the snow fell in Whistler as we tried to hold the downhill training runs. But, in the end the weather did co-operate and all of the races went off.
The week of racing in Whistler proved to be a great one, for me and also for my brother Michael, as I walked away with my first national titles and Michael received top junior awards in three of the races. It was such a thrill to be at home racing and to feel the support from everyone out on the hill volunteering.
In the giant slalom race I could feel all of the energy coming from everyone as I came down the course, it was pretty cool. I was especially happy to have won my first national title at home, in Whistler. During the week I did the job that I needed to do but I would not have been able to if it werent for the excellent course that the Weasel Workers prepared for all of the competitors. The weather made it very challenging to run the races, but as usual the Weasels rose to the occasion and ran some of the best races around. I would like to say thanks to every single one of the workers that were out during the week. You are the best in the world and I know that every racer would agree with me on that. When I stand in the start gate before I take my race run I know that the course is the safest that it could possibly be and that gives me full confidence to attack the course 100 per cent.
From Whistler my teammates and I travelled to Nakiska, Alberta for the NorAm finals, were we had two giant slalom races and two slalom races. For a few of the girls these were very important races as the top two overall finishers in each event receive World Cup spots for the following season.
On the womens side, the Canadians walked away with several World Cup spots. One to note is Sophie Splawinski from Quebec, who finished second in both the giant slalom and super G standings and also won the NorAm overall title. Sophie is only 17 years old. She will go into next season with a World Cup spot in both the GS and super G. I look forward to having her join the Canadian team next year.
The end of the season is tough; everyone is tired but yet the last races of the year can determine what team you will be on for the next season. There are great results to be had in the last races as many of the World Cup racers will come and race in events like the NorAm finals, and help to lower the penalty of the race. This allows other athletes to lower their F.I.S. points, which then improves their world ranking. You need to stay focused and work just as hard as you would at the beginning of the season.
So, as you can see there is never really a time to rest. The racing season is long and it has been great to have finished off my season with some top podium finishes in all of my races.
Once again I would like to say thanks to everyone who helped at the races in Whistler during the Canadian Championships. There is a lot of excitement in Whistler for alpine ski racing and I look forward to being able to race at home more often in the near future.