When I chose to make the jump into competitive ski racing it was because of my love for the sport and the excitement of being in the mountains.
Those factors are still number one on my list of reasons why I continue to ski race. When those factors are no longer my number one drive for being in the sport then Ill know it is time to hang up the racing boards. Remembering to have fun is key, but sometimes outside forces can distract an athlete from their main drive. As I have progressed to higher levels in ski racing and moved onto the World Cup circuit, I have discovered that these outside distractions can take away from your love for the sport.
Wanting recognition from the media, wanting the highest paying sponsors, and going after prize money are some of the top factors that can distract an athlete from their number one drive. I am to learning to leave those distractions behind by refocusing on my main goals.
This year is an Olympic year. Already, the media has started to hype the Olympics, and so they should. Having never experience the Olympic atmosphere before, however, I find myself faced with a whole new set of challenges like staying focused on why I am involved in the sport and not allowing myself to be distracted by the needs of the media. Every athlete wishes for recognition from the media because deep down you want others to know how hard you work and how dedicated you are to your sport. What I have learned, and am still in the process of learning, is that it does not matter whether or not the outside world believes in me, what matters is whether I believe in myself.
This past week the whole Canadian National Ski Team gathered in Calgary, Alberta for team photos and, most importantly, a media conference to announce the beginning of the season and the 2001-02 CAST members. These events lasted a few days and at the end of the week we headed out to Nakiska, where we got back to our on-snow training. The minute I left Calgary and the media for the mountains I immediately felt as though I could breathe easier and refocus on the real business at hand my skiing. At that moment I realized that I am the only one in complete control of my skiing career.
My teammates and I are currently preparing for our first Nor-Am races this coming weekend in Loveland, Colo., where our race season truly begins. From there we go to Aspen for a World Cup event and then it is just one race after the other, off to Europe and back again. This is when the excitement sets in and the racer inside of each of us emerges. Its also where the fun starts.
I am excited all over again to be a part of the upcoming season of international racing and look forward to relaying my experiences to readers back home.