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Going for Gold

How I spent my summer vacation

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Welcome back, and welcome to a new World Cup ski season. It’s mid October and the preparation season for the Canadian Alpine Ski Team is already over. Now it is time to focus on the racing again.

I am currently a member of the women’s Canadian Alpine World Cup technical team, and heading into my third full season on the World Cup circuit. Last season, as I traveled from race to race in Europe and North America, I kept you, the Whistler enthusiasts and supporters, updated on the race season as it unfolded. Once again, I am looking forward to writing about the team’s season.

How I spent my summer vacation:

I get a lot of questions about what I do during the off-season and summer. Aside from a few breaks to spend time with friends and family, it’s generally training, conditioning, and more training.

This year’s on-snow training took myself and my team-mates from Sunshine Village in Alberta, to Queenstown, New Zealand and then across to Saas Fee in Switzerland. My off-snow training kept me right at home in Whistler where I was able to improve on my mountain biking skills.

In May, after a short break from skiing, the Canadians were already back on snow taking advantage of the snow conditions at Sunshine Village.

After that ski camp it was time to hit the gym and work on improving our physical fitness levels. Both the men and women’s team have separate physical trainers who design programs specific for their personal and race needs.

The training program for the women’s technical team had us working out twice a day, six days a week. For at least five of the six days I was in the gym lifting weights. At any other time I could be found on my mountain bike or doing hill sprints.

I was asked this summer by a reporter which aspect of my training I enjoyed doing the most. My answer was that there isn’t one specific part that I truly enjoy doing, but I do thrive on the outcome that the hard work I put into my training brings. Hill sprint intervals that have you nearly to the point of getting sick to your stomach are definitely not fun, but the feeling I get after I finish is what keeps me going on to the next workout.

What I did truly enjoyed this summer was the opportunity to use mountain biking as a cross-training sport and take advantage of all of the great trails in the Whistler area. I did avoid the Whistler Mountain Bike Park though – I get enough injuries out on the ski slopes and felt the bike park, although exciting, might increase the risk for injury. Maybe next summer I will take the challenge.

Another highlight of this summers’ training was being able to return to New Zealand for a ski camp. We spent three and a half weeks training at Coronet Peak and staying in Queenstown. Going from 30 degree weather to below zero degree weather was a bit difficult, but I chose the sport of ski racing and those are the elements that I – and my poor toes! – have to deal with.

In two weeks time I will be starting the first race of the 2002-2003 season. There will be five other girls and myself on the start list in Soelden, Austria, and it’s one of our strongest Giant Slalom teams in a long time.

The team atmosphere has been great. Both on-snow and off we push each other to our limits and encourage one another. On any given day, or even any given training run, any one of us could have the fastest time. That makes it very exciting.

This season will most definitely be a tough one, as every season is – but I feel that I have prepared myself well and have taken care of all of the limiting factors that I have control over. If I feel tired at all during my race run, all I need to think about is that day back in July when I fell to the ground in the squat rack because my legs couldn’t hold me up anymore. I know I have put in the effort.

As a team we have all put in the same efforts, and we are excited for the new World Cup season. Anything can happen and I look forward to letting you in on all of the events as the season unfolds.

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