As a ski racer in Canada, New Years has always coincided with important trials races for selection to various European tours. Aside from the occasional glass of wine and a 'whoop! Happy New Year!' I choose to celebrate my New Years for real once the spring time rolls around. When the calendar flipped to April this year, my body and mind were filled with new goals and aspirations after a season full of excitement, success and failures. Just like setting New Years resolutions, when I reflected back on how my season unfolded, it was simultaneously the most emotionally energizing as well as the most draining season I’d ever had. With the physical training demands of racing and travel coupled with the emotional excitement and adrenaline, it was no wonder that my mind and body were in need of some rest.
After finishing my last two races of the year at Canmore’s Shark Fest, I wrote my final exam in an Athabasca course for Ancient Anthropology. I’ve been taking a couple courses in Anthropology the last couple of years and although I’m not even close to being a University student, it gives my mind a good boost of knowledge when sometimes all I have to think about is skis and snow.
The spring is a crucial reset button. A chance to reflect on the past season and learn for the future, at the same time letting go and really giving myself a chance to relax. Without the chance to reset, mentally and physically, there’s no way I could charge into another training season. Being raised in the mountains has always inspired me to explore, achieve and dream. Discovering the ocean life, however, has also been awesome and offers the perfect setting for reflection and relaxation. Maxin’ and relaxin’.
This April I visited the Pacific Ocean in both Victoria, Canada as well as Panama. I’m definitely not what you would consider a surfer. I spend more time paddling and dodging, ducking and bailing than I do riding an actual wave, but I guess I just love the taste of salt water so much that I could spend my next lifetime as a surfer. The rides I did catch, however short lived, were so thrilling. It’s about a 1:1 000 000 ratio of time spent riding a wave to paddling into the wave for me so I’ve got a lot more paddling in my day before I’m riding the North Shore of Maui.
The first week of May brought the Canadian Team back together on snow and under blue skies at Sunshine Village. It was easy to leave some wicked surf in Panama and come home to those conditions at Sunshine. I come into this training season with another season of experiences motivating and inspiring me.
The National Team structure will function alongside the Alberta World Cup Academy this year and I’m looking forward to where this collaboration can lead us. Coming out of last season, and looking ahead, I am as eager as a beaver surrounded by birch trees and running water. The Olympic experience could’ve easily been demoralizing and discouraging. Being swamped in every race and not proud of the numbers beside my name isn’t a feeling that sits well with me, but what energizes and motivates me to improve on those results is that I know I’m capable of so much more. The Canadian Team is in an incredible position for change heading into the next quadrennial. We have a developing pool of talent, an established team and the mindset to turn things around. Sara Renner and Beckie Scott will be the first to point out that they were reverse podium in almost every event at the 1998 Olympics in Nagano yet in the next two Olympic cycles, became the most successful group of women that Canadian cross country skiing has ever seen without even flinching a muscle. Kidding. They worked their asses off but it gives me hope that I might have a chance.