Why getting knocked down, doesn't mean getting knocked out
It's beginning of May, spring is attempting to show itself in the Rockies and mothers across North America are being over-loaded with flowers. Happy Mother's Day! I've been back in Canada for over a month now, and aside from speaking more English than I have in the past two years, I'm also loading up on family time and reloading the batteries. My batteries were battered and bashed at the end of my 2016/17 season, and apparently so was my face! After almost a month since my run-in with a surf board in Mexico and a few stitches later, I'm happy to that my face looks normal (or as normal as it ever looked) again.
I finished my season in Val Müstair at the Swiss National Championships and headed back to Canada the following week bringing me to the end of March. My month of April consisted of a whole lot of not a whole lot. Coming back to my family and boyfriend after what felt like forever, was instantaneously related to love and gratitude soaking into my bones. Not to mention holding my my 6 month old niece, Evia, and the melting-heart-cuteness-emotions that are synonymous with that. The family that I have adopted in Switzerland realised well before I could, that the season had left me empty and that time spent in Canada would repair my body, mind and soul.
My results from the 2017 season, were highlighted by my 32nd place in the World Cup in Davos and two top-15 finishes on the Continental Cup circuit. Some great results, had I been able to muster up some glitter to pair them with, such as World Cup points or podium finishes on the Continental Cup circuit. None of the previous wishes lined up and I wasn't re-named to the Swiss National Team. What does that mean? It means, I was knocked down, but not out. The season took a lot out of me, but Mexican sun, family time, rest, more rest and aligning my values as to why I truly do what I do have brought feelings of 'Heidi' and my full sense of self back into view.
Leaving the training clothes behind, I spent two weeks in April on the Baja Peninsula with my boyfriend, Keith (now doubling as my surf coach), as well as meeting up with lots of Canadian skiers (Valjas, Nishikawa, Harvey, Killick and Browne to name a few) as we all tried to match our endurance fitness to, in my opinion, the hardest water sport. The surf in Todos Santos (surf breaks in Cerritos, El Pastor and Pescadero) were 9/10 met with my only being able to catch the white water with the occasional thrill of some green face. The second part of our trip was spent on the East Cape, where the Sea of Cortez offered a sheltered version of waves to my ability level - they broke slower and longer periods. I can walk away from the trip saying I did catch some waves that I can consider surfing! My surf board, which I had begun to trust and invested time into, turned into a weapon in the water, but what's a trip to Mexico without some stitches? Complimented my tan really well.
I'm now back in Canmore and the plans and dreams that I had put on the back burner in my thoughts as I stared out at the ocean in Mexico, are slowly coming back into clarity with concrete steps that motivate me to give it a chance! The chance at a spot on the Swiss Olympic team is a door still open and, in fact, is the same situation had I been nominated to the National team for the 2018 season. The difference being, I am completely in the drivers seat, completely responsible for whom I train with and what training I do, and completely responsible for how I feel. I know that going into the 2018 season, this will be my last season as an elite athlete. I am really writing that? The nostalgia creeps up within me, but it really is so cool to be able to write the final chapters of my ski career in Switzerland, with an Olympic door in front of me, there to walk through. Like my wise mother said from the beginning, and I now fully understand, my time spent in Switzerland is comparable to completing my Masters studies, after having done my Undergrad in Canada.
I've started training in Canada and will be around until the beginning of July, at which point I will go back to Davos and train as part of the SAS Pro Team where I am provided good financial support as well as technical and race support. Christian Flury will be my coach in the sense of the word, that I consult him for the training I'd like to do, and we discuss the 'why's' and 'desired outcomes' to the training. A sounding board and trusted ally. Had I been in this situation three years ago, setting out to completely guide my own training and have the most responsibility over my training than I've ever had in my career, I would've been lost before I even got to the starting line. The benefits now, however, are that I have a lot of success and failures behind me, and some years to my name. At 26, I'm now a mature athlete and get to put my experience and ideas to the ultimate test.
Realising that my final destination is just around the corner is exciting and motivating! There is a large ocean of uncertainty ahead of me to navigate. I've never charted these waters before, but am finding a great deal of pride and ownership in the process of setting out on destinations aligned with who and what Heidi really wants out of the sport. To share my journey and dreams with others, to push myself and enjoy the ride.