What is that thought within you? That curious something that wants out? For me, it means being wild and pushing my limits.
I travelled back to Switzerland just over a week ago and learned a lot about myself since being away. (Learning myself. Seems to be a common life theme!) Spending three months in Canada (end of March until the end of June) with my boyfriend, Keith, and my family was incredibly refreshing and reinvigorated my drive for sport and my dreams. Being burnt out at the end of a season does more than just take it's toll on your body. This burn-out I experienced, felt like it dulled the things that used to give me joy. How melancholy does that sound! When the joys that once enticed me weren't bringing me the same fulfilment, I knew I had to change something.
I started easing back into training in May, adding in training when I felt I was rested and ready to fully be present and that I could absorb the demands I wanted to put on my body again. Observing my growth from total blob of energy, to Finding My Wild again has been a great transition. Realigning exactly who I am and why I do what I do, has reinvigorated my energy into chasing down an Olympic dream. Where I am from is a large part of what gives me purpose and identity. This can become convoluted when I end up racing or training to fulfil someone else's perceived expectations!
The spring days of May, saw great crust conditions shaping up at Sunshine Village, and cruising through the Canadian wilderness again was refreshing. Not very often that you can ski beside grizzly tracks in Switzerland! Training is feeling productive and energy building these days and adding to that energy is a new team, coach and environment. I am joining the SAS ProTeam here in Switzerland. SAS (Schweizer Akademischer Skiklub) has been my ski club since moving to Switzerland and based off of demand from a top-tier group of athletes, has now evolved a part of the program into a ProTeam to accommodate our needs. I am joining athletes mainly from Switzerland, but includes Swedish and Estonian athletes as well. The focus of the team in the training season revolves around training camps, where we are put through the paces by Kalle Gräfnings (SWE). From seasoned World Cup, Olympic and World Loppet athletes to aspiring athletes, the vibe is one of camaraderie, fun and hard work. Sign me up! In the winter, the focus of the group will differ based on goals. Be it Continental Cup, World Cup, Olympics or World Loppet series, there will be a variation of trips and logistics. We total 11 athletes, 6 women and 5 men and are working on team marketing and 'game-planning' for the rest of the summer as we speak. Stay tuned for details!
I just returned from a short stint to Oberstdorf, Germany, where I familiarised myself with this side of the ocean again and caught up with what the team has been up to in the spring. I only made it out for the last four days of the camp, but the vibe is good and I'm looking forward to more time with the team! Our next training camp will take us to Torsby, Sweden at the end of August. We will be skiing in a snow hall, use the roller ski track and end the camp with the Alliance Loppet. Not sure whether I'll be able to swallow the whole loppet or if I'll just compete in the sprint, but looking forward to it regardless!
Being back in the Bow Valley for an extended period of time, reminded me of what an amazing community there is there. My sense of community is growing in two places, but I will always call Banff my hometown. It was humbling to host over 40 guests at Ticino Restaurant for an Olympic Fundraiser Brunch at the beginning of June. I am happy to share that we raised over $4 000, which will help subsidise team and living costs for me this season. An incredible show of support from Storm Mountain Lodge, the Banff Airporter, Buff Canada, Erin Evans, Bow Valley Photography, Richard Tools, OneWellness Spa, Valbella Gourmet Foods, Wild Life Distillery, my family and friends filled me to the brim with pride and enthusiasm going forward. Given the chance, please consider supporting these amazing local businesses. Thank-you again for the continued support!
Transitioning back into life in Davos has been much smoother than I expected. Realising that I am embarking on my last year of life here as well as being a professional athlete plays some nostalgic notes and awakened my 'seize the moment' instinct. This instinct is invigorated when chasing a dream, playing in the mud, walking barefoot, and going on an adventure. I'm thrilled to share that I've been able to do all of the above in recent months and put some funk back into Heidi. A lot of this was made possible by Wild Little Women. This is a program offered by the Town of Canmore's Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) and I am grateful to have been a part of it. This year, the program was spearheaded by Megan Imrie (2010 and 2014 Canadian Biathlete and friend extraordinaire) and ran from May until the end of June. I volunteered to help out because 1) I know how important spending time outside is, 2) the confidence that girls especially gain from 'learning by doing' or learning by failing for that matter, is incredibly valuable and 3) I am a Wild Little Woman myself and was just stoked to be a part of it. I honestly don't know who benefitted more. The girls aged 8-12 in the program, or myself. Everything from building fires, playing in the woods, setting up tents, paddle boarding, hiking, exploring creeks and getting my hands dirty was so refreshing and I had no idea how much these simple joys were missing from my life! I was also part of a Fast and Female Champ Chat at the beginning of May and again, seeing how thrilled young girls are around the idea of being active and chasing dreams is really rewarding for me and humbling to be a part of.
There's one more thing. I also found my Wild at Wild Life Distillery in Canmore. You may be thinking, 'wait. Booze and athletes?' And you're right. I'm no party hound. I do, however, enjoy indulging in high quality spirit products and living the Wild Lifestyle. Taking risks, pushing limits, adventuring and working hard towards a passion are no foreign themes to me and I am proud to be sporting Wild Life Distillery as a head sponsor this season!
So, where will your wild take you? Enjoy the journey to Find Your Wild.
Thanks for reading.