Friday, July 18, 2014

Summer of Rehab

After nationals I hopped on a plane and headed back to Vail, CO to start the process of getting healthy again.  In late March I under went ankle surgery to repair some of the ligaments that were torn.  This injury was causing me serious pain and I had to tape my anklebones together all season in order to make it through the season.  This was obviously not the most ideal situation, so after talking to my coaches and my doctors we decided that this surgery was necessary.
            After this surgery I was on crutches for 4 weeks and then in the DASBOOT for an additional 2.  The day I got out of the boot I went in for hip surgery.  This surgery was to address a torn labrum in my hip.  I discovered this injury while training in the summer of 2013.  This injury was also constantly bothering me though out the season.  My coaches, doctors and I also decided that this surgery was necessary because I was already going to be laid up from the ankle surgery. 
            The hip surgery went well and they discovered that I had a much bigger tear in my labrum than they expected, so it was a very good thing I got this taken care of.  After this surgery I was done with the OR and ready to start the recovering process.  However, 3 days after my hip surgery my mom was helping making mother’s day dinner and she cut 90% of a tendon in her finger and underwent surgery the next day.  All in all out family had a very eventful 6 weeks, and needless to say we are well known at the hospital now. 
            A few weeks after hip surgery I made the move out to Park City, UT to continue my rehab and strength training at the Center of Excellence.  Thus far my rehab has been going very well.  I am currently gaining back my strength little by little, but the progress is going very well. 
            During this summer I also continued my college and am currently taking two classes through Westminster College.  At the end of this month I will officially have completed my freshman first semester! Woo!!! I am definitely on the 10-year college program right now.  I also started to work at a restaurant to make some extra cash and keep busy.  It turns out that between homework, training, rehab, and work I have kept my self very busy. 

            My goal is get back on snow during our August trip to Mt. Hood.  Currently everything is looking good for this return to snow. 
Happy Face after hip surgery

Can't sleep with the lights on so I took selfless

Still awake… no sleep tonight

Mom was jealous of me, so she wanted surgery too! 

Whoops broke the crutches I was supposed to be using

Lake Powell is awesome

Some of the crew in Lake Powell

Watching some crazy air charing 

Home. Still snowy.

Gym day grind

Making the drive to/from Park City to Vail at 4am.  

Sun sets in Utah are alright I guess.  

This is how I have been spending too much of my time lately.  

Celebrating America's birthday with Sydney!

Getting my butt kicked on the mountain bike by the sister.  

Getting some crazy treatment on my ankle called cupping.  

Park City by night.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

It's Already Over?!?

Oh wow so much has happened since I last posted on here… sorry about that, but here we go.
After my first trip over the pond to Europe I headed to Sunday River, ME for some GS and SL NorAms.  The GS races were pretty good for me I had my best GS NorAm result ever, so that was awesome.  I attempted the SL at these races, but once again slalom showed me why I do not often race the event.  I did not finish either day of slalom.  While I was out there my cousin Jessie and Aunt Dede came to visit me!  Thank you two so much for coming out to support me it really means a lot to me, and it was awesome to see you two! 
            After Sunday River we packed up the vans and headed east to Mont Saint Anne, Quebec, Canada for the last Downhill NorAms of the year and some Super G Races as well.  The Downhills did not go quite as well as I would have liked and I ended up 3rd over all in Downhill, which is one spot out of having a World Cup spot for next year in that event.  Even though it was not quite what I was still pleased with this result.  After battling back from injury a few days before the first Downhill of the year and ending up with a 3rd overall I cannot be too upset.  The Super G however was not my day.  It was the second time back at Super G from my crash in Copper, which resulted in an injury of my ankle, and I didn’t want to admit it but I was still overcoming a mental hurdle.  On the final day of racing in good ol’ Quebec fashion we were snowed and wind out.  We had almost a whole week of blue bird days, which we all knew was too good to be true.  We woke up that morning only to a call from our coaches telling us that half of the B-Net (the protection around the race that stops us from hitting trees if we fall) was broken at the base and blown in to the trees.  This is does not happen often, if at all. 
            After the Quebec series I had a few days at home before I packed up and jumped the pond again over to Slovakia for the World Junior Championships.  I know what you are all thinking, “Did she make a mistake and mean to say Slovenia,” nope Jasna, Slovakia is correct.  We drove from Germany to Slovakia and usually you cannot necessarily tell when you cross borders in the EU because most countries look fairly similar; well this is not the case with Slovakia.  Once you cross the border you see how hard communism has the country.  It is very industrial compared to most of the EU.  Big rectangular buildings that are painted colors are where most people live.  However, we were put up in a resort village along with all the other countries.  We were living in little buildings that resembled little huts with all the countries right next to each other.  There was almost a summer camp feel to the living situation, this could also be due to the warm weather we had as well…what ever it was it was a lot of fun.
            Back to the racing… during the GS we has less than ideal weather and during the race a massive and dense fog cloud was rolling in and out all the time.  I unfortunately got stuck in the fog cloud and could barely see and ended up skiing out, between the 20 girls around me only 5 finished the run due to the fog, but hey that’s ski racing for ya!  The Super G was a different story we had to start at the lower start due to dense fog up high, but I skied well and ended up 8th, which I was very happy with!  The Downhill ended up getting moved up a day due to bad weather coming in and we once again had to start at a lower start, but this did not work out as well for me.  I ended up 18th and I was not happy with this result.  I did not have any mistakes and my coaches said that I skied very well, but for some reason was slow and we still do not know why. 
After World Juniors we hopped on yet another plane and flew to NorAm Finals in Nakiska, Canada.  By this time I was extremely mentally exhausted and physically tired, but I gave it my all.  It just so happened that my all was not enough.  I did not have many if any good result, but I did finish my first (and only) SL of the year at the Calgary Olympic Park.  After finals we got right back on a plane and flew to US Nationals in Squaw Valley, California.  This was once again not my week and did not have any good finishes, and they had canceled the Super G due to lack of snow, so I only competed in the GS events.  They held the event on one of the hardest GS hills in the country if not the world.  Even the Big world cup skiers such as Mikaela Shiffrin and Ted Ligety said that it was a very challenging and long GS. 
The end of the year was not what I was hoping for but it is what it is and after nationals I flew home to get healthy.  I have undergone one ankle surgery so far and I have a hip surgery in the upcoming weeks.  I skied through injuries all year and they finally caught up to me, so I decided to take care of them while I am young so that I can be better than ever at the start of next season!  I am hoping to ski again in August!!!

Just one last note… I have been traveling around the world all year chasing the snow and to no avail, but once I come home and just want some warm weather all I get is snow… That is Colorado for you!!

My Cousin watching me race in Sunday River
Left to Right
Lila, Paula, Julia, Me, Jessie (my cousin) Katie, Foreste, Anna

First Tech NorAm Podium 
(3rd Junior GS)

It is always nice to be home 

World Juniors Team 
Left to Right 
Seth, Libby Gibison, Katie, Paula, Me, Lila, Foreste, Breezy Johnston, Alice Meryweather, Trevor Wagnor

WRJ Super G 
Alice, Me, Paula, Katie, Foreste

Top of the Downhill Venue at World Juniors

Massive tuning room at World Juniors

Just a look at the schedules we rely on every day

Super G at World Juniors (8th place)

Just out for a rip with the ladies
Nakiska is definitely beautiful 

Showing our skills in the pipe in Calagary

This is why I dislike SL

The SL venue at the COP (the far right is the ski jump too)

3rd over all NorAm Downhill

Racing the ProAm at US Nationals

Last day of the season for me….powder is not a bad way to end the season

My friends and I causing trouble 

No brown spots for closing day at Vail

Monday, February 10, 2014

Europe #1

 After the whirlwind of the Colorado NorAms I had a few weeks off for Christmas and to recharge before the long pull in the New Year.  I spent almost three weeks at home with my family, which is almost unheard of for me.  During that time I had some awesome family time and rest that was desperately needed.  However, those few weeks were over before I knew it, and once again I found my self on a plane about to jump the pond over to Germany. 
Right as I was leaving Colorado the snow started and it did not stop.  As some of you may know Europe currently does not have any snow, so I was leaving (unheard of) feet of fresh powder to go to Europe where there was no snow, barely enough to race on. 
Anyway we started off our trip training in Mira Alm, Austria for a few days.  We then packed up our back our back and headed to Innerkrems, Austria for our first race series of the trip.  In Innerkrems we had Downhill and Super G Europa Cup races.  These were my first Europa Cup races (well that I finished anyway).  The Super G did not go as well as planned, but it was my first Super G back from my crash in Copper and even if you don’t think that bothers you it does on an unconscious mental level.  I quickly put that race behind me and switched my focus to the Downhills we had next.  The first Downhill I ended up 13th, which I was pretty stoked on because it was my first Europa Cup Downhill and I was top 15.  The second Downhill was a bit more interesting.  There were extreme winds at the top of the mountain and they could not put the chairs on the lift because it was so windy.  But we were in Austria so they were going to get a race off.  The Downhill ended up being a 2 run Downhill, similar style to GS or SL.  I finished 8th in the overall in the 2 run Downhill.  I was very pleased with my results in Innerkrems and was looking forward to the next set of Europa Cup races we had. 
We had a few days off in between Innrekrems and Spital am Pyram.  We spent those days in St. Johan, Austria in a rundown hotel that the US Ski Team had taken over.  This place was awesome we had a whole hotel to our self…well some of the boys and us. 
I was looking forward to Spital because I had just come off of my best results in Innerkrems.  However, Spital did not go my way.  I never put together a clean run, which is hard to recover from on a super flat hill such as Spital.  During our last day in Spital we found the snow and it started to dump right in time for us to leave…again…

When we landed in Denver our cellular devices greeted us with the news of the naming of the US Olympic Team.  After 20+ hours of travel we had just found out that two of our Europa Cup Speed teammates were headed to Sochi!  Jackie Wiles and Julia Ford are headed over to represent the USA!  So proud of you two! 

Love being home! 
Mira Alm, Austria

Afternoon walk in Mira Alm…not much snow

Just hanging out with the girls in Innerkrems

Waiting for awards to start in Innerkrems

Driving around Europe

Awesome Church in St. Johan, Autstria

Getting lost driving around Austria

Spital, Austria….not much snow here either

Packing up the van

We flew home on a double decker plane

Friday, December 20, 2013

Ups and Downs of NorAms

This is the first season since I have been on the US Ski Team that I am coming into the first NorAm’s of the year with a full prep period under my belt, not to mention coming into the season healthy! 
This year the first NorAms were moved from Aspen, CO to Loveland, CO.  This first GS Race was the day after the Beaver Creek Women’s GS, so there was basically a world cup field at the GS Race.  Now, usually the first races have a fairly stacked field but this was insane to say the least.  To put some perspective on this race the farthest back I have EVER started was in the 30’s, and I stared 60th and 63rd.  When we had our meeting the night before and my coach told my whole team and me our numbers we though it was a joke.  We all laughed and then gave each other a strange look waiting for our coach to tell me the right number, but he was not making a joke he simply said that this is the most stacked NorAm field that he ever seen.  My coach, Trevor Wagner, is no rookie he has been around the circuit coaching the World Cup for many years.  When I first saw the start list to see who all came to the race I saw that not only were there girls who raced the World Cup, but rather a handful of girls that had placed top ten in the World Cup.  Also a veteran of the sport Kathrin Zettel was entered in the race.  For those of you who do not know World Cup Skiing Kathrin Zettel has 2 World Championship medals and 44 World Cup podiums. 
I was disappointed when I found out my start number because I had been skiing really good GS and I wanted a chance to prove my self. I though that starting in the 60’s that was going to be near impossible.  Never the less when I got to Loveland and inspected the course I saw that the snow was fairly hard and was going to hold up well.  I just had to send it on my first run.  After first run I was sitting in 15th!  I was super excited about this and had a much better start position for second run.  My second run was not that stellar and I ended up 16th over all for the day.  However, something kind of funny/awesome happened second run; there was a panel out and I skied a GS gate/turn like a slalom turn (see picture below).  Day 2 at Loveland was not as exciting but I made a big move up from 63rd to 20th.
The next week we had Speed NorAms at Copper Mountain, CO.  These races I was very excited for because I had been skiing fast Super G and I had been skiing Copper for over a month.  I also was going to have a much better start position.  During the first Super G I came over a roll a little too straight and went through the outside panel of a gate and tomahawked down the hill.  One of my skis did not release immediately and it caught and my leg/body was thrown around.  Luckily I walked away from this crash with only torn ligaments in my thumb, messed up tendons in my ankle, shattered lenses, and two broken skis.  Many of the coached and others watching the crash were almost positive that I broke my leg, but thankfully I drink a lot of milk and my bones are strong like bull!
After that crash I could not ski the second Super G, and was still in a fair amount of pain when the Downhill came around.  The rule in Downhill is that you must start a training run in order to race the race.  I made the decision to push out of the gate in the training run, but to not ski the actual course.  I then sat out the first Downhill race, which was the US National Downhill.   My coach and I decided to make the decision to race the two days of NorAm Downhills.  I came in to races with no runs on the course while every one else had already had two days on the course.  I ended up 5th in the first Downhill and 3rd in the second Downhill.  I was excited with these results because I skied fast even though I had less time on the course than everyone else
The Vail NorAms were a big disappointment for me.  The first day I was having a really good run, but then got squished and ended up missing the second to last gate on the first run.  The second day I came in with vengeance and was determined to ski fast and make my mark on the podium at my home hill.  That did not end up happening.  On about the second gate I hit a bump and pain shot through my ankle and that was it.  I tried to push through and I made it about 20 more gates until I hit another bump and couldn’t recover and was out of the course. 
Now I am taking some time off to heal up over the holidays and eating lost of cookies.  I head over to Europe on January 4th!
This is called Free Lunch. Crossing blocking GS Gate

Love my Teammates…we get a bit weird

We had some cold race days

Going through the outside panel is not good for the lenses

Copper Downhill Podium (Second Jr.)
L to R Breezy Johnson, Katie Ryan, Me

Hot tubbing with the Teammates

Off time/Recovery time spent with Smash