Saturday, November 1, 2014

‘Tis the time of year again…

Push Play!

This year I moved up from the Development team to the “C” Team because of my improved world ranking and race results.  One might think this would reduce my costs, but this year it was the opposite.  Now I must pay $30,000 when last year I paid $25,000.  This is due to the fact that the USST and most governing bodies lose money after an Olympic year.  Many Corporate sponsors move their money around to follow the Olympics.  As a result the USST budget was cut, leaving the athletes to fund more themselves.
Since I am not a fully funded athlete, I must raise $30,000 to cover my travel and training costs this year.  Last year I fundraised via an online crowd-funding site called RallyMe.  However, this year I am taking a slightly different approach.  Many people might ask why I would I change something that worked.  The answer is simple.  RallyMe takes 5% of the money I raise, and PayPal takes an additional 3%.  This 8% fee is not unreasonable, but it adds up over time.  This year I am fundraising though my Blog in order to save 5%.
            Some of my goals this season include breaking into the World Cup Circuit and winning a NorAm Overall title (therefore securing a world cup spot for the following season).  Finally, my biggest goal is to compete in the 2015 World Championships in my hometown of Vail/ Beaver Creek.  This final goal is huge, but I believe that it is possible with your help.

It is easy to donate: Here is how.

Click the Orange button below:
Tax Deductible Donations ($100 or more)
Please make your check out to: World Cup Dreams Foundation. Write my name in the memo. (Katharine Irwin)
You will receive a 501(c)(3) donation form from me.

Other Donations:
If you would like to donate by check: Please make check payable directly to me: Katharine Irwin

Please Mail ALL checks to:
Katharine Irwin
Po Box 456
Vail, CO 81658

Every little bit helps. Please donate, spread the word, and help me achieve my goals.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Back to Winter!

After a few days of relaxing and working out in Park City, after Mt. Hood, I hopped on another plane and headed South.  We are currently in Valle Nevado, Chile, about a week into our camp.  This camp’s focus is mostly on the speed events (Downhill and Super G), which is different from the predominately GS camp in Mt. Hood.
Valley Nevado is about 10,000 ft. above Santiago.  The drive takes two hours with about 70 switch backs.  Probably one of the worst drives for someone who gets car sick, but once up at the resort the views make it all worth it.  We live above 10,000 ft. and train around 13-14,000 ft., so to say this camp is demanding would be an understatement. 
The last time I had the long boards on my feet was March 14, 6 months ago.  I am so psyched to be going fast again!   So far the weather has not completely been on our side her in Chile.  A few weeks ago we were considering not coming down here due to the lack of snow, but then it started to snow.  This new snow made our camp possible.  We are here during the last weeks of the season, which usually makes for very good training: hard snow, clear skies, and cold weather.  However, this has not been the case this year.  It snowed on our first day of training, which made the surface soft for the next day.  We have made the best of the conditions and have skied 5 days.  Even with the non-ideal conditions we have still had awesome Super G and GS training. 
Getting back on Super G skis was awesome.  It felt like I hadn’t missed anything and jumped right back into the grove of things immediately.  We have another 10 days down here where we will be getting on to Downhill skis and get going up to some higher speeds! 

Beautiful fall colors in Park City

Julia made a friend at the Jumbo (grocery store in Chile)

Back to winter and SNOW

Just some mountains around Valle Nevado

Skiing during the sunrise every morning 

Not a bad room view!

Another day, Another amazing sunrise

Typical night hanging out and listing to music by Mark Engle

Did I mention that speed skiers love desert?

Thursday, August 28, 2014


The last time I had skis on my feet was March 27. And I have been looking at them all summer sitting in my garage and finally they went back where they belong, right under my feet on August 23. It had been a little under 5 months since I had been skiing and I was very excited to get back at it.
I am in Mt. Hood for about 10 days doing my return to snow, which consists of many drills and making sure that all the parts work correctly and getting my balance back on my skis. My first back on my skis was definitely very slow, but I was not nervous I felt very comfortable and like not much had changed. This was pleasantly surprising. Both my hip and ankle feel great as if nothing had happened to them.
I have just finished my first block of skiing for the camp and we have another 4 days before we head out again. I am looking forward to ripping some GS gates and getting back into the swing of full on training again.
Along with skiing (which is AWESOME) the dream team is back together and having a blast. We went huckleberry picking for hours the other day and are keeping our selves entertained off the hill here in Government Camp, OR. I don’t know if many of you know what happens in Government Camp this time of year, but I can assure you that it is not much. We are just about the only team left here. Most of the stores and what not are closed and it is much harder to find things to do than you would think. We have been very lucky with the weather. It has been bright blue clear skies every day, so we go skiing in the morning and hang out by the pool in the afternoon. Best of both worlds!
Saw Trampled by Turtles at Deer Valley, UT before Hood Camp!
They are amazing live!

Ran into some friends on the trail just before leaving Park City. 

Dream team back together again!

Smiles for skiing! (with Katie Ryan)

Mt. Hood.

Swimming in Lakes around Mt. Hood.

Just out for a rip

Snow might be a little dirty, but the skiing is still awesome. 

Ski Camp or Summer Vacation?

This picture does not do the views justice.  

Another awesome lake with a beautiful view of Mt. Hood.  

Boo Yea skiing is FUN!

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