Thursday, September 29, 2011

Posts from Oct. 2010 to July 2011

July 16, 2011
I have been training on Mt. Hood the past two weeks, and today should've been my last day of skiing before heading home.  The chair-lifts are closed due to rain and wind, so the other racers and I are hanging out in the dorm house watching the show "Monk".  Bummer.
Yesterday was my best day yet; my fundamentals are really coming together, and I feel really strong on top of my skis.  I can tell that working out has made a difference in the way I control my skis and the length of time I can continuously push arc-to-arc.  That's really exciting for me because I'm being rewarded by my hard work, and that's an awesome feeling.  What's even more exciting is that I've only been working out 5 days a week for about a month and a half--and I can see a difference in my skiing, and I have nearly 4 months until ski season starts.
I'm planning on doing a lot of fall training camps either in Canada or Colorado, but so far I don't have any solid plans.  If I'm lucky I'll get into a FIS tech race at Panorama, B.C. which would be my first FIS race.
I've really enjoyed training at the Mt. Hood Academy camps; there's so many great coaches here.  Thank you Bill and Mary Gunesch, Keely Kelleher, and Jeff Kai.  All of these coaches either raced or coached at the World Cup and/or Olympic level.  Thanks for making my summer.
Also, I'd like to thank my sponsors--family and friends, for your donations and support that make all of my training and race opportunities possible.

July 1st, 2011
Hi everyone!  It's been quite awhile since I've posted due to the fact that I haven't been skiing the past three months--but that's about to change.  I leave for Mt. Hood, Oregon the 4th of July!  I'm super psyched to be getting back on snow, and I'm excited to see all of my friends from summers before.  I won't be spending 22 days on snow like last summer; only 10 days.  The reason I'm cutting back on my summer on-snow time is because I want to save up for fall camps.  I think of spending nearly a month training during the summer as a totally separate season, and fall-time training as an extension of my season.  I didn't really get as much out of the camps last summer as I would've hoped, and that's because my body forgot everything it learned by the time the actual ski season came around.  
Just this past week I completed the drivers-ed course, and I've been driving around with my parents which is pretty cool.
Happy summer!   

April 28, 2011
Hey guys, I just got some exciting news about next year:
I've been starting to plan out my school schedule for next year, so I had a meeting with the guidance counselor.  She is experienced with putting ski racers like Marni Hale, Kyle Taylor, and Kate Jordan (if you know them they are great students and skiers) through Whitefish High School.  She recommends that for 2nd and 3rd quarters when I will be absent for races the most, that I use a virtual program called "Compass Learning."  With Compass, I can work at my own pace on my own time.  What that means is that I would have basically no school for the 2nd and 3rd quarters; and semester-long elective courses could be started 1st quarter and finished 4th.
I really like the idea of working at my own pace; it's perfect for traveling and leaves morning training hours open-unlike Virtual High School which I took one course in this year.  With VHS you have to be very interactive with lots of classmates that are all over the country, and it takes quite a bit of time up every week-but the class was still sort of fun and I had a good time with it.  Compass is supposed to consume a lot less time.  And to get extra credits, I have the option of taking a college courses during the summer-right now I'm looking at possibly taking Spanish 1 at Flathead Valley Community College.  I feel pretty lucky to have a sympathetic school that's opening up a lot of new avenues for me-I'm really looking forward to having pretty much no school next winter.
Another thing I just started up is doing workouts with a physical trainer.  I got my knees checked out by him because my left knee has had some pain this year-especially after my crash at Big Sky.  It was quite obvious that my left knee is way looser than my right, and that could mean that my left ACL is partially torn.  He says most likely it will get better as I get older and my knees get tighter, but for now I need to really work on strengthening the muscles around my knees to hold them in place.  I'm looking forward to my next appointment later this week.
Other than that, I've been playing tennis on the JV Team; I actually did my first match a couple weeks ago.  My Dad and I played a match yesterday morning....I won.  I'm pretty happy about that because last time he whooped me!  I applied for a Drivers-Ed course that starts late May; soon I'll know if I made it into the class.  My Dad is pretty excited about me driving so he won't have to as much when we travel to races!
Soon I'll know what my Mt. Hood plans are for the summer; so I'll post that once I figure it out.
Thanks for reading,

OHG Slalom 2011 at Bridger Bowl, MT

April 3, 2011
 Sorry that I haven't kept up to date with you this past month, I have had races every weekend for the past three weeks, and swamped with homework in between.  The 15th of March through the 22nd I was in Squaw Valley, CA for the J3 (ages 13-14) Junior Olympics (JO's).  Then I came back to Whitefish for two days of school and then I was off to Big Sky, MT for my very first downhill race, it was blast.  And just last night, I returned from the last race of the year at Bozeman, MT.
 I will explain my awesome experience from the beginning:  My Dad and I left last Monday at noon and made it to Salmon, Idaho.  We ate at a nice little diner and I beat him in ping pong (a very rare occurrence)!  We made it to our hotel in Truckee Tuesday evening; it was pouring rain.  I did some spin bike and treadmill to get used to the elevation.  On Thursday, my Dad and I went skiing for an hour at Squaw; it was my first "Sierra Cement" day, and I was hoping that the expected snow storm for that weekend wouldn't be Sierra Cement also....and it wasn't.  Unfortunately, the upper mountain was closed the entire time we were there because of high winds, but the two lifts we did ski on were still awesome and had a ton of terrain.  Later that day the rest of the team arrived, and I got roomed with a friend from Bozeman. (I was the only racer from Whitefish and no Whitefish coaches were able to come).  The team is made up of racers in the Northern division (Montana) that qualified, and coaches from teams depending on how many kids they have going.
That night at dinner there were rumors of a super-g race being put on the next day, but that didn't make any sense because before a super-g there is always a mandatory training run on the race course that you must do in order to race the next day.  After dinner we went to the team meeting and our coaches told us that they are actually going to put on the super-g race the next day!  The method of training was on a TBD basis.
In the morning there was some soft fluffy snow on the ground, and not a skimpy amount either.  When we got to the top of the course we were told to slip the first half, and ski down the second half where no gates have been set yet to get a feel for the hill.  That's your training run.  When we made it to where the course ended, our coaches told us to slip the course again because the girls are training first, so the boy's team took another lap and luckily were one of the first boy's teams there, so we didn't have to wait at the back of a 92 person line.  That training run was my first time ever on that run, so I didn't know how much air I would catch on the quickly approaching roller.  I decided to just hit it straight on; I launched off that roller and landed on one ski, catching way more air than I was expecting to.
Later on in the afternoon they put on the super-g race after many slips down the course and boot-packing the first section.  I knew the snow was soft, but after I ran I was surprised to find that my teeth didn't rattle out!  Wow!  That course was torn up like no other....  When I was skiing through the course my main goal changed from placing well-to surviving.
The next day's giant slalom (GS) course was way smoother than the super-g so I could really push the envelope, and I sure did for my first run.  Out of 92 competitors I was in 11th place after first run, but I still had to put together a second run.  I was really happy with my first run position, and I was sooo close to making my goal of top ten; so going into the second run I was feeling nervous.  My nerves got to me; my skiing just wasn't there second run.  I knew that I didn't ski well when I went through the finish, and that my result would suffer.  My final, combined time knocked me back to 22nd.
On the same day as the guy's GS, the girls were racing slalom on a different run.  The Montana girls did extremely well-placing 13th, 6th, 5th, and 3rd.  Northern division hasn't put out results like that in a very long time.
Saturday was boys slalom, and the girls got to free ski in the 30 inches of fresh powder!  We didn't think there was any way they could the race off, but groomers were grooming our run the entire night.  I had a fairly good start position, but because of the soft snow even after grooming; the course was rutty and bumpy after only 10 guys.  I laid down two really solid slalom runs, and ended up in 27th.
I would say that more than anything, I learned at JO's.  After the GS, my Dad and I sat down and discussed why I didn't ski my second run like I did my first run.  We made a plan for how I can prevent that from happening again.  And even though my results weren't where I wanted them to be, I'm proud to say that I can ski with the best of ‘em-as I proved to my self with my first GS run.

After my two nights in my own bed, my Dad, sister and I headed on out to Big Sky.  I was really psyched for my very first Downhill, which is the fastest of the events.  Once again I was the only racer from Whitefish and no Whitefish coaches were able to come either.  We were staying at the Huntley, one of those hotels where you take one step out the door and you're standing on a ski run.  The Huntley also serves my favorite breakfast of anywhere I've ever stayed-they have everything.  Yum.
Friday, the 25th was a training day and unlike at JO's there was a full course for us to train on!  We all took two runs and got to know the hill well, and I learned a lot about the tactics of downhill, and that downhill in particular.  I was standing up too much when I should've been tucking the entire way, and I was also making my turns too round instead of taking a straighter line.  My first times showed my mistakes too.  In my first training run I was in 25th out of 28 overall.  Definitely not the kind of results I would want to see in the following days.
Over the weekend there were three races; two on Saturday and the last one on Sunday.  I got progressively better throughout; in the J3's I placed 7th, 3rd, and 2nd.  I was happy to see that progression and I had tons of fun going fast.
Once again, I spent two nights in my own bed before heading out to Bozeman for OHG (Over the Hill Gang), the last race of the season.  I actually just got back from it last night and am really sad that the season is all over.  The race went really well and I'm happy with how I skied, getting first for J3's in the GS and narrowly disqualifying with a straddle in the Slalom.  Even though I disqualified, I feel satisfied because I felt know I was skiing like I was going for it; much better than regretting not trying harder.
After OHG, there was an awards ceremony; I got an "Academic Award" with a 4.0, and the "Jim Barrier Gold Cup"-which means that I tallied up more world cup points throughout the season than any other J3 boy.
Well, this will be my last actual update for a little while; I will keep in touch throughout the summer and re-model my website for next year.  I will also probably be making new videos.  I'm planning on writing about my adventures at Mt. Hood when I go there this summer.  I'm playing tennis for my high school, and taking drivers-ed later this spring.  So even ski seasons over, I still have plenty to do.

March 6th, 2011
Last weekend I was racing at my last qualifier in Big Sky, MT.  There were 3 Super-G's and I did all right.  On Saturday there were two races; the first one I got second, and in the second one I crashed pretty hard.  What happened is, my down hill ski hit a hole and ejected; so I tumbled and slid a bit and then slid through some moguls.  I'm going to try to get the video up soon.  When I slid to a stop my knees were really hurting, but as time went on--and as time still goes on--they get better and better.  I was able to get up and ski down just fine right after the crash.  
A couple days after I returned home I learned that I'm going to JO's at Squaw Valley, CA!  I am very excited, although I didn't make first seed in any of the events which was my goal.  There are no official seeding results yet, but my estimation is 2nd seed slalom, 2nd seed gs, and 3rd seed sg.  This week and weekend was great, I got lots of training in and my knees are feeling fine.  I feel really prepared for JO's especially in slalom, but there is always more work to be done physically and mentally.  I want to say thanks to all my friends, family, and supporters: parents, coaches, team mates, and my competetition.       


February 16th, 2011 
Only three more qualifiers to go and then I'm off to Squaw Valley!  I am sooo excited to race in California, it's gonna be a blast.  Last weekend I was racing in Missoula, and it went alright.  The first day; Friaday was a qualifier slalom.  My first run was good, but my second run I hooked a tip on the first gate and my ski came off; I was pretty disappointed.  Then, on Saturday which was just an open slalom I placed first (of course not on a qualifier day!)  And on Sunday for the last slalom qualifier I straddled and skied out.  I am a little disappointed about not finishing the qualifiers and not making first seed in slalom, but there is still the Super-G's and much I can work on before J.O.'s.

January 31st, 2011
Hi everyone, I just got back home from a qualifier race at Briger Bowl, Bozeman, MT.  I skied consistently all weekend, with a 3rd and 2nd in the giant slaloms, and a 1st place for Sunday's slalom.  I will have pictures up soon, both from Red Lodge and Bridger.  This week i started an online high school course: World Religions; so far it's going really well.  Thanks for reading.

January 20th, 2011
It 's a new year and I've been diving into it head first.  All within the past 20 days, I competed in my first qualifier race, took semester tests early so that I can be training here in Schweitzer, ID, started to learn Spanish off of CD's and enrolled in an online high school course.  To say the least I've been busy.  The race was at Red Lodge, MT and it went really well for me.  The first day was a slalom qualifier and I took home gold for J3's (13-14 yrs) and 4th overall; the next day was an open giant slalom, I took first in that too.  The last day, Sunday, I ended up in second place for J3's.  Right now I am in Schweitzer, Idaho training; so far the weather has only permitted a handful of runs each day.  I'll be heading home on Sunday and ready for a  new semester. 

Christmas Eve 2010 
It's Christmas Eve, and I skipped training to lay in bed puking all night.  Fun stuff.  I'm pretty sure that I'll be fine for tomorrow, and the camp next week.  But it's not all bad news because I got my first donation this week!  I'm really psyched about that and look forward to seeing whether I get more donations-- remember, every little bit helps.  

December 9, 2010
Opening day at Whitefish Mountain was last weekend and it was AMAZING.  Absolutely the best opening day I can remember:  perfect untracked powder a foot deep, a beautiful inversion, and small lift lines!!!  What gets any better than that?!  Last weekend ski training with the team started, but I got a head-start in Banff, Alberta.  I was planning on doing a camp in Panorama, BC but Banff was more convenient and I got to see the Winterstart World Cup Downhill at Lake Louise.  I got some good early season fundamentals laid down, and some free skiing to warm up the legs; it was a good trip.  I skiied again today and it was foggy as usual (Whitefish is known for its dense fog) but none-the-less it was sick.  I'm pretty psyched for the rest of the season race-wise and snow-wise.  

This is the training hill at Mt. Norquay
November 5, 2010 
The past two months have been spent getting up at 6 am to work out, then my weekends have been filled with hiking and hunting for deer, turkey, and elk.  So far I have harvested a doe using bow and arrow, but now it is rifle season so I have been having fun with that.  My first days on snow for the 2011 La Nina season will be next weekend at Panorama BC for a camp that I'm only going to be at for 3 days, and after that I make the short trip up to Banff Alberta where I'll get to see the Lake Louise World Cup Race which I am super psyched for!

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