It’s been a while since the last post, but I’m back as the season is almost under way. I had a good summer and spent most of it training in Park City at the U.S. Ski Team’s new Center of Excellence building. It was a new experience and a great advantage for me to have such a facility and a training staff along with it available to me. I definitely clocked more hours in the gym this summer than any other, so I felt strong on snow over the summer and feel confident going into the winter months.
For August, we took off to go skiing down south. We set up base near Queenstown in New Zealand and trained there for about 3 weeks. The first half of the trip was great; the weather held up, and for the most part, the snow was perfect to train on. The weather got warm and rain moved in for the last week of training, and a small muscle strain in my back forced me to sit out for a few days of skiing. I was happy that it wasn’t a serious injury, but at the same time, it was kind of a bummer since it was just a nagging pain that didn’t quite let me train at my full potential. It also luckily happened towards the latter part of the trip so it didn’t set me back too much. All in all, it ended up being a good trip as I got comfortable with my new equipment and took some strides to make my skiing even faster.
After a couple weeks at home and healing my back, I was in good shape for our camp in Saas Fee, Switzerland where I just got back from. Again the weather was great to start off the two-week camp, giving us some prime glacier training. The entire men’s tech team present, including Ted Ligety and Bode Miller making his return to the U.S. Team, so it was a great group to train with out there to get ready for the beginning of the upcoming season. I was happy with my skiing and felt like I was getting back into good form. Towards the end of the camp though, I had another little mishap when I tweaked my knee in a slalom crash, which took me out for the rest of the camp. Luckily, I didn’t tear any ligaments and it looks like it is just a bruise on my patella or something of the sorts. It already feels great and it should be back to 100% by our next camp gets under way here in Colorado in two weeks. I’m just getting all the crashes and injuries out of the way before things really get rolling.
With the opening World Cup slalom coming up in about a month in Levi, Finland, there are two U.S. spots up for grabs and four of us competing for the opportunity. The plan was to hold a time trial towards the end of our camp in Saas Fee to decide who would clench the spots. Tim Kelley, Nolan Kasper, Paul McDonald, and I would battle it out in a three-run slalom session where the best two runs would count and the winners would get the Levi berths. Things didn’t quite go to plan, however, as Paul injured his back a week into the trip and flew home early, and I had my knee injury just a few days before the time trial. The two healthy skiers ended up going head-to-head for one of the spots where Nolan edged out Timmy for the spot. He’ll be starting his first World Cup in Levi so congrats to him for that. To try and make it fair, another time trial for the remaining spot is set up at the beginning of November during our Colorado camp, so I still have a shot at making it up to Levi. Hopefully we’re all ready to go by then, and after that, I hope I’ll be on a plane and on my way to make my own World Cup debut!