Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
The new Ski and Snowboard Season has begun for me and my teammates.
The 2012/2013 Season is going to be an exciting year as I train for the first ever Snowboard Medal Event at the Winter Paralympic Games in 2014. Sochi Russia looks amazing and it will be such a unique experience. After representing my country and doing my best in the sport of Cross Country Skiing at Home in the 2010 Games, I am aiming to not only do my best but bring home a medal.
The sport is new and we have run into some speed bumps relative to how the classification system equals out the disability types among the athletes. Although I am currently at the losing end of this stick, I stay positive and concentrate on the aspects of my race plan that I can control. Now training specifically and almost exclusively for snowboarding, I am seeing a great amount of improvement in my strength and my riding ability. This doesn’t happen overnight as I have trained at a very high level since 2004 and my base fitness and foundation is really helping me succeed with this new focus.
It is such a great privilege to now be part of the Paralympic Games. Myself and many others have worked so hard to make this happen, I almost feel I have already won a gold medal by achieving this goal. Although, I must admit I am depressed about the new rules of our sport as it enters a new international sport federation, I know it is the struggles I overcome that I remember the most, not the medals. That being said, I am playing to win the medals and have already won two silvers in Langraff, Netherlands. It was a good start to the season.
My next event is in South Lake Tahoe January 26th-28th and then we head over to Copper Mountain and race there on February 3rd. I will see how my training pays off and expect the courses to be very difficult relative to my riding ability, however, you never know. The competition will be deep for these two Nor Ams. The following Week on February 13th, I am going to a Ski Marathon Race in Gatineau Quebec and will focus on a Zone Two, 4.5hr ski and get my World Loppet Passport Stamp. I do not expect to participate in a loppet the following year for obvious reasons. The following week I hope to go to Sochi Russia for a test event (although not confirmed but scheduled around March 6th) and then get back on the plane and go to Slovenia for a World Cup Race March 10th or 11th. I am very Excited. We get back on the plane home and have another World Cup Race at Big White (No Jet Lag Required) near the end of March or beginning of April and then straight back to Copper Mountain for another Nor Am race. It should be an exciting season and I hope to gather enough points to be in the top three of the world. That is my goal.
Of course I cannot do this alone and a big thank you goes out to my sponsors and those who help me including Canada Snowboard, Canadian Sport Centre and Sport Canada, Whistler/Blackcomb, www.GardenersYard.com, Burton, Lululemon, Under Armor, Kessler, The Core Gym and their Trainers (John Blok), Siberian Sandbox (Sasha the Russian who yells at me to do more squats twice a week), Ossur and CTI Knee Braces, Mazda and Audi. I must thank my support network at home and at work and everyone else who believes in me and motivates me to be my best.
I will write again soon, Merry Christmas and may all your snow be powder! T