Tucker asked me to write a blog about Austria. I have sat down many times to do it. I have written drafts but every time they come out this giant declaration of what I am doing. Put simply, I am ski racing. Why? Because I like it, I want to see what I’ve got, I don’t want to go out injured and dropped, I love competing, and I love ski racing. So here are my thoughts-
There may be a few people out there in the ski-sphere that are wondering what I am doing: I’m not on the ski team, I disappeared last year, now I’m a Redneck but I’m supposed to be a speed skier? I like to keep things close but I have been so supported and loved throughout my career, I feel it is only right to share. I want to ski race and I want to be with people that understand that. Rednecks understand. Redneck Racing defines themselves as “anyone who defies the odds of society and is lacking a general compliance with those who say they are done.” I have been thought of as done but I am not.
People in the ski racing world see me as a speed skier, a big girl downhill racer to be more accurate. This is not untrue. I am a big girl downhill skier but I also love tech and, now, I will be a tech skier.
Last year, I had a chance to re-evaluate my goals- what I had left. I’ve had a great career, why keep going? I experienced the world outside skiing and quite frankly, I didn’t hate it at all. Someday I’ll really like it. But, when I got back in gates, at a fun event in Sun Valley, it all came back to me: the amazing feeling of making a good turn, the people, the community we live in, the calculating effort of trying to better yourself. I love that and in my career with the ski team I never felt like I fully lived that. I got caught up in qualifying, in results, in superficial matters that would have been totally irrelevant if I consistently focused on what mattered; skiing for the love of skiing and for the drive to compete.
I had three criteria’s for this season. 1. I wanted to ski, 2. I wanted to be on a team. 3. I wanted to continue to develop my skillset and learn something new for when I do retire. So, 1. I decided to ski, and to re-evaluate my goals. 2. I talked to the Redneck boys, I talked to Sun Valley, I talked to Savage at WVA. 3. I enrolled in GroundSwell Institute, www.groundswellathletics.com , where I am learning the world of Private Equity and business, as I ski. It is everything I could ask for in my quest for career development and ski racing; remote classes with captivating real life content, and an opportunity post competition for work. Boom!
I get this inkling that people wonder why athletes outside college keep skiing. Do they think they will qualify for the team? What are they doing? I can tell you my goal isn’t to requalify for the ski team. I can tell you Megan McJames doesn’t care who thinks she is failing at her mission because she doesn’t think she is and neither do I. To me, being a Redneck symbolizes a different way of doing something. What I have always liked about Robby and Tucker, Megan and even Team Resi, is they know what works for them, they ski for their love of skiing and for the people who support and love them, and most importantly they ski because they love to ski and compete and think they can get better. I think I can still get better and I want to try because I love to ski race.
I know there are always haters but more importantly, I know and have experienced all those who believe, who support, and who light up when I say I am not done. Those who burst with excitement and say ‘yes, I’m happy you are still trying.’ And, try I will. It is not a question of what you want to do, it’s how you are going to do it. What I learned from Robby and Tucker is, they make it happen and I’m going to try to keep up.
Side note on Austria-
My tale, to the Stubai Glacier in Austria, was not quite as exciting as Robby and Tucks. I had a bit more of a plan. It was wild to see Robby and Tucker go from Sunday, when we spoke of this idea of Norway to actually being there a couple days later. The Redneck way.
Austria, however, was awesome. I didn’t take a million runs like Robby and Tucker but I am building stamina to be able to do that. I am definitely still in that back to snow phase but I can feel my body coming back into it and more importantly, I am progressively starting to put more and more into each run; more power into each turn, take a more direct line, and be willing to take the speed I am generating. I have spent most of the summer trying to change my stance and change my body. I have been used to more of a speed stance, so I am standing taller, using smaller joints, and trying very hard to get my feet to move quicker! I just pretend I am on a dance floor especially in flushes. Overall, it is slowly coming back and honestly, if you put a clock on me, I don’t know where I would stack up yet, but, soon I will and I am enjoying putting in the effort.