2013/14 Season | Part One

I don’t really believe it. April is here and it feels like November was yesterday. I hardly noticed March at all. That, I guess is the nature of a busy season. It started early, out in Highwood pass, sacrificing p-tex to Ullr with friends.

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Skinning for some absolutely terrible turns on Halloween. Cam Stuchly with the iPhone snap

November was characterized by ski cross training camps, which continued into December and January. Mixed in was the first ski cross of the season at Nakiska, and a great opportunity to forerun a world cup track with the best athletes from each county in attendance. The track itself was fantastic, and while it wasn’t tricky, it was almost a minute and forty seconds of quad burning, lung busting good times. I only wish I had the chance to genuinely compete on a track of that calibre this season, but luckily, in forerunning we got far more runs than if we had raced. Of course, it wouldn’t be Nakiska without bitter cold, and Mother Nature came to play, delivering temperatures that hovered squarely around minus 35c.

Yes you read that right.

Minus 35, before wind chill, which, while skiing was pretty significant. I never want to be that cold, for that long again. All in all though, a great experience, and one that really built my confidence moving into my own race season. After a warmup race in Big White, BC we finally got our NorAm season opener near the end of January at Panorama. It was definitely nice to start things off somewhere that I felt at home, though it didn’t translate all that well onto the results sheet. I got a little over excited on the first training day and did some damage to my body that wouldn’t heal fully for months. Live and learn; there is a very fine line between aggression and madness that I have yet to reliably locate. Bruised heels were dutifully ignored and shortly afterwards we found ourselves on the (long, boring) road to Copper Mountain, Colorado.

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Hunting Down Teammate Bren Davidson in Training (Alberta Ski Cross Photo)

Copper’s courses have always been known for bizarre and mildly dangerous design elements, and this year’s new course builder wasted no time keeping the tradition alive. Still, with some tweaking it ran all right, though my slow start to the season continued until after the races that counted. In two open races afterwards I qualified first and third in nearly the same field as the NorAm races, which was both incredibly fun and supremely frustrating. It was a great boost to the mental side of my skiing however, and I went into the Olympic break feeling great, and very excited for competition to resume in two weeks. In the meantime though, we had to make it home which, in the middle of one of the biggest winter storms in recent memory was going to be easier said than done. If you’ve read some other posts of mine you know that tight travel schedules are a bit of a thing for me, and of course on this occasion I needed to be home for a hut trip, booked months in advance and within 24 hours of the time I had expected to be back. Not wanting to miss it and ruin the trip for Cam, my touring partner I sat back and hoped like hell we’d make it on time.

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Of course I also found time for a whole bunch of pow!

Check back soon for that hut trip I mentioned, some big mountain comp runs, and the rest of the ski cross season. Also what I think are some pretty neat plans for the summer. Until then, thanks for reading!

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