Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.

            Joshua J. Marine    

The Next Chapter

I am hanging up my race boards… I thought I should let you know.  Nothing less than 90 underfoot from here forward, and most of the time, more like 110.  It seems appropriate to drop some parting words.  It has been hard to form them in the past year, so you must excuse the lag between posts….

The best part about having such a long career is that you are around long enough to witness real and dramatic change.  I’ve seen change in the running of the governing sport bodies (Alpine Canada and the IPC) and the financial support associated; change in the approach of coaches, staff, and technique; change in the discipline of sit skiing; change in the perception of Paralympic sport, and the levels of respect from the greater sporting world, and viewing public.  I have seen a lot of change, and it has all been moving in a positive direction.

I am proud to have been a part of an era in sit skiing that saw tons of technological advance and equipment development, allowing us as sit skiers and athletes to elevate our performance and abilities to new levels.  I feel like I have contributed both to medal count and success of our National Team for the entirety of my career, and to the advancement of the sport itself (which especially on in the women’s field has grown immensely).   It has been an exciting time to be involved in Para-Alpine.  The Paralympic movement is gaining momentum all of the time, and throughout my career I have watched the equality side of it start to balance.  Own the Podium and the legacy of our Canadian Hosted games, has allowed Canada, and our team, to be a leading and driving force in the technical advancement of sit skiing, and the sport of Para-Alpine.

My career has been a rollercoaster of good times and bad, successes and failures, all of which have helped to develop me into the person that I am.  There is not much that I would change.  I’ve had the privilege of at least one killer season, where I got to feel untouchable… bringing in three globes, and other than two DNF’s an “undefeated” year (2007/2008).  I have had no less than seven season ending crashes, resulting in serious injury, broken bones, and surgeries. I am perhaps the only sit skier that has ever lost a ski on course (before the finish line, but after the last gate) in a speed event and still managed to finish/tumble across the line to WIN the race… which also won me the globe… even if it was one of my season ending crashes!

My only regret along the way is not taking more time to breathe, and appreciate the process.  As an athlete we can become so obsessed, focused, and committed to the craft, that the levels of stress we can produce can take away from the experience, and disrupt our personal and emotional balance.  It is this drive that breeds great athletes, but also can be the invisible force that can break us.

I would like to say that I am retiring because I am satisfied with the length of career, successes I’ve had, and the friends that I’ve made along the way… but this would be a fairy tale (that I don’t think really exists).  Always the consummate athlete, I think I likely would have continued to abuse my body and my emotions for another decade if I was able. I would stay on this ride because the devil you know is better than the one you don’t.  But alas, my body has had enough… it has taken over the decision making process, and it is probably going to make a more responsible decision than my daredevil brain is prone to.  I did not finish my career on the note that I would have liked, one of the greatest heartbreaks that I am left with.  I have spent almost a year in recovery from two shoulder injuries, which is far more a serious problem in the case of a permanent wheelchair user.  I have spent much of this time adjusting to the idea of retirement, and what it might mean to me.  I have always been a pragmatic individual, one who prepares for her future.  I got my Bachelor of Commerce degree during my time on the team, as one way to prepare for life after sport.  In my mind “prepared” meant that you are educated, ready to enter the workforce, possess skills necessary for employment, with a world of experience under your belt.  I didn’t think that I would be THAT athlete, the one who suffers emotionally, and is LOST in their retirement, because I am “prepared”.  I was wrong.  I love the world of sport; I identify with the world of sport. It has been a difficult processes getting to a place where my emotional preparedness is (almost) catching up to my physical preparedness. 

My life after sport has already begun.  I have accepted a fulltime position with a tech start-up company based in Rossland, as well as some contract work for my long time head sponsor, Salient Maritime.  The most exciting part of entering the work force, was getting to use parts of my brain again that had sat relatively unused for the entirety of my athletic career.  As an athlete you learn to streamline, to train efficiently.  I became good at using the parts of my brain and body required to be a high performing athlete, and the others got to rest.  I can literally feel my brain waking up and becoming more active as I sink my efforts into work, and what it entails.

I will miss my life on the road, the adventures, the stories, the competition and the personal athletic pursuit.  I want to thank all of the sponsors, coaches, and teammates who have helped to shape me over the years, kept me sane, and drove me crazy.  I am blessed to live in a time and a place, where a 15-year competitive skiing career is an option for a no-nothing, snowboarder punk who put herself in a wheelchair at 19 being a jack-ass!  I wish that I could stick around and see the changes that are yet to come in my sport, in Paralympic Sport, and the Canadian Para-Alpine Team specifically… but I have had my time, I have made my contribution, and I like to think that I have left my mark.  I am ready for new adventures, and life is too short for standing still.  A million thanks to the sponsors who have allowed me the opportunity to do what I do, especially to long time patch/head sponsor Salient Martime and DEL Metals (but also the rest listed here).  Thanks to everyone who has supported me on this crazy ride, , and to my friends and family who have picked up the piece’s time and time again; you know who you are.

plus… I made the monument…  

time to say goodbye. 

Welcome to #Panorama2015

The World has united at our home in Panorama (Invermere, BC).  Tonight we marched down main street to the cheers of more than a thousands Invermere locals.  In true Canadian fashion, the ‘World’ enjoyed some marshmallows roasted over fire pits while listening to live music.  We all left smiling, and smelling like the smoke of a fire pit!   There are over a hundred athletes from 23 countries here, all ready to show off their skills and seek the title of World Champion.  

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The event schedule for #Panorama2015 and other pertinent info is available on the Panorama 2015 website:  International Live streaming is also available using the same link… please tune in and check out the action (MST)!!!  My events will be the Women’s Giant Slalom on March 8th and the Women’s Slalom on March 10th.  Live feed will kick off on March 4th for the Men’s and Women’s Downhill.  

***UPDATE:  In Canada you must stream through!!!  This is HUGE!  This is the first time CBC has broadcasted a Para Alpine event outside of the Paralympic coverage!

Alpine Canada has created a number of vignettes over the course of this season featuring different aspects of Alpine Skiing and the Alpine Canada Alpin Team.  This most recently created piece gives some good insight into our Para Alpine world, and may help you to get to know our Canadian team a little bit better.  Follow @Alpine_Canada on twitter to get constant updates and results on our Canadian athletes during the IPC Para Alpine World Championships #Panorama2015.  Cheer loud and proud!

#GettinPumped #GettinPrimed

The World Cup circuit has come and gone in the blink of an eye.  This is due in part to the fact that I was only able to compete in a couple of races (detail to follow), coupled with the fact that there were very few races to begin with.  I was brutally dragged in an unfortunate poma incident in Andorra just prior to the opening races in Spain, and then acquired some untimely and poorly placed frostbite a day before the 2nd tech series in Switzerland.  I managed to pull in some hard fought (through injury) podiums in 2 of the 3 races I competed in… but spent more time battling emotional demons while sidelined in hotel rooms instead of skiing on the slopes.  The silver lining… this season is really all about World Champs anyways!!  

Despite my problematic World Cup circuit, I had a full and successful pre-season of training.  Although my recent set backs were frustrating, they don’t negate the fact that I am very well prepared for our World Championships on home soil!  My gear is dialed, and I have tons of miles in gates.  I have some nagging shoulder pain following the sh*t kicking that poma gave me in Andorra… but I am leaps and bounds ahead of the state I was in, when I pushed through my races just afterwards in Spain.  I am keen to get back out there on the slopes where I belong!

We have just arrived in Pano for a short training camp before the other teams arrive.  I am kickin’ it in my second home, good ole Ski Tip Lodge.  We spend more time training here than we do anywhere else; it’s nice to be so familiar with our accommodations, our slopes, and our snow.  As it is Canada’s first time hosting a Para Alpine World Championships, I could not ask for a better place!

I am looking forward to seeing quite a few of my friends and family in the crowd; it’s nice to share the excitement of a big event with those who support me year in and year out.  I encourage anyone else who might be interested to come down and check it out.  You might not have this opportunity for quite sometime… AND perhaps never again in my career (not that I am hanging up the boards quite yet) If you need any information on the event, you might find it on Panorama’s website ( or through the IPC’s Panorama 2015 page (

#BeThere #Panorama2015 #GettinPumped #GettinPrimed

Is a Holiday Really a Holiday?

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As a career athlete… my work isn’t exactly customary.  Most people give me a hard time when I speak about my “job”, given that the travel and skiing, which are a big part of it, sounds like a vacation to them.  I often lose track of what day of the week it is, because my weekdays and my weekend days are no different.  From an outsider’s perspective it can seem as though it is because I live in a never-ending weekend, but in truth it is the opposite, it is because I am always working.  My workouts don’t stop on the “weekend”, my attention to health and diet doesn’t end on the weekend, my emails and contacting sponsors, writing proposals, updating websites, and etc. does not care what day it is.  I am writing this blog on a Saturday morning for example.  My job IS a fun and exciting one; but don’t let that fool you, it is still a lot of hard work, and a lot of hours.  When we are on the road it seems like we are working 24-hour days, for 2-3 weeks at a time… we do get to sleep, but we don’t get a break from our thoughts, staff, teammates, and stresses.  Every element of our day is scheduled, including time for journaling, thinking, and mental training (and there are never enough hours in the day).  Now don’t get me wrong, these are not complaints… it’s part of the job description, and it’s worth it.  


But here’s where it get’s tough, the holidays!  We are lucky enough to be home for a couple of weeks this Christmas break, longer than most seasons, but there is a twist...  As an athlete we are home, but we aren’t “on break” like the majority of our friends and loved ones.  We can reduce our training schedules and participate in all of the holiday bliss, but we have some standards that we need to live up to.  When all of our guests are blowing off steam and letting loose this holiday season, we have to try (and its hard) to maintain our healthy lifestyle.  We can’t eat everything we want, Christmas baking and 10 lbs of turkey won’t do.  We can’t (shouldn’t) get drunk every night and forego a reasonable amount of sleeping hours.  We enjoy the holidays without taking a holiday; it is a real test of willpower.  Truthfully, I CAN cheat all I want; big brother isn’t watching all of my moves.  But if I come back to training (and the first World Cups of the year) overweight, slow, and tired… it is me who will be punished if my results and performances are affected.  My staff would probably not be stoked about it, but as I am always my harshest critic, the personal shaming I would experience would truly be the worst part.  I think that most athletes understand this push and pull of desire to have fun vs. need for control.  Though I sometimes wonder if the summer sport athletes have it any easier when it comes to the temptations of Christmas.


This year has been insane, mostly because the 2013/2014 season has blended right into the 2014/2015 season without skipping a beat.  It is amazing to have 48 ski days before Christmas, but avoiding burnout before race season even begins is posing quite a challenge for me.  It think that in all things team related my fuse is a little short right now, and I am guessing burnout is the cause.  Burnout is kind of like an athletes version of writers block.  It can weigh you down with negative energy and create blocks in your ability to perform at your best and achieve your goals.  It can make what should be a very enjoyable job feel a lot more like work.  Sadly, it can take the fun out of our favorite sport, which in truth is the reason most of us become involved in our sports to begin with!  The solution (at least for this season)… a well timed “holiday break”!  It is true, my holiday may not be as exciting as yours; I will be respecting my training plan.  But there is a certain energy that the holiday brings.  There is an opportunity to feed off of the joy of family and friends, and recharge the batteries.  It is hard not to take pleasure in all of the gatherings and Christmas spirit, and if the snow keeps falling a few free ski days on some wider planks (always good for the soul)!  The holidays are a chance for us to take in all of that positive energy and carry it forward into the New Year with a fresh mindset, and a fresh start.  I think that this flowing energy encompasses everything that is special about the holidays… and in having to remove some of the “fun” elements surrounding Christmas, I have the fortune of focusing on that, which really matters.  

And if you think I am missing out, I will let you have that… because my job is probably still better than your job anyways ;)


Sending You and Yours some positive Christmas Energy, and wishing you lots of freshies in the New Year!

No Place Like Home

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With the help of my travel trailer and a push from my boyfriend, I managed to keep my summer rolling deep into the fall.  Sandwiched between ski trips in Switzerland and Canada, I found some endless summer, complete with rainbows and unicorns in Moab, Utah.  We spent a couple of weeks biking, quading, and hiking in the sunshine (while others waited somewhat impatiently for snow back in Rossland)… a final outdoor dryland push, in combo with some fun with friends before the race season begins.  It was nice to train in a new setting, in the company of some of my favorite people.  We already plan to return, firmly caught in Moab's magical force field.  It was a wonderful way to wrap up a travel filled summer, and 60 days of adventuring in our little home on wheels.

I may not have spent much time at my house in Rossland over the past few months… but as I arrive in Panorama, BC. mid way through our first Canadian on snow camp of the season, I can’t help feel like I’ve come back home.  As far as our Canadian training locations go, Panorama is by far our most familiar, and one of my favorites.  We stay in the same condos each time, we cook our own meals, and we train on the same couple of slopes multiple times a year… every year.  Despite the fact that our November Pano camp is without fail the coldest camp of the season, I always have great training here.  I always manage to find my confidence, and set the season off on the right foot just as the races are about to begin.  This season, our home turf is being visited in a big way.  Panorama is to host the IPC Para Alpine World Championships in March of 2015.  It will be Canada’s first time hosting World Championships, and we get to put our home court advantage to the test.  

This pre season has shaped up to be probably my best yet.  The fact that I have been healthy enough to attend every camp has been a major factor contributing to this success, but my attitude and outlook as a veteran athlete has also played a role.  I find that I am taking my JOB as an athlete with a level of seriousness that perhaps has been lacking for the earlier half of my career.  I care about the future of the program.  I have been around long enough to witness first hand the evolution of the Canadian Para Alpine Ski Team as we know it… and I must say that the changes have been vast.  At this point I almost take personal offence (though I shouldn’t) when new athletes appear on the scene with egos… and grandiose ideas about how things could be better and different, and no knowledge of the history that has led us to this place.  The funny part is that I see myself in all of them.  I was that young kid with a cocky attitude, athletic tendency and a loud mouth.  It only took 12 years for me to realize how annoying I may have been to my veteran teammates at the time.  I am glad that I have stayed involved long enough to gain some perspective (and introspection).  I can’t claim that I am without all of those traits now, but I hold an awareness of how incredibly fortunate I am to do what I do, and have the opportunities that are provided for me.  I look forward to seeing what changes the future will hold, but will always hold the memory of where my journey began.

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A Summer of Summers

It’s hard to believe that an entire summer has come and gone.  I was only home for one week between the beginning of June and the end of August (some of which was ‘holiday’ travel, with an epic 35 day road trip to Yukon, Northwest Territory, and Alaska)… and my on snow training for the 2014-15 is already well underway.  I think that traditionally the post season time of year moves slowly for me, given that I am generally stuck on a couch recovering from some injury or another.  Upon the conclusion of my first ‘tech’ (technical events) only season, I have to say that I am excited about what the future might hold.  I finished the season entirely injury free (as was the plan), and haven’t had to miss a single day of summer training.  Although I caught myself lamenting all of the time away from home, this means more days in the bank come race season, and a strong, healthy body at my disposal.  It is nice (so late in my career) to have such a refreshing outlook to what might be possible if I might follow one injury free year, with ANOTHER.  Not to jinx myself, but I have confidence that the ’tech’ only program will produce just this result! 


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The 3rd on snow camp for the upcoming season just wrapped up in beautiful New Zealand.  I had the opportunity to take daily, gorgeous sunrise photos from some of the best viewpoints in this world.  As I watch a new wave of athletes move up and onto the World Cup scene, and many of my long time teammates move on to new and exciting stages of their lives… it is hard to avoid reflecting and reminiscing on the past.  Flipping through photos from the early years on the team, I have to laugh at how young we all looked (and were).  I love being a veteran and experienced athlete, but it’s crazy to think how many years I have committed to this sport, and more crazy… how many more years I can still imagine having.  It’s a different dynamic, as I am quickly becoming the age of my coaches, and nearly twice as the age of the majority of my teammates.  Thank goodness that age brings wisdom or I might be feeling old!  I have certainly accepted the fact that I am probably going to be a “lifer” on this team.  Not that this is a bad thing, but it can bring with it a certain psychological dependence that is both blessing and a curse.  I think many of the best athletes are hyper critical and analytical (in particular towards themselves).  This can result in much success, but potentially creates a scenario in which they (we) are never truly satisfied with your performances, or even their career… and it’s sad to imagine ending a 20+ (no, not yet) year career with any feelings of discontentment and disappointment, but this is surely a reality for some.  At the same time, I have to sit back and appreciate how fortunate I am to have a passion so strong that I WANT to sink my mind, body, and soul into chasing it.  And at least for now… I still have goals that I want to attain, I still improve in my skill sets year upon year, and I still enjoy every moment that I have on snow.  As long as those three things are happening, I know that I am in the right place.  I will stay here, and give these kids a run for their money!

Reflections and Homecoming

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I have been home from the Games for less than a week, and I could not be happier to be here.  Not that my Paralympic experience wasn’t wonderful, and my season enjoyable… but I wasn’t prepared for how emotionally draining it was going to be.  My other two Games experiences were quite different.  In Torino, there was little expectation on my performance and I was just young and excited.  In my preparations leading to Whistler I kept nursing injuries and other things, so the prep time wasn’t near as intense for me.  This time around I was party to the full ramping up and peaking of our training and team schedule.  My final trip was around 6 weeks long, heading straight to Nationals in Whistler following the Paralympics in Russia.  By the time I hit Whistler I was feeling so burnt out and low energy that I couldn’t even imagine having fun free skiing (which is a sad thought).   I am sure some of that was the jet lag and overall tiredness of a long trip, and in truth I’ve already had two good powder days and one sunny groomer corn snow day at home in Rossland (and fun was had).  

As for the Games, Russia threw a great event.  The transportation, villages, and volunteers were top notch.  There were international volunteers, and a huge amount of Russian (primarily university students) volunteers.  In general it is stereotyped that Russian culture limits expressiveness (including facial expression and intonation in voice), but if you were basing your opinions on these volunteers, that would not be the case.  Every morning, including the final day of competition, and what would be a couple of months of volunteering for them, we were greeted with giant smiles, high fives, and excited (and ready to help) volunteers.  In the village, I practiced painting Matryoshska Dolls, learned a limited Russian vocabulary (maybe a word a day), and visited the medical centre for a teeth cleaning and to have a mouth guard made.  

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My competition days were rammed into the last 3 days of the games, so the early days were full of training and energy management for me.  Our coaches worked super hard to create good training environments.  The weather was a massive challenge both for our training, and more so for the competition slope.  Plus 25-degree weather isn’t exactly conducive to hosting a successful ski race, but with tons of manpower for slipping, and a whole lotta salt they managed to pull off every race, and we pulled off most of our training.  The conditions were super challenging for the entire field, and I skied some of the biggest bumps and ruts I’ve ever seen on the slalom track.  Our Canadian sit skis seemed to attack these conditions quite well, but I have to admit, that most days I was pretty content NOT to be riding on the speed track in those conditions.  Massive props to all of my teammates for getting through it, and especially to those who medalled throughout the Games (Mac Marcoux, Robin Femy, Chris Williamson, Nick Brush, Caleb Brousseau, Josh Dueck).

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My race days were full of stress, with major highs and lows.  First, my slalom event was pushed forward 2 days, because of some fresh snow, as it is safer to run slalom in those conditions.  I had just come off of 2 days of rest, and had intended 2 days of training prior to my competition, but this was not in the cards.  I found out at 5pm on the 11th that I’d be competing at 9am on the 12th.  My family was arriving late night on the 11th, so we had to scramble to get them spectator passes (for security) at night, just so that they were able to make it in time for my first run.  I didn’t particularly mind having the event bumped forward, but it was a little off of our intended program.  I skied quite well given the snow conditions.  I had very fast moments, but also some large mistakes.  In the end I took the bronze.  I went (given my results this year) to Russia with my eyes on one of the other two colors. So, although I am happy with bronze, I am not entirely satisfied with the result.  To make matters more complicated, there was a DQ and a protest, which briefly had me in the silver position, but was overturned to push me back to bronze.  This scenario contributed to some of my emotional strain in the final days of competition, but mostly because of how it diminished winning the medal at all.  We had no flower ceremony at the hill because of the protest, and our medal ceremony was pushed to another night, which coincided with our men’s night slalom, so very few of our friends, family, and teammates could be there to support.  It really took away from what should have been a proud and happy moment for me.  My second and final day of competition was ‘interesting' in a whole other way.  I am not going to lie, after the protest situation in the slalom I was out for blood!  I knew that I was going to charge, because I wanted 1) better than bronze, 2) to break Anna (the protest girl)’s gold medal streak.  I skied extremely well first run, and was actually in the lead by a second and a half.  I was in a prime position to do what I had set out to do.  I started my second run just as aggressively.  As I charged onto the first pitch, and hit the first little bump of the course, the unthinkable happened… equipment failure.  My riser plate just ripped right out of the ski.  I was dumbfounded.  I had heard a little pop (which in a sit ski is usually a bad thing), and as I tried to save it repeatedly and get back up, it just wouldn’t go.  I looked under me to figure it out, and low and behold I was free healing.  Whether coincidence, carelessness, or just bad luck… the outcome is the same... what looked like a gold fell out from under me to a factor outside of my control.  I don’t know what emotions you are supposed to feel in a situation such as that, but I was angry… am still angry.  It was a horrible way to end a Games, and certainly for me would be an easier thing to accept if I just made a mistake.  I went into this Games feeling confident in my ability to medal in both of my events, and certainly to reach at least a silver medal.  I know that I was close, in reality it was close to two medals and at least one nicer than bronze color, but close doesn’t cut it, and close doesn’t make me FEEL any better.  It’s all part of sport, but it made for an emotionally charged last few days at the Games.  I am sure with time my bronze will shine brighter for me, and in the least it gives me a massive motivation to carry on to Korea both to make it right and to improve upon these results. Despite the difficult ending (hopefully some lessons learned), my Games experience was overwhelmingly positive.  The closing ceremonies was impressive and enjoyable.  It was a happy distraction and a great final memory to leave with.

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Nationals went off without a hitch, despite challenging snow, courses, lost luggage, and jet lag.  Exciting to see two new young female sit skiers competing… though for now I am still the National GS and slalom champ.  We aligned Nationals with the able bodied for the first time; it made for some difficult GS skiing, but hopefully increased and improved our exposure domestically amongst the ski racing community.  

I will enjoy every moment of my month at home, and the end of the Red Mountain ski season… and before you know it, I’ll be right back at it with the team.  I just can’t help myself!

Watching the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Games

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The Olympic Games is all wrapped up and the village is clearing out… but it doesn’t mean that the Olympic Magic has to end.  Take a short break and then tune in for the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Games from March 7-16.  Keep the momentum rolling, and cheer loudly for our winter nation, including yours truly!  At least as far as I am aware, here are ALL of your Sochi viewing options, and schedules:

Full Event Calendar is available @:


These are MY events and their (approximate) times:

 Slalom:  March 12

Run 1 – women sitting 9:00, Run 2 – women sitting 12:00

 Giant Slalom:  March 16

Run 1 – women sitting 10:35, Run 2 – women sitting 13:45

Tune in about an hour earlier to watch from the start of the race, to be sure you don’t miss me and to watch my teammates.  Women’s sitting is the final category (behind visually impaired and standing) so those times are only estimation.


Digital and Social Media

For up-to-the minute access to results, competition schedules, photos, videos, athlete bios, and news stories through social and digital media during the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Games:

  • WEB: (French:
  •  TWITTER: #Sochi2014 #Sotchi2014 #Paralympic #TeamCanada #EquipeCanada #CDNParalympic #GoCanadaGo
  • YOUTUBE:  &
  • Upload the “Canadian Paralympic Team” App on iTunes, or the App store to keep appraised on all things Canadian over the next couple of weeks


Canadian Coverage: 

CPC (Canadian Paralympic Committee) will lead the Paralympic Broadcast Consortium partners in creating coverage on five broadcast/digital platforms:

  • CBC/Radio-Canada
  • Sportsnet
  • Accessible Media Inc. (AMI)
  • Yahoo Sports Canada
  • SendtoNews.

There will be more than 80 hours of broadcast, up to 350 hours of digital streaming, and rights free news access highlights connecting Canadians via multi platforms. A comprehensive broadcast schedule will be available at: 

  • is also convenient source for live coverage in Canada, and has been the traditional go to that I have suggested for previous Paralympic Games’


*UPDATE!!  CBC Coverage:



athlete bio’s and other info: 

International Viewing:

The IPC (international Paralympic Committee) will show more than 300 hours of uninterrupted live coverage from Sochi from 7-16 March across five HD channels on


USA Coverage:

Broadcast schedule NBC:

All events will LIVE online at

I would guess that the highlights may only include the American athletes, but you would be able to catch me skiing on the live feeds (i.e. the giant slalom).


I am guessing that with this many options, you should be able to choose one that works for you.  I will update this blog if I hear of any other sources, so feel free to check back.  

Let’s hear you Canada! #GoCanada #PedalToTheCarpet #WhatsThere @9LivesJoines

Enjoy the ride

From Russia With Love

As I sit in my Austrian hotel room, which after one more week of training I will leave in order to travel to Sochi, I am reflecting on all that has gotten me to this place.  Though ski racing is an individual sport, I could not be a ski racer without the team that supports me.  When I say ‘team', I am referring to a much broader network of contributors than the Canadian Para Alpine Team that I ski for.  On the verge of the Sochi 2014 Paralympics, following a 4-year cycle of hard work with many ups and downs, it is only fair to give credit where it is due.  This blog begins with what may sound like nothing but a sponsor shout out (which is certainly doubles as), but I will make a point eventually.

Thanks are clearly due to the obvious financial sponsors who help me to pay the bills, currently Salient Maritime, DEL Metals, and CAN Fund… as well as CPAST's biggest funder, Own The Podium.  And, the under-thanked, but always appreciated CPAST staff including ACA managers, coaches, and support staff who work long hours, provide us with great training environments, organize all of the trips, keep our bodies healthy and our skis running fast.

Then, like most athletes, though especially important for sit skiers comes the equipment.  Beyond my skis, which (new) for this season are Rossignol, and my head/face protection, which as always is UVEX… I have to worry about my sit ski and everything that it entails.  Northern Alberta Prosthetic and Orthotic (and especially Danny) has been putting up with my bi-yearly visits since the first year that I sit skied; creatively helping me to fabricate seating, leg protection and outriggers, as well as reinforcing and repairing everything that I break, usually all within the same visit.  Recently YESS Pro has come on board, building our new (super pimped) frames, and on pretty tight timelines.  I owe much of my recent success to our sit ski tech Joe, who with the help of Fox Shocks and his knowledge and innovation, has progressed the design and function of our sit skis a great deal.  Renton Coil Springs has also helped out in providing titanium springs to reduce our shock weight, for the final piece of the sit ski puzzle.

Having a finely tuned and well functioning sit ski is really only the beginning.  As I alluded to earlier, I have a tendency to break things (often at poor times), so KEEPING our sit skis running smoothly is a whole other battle, which brings fourth another group of “silent partners” that have saved my ass many times over!  From Hellman Canoes and Kayaks, whose owner personally repaired my leg fairing over the Christmas Holidays when I smashed it on a tree free skiing, to Mustache Metal Works and XL Fabrication who have repeatedly repaired cracks, bends and breaks on my sit ski and outriggers.  From Rory who mounts/tunes my skis when I am in Rossland (for beer), and spots cracked welds on my sit ski that I would undoubtedly miss, to Tyler who works at the city reuse/landfill that salvages old Rossi skis that come in, dropping them at my house to be used for outrigger tips.  Just days before leaving on this trip, Al Eagleton Woodworks built me a wooden support structure to protect my leg fairing from the airlines while I am in transit, the list goes on (and there are dozens more, but I can only keep your attention for so long).

Often the small details and demonstrations of support matter the most to me.  For instance, Joe Capobianco, my tattoo artist, airbrushed a special helmet for me to show off in the giant slalom.  And perhaps my favorite, and the catalyst for my writing this particular blog in the first place... the die-hard Canadian (and Local West Kootenay) athlete fanatic Georgina, an 84-year-old Italian seamstress that lives in Trail, BC.  She has a room full of newspaper clippings and signed photos from Kootenay athletes over a number of decades plastering the wall of her sewing room.  She tailors ski clothes for me at a moments notice… all the while calling me “bambalina” and kissing and grabbing my face.  She makes me proud to do what I do; she helps me to understand how much bigger the Olympic movement is than myself.

Last, but far from least are my friends and family; they are with me through all of the ups and downs, the successes and failures, the brilliant moments, heartbreaks, and hospitalizing crashes.  I am guessing that my parents, and boyfriend hold their breath for the “catch” any time I call when on the road.  Certainly they are first to hear any time there is news, good or bad.  I keep them on their toes.  Without their love and support I would not be the person I am today, and I might not have had the strength to endure this crazy ski career of mine when times get rough.  They feed and clothe me when necessary (which seems silly for a grown woman to say, but if you know much of my history you’d likely laugh at that line).  They dig me out of tree wells and other obstacles when I get stuck free riding.  They contain their worries, whilst supporting and inspiring my dreams.

In case my point is not yet starting to become clear, I will get to it.  They say, “it takes a village to raise a child”, what does it take to make an Olympian?  I think the same concept holds true.  Everyone on my ‘team’ has a roll, and that roll is necessary in enabling me to ski race and more importantly, to be successful at it.  I have a roll too, and it is now my time to give some payback and fulfill my end of the bargain.  Although I ski for Canada year in and year out, once every four years I get to represent the ‘team’ of people and the village of supporters that have helped me along the way… an opportunity to make them proud.  There is something about the Olympic movement that is far beyond the athlete as an individual.  I know I am not alone, and heading into Sochi I truly feel the support of my entire ‘team’, to whom I owe a great deal of gratitude.  People talk about the “additional pressures” that the Olympic Games carry, but they fail to mention the “additional support network” that it creates.  Rather than feeling the weight of “pressure”, I feel lifted and elevated by the contributions of the amazing people that stand behind me.  That support will propel me forward and give me wings to fly.  I sincerely thank you all from the bottom of my heart… sending, from Russia (my) love.    


Rock Stars for a Day

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Without a doubt, a Paralympic season brings one thing… attention to our sport and our efforts!  With 40 days to go, the hype is just starting to get rolling, with additional media requests, interviews and public appearances.  The team was officially nominated and announced by Alpine Canada and the Canadian Paralympic Committee in a media event earlier this week (and yes, I am one of the 13 athletes selected).  They donned our team coats on us in front of a school of screaming elementary students.  It was a treat to have such a public nomination, in contrast to the other two games teams that I have been a part of… and fun to celebrate our recent successes in this way (as we were just returning home from the first block of World Cup races of the year).  

It is generally about this time that the team begins to discuss ‘distraction control’ and how to mentally prepare for the additional stresses, strains, and hoopla that are present in a Games year.  While it is certainly not good to allow these distractions to affect your skiing performance, I think it is also quite important not to miss out on the excitement entirely either.  Once every four years, we get a little bit of media attention; once every four years, people want to follow our progress, results, successes, and share in our journey; once every four years, we get to feel like rock stars (even if just for a day).  We commit our heart and soul into being top-level athletes, and for the most part, and in an average year, we do it for ourselves.  It is ‘our job’, and business as usual.  In a games year, whether intentionally or not… we do it for something bigger than ourselves, we do it for Canada.  We represent our country on the World stage, and ‘they' are watching, cheering, and sharing the experience with us.  Distractions aside, it’s amazing to have the opportunity to celebrate being a part of the ‘bigger’ picture, and something that I for one will not let pass me by without enjoying the ride.

This year’s racing is starting off with a bang, having podiums in every race (both NorAm and World Cup) that I’ve competed in.  My focus on the technical events has really boosted my confidence on the hill, especially in slalom.  I am relieved and happy that we still have 40 more days to train and prepare, but I know that it’s all going to happen in the blink of an eye.  Wishing the best of luck to all of our Olympic athletes as they are in their final moments of preparation before go time!  #WeCan  We are with you!

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Glory or Bust!


It’s amazing the range of emotions you experience as an athlete… a difficult thing to describe to someone who does not possess a similar type of competitive drive, and live the roller-coaster lifestyle that an athletes is prone to.  All in all, looking back at my career I have spent more time experiencing negative emotions than positive (I am not sure if this is the norm).  Much time has been spent struggling in those dark moments that accompany the more challenging years.  Whether it is losing races, the inability to perform to your (perceived) potential, poorly timed injuries, distrust of your equipment or those working with you; there are dozens of factors that can contribute to a negative emotional state.  I have battled depression over much of my adult life and can’t help but wonder if there is at least a bit of correlation to my experiences as an athlete.  So why do we do it?  I am sure you can guess, but sometimes we need a little reminder… we do it because of the ‘flipside’.  The emotional highs that we have the potential and opportunity to experience can eclipse any doubt, stress, and pain that we have endured in the blink of an eye.  Even just a little dose of the raw excitement that can accompany a near perfect run, a win in a big event (when the country is watching and cheering), or just one of those seasons that everything seems to (finally) just work out the way you have intended it to.  The biggest goal is to have all of your stars align at the right place and time in order to perform your best for the biggest events… in our world, a World Championships, and of course at an Olympic/Paralympic Games.  Like most athletes, I certainly compete for (and in a sense live for) those moments... brief snippets of true overwhelming joy and pride… the ‘flipside’.  I have won many races/events in my life, but a win does not necessarily ensure the emotional pay off.  I can count on one hand the moments that I was really swept away with that sort of raw emotion, it’s better than any drug, and it is always earned the hard way.  I don’t think that you get to experience one without the other.  The harder you have worked, the more challenges you have faced, and the lower the emotional states you have endured, the bigger the payoff on the ‘flipside’. 

I can say with confidence that I have been building up to something big.  I have been storing up all that negative emotion and turning into fuel for a number of seasons now… and for once my mojo seems to be working the way it is supposed to and at the right time.  I can’t guarantee gold in Sochi, though it’s certainly what I am shooting for.  Right now, I am skiing personal ‘best days’ one after another.  The World Cup circuit begins on home turf in Panorama, BC. in just a couple of weeks.  After 5 wins on the NorAm circuit at the close of 2013 I can’t wait to get the World Cups underway.  Win or lose it’s the gamble I thrive on.  Glory or bust, only athletes know.  On the verge of a big year, it’s nice to take the time to remind yourself that it is always worth it!


Woah-man on a Mission!

I have had a good feeling about this year ever since the moment I decided to specialize in the technical events (GS and Slalom) and hang up my speed skis for good.  Ironically this moment was sitting in a hospital room in Sochi this past March, with a broken collar bone on one side and a 3rd degree separation on the other.  Altering my racing ‘status quo’ in this way, shifted my focus entirely and gave me some new motivation... which was badly needed.  I’ve been working hard all summer with one thing on mind, earning my way back to Sochi and making it count.

Our team got together in Whistler two weeks ago for the first Sochi 2014 infomation and planning sessions of the year, coupled with the final dryland camp of the summer, and medicals.  Going into it, I was pretty proud of how well I was doing in my recovery (since my surgery in March).  I really trained my butt off this summer, and I was BEYOND ready to get back on snow.  I knew I was (at least mostly) healed, my gear was more organized than usual, and my focus was on point... what I didn’t expect was how stoked all of the staff also were once they saw the progress that I’ve made.  I think my physical status was above and beyond what everyone was expecting, possibly the best the trainers, coaches, and doctors have seen in years... let alone pre-injury.  It seems that at least this time around, ‘hard work (did) pay off’.

My ski bags were already packed, and I headed straight to the airport from Whistler in order to make my way to Switzerland.  I was itching to get on the glacier, and put my plan into effect.  Myself and two other sit skiers were heading  there a week before the rest of the team, for a sit ski specific camp.  I really wasn’t sure how it was going to go.  I was physically and mentally ready to get back on snow, but that doesn’t mean that there wasn’t going to be a fair amount of “bugs” to work out with the gear, and challenges associated with returning to snow after a fairly major injury.  I was showing up with all new ski’s as I switched ski companies for the first time of my entire career (hello Rossignol!), a new seat (thanks Danny), new bindings, new shock, new ski tech, new shoulders in a sense... you get the picture.  With so many changes, it could have been a really trying first few days.  Many years, I fidget with my gear for the entire season, and eventually just ‘suck it up’ and pick a setting when it’s ‘go time’.  I have wasted more camps than I can count... as using  inconsistent gear makes it tough to concentrate on the technical aspects of skiing.  I have to say, things could NOT have gone better!  I mean it, I don’t think it would even be possible.  I am half way through the camp, and I am already skiing better than I have in years.  My new equipment has been coming along at lightening speed.  We are spending a few hours a day tweaking this and that, but I am so close to having it dialed to perfection, that I can taste it.  I might actually get to stop fidgeting (permanently) within half of the first camp, let alone half way through the season... it’s blowing my mind!  With my gear being so balanced, my control and technique are improving steadily from run to run, and day to day.

I had some expectation that my hard work and increased focus would make a difference over the course of the season... but I never anticipated the speed at which it would reward me.  Now it’s time to carry the good attitude and hard work throughout the pre-season to make the most of every camp.  I will be logging hours on snow, building muscle memory, and pushing my line and technique.  Rather than get complacent with this early success, I will use it to propel my racing to new heights.  I had a feeling that this year was going to be something special... and after a beginning like this, I am pretty sure I was right.  

I am once again backed by my two amazingly supportive personal sponsors, who’s logos I am proud to display for the 2013/2014 season:

Salient Maritime:


DEL Metals:

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Much thanks to both Salient Maritime and DEL Metals for their continued support.  I hope to make both of them proud as I give everything I have on my journey towards Sochi 2014!!  In addition, I want to thank Danny Moe, at Northern Alberta Prosthetic and Orthotic services for the awesome new seat, and for putting up with me and my endless equipment requests year after year!


**I have recently ‘gotten with the times’, and joined the ‘twitter’spere... so please follow my ski season, career and #RoadToSochi on my twitter account:**

Stayed tuned, the adventure is only beginning...

Don’t Call it a Come Back!

Time is flying and I am making good use of it!  Following the spring’s crashes, it has been a slow road to returning to full strength, but still much faster than initially expected.  I am forgoing the summer ski training in order to stay in the gym and develop my strength... but I am already getting a little agitated and excited and dreaming of snow.  My training is going very well, as is my summer.  I am making good use of my home time, and am able to take all of my training with me when I hit the road in my trailer.  My therabands are covering a lot of ground and are constantly being attached to new trees and picnic tables all over bc... the variety of workout locations has been a real treat.  It is amazing what a bit of a set back can do to renew your focus and drive.  I am working harder than I have in a while and am getting super pumped for what the upcoming season will bring.  

I will hit the snow in September, a week before the rest of the team’s first fall camp.  I am hoping to make up a bit of lost time before they arrive.  I am busily organizing skis, seating, and sponsors between now and then... but mostly training, training, training!  To quote some LL Cool J, “Don’t call it a comeback, I been here for years!”  It seems to me that I would have had to go somewhere in order to be making a comeback... around here, this is just business as usual.  Looking forward to putting all this hard work to good use!

Ups and Downs

I ended my 2013 ski season in classic Kimberly form... with a whopper of an injury!  Our team was in Russia for the 2014 Paralympic test event; I took the honor of testing the hospital system, which was an adventure to put it midly.  A first for me, I managed to injury both my right and left arms in a multiple cartwheel, downhill  crash.  I knew immediately that I had done a number on myself, and started to grasp the concept that this would probably the ‘final crash’... the only thought in my head was retirement.  I spent five days in the Russian hospital before being med-evacuated to Vancouver for surgery on my collar bone.  I also sustained a third degree separation of my opposite shoulder, a fair amount of soft tissue damage to both, and some peripheral nerve damage.  During my hospital stay, I had some time to re-calculate and re-evaluate my options... and some things quickly became clear to me.  Firstly, I really have no desire to end my career on this kind of note, despite many  suggestions that I ‘can’t handle many more of these injuries’.  Second, I am just not ready to get a real job and give up the many advantages that a life of an athlete does provide... freedom and the opportunity to follow my passion, while traveling the world is a terribly strong draw.  Third, that perhaps there was a way to balance my safety, with my desire to continue my lifestyle and chase my goals.  Roughly 12 hours after contacting my family to let them know (before facebook did) that I was once again chillin’ in a hospital following a spectacular crash, but also that they can stop worrying about me because retirement was most likely in the cards, I figured out the alternative.  With the support of my team, I will become a tech specialist.  It’s difficult for me to pull out of the 3 events that I have had the most success in consistently throughout my career, and difficult to remove 3 of my 5 opportunities to bring home some hardware from major competitions.  BUT I have never broken a bone in a technical event... not one.  It is also a great opportunity to pour all of my efforts and focus into slalom and gs.  It should give me the opportunity to excel in those events and make bigger gains in my technique than ever before.  Although it seems foreign to remove the ‘fear of injury’ from my mental training program, it will allow me to race with a freedom that I have not felt in years.  I truly feel that a weight has been removed from my shoulders, despite metal being added.  

As for recovery, my gains have been massive and my focus on point.  I elected not to do surgery on the separated shoulder, which has been my saving grace for sure; had I done surgery my arm would still be in a sling.  For the first week of my hospital stint i was fairly useless... which was unfortunate given my inability to communicate ANY of my needs to my Russian caretakers.  It took five days to even be able to feed myself... and ten days before I could manage any sort of transfer.  It was repeatedly suggested by medical and other team staff that, ‘it could be worse’.  Sure, it always can be, but as a wheelchair user, there are not many injuries worse than one that affects the use of both of my arms.  Thankfully the separated shoulder become more useful in a short amount of time.  I am now 9 weeks post injury and back to exercising on a daily basis.  My bones are healed up, so I am allowed to push it, and advance my rehab as pain allows.  

I am stoked to still have goals to work towards, and will attack my rehab and dryland over the next few months with renewed passion.  The timing of this injury is actually pretty good.  It is going to be a slow road... but for the most part I am going to miss very little on hill training.  Sorry friends and family, you will have to deal with this reality for a little while longer, but I am confident that my choice to drop speed will keep me safe and keep us all happy!  I plan to return to Sochi.  I plan to give everything I have into making a major mark and improvement in my technical skiing.  Change is good.  It is about time that I’ve made a move to change the way I do things.  I had a chance to shake off my speed demons the month preceding this crash.  I managed to have some speed success at the World Champs in Spain, and hang up my ‘speed skis’ in a respectable way.  I don’t feel obligated to chase that goal anymore.  I am free... and Sochi... I am coming! 

A Change of Pace

CPAST just wrapped up an intense 10 days of racing, in the 2013 IPC World Championships in La Molina, Spain.  The team more than exceeded expectation pulling in a higher total medal count that any other nation, with 14 medals.  I am proud to say that I was a solid contributor to that tally,  taking home 4 medals in 5 races... 2 silver, in the downhill and super combined, and 2 bronze, in the gs and slalom.  After a rocky start to the competitive (World Cup) season, it was a relief to have pulled it all together for the big event and perform at a high level.  The snow was challenging to say the least, and not a condition that I spend much time training... I surprised myself in my ability to adapt and push through each race.  The female sitting category is getting more competitive all of the time, so I really need to push myself to reach the podium; it makes more some exciting races.  The CPAST rookies turned some heads and made the podium this week as well, which makes for a really fun and energizing team environment and helps to build the stoke!  Congratulations to all of my teammates, especially those who joined me on the podium this week, your hard work really paid off.  It was also nice to see that we became more and more successful as the week progressed, despite the building fatigue.  Thanks to all of the staff that got us to that place, there are lots of people behind the scenes that contribute directly to our success.  

Here are three articles from the Alpine Canada Alpin news feed, in case you missed the play by play:

Thank you to all of my sponsors for sticking with me through thick and thin... it’s nice to share in these moments of accomplishment with you.  In particular thanks to Salient Maritime, DEL Metals, CanFund and NAPO!

From here we will be heading to Sochi, Russia for World Cup finals and our first look at the track we will race next year in the Paralympic games.  We are very excited to see what sort of adventures this trip might bring!

My Poor Neglected Blog...

Alright blog readers, let me first apologize for the pathetic attention I have given to my blog and updates this season.  Sometimes it is hard to materialize the trials and tribulations of my training and racing, in particular when things are pretty rough.  This season has been full of highs and lows for me, and my level of frustration swings wildly from day to day.  I have found that as things become difficult I have a tendency to withdraw contact... not only from blogging and facebook, but also in my personal communications to friends, family, and sponsors.  In hindsight, it seems perhaps that this should be reversed, to allow for renewed energy and strength to be pulled from my supporters and loved ones.  Fortune did bring me a few killer days of pow over the Christmas break at home in Rossland... with a jam packed schedule, these days will be few, and I needed it for the sake of my sanity.

I will not bore you with the details of the opening World Cup series that took place in Europe this January.  I will say that, results wise, it was the toughest World Cup series that I have skied it to date in my career.  It was tremendously difficult to stay positive as I battled from one race to the next.  I was battling my gear, my tactics, and my head.  Each day I walked away feeling as though I had made some progress in one way or another, but the results just didn’t come.  I am not sure if I will have worked out enough of the kinks by the next series to pull a 180... but I do know that I am really ahead of the game in my further goal of Sochi 2014.  If I can keep my head up, and keep battling, I know it will pay off in the long run.

Our team is on the verge of this season’s biggest trip.  We head to Andorra, Spain, and Russia for a massive 4.5 week stint of training and racing.  We will compete in the World Championships in Spain, and from there to the World Cup finals, and the Sochi 2014 test event, in Russia.  Both of these stops are of critical importance.

Here is the good news.  I spent all last week at a World Championship prep camp in Panorama with the usual suspects.  I skied really, really well; and capped the week off with a decent result on a challenging Kimberley, BC. Noram super G track.  Our conditions in Panorama were perfect (hero), sure... but I skied with an aggression, control, confidence, and attack in speed that I haven’t felt in over 5 years.  It was amazingly reassuring to know that I still had it in me.  At least for that moment I had NO hinderances to my performance.  Every element of my gear was dialed, and I could just ski.  I felt like a driver again!  It has been a bumpy road over the past many years, to get to one of these moments... I was starting to doubt my own abilities (all the while convincing myself that they were still there, waiting to break free).  Doubt no more.  It was a beautiful thing to know that when the smoke clears, and we finally nail every aspect of this crazy machine (in every snow, location, and condition), I will be ready to let loose the ski racer waiting in the wings.  I am still here...

***As a bonus, and a reminder of their belief in me... I recently received some funding from the CANADIAN ATHLETES NOW FUND, which is a non profit organization that raises direct financial support for athletes across Canada.  It is ran by retired athletes, for the athletes, and all corporate/personal sponsorship goes directly to the athletes.  They take donations all year long and disperse it as funds come in.  Please check out for more information or to donate.  There is also an Alpine specific page that you can donate to... more info on this to follow in future blogs.  Thanks CanFund for your support!***

Getting $#it Done!

 Canadian Para-Alpine sit skiers are getting dialed in a big way this week at Nakiska Mountain Village!  I have been loving the sit ski specific, camp before the camp, along with Caleb, Josh, and some awesome staff members.  As the first block of training wrapped up, I dare to say we have all made some major gains.  It was a perfect opportunity for me to make up some lost ground, after being forced to miss the October training camp due to health issues.  I was going a little stir crazy at home, and spent A TON of hours watching video footage, and sitting in my sit ski in the living room “mock-skiing” in order to work on my seating.  It turns out the hard work and time spent were worthwhile, because I showed up more prepared than I think I have ever been for a camp.  And because of my groundwork, the first few days on snow have been good for confidence building and contained very few frustrating moments in the tech room... a rare treat!

The rest of the team will join us for the remainder camp in a day or two.  With a bunch of testing, trial and error out of the way, we can get down to the business of skiing fast.  This blog is going to be short and sweet; not much to say except that I am back at it, skiing hard and lovin’ it!  More to come in the days to follow...

Where Does the Time Go?

Amazing... I am already into my final block of dry land training before we hit the snow again.  I can’t help but be shocked at how fast life is moving!  We spent the past week working hard as a team and individuals in Canada’s beautiful outdoor playground, Whistler, BC.  We did everything from biking, to kayak polo, and lots of workouts in between.  I am fitter than I have been in quite some time, and really looking forward to the impact that is going to have on my skiing for the upcoming season.  

We had the chance to ski in Mt. Hood, Oregon during June, which was a great first experience for me.  Our condo was located on a beautiful golf course in the valley, with warm low lying mountains which reminded me of home.  The ski hill is located one of a couple of volcanoes in the area that tower over all else around.  Although there was a bit of cancelled training due to weather, and a couple of trying days  getting hit hard with wind and rain, the time we spend on snow was productive.  The camp was very successful for me, including the maiden voyage of some new leg covers thanks to NAPO, Metal Twisters and Danny Moe!  Can’t wait to show it off some more in the upcoming season! 

July and August training days have been full of biking and gym workouts.  I have been more motivated than ever lately, eating incredibly well,  and feel that I am on the verge of some major breakthroughs in a number of areas of my life and training... exciting times!  I am already counting the days until our next departure, as we will be heading down south to train in Chile in less than a month.  Where does the time go?

Wishing all of my summer sport friends the best of luck in the upcoming London 2012 Paralympics, as well as all of the other Canadian athletes doing us proud right now!

End of a Great Season

I have a few more powder days left at Red Mountain, and a bit of ski testing to do... but the World Cup and race season has come to an end.  It’s been a great year... with podiums, successful equipment improvements, and a whole lot of learning.  I am still (always knocking on wood) injury free, and gaining more confidence by the day.  For the first time since 2000, when I was still a snowboarder, I will break 100 ski days for the season.  If I had to guess, I will be about 110 when it is all said and done.  

We raced the final 2 World Cup series’ in Winterpark, CO. and Panorama, BC.  I had some brilliant moments, and a few frustrating “learning” moments.  I took gold medals in the slalom at Winterpark, and the Super Combined in Pano, and a silver in one of the Super G’s in Winterpark.  I finished the season with qualifying points in all of the events that I race.  Going into this season my race points were held because of last season’s injury status, they were expiring mid way through the season, so this was the most important goal to reach... mission accomplished.  I made huge gains in my slalom skiing this year, and look forward to having my chance to shine in this event over the coming seasons.  I reinforced this fact when during the Super Combined race in Pano I finished the super G portion of the race 5 seconds behind the leader and in 3rd place.  I charged harder in the slalom than ever and won that portion of the race by 7 seconds to take gold in the event.  Being that the course was only around 50 seconds long, this was a not a small feat.  I “did not finish” in a few more runs than I would have liked to over the course of the season, though it gives me something to strive towards (increasing consistency) next year.  With some of the changes I made mid-season, it was par for the course.  At least I proved that I can indeed crash WITHOUT INJURING MYSELF!!

I look forward to getting back on my bike for the summer dry-land routine, and getting some much needed sunshine and relaxation... just not until there are no longer powder days to be had!

I want to thank all of my sponsors for sticking with me through the “rougher times of seasons passed” and hope that they found this season as rewarding as I did.  Specifically Salient Maritime, DEL Metals, and the Kalawsky Auto Group... thank you very much for the ongoing support!

The Halfway Point

This season has been a whirlwind so far... I have gotten a little behind in my blogging (sorry).  Things have been going incredibly well; much better than I could have expected.  I am really starting to connect with my equipment, and am finally in a place where I can focus mostly on skiing and technique.   I have barely had more than 5 days at home in the past two months, our team  schedule has been intense.  I spent a month in Europe on the world cup tour, and training.  We visited Germany, Austria, Italy and Spain.  I had the neat experience of training in Gotschen, Germany under stadium lighting at 6am.  It was pitch black out, and we had to wake up at around 4:30am to pull it off... but since we had jet-lag, it actually felt kind of natural.  I have trained slalom under lights before, at local Edmonton hills, but never has a hill been so illuminated to allow us to train speed.  We also got one 6am powder day in the dark, which was also a cool experience.  We moved onto Abtenau, Austria where I proceeded to concuss myself in the first race.  Luckily (for me) a storm moved in and caused a few days of cancelled races so I didn’t miss much.  My head was ready to return to snow when we reached Arte Terme, Italy the following week.  I had a small, but strong field to compete against, and managed to bring home 2 gold medals (and a couple of DNF’s to keep things interesting).  We then had a night to unwind in Barcelona before the final races in La Molina, Spain.  La Molina was supposed to host speed events, but due to a lack of snow we competed in only tech.  We were skiing on a man made track of snow in the middle of the run, with grass on either side.  Both Italy and Spain were sunny and warm with perfect racing snow conditions.  The man made snow in La Molina was very similar to the type of early season training that we get in Canada in the fall, so it felt very familiar.  I again had some real success, with a 1st, 2nd, and a DNF.  Although the DNF’s confirm that I have some work to do in regards to consistency, I am reassumed in the fact that I am really going for it, and skied VERY well during those runs.  I have always preferred this approach to finishing the run with safe, conservative skiing.  

I enjoyed a wonderful, jet-lag filled 5 days at home before taking off again to some Noram races and training driving distance from my home.  In Kimberley, BC we raced the first downhill I’ve participated in since 2009.  Although I’ve had some trying experiences in Kimberley over the years, this race went off without a hitch.  I completed 5  out of 6 runs on the downhill track, and decreased my time on each run.  I was starting to feel my downhill mojo again.  I won gold on race day and was on top of not only the sit ski category, but the entire women’s field.  I also won both of the super G races the next day.  From Kimberley we headed up the road to Panorama for a final training camp, to prepare for the World Cup Finals event that will occur there in March of this year.  We got a chance to free ride on the upper part of the speed track, which we generally never train.  We are all very stoked to bring the World Cup home to Panorama... we have training camps there every year, and more so than anywhere else, it gives us an “at home advantage”!  

I will have a few more days of powder skiing at home in Rossland before the road will be calling once again... the last stretch of the World Cup Season.

Successful Return to Racing

I am currently down in Colorado enjoying the first race series of the 20011/2012 season.  We just wrapped up a Noram in Copper Mountain, which hosted 2 GS and 2 slalom starts.  I managed to win three gold medals and one bronze in these four races; a fantastic result considering this was my first official race since returning from injury.  Two of my toughest competitors were also racing, so I was excited to be posting very competitive times with them in the GS events.  I thought I might still be a step behind, with my confidence building, but it seems that all of my pre-season training had prepared me well.  It was very rewarding to see my efforts pay off.  I absolutely crushed my competitors in both of my slalom events, winning by tens of seconds.  I have made huge gains in my slalom skiing over the past few months, and I knew that I would be very strong.  I am sure that I shocked a few of my competitors, as I have really stepped up my game in this event.  Traditionally the best slalom skiers on the circuit are from Europe, so I look forward to the first Europa Cup series in January to see how I stack up against them.  

In addition to these successes, I am also proud to re-display a familiar sponsor logo on my headgear this season.  I am once again teaming up with Salient Maritime to share in my pursuit of victory in the forthcoming months.  I look forward to making them proud!

The CPAST team will train in Winterpark, Colorado for a few more days before heading home for Christmas.  Feel free to keep an eye out for results in the new year on the Alpine Canada Alpin Website, or add their facebook page, which posts results daily during race series’.

Happy Holidays!!

Glaciers, Sheep, and Fondue

Another camp down and 10 more days of skiing under our belts.  It appears that this season too, is going to whiz by.  Switzerland always shows us a good time!  This year, the weather could not have cooperated more.  The winds were comfortably low, the snow was perfect, and the sun was shining.  I made some dramatic gains in my approach to slalom skiing, and although I came home with a couple of broken skis, I also came home with a confidence for hitting gates  like never before.  The trip up to the glacier is lengthy, riding two gondola’s and then a train (funicular) to get to the snow.  It is saddening to see how far the glacier has receded over time, as the old lines are visible on the lower mountains.  It will likely be in my lifetime that summer and fall training on the glaciers are no longer a possibility.  I feel blessed to have the opportunity to ski on them while we still can.  Some of the crevasses are substantial, so it is certainly a place you do not want to stray too far off piste.  Even just to the side of some of our courses (like where the timing was placed), or in the middle of the t-bar track, gaping holes would appear and then disappear from day today... somewhat daunting to know how many of those crevasses are hiding just below the surface.  Certainly it gives you a humbling respect for the fierceness and dominance of nature, snow and mountains. 

Off the snow the team found of number of enjoyable activities to pass the time.  As always, much of our dryland time was spent spinning, and working on core and shoulder exercises... but we also took a couple of opportunities to play ult imate frisby, and badminton.  Our competitive sides got a chance to shine during a team ping pong tournament (complete with costumes), bowling, darts, more ping pong, and even racing the feeblitz tobaggan run (a self controlled rollarcoaster: - this is not us screaming, but gives you a good idea) for fastest clocked speed.  The girls (Vanessa and I) held the fastest speed for a bit... the guys rode 3 times time last day in order to regain their status, beating us by 2 tenths or so.  

A trip to Saas-Fee wouldn’t be complete without a little bit of fondue, which the hotel kindly served to us on one of the last nights of our stay.  We also made sure to find a good rosti and some schnitzel for lunch on our days off.

We get to enjoy a quick two weeks at home before hitting it hard at fitness testing, and the first “at home” camp of the year.  We will have our annual Nakiska/Panorama training in the (always in November) bitter cold of the Canadian Rockies.  It is usually a blast of cold that is unparalleled to the temperatures we experience for the rest of the season.  I guess it’s winter’s way of welcoming us back to Canada!

Bring on Winter!

September has been an exciting month.  We have been training in Valle Nevado, Chile for the past few weeks.  It’s been a great way to ease into winter... as although it is sometimes chilly in the morning, most days have been blue skies and sunny.  The snow starts to melt and turn to spring slush by lunch, but then freezes over night creating a rock hard surface for us to train on in the morning.  We have the hill to ourselves, as most vacationers don’t hit the slopes until the late  morning, just as we are finishing training.  It has been a very early schedule.... which means climbing into the sit skis in the pitch black.  we are loading the first lift by roughly 7:30 am each day.  This means that for the first run, we ski down in the dark (well half dark anyway).  It’s that moment that I regret forgetting my contact lenses at home.  However, with the beautiful sunrises, and a full moon still in the sky... it is an honor to have the chance to start each day in this setting.  

The sunsets and sunrises at Valle Nevado are probably better than anywhere else in the world, with rainbows of color on almost a daily basis.  It is sad that this is caused by the pollution that hangs over Santiago.  On a clear day, you can see the city from the top of the mountain.  The Andes are basically straight uphill from Santiago.  The road up has something like 72 switchbacks; a crazy drive!  We managed to make it safely, though one of our luggage trailers flipped over, and then later fell right off.  It gets even more exciting on the way down!

Training is going really well so far.  I am making some major gains in my skiing technique, and have worked 99% of the bugs out of my gear.  I am looking forward to building my skills further over the coming months.  Finally I feel like there is  an eternity of training before the race season kicks off.  I have felt so scrambled in the past couple of seasons, that I did not get time to breathe. I am feeling like myself again, gaining confidence every day, and almost always providing myself with breathing room.  

Stoked on cortado... and raring to go.  ciao!

Last Dryland Camp of 2011

I have recently returned home from the final fitness camp and fitness testing of the summer season... which means there are only a few short weeks left until we hit the snow.  A summer of hard work has clearly paid off as individually and as a team we crushed our spring testing results.  

Our accomplishments were rewarded with a fun team bonding activity, whitewater rafting on the Green river in Whistler.  Although it was challenging (as a Para) to maintain balance on the edge of the raft while paddling... none of us hit the water.  I am sure we were each hoping the others would get bucked off, because it would be worth a good laugh, but a couple of close calls will just have to do.

I think everyone is stoked to get back on snow, and in two weeks time we will be jetting setting off to South America to do just that.  Two weeks to round up all of the gear we need and organize our lives at home; where did the summer go?!  I will be sure to continue enjoying my time at home, camping, cottaging, and waterskiing while the sun continues to shine this August.  My workout program, weights, medicine balls, tubing, and hand cycles go with me everywhere I go.

Next update will tell stories of snow... 

Sunshine and Body-building

The summer is flying by.  I am currently with the team in Whistler for the 2nd of 3 dryland training camps.  I’ve been spending a ton of time on the bike and doing circuits at my home gym (AKA the back porch).   It’s been a couple of seasons since my broken body has allowed me to follow a full summer gym regime, and it feels A-MA-ZING!!!  The first phase of training involved one agility drill which involves quick wheeling between some cones.  The only flat spot I have to do this is in my garage... as a dynamic warm up before each training session, I’ve been sweeping out my garage with a push broom.  So beyond feeling great, my garage has never been cleaner!

I plan to get a few more renovations done to my house this summer, get out camping a few times, and entertain a few visitors... but otherwise it’s training 6 days a week, and lots of biking in the sunshine!  I know that I will be fit and strong come Sept 1 when we hit the snow again, and I can’t wait.  Don’t get me wrong, I will enjoy every minute of summer while we have it.  Even when I am skiing in Sept, I know that the tail end of our Kootenay summer will be waiting for me when I get home.  Mostly, I am excited to know that both my mind and my body will be ready to hit the ground running when the ski season starts.  

It’s been nice getting together with the team a few times in the summer months.  We are able to encourage each other to push just a little bit harder with our dryland programs... and get stoked on doing bike rides together down in Pemberton or in Whistler on the Valley Trail.  We even had a chance to play in the new gymnastics training center at the legacy gym... tramps and foam pits made for some laughs.  It’s nice to play together on different types of gear, where the atmosphere is chill.

Loving summer, but looking forward to what follows it...

Back in Action!

The early part of 2011 has been full of good energy.  After a somewhat challenging attempt at returning to snow in November/December, I’ve modified my sit ski to accommodate for my recent injuries; in doing so, I have worked out a few equipment problems that have plagued me over the past couple of seasons.  I am training hard, and am finally starting to feel like my old self again!   I have attended 4 training camps in the past 2 months, and fore-ran the races at the Canadian Nationals last week.  Although as a fore-runner, I do not get an official time... between you and me, my non-official times would have had me on top of the podium at least once.  

With a slow start to the season, I had more time than usual to focus on other aspects of my skiing career... and work with my sponsors.  Funded by CAAWS (the Canadian Association for Advancement of Women and Sport and Physical Activity), I had the opportunity to speak to groups of students from 2 local secondary schools.  The project was aimed to motivate students to pursue activity and adventure in their lives, as an alternative to more destructive behaviors.  I was overwhelmed at the positive response to my talks and am stoked that I had a chance to reach hundreds of local teens.  My primary sponsor, “Dr. Vie Superfoods” got in on the action as well.  We came up with a contest offering students the chance to become Dr. Vie’s Jr. Ambassadors, with a video submission of them preparing a healthy snack, and explaining why it is indeed healthy.  You can watch the winning submission on you tube at the following link:   I rarely have time to participate in these types of projects throughout the winter season, and am fortunate to have been able to do so this year.

The team has one final training camp before the snow melts.  I am looking forward to banking a lot of miles, and breaking things down to basic skills over the summer.  Although my skiing is certainly miles ahead of where I was this past fall... I have less time on snow than many of my teammates, and have some catching up to do.  I expect that when racing kicks off next season, I will be at full strength and itching to shake up the World Cup circuit!

New Beginnings

As I watch the leaves fall off of the trees and the weather begins to chill... I can feel the excitement building in my little mountain town.  I have spent a lot of time healing my injuries, and easing my body back into dryland training over the past few months.  Things are finally swinging in the right direction, and I too can look forward to the first snowfall.

I am scheduled to attend camp with the team in Panorama this November.  I have not yet determined how limiting my residual hip pain will be... once I get strapped in and make a few turns I will have a much better idea.  Despite some pain my x-rays are looking great, and I have been cleared by the surgeon to push myself as hard as I like!  My shoulder rehab has gone extremely well... and with the help of yoga and some stabilizing exercises, it seems as good as new.

2011 will be a building year for me.  It will be a chance to break my skiing down to the basics, break bad habits, and get comfortable on the snow once again.  I will spend the early part of my season training, and participate in the second block of racing.  It will be nice to have a season with training as a focus in order to develop a proper platform to carry me forward in my racing career.

This year will also be a relationship building year.  I have acquired a new headgear sponsor in “Dr. Vie Superfoods”.  Dr Vie Superfoods is a raw vegan nutritional food company that creates tasty cocoa based sports  bars (among other treats), and holds a passion for promoting health and active living.  It is very rewarding to represent a company that shares many of the ideals that I do, and will provide me an opportunity to share my story and promote health, nutrition and active living to a variety of people.  I also have the privilege of benefitting from and enjoying the products as well!  Please check out the link to learn more as it is difficult to properly explain the many benefits of these products in just a few short sentences.

I’ll be in touch soon... with stories of snow!

A World of Recovery

It’s hard to write a season wrap up this year... because I didn’t have much “end of season” to write about!  I did manage to attend the second half of the Paralympics in  Whistler, and cheered many of my teammates on to victory.  I watched 3 events in some glorious sunshine with my boyfriend, family, friends and old teammates.  I stayed in the athletes village, socialized, and had about as good a time as I could (considering circumstance).  I walked with the Canadian Team in the closing ceremonies and had a great time watching the show.  It was certainly difficult to watch some of my favorite events take place from the sidelines, but I think for the most part I made the best of it, and left with some great memories.  

Now I am home, and on the mend.  In about three weeks, I am having my long overdue shoulder surgery.  2-3 months in a sling is going to be quite a test of patience I’m sure... but at least by then, I should be able to pivot over my hip.  And yes, for anyone who is counting, this will be the 3rd surgery in as many months!  I figure I might as well get it all over with in a short period of time, that way, I will have a ton of time to recover and get back to full strength before hitting the slopes again next season.  In the upcoming year, I have all the time in the world to recovery properly, and will make sure that I do so.... starting from square one with all of my shoulder stabilization and core training, and building from the ground up!

I will be resting for a while, but keep your eyes on my website and your ear to the ground... because I’m not done yet.  

Watch out Sochi 2014, Here I come!

Not according to Plan!

It is crazy; sometimes things just don’t work out according to plan.  Life has a way of guiding me in one direction or another, and it is often completely out of my control.  This last month has certainly been no exception.  

I returned home from Europe, in a post surgery recovery mode to a very warm and wonderful community gathering.  I insisted that I fly 5 days after surgery (against insurance company recommendation) in order to attend the “Rossland Olympic Challenge Benefit Party”.  This was a wrap up to the towns fundraising efforts for myself and George Grey over the past couple of months.  It was an amazing evening, which I wouldn’t have missed for anything.  There were a ton of people from town that I’ve never met before, friends, local bands, and community groups all gathered to show their support and enjoy a wonderful evening of music and entertainment.  Times like this make me feel as though Rossland is just one big family; I thank everyone who volunteered to help, bid on auction items, or showed up to express your support.

I had to take some time off to recover from the appendix surgery, but as my stomach healed, I slowly added some core exercises into the mix in order to prepare myself to my return to snow.  Within a week or two of my return to Canada, I was heavy into a three times a day core program and was feeling amazing.  The change in my training helped me to realize how stale my previous training had become... and that maybe this was the type of training I should have been doing all along.  It seemed that the appendix injury was perhaps the catalyst that I needed in order to progress my training to a new level... and I was stoked to think that if I kept this up for another month, I’d be in a far stronger position for the Paralympics than I was at the beginning of the world cup tour.

And then... the unthinkable...

Just as things were turning around, an accident...  a non skiing, very unexpected, horribly disheartening accident.  I fell down two measly little stairs, out of my chair, and broke my hip.  As I laid on the ground (in a LOT of pain), all that I could imagine was that this was it... my Paralympic dreams for this year were snuffed out... in a matter seconds.  All that time, and stress, and lead up; the training, the pressure, tickets, friends and family, hometown games... In a split second... with coffee spilt all over me, in puddle on the ground, and me in a heap, I watched it all just vanish.  Shock; complete shock.  How could this be the thing that ended it?  Two stairs.  Unbelievable.  I had surgery in Kelowna, and began the process of healing yet again.  Just another piece of art for my living room wall... another story.   Heartbreak.

I am especially heartbroken because I may not be able to represent Rossland and my sponsors, and the large community of supporters who have taken a personal interest in my journey, and would share a part of any medals that I brought home.  More than anything I wanted to make them proud.  I wanted to represent my country in the public light that a hometown games provides the opportunity for, and be a major contributor to the medal count (which the media and the masses find so important).

The Paralympics begins just a few days now.  I will be attending the second half of the games, and am hoping for a miracle.  I know that for the most part it will be unlikely that I will compete... but the back of my mind tells me that the slalom might not be out of reach.  Lower impact, lower speed, lower chance of injuring myself, and it’s on the final day of competition (allowing me maximum healing time).  With me, sometimes crazy things are possible.  I really want to kick that wand... and ski for all of the people who’s support inspires me.  My ability to compete will be assessed a day or two prior to competition.  It will weigh risk vs. reward, pain levels, xrays, and Doctors assessments; it will be a decision based on my best interest... for now, and my future.

Whether I have the opportunity to compete here in 2010, or accept defeat, you should know that I will be OK... another bump in the road, but not the end of the line.  Bring on SOCHI 2014... i’ll be ready!  

For now, just send me all of your healing vibes; I need all the help (and love) I can get!

Return from the circuit - one organ short!

The European world cup tour was a bit of a roller coaster for me.   The racing went OK.  With limited pre-season training, I was feeling a little bit “short on miles”.  I came home with 2 sliver place finishes and a few DNF’s.  Although somewhat disappointed with my results, I was mostly happy with my skiing.  I worked though a few more equipment glitches, and was making some really good turns.  The tour was meant to be “training” for me, as I am not yet fully into race mode.  With the prospect of one more solid training camp before the games, my progress was moving right on track (despite personal frustrations due to my love of winning!)

We started the racing in Patscher Kofel, near Innsbruck, Austria, where the 1964 and 1976 Olympics were held.  It was neat to race yet another Olympic track.  From there we moved on to Abtenau, Austria.  This is one of our usual locations which  we race at nearly every year.  This small town always puts on a really good show for us, and are super hosts.  Finally, the tour moved to Sestriere, Italy.  We spent 5 days racing in perfect speed skiing conditions on yet another Olympic track.  With zero cancellation days do to weather, the schedule proved very intense and tiring.  It was a lot of travel and a lot of starts in a very short period of time... but we made it through, and the team as a whole had some great success!

We had the opportunity to wind down before heading home, and went to Kitzbuhel to check out the men’s able bodied slalom race.  If you don’t already know, Kitzbuhel is like the super bowl of ski racing... so it was a really great time.  It is amazing to be watching a race in a crowd of 50000, and feeling the excitement of the sport.  It helped any of my disappointments of the previous 3 weeks just sort of melt away.  The Canadian fans (just our team really), got lots of TV coverage, as we went crazy any time a Canadian was on course.  We personally know many of our Canadian racers, I think they really appreciated the support... and we had 4 men in the top 15 (which I believe is a new record for the team).

We left Kitzbuhel to head back to Munich, Germany in order to fly home.  Wouldn’t you know that during the car trip I started experiencing a large amount of pain in my stomach.  After a short stop at the hotel I was taken to the hospital in order to have my appendix removed.  Sadly, this meant a few days in hospital, and a delay of coming home for 5 days (and my birthday spent in Germany).  The surgery went well; they were able to do a scope, so healing time should be less.  Me, and one of my coaches (a big thanks to Brianne), killed some time in Germany, watched a lot of TV, and finally made our way home on friday.  Of course the timing could have been better (with the games just around the corner), but it could have also been much worse.  My training between here and the games will have to be altered... but at least I will be ready to go, come March!  Mental training.... here I come!

Off to Europe... the World Cup circuit begins

I had a few days of fun in Rossland over the month of December, and got to enjoy Christmas at home with friends and family.  A bit of powder, a bit of training, and off I go again! 

2 days of travel, my standard route from Kelowna - Vancouver - Toronto - Frankfurt - Munich in the air followed by a bit of a drive to Austria... and here we are back in a smoke filled European hotel, and gearing up to get out and ski.  My travel went off MOSTLY without a hitch.  But the combo of a bit of a delay in Kelowna due to snow and lots of air travelers going home after Christmas left me without any luggage upon our arrival.  The team in total was missing 30 bags.  They are slowly trickling in, but as mine were held up early on in our route of connections I don’t expect to see them for another day or two.  The first race start in PatscherKoffel Austria is in 3 days... so my luggage, will be in a “race” against the clock itself.  Send me (and my luggage) good luck in a timely arrival, as without a sit ski I would have to miss the race.  I’m sure it will arrive just in the nick of time; but the sooner the better, as my travel clothes will be stale before long!

I will send more news soon!

Panorama - Back on snow!

Despite a shoulder injury in my first camp of the year, I am back on snow once again, YEAH!  The team wrapped up a pre-season training camp in Panorama this past week, and it went very well.  I mainly skied on my own program, as I was a little behind the rest when it comes to actual gate training.  I managed to work out a number of kinks in my equipment (as I had the opportunity to lap with one of our ski techs) that I have been stressing about lately... so I left the camp feeling much better than when I started.  Skiing didn’t hurt my shoulder at all; but I was concentrating pretty hard not to lean, or fall in a way that would strain it.  I should be able to charge a little harder for the next camp, and drop the tentative approach.  I will be returning back to Panorama for a camp in early December.  It will be a private camp, with just me, one teammate (also on the recovery program), and one coach.  It should be some really focussed attention on us and our training, and be a great opportunity to catch up on some missed time on snow.

Rossland continues to be super supportive to myself and George Grey on our mission to succeed this season.  The local Rossland ProHardware Store has used the front of their shop to display the “Rossland Olympic Store”, in which George and I have an opportunity to sell some gear from season’s passed.  The store is decked out with poster boards full of photos of George and myself, a bunch of signage made by local kids (and council members!), and 2 life sized dummies in the front window.  Thanks to John and Kate for giving up the space in the store, and to everyone who has contributed so far!  

In speaking of support, it seems an opportune moment to mention my two primary contributing sponsors this season, which will be displayed on my team clothing throughout the year.  I have acquired a new shoulder sponsor, D EL Metals.  Although DEL supported me last year, they did not have the outward display; it was nice to be able to offer it to them this time around.  My shoulder sponsor of the past three seasons stepped up their support this year, and have become my headgear sponsor.  It’s the most significant option I can offer a sponsor, and the top sponsorship from my perspective as well; I thank Salient Maritime for their years of support, and look forward to displaying their logo on the podium all year.

Community FUN!

It’s been a month of fun and community spirit.  As my journey toward 2010 continues I have been fortunate enough to meet some new people, and have the community support me in a new way.  A few city councillors have initiated a fundraising program to support myself and George Grey, Canadian National Team cross county skier, on our path to 2010.  There are donation  jars in many local businesses, a “Rossland Olympic Store” at the local ProHardware, and a Concert Benefit planned for the new year.  The online Rossland Telegraph has a paypal donation option for additional convenience, and is covering our seasons as they unfold.  The fundraising initiative is being dubbed the “Rossland Olympic Challenge”, there will be a thermometer tracking the amount raised displayed on the telegraph and in town.  The idea is to give the citizens of Rossland the chance to choose to support George and Myself in our big year.  It’s a program that will prove that a little city can make a big difference, and help everyone to feel personally involved in our journey.

As a kick off to this event my flashy truck (complete with a flashy driver!), sponsored by Kalawsky GM, was featured as a float in the Rossland Golden City Days parade.  The float was capped off by signage advertising the campaign, and a bunch of local downhill and cross country ski racers in the back and marching or rolling along side me.

I also had the opportunity to speak to a local Cub Scouts troop in the community this week.  It was nice to spread some information about disabilitawareness, while at the same time securing some more supporters to follow my progress and cheer for me at the big event.

Snowing in summer, welcome to Chile

It has been quite a shock to come to Chile and jump into the heart of winter.  Apparently there wasn’t much snow here until about 3 days before we arrived, and they were just waiting for the storm.  I guess we brought it!  It has been snowing off and on since our arrival, complete with a major storm that had the road to Santiago closed for 2 days.  We got a powder day in, and have attempted to train a bit through the “todos plano”, really flat light, and snowy conditions.  Today was the final day off before what will likely be a push of training through our last 8 days here.  The sun is supposed to come out and the snow subside for around 5 days or so.  

I managed to hurt myself early on in a little bit of a crash.  I’m working through it now though, and hope to be back at it by the time the conditions shape up!

The view from our home base here is incredible.  We are surrounded by nothing but snow fields and high gnarly mountains.  The hotel sits at 3000m and the top of the mountain reaches 3800m.  We are drinking lots of water and doing what we can to avoid some of the problems that high altitude can cause.  It’s all very beautiful when we can see where we are going!

Summer Training: Hitting the Pavement!

Summer is here, and dryland season is in full effect.  We met together as a team to work on our fitness programs and make the most of some beautiful sunshine in Whistler.  As you can see from the pictures above... our office is just as nice in the summertime!

Whether lifting in the gym,  working the rowing machine, or pounding the pavement out in Pemberton; we worked hard to make it a productive camp!  The Senior National Team for the upcoming season is comprised of an incredible core group of people.  Each athlete on the team is “in it to win it” so to speak.  With so many like minded and focussed individuals, the vibe when we train together is truly inspiring.  I think throughout the season this will feed and fuel our efforts and help us to grow as a unit, and individually.

I left the camp feeling pumped to jump into an intense 5 weeks of training before we have the opportunity to get on the snow again.  I feel like I am taking home a program that I can really push, and a renewed ambition to follow a super healthy nutrition regime!  Of course, I’m heading back to Rossland (which means I’ve got a FEW hills to deal with), so unfortunately I might have to spend a little more time on the rower, and less time outside on the bike.  BUT one day; maybe I’ll actually have enough money to buy a rower... that I can park outside on my deck!!!!  One can dream ;)

The countdown is on.  The team is pumped.  5 weeks ‘til snow.  Ready to go!

Home From Whistler… The Season’s end

World Cup FINALS was an amazing opportunity to run the Paralympic track a year before the big event.  The media was crawling all over the place, as a bit of a prelude into what we should expect come next season.  The racing was a little bit up and down for me... sadly a bit more down.  I enjoyed the downhill track, it’s fast and exciting, with a whole lotta terrain!  I got clocked on the course at 102 km/h, but some of the standing men were as quick as 130km/h.  I managed to have one stellar training run, which i won by a solid few seconds.   But, unfortunately I slid out during the race run... so I missed winning my crystal globe in the overalls by a mere 10 points.  I got the silver... but you know me; I was disappointed!  The super G event (my favorite) was a little bitter sweet.  I WON!!! Which means I won the crystal globe in that event... But I did it the hard way!  I caught some air just after the last gate, and lost my ski upon landing.  I slid and tumbled across the finish line, and managed to hold the winning time by 0.25 seconds!  Accordin g to the rule book, you can lose 1 piece of equipment and still finish... but only if you lose it after the final gate.  So I just squeaked it in!  I unfortunately broke 2 ribs during to crash, was taken off in a backboard and quickly on my way to hospital.  I am still in tons of pain (and likely will be for a couple of months), but it was an exciting moment to get out of xray and hear the news that I had still won!  I will load some video of the crash below, hopefully it plays without too much difficulty in loading.

My First World Championship Gold!

I’ve been in Korea for a week or so now, and the racing has been up and down.  I kicked off the first day of racing with a silver in the slalom event.  After having a weak first run, I laid down a smokin’ fast time in the second run (i won the run) and moved up 5 spots to land in the 2nd position.

The next 2 days of racing didn’t go exactly as planned.  I lost my ski in the GS; which made it really hard to finish!  And then in the Super Combined, it was mostly “just not my day”.  

Today though, things finally came together.  I raced with a major headache, but dropped the hammer and let it run.  The set was nice, the course was fast... and I crossed the finish line in first place by 0.3 seconds.  I have won some World Cup races, but this is my first World Championships win!  I am happy with the result and very much looking fwd to the downhill in the coming days (which my coach will be setting).

As for Korea, it’s been fun and crazy as usual.  This is the only place I ski where the lifties kind of seem like they could be cartoon characters... both the lifties and 60% of people on the slopes wear funny animal hats, and wave at you with both hands right beside their faces (I will try to take a picture and add it to this blog later), it’s hard to explain but really funny!  And, the green runs (as shown in the pic above) are LITTERED in people... and very few of them can ski further than 10 meters without falling.  The amount of person on person, and person on fence collisions is insane!

The hotel dinner buffet is getting a little old now, but its nice to have sushi available on a daily basis.  We took a trip into town (a very small town near the resort) on our last day off, and had some Korean BBQ.  It was a really neat experience, and something I have not done on my previous 2 trips to Korea.

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