Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Early Season Skin

After getting home from a whirlwind tour of Boulder last weekend, it was up and at 'em early Monday morning with spin class at Westminster to sweat it out!

My fellow Skidmore Alpine Ski Team alum in Utah, Andrew called me 1/2 way through spin, "wanna ski this morning? Do you have touring gear?"
... and off we went, up Big Cottonwood Canyon to Brighton, who received a blanketing of almost 50 inches over the weekend.

Gorgeous day, great to get out there with friends and enjoy it!! Although, I got caught on a stump about 2 turns into the run that flung me down.. yikes! There's mountain sharks in the early season that come up and bite if you're not careful!

When I got home I found an extra special package containing those bad boys!! ^ My new Dalbello Sherpa 5/5's! They will be everything I need for standing on the side of race courses coaching my athletes, to high tailing it up pistes to complete my touring setup.

Such a great day and start to my winter in Utah, FINALLY!

Life's Choices

A bittersweet goodbye...

About 7 years ago, on a high school field trip to Gettysburg, a classmate of mine, who practiced Wiccan, gave me a tarot card reading. I shuffled the deck, chose my cards and she began the reading. She explained that the cards I’d chosen were telling her that I was going to have a big decision to make between two things later in life. She couldn’t tell what the choices would be, just that I was going to have to choose, and that it was big. I had hope that the reading would help me figure out my future, but felt frustrated with its vagueness. I thought it might have been a cop-out on my friend’s part, because we all are faced with choices all the time. How could this be the only thing the cards were saying?
Throughout my life I’ve remembered that reading, and whenever I had a big decision to make, I wondered if it was “the one.” Well I believe the big choice has finally come and it’s taken me all summer, perhaps even longer, to make it.
I’ve been coaching ski racing full time for about 3 years. Starting out in the east, I always knew I’d go west eventually. I finally made the move last season to Vail after spending the summer at Mt. Hood scouting for a job out west. It seemed like the dream job at the biggest ski club in the country with the best resources, best staff, best athletes, best everything. I was certainly daunted at first, not knowing where I would stand among all the bests, but eventually found my footing and excelled. 
One of our last races of the season was the Snowbird “Last Chance Races.” It was my first time skiing Snowbird and I was incredibly impressed with the terrain. I met some of the Snowbird staff through working the race and they told me they had a coaching job opening for next season. Initially I brushed it off, thinking, “yeah, that’s cool, but I’m definitely staying at Vail…”
The offer was again floated to me at our last races at Beaver Creek and again the next time I saw Snowbird staff at Mt. Bachelor for our June Camp. After Bachelor, I moved back up to Mt. Hood for my second season working the Reliable Racing Supply store in Government Camp.
Several factors influenced the change of heart I experienced this summer. Perhaps it was the constant influence of friends from Salt Lake City at Hood persuading me to come to Snowbird. Perhaps it was the abrupt staffing upheaval at Vail for next season. Perhaps it was my separation from Vail that allowed me to truly reflect on what I want. All I knew was that I did want to check out Snowbird and SLC, but something was still holding me back to Vail.
I initially felt I would stay at Vail, and then definitely thought I’d move to Snowbird, and back again. Constantly going back and forth in my mind from Snowbird to Vail was driving me crazy. The combination of cheaper housing, better terrain and a more laid back ski club environment at Snowbird that values fostering a love of skiing and lifelong skiers, not just trying to create carbon copy Lindsey Vonn’s, ultimately helped make my final decision. Through some serious introspection and a life coaching session or two from my Aunt I was able to make a final decision in which I felt 100% confident.
The biggest thing left for me to do was break it to my roommates at Vail and of course my boss, and then I’d be free. I envisioned the most positive outcome of the phone call I was about to have with my boss at Vail, then dialed the number.
Luckily the conversation went as smoothly as I'd hoped. The most difficult conversation I had to have was telling my roommates I wasn’t coming back. Although I slept on a bunk bed and shared a room last season, it was one of my best winters to date, all due to how awesome, fun and supportive my roommates were.
 Vail roomies
After getting passed those difficult conversations, it was time to start my new life and organize my future in Utah. Another fateful turn of events was in store for me there...
I was all set to move in with a friend I’d met at Hood right at the mouth of Little Cottonwood Canyon, only a few short miles from Snowbird. Yet I’d heard it might be more fun to live closer into the city where there are more young people and things going on. 
Then I got a phone call from Keely Kelleher, a friend I’d also met at Hood and all around awesome woman. She told me her roommate bailed on her and wanted me to take her place. Her apartment is located right in the heart of the 9th & 9th neighborhood and Sugarhouse, where a lot of students and young people live. I was nervous about having a longer commute to work and all the stories I’d heard about the canyon access road closures, but after working it out, I felt the benefits of living in the city, with a great roommate that I can learn a lot from, outweighed living closer with less going on up there. We’ll see how it goes this winter commuting back and forth about 35 minutes each way and perhaps I’ll be singing a different tune. As for now, I couldn’t be happier with the tough decisions I’ve made that have shaped my life into the skier I’ve always dreamt I’d become. 
Me & my SLC crew!