After the carnival two weekends ago I received some terrible unexpected news that my Opa (my grandfather) died. It was incredibly hard to be away from my family during this time. It was also difficult because I haven't seen my Opa since July. I still cannot believe he is gone. The following Tuesday I left to compete in the NorAM series in Vail Colorado. We started out with GS. This is an event I feel I am always still having to readjust to. I ended up 11th and 10th. I had better luck in the slaloms. I ended up 3rd and then 2nd. I had an interesting experience as I really wanted to do well at these races in honour of my Opa. The first day when I finished the second run I had a serious moment of fighting back tears. Not because I was particularly unhappy with how I skied but I had wanted to win for my Opa and I felt I let him down. After a few minutes my more rational brain kicked in and I realized it was incredibly vain and selfish of me to think that way. My Opa would just be happy that I was doing something that I love. He taught me how to be an incredibly hard worker and to enjoy the small things in life. He taught me about caring and being gracious with others. These are traits I hope I never lose sight of. I will miss him incredibly but in myself and my family I know he will always be around in our actions.
After the NorAms I headed back to Burlington for a quick two days at school then this Wednesday I boarded a plane for Barcelona to compete in the World Cup slalom race in Soldeu-Grandvalira, Andorra. Yesterday the GS was cancelled due to high winds so they moved the slalom race up a day to give themselves a better chance of getting the GS off on Sunday. My bib today was 44. The hill was in great shape and the snow was grippy and hard. The terrain was flat and rolly onto the steepest/longest pitch I have skied this year. I knew that the pitch would give me trouble as I havent skied a pitch in a very long time and with the super grippy snow it is very easy to make a mistake....and starting 44 you cant make a mistake and come top 30....or not easily. Out of the gate I felt really good. I felt like I was letting my skis run and felt I was carrying speed despite the head wind. I made a big mistake coming onto the pitch which ended up costing my a second run! I came into a delay a little in the backseat and with the snow being super grippy it shot me out towards the outside gate....and I ended up crawling back into the course on the pitch. I then attacked the pitch as best I could but I am not good enough on pitches to make up for my mistake up top. My first two splits were good enough to be in the top 30...but I ended up 39th and .33 out from qualifying for second run. SO CLOSE AGAIN! I know I had a ripper up top and I know that I can make it so once again I am going to take the positives out of this race and wait impatiently for my next shot. I will be racing in Ofterschwang in Germany in the first week of March. Until then its back to school and the rest of the Carnival series.
THanks everyone for the support and I hope everyone is having a great February. I would ALSO like to put out a HUGE congratulations to fellow BC skier Ben Thompsen who came 2ND today in the World Cup Downhill in Sochi Russia. It is SO good to see someone do well who hasnt followed the traditional ski racing route!