Saturday, January 30, 2010

Blow out!

We had one of those "You've got the life..." days. Rise at 6AM, at the hill by 6:45AM, wait for a weather decision until 9:30AM (cancelled downhills), coaches meeting to draw a new seed at 11 AM. At least Scott got to ski powder. So now we have two downhills scheduled for "moving day", which means hitting the road late for a 16 hour jaunt to Jackson, WY for the next race. Ouch!

Friday, January 29, 2010

More Speed

We're at Mammoth, CA for a week of speed. It was pretty discouraging watching the weather the week before we came -- Mammoth received ten feet of snow in eight days. After losing the first day to weather, things straightened out. The grooming and race staff were on the ball and we're now running on a pretty solid surface.

This isn't a big points opportunity for Scott, but he's here to support the Western Region and help with the penalty because his speed points are low. There'll be lots of times like this. He's skied really well all week and posted results of 4th and 5th in the two Super G's, slightly lowering his points profile. Today was the only downhill training run for the week (due to the lost day) and Scott was 1st by .82 seconds, so things are running well. Video revealed a couple of things he could tighten up for the two downhills this weekend.

This has been a great week overall. Not only is Mammoth one of our favorite mountains to cruise when not on the race course, but Scott's brother Jonathan flew out to join us. We've had a great time skiing together and visiting in the evenings.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Everything is training...

... and training is everything. An old Army slogan we used in the infantry. The most menial of duties has training value if done professionally, and in the end the lesson learned may save a life.

As we were circumventing Salt Lake City before sunrise enroute to a race, it occured to me that I was sure Scott had everything needed to perform his best. He was snoozing, but I felt no need to wake him and double check. Forgetting something can be disasterous, and those unfamiliar with ski racing don't understand all the various pieces of essential equipment: two sets of skis, the correct ski poles, boots and socks, spare poles, shin guards, the correct helmet, spare goggles and lenses, layers of clothes, arm guards, water, snacks., etc. That's alot of stuff to remember at 5AM.

When Scott was small (age 6) he started making his "ski man." He would take everything he was to wear in the morning, and array it on the floor beside his bed in the reverse order of dressing, Everything right down to underwear, and socks stuck out of the ski suit legs. It was a cute family joke. But looking back it was training. The "ski man" departed a few years ago, but now, when the little things can unravel an important day, Scott's personal equipment is one item we never have to worry about.

Everything is training -- Training is everything.

Sunday, January 10, 2010


In every way... I pulled Scott's stitches two days ago, and last night he fell while ice skating and ate his own knee. We didn't get more stitches -- I just steri-stripped him.

We wrapped up the first Western Region Elite FIS series of the season today. The first two days were Slalom at Snowbird. They'd pumped 80,000 gallons of water into the hill and it was slick. Assembled were the top FIS athletes from the West. plus six NCAA Division I teams -- about 130 athletes. The first day the surface took it's toll, knocking out 60% of the field, including Scott (He hiked back into the course each run). The second day Scott skied better and he was 2nd place J2 with a few glaring errors. The day ended on a good note as he felt he'd mastered the ice the second run. In this sport, one must seize the small victories, for if you don't celebrate them the sport will kill you.

The following two days were Giant Slalom at Park City. Scott had an erratic first run yesterday but did OK. He flew the second run, finishing 33rd overall and 1st for J2s. Today Scott was ready to rock. He hammered the first run, finishing 19th overall and postured for a huge scoring day. He skied the hardest part of the second run perfectly, then he "booted out" and skidded off course. After a long hike up the hill he reentered and finished a crowd pleasing 52d, 7th amongst J2's. Oh well...

I must say, today's second run blow out is the single most disappointing run in Scott's career. We both could taste a big result. This was the perfect time for a big result. He was skiing fast and loose. Then BOOM, it was over. It took us a couple of hours to get over it.

So tomorrow's another day. We head to Jackson, WY for two days of training, then up to Big Sky, MT to do battle with the NCAA guys again at the FISU races. Should be fun, especially since Joy and Bonnie will join us there.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Be careful...

Words I've never said to any of my ski racers. Words I've never said to Scott at any time in his life. Being careful isn't part of the formula for great racers. Great racers certainly get scared at times, but they convert that fear into sonething else -- intensity, anger, determination. They never compensate for fear and become cautious. In a game of hundredths (at this year's Birds of Prey downhill, the top three finishers were within .004 of a second) there's no room for caution or self doubt.

Earlier this week Scott and I went to Snow King, WY to tune-up four days before a big race series. The first day we were free skiing and Scott dropped down off a cat track, swooped back up, and did a 360 degree spin. Fine. On the next chair lift up he said, "I'm going to do a 720 next run." Now I've been around the block, watched some 720's and sort of understand the deal. This junp had an uphill landing and not enough speed. I've also learned that in life its the dumb stuff that gets ya. So I said, "Are you sure that's what you want to do just before a train-up. Scott's reply was, "Dad, if I can't do this, I might as well quit skiing. Skiing is about freedom." I immediately backed off, sorry that I almost said "Be careful."

Scott stuck a perfect 680 and came down hard. He shook himself up and had a stiff neck for several days, but never complained. Neither one of us never brought the subject up again. So that afternoon Scott wanted to test his new hockey stick, so I dropped him off at the Jackson Fairgrounds outdoor rink. Three hours later I got a call, "Dad, better come get me," He'd entered a pick-up hockey game and now needed seven stitches on his chin. Everything is good. He's proud of his scar, and he's not going to be any more careful in the future.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Deja vu all over again...

We relocated to Park City today after a morning of slalom training at Snow King, WY (and a broken ski). We swung by the Atomic warehouse on Ogden enroute and they hooked Scott up with a new set of slalom skis. They'll have to be worked up, so for this week he'll use them as trainers.

We checked into the Park City Resort, a slopeside condo belonging to our dear friends Bob and Sue Rieve. What a great place with room for 10 people, all of the ammenities, underground parking, swimming pool, gym, and slopeside access. We can actually see the GS finish line from the living room! The Rieves made this place available to our team many times in the past for NASTAR Nationals. In fact, a team photo still graces the bedside table.

So I got nostalgic... I think Scott did too. He started retelling storeies of his escapdes with his team mates, etc. We have so many great memories from when the kids were young and coaching consisted of keeping them warm and moving.

Tonight, after schoolwork and ski tuning, Scott went ice skating in the rink (unstaffed after 7PM) in the courtyord in front of the building. He skated until 10:30PM and is now headed to bed. He trains on the race venue at 9AM, so I better head that way too.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Ramping up

It was great to be home for the holidays. We had eight days in Sandpoint with no on-snow training. Scott free skied all week with his sister and their friends, ice skated a bunch, and generally relaxed. The only exception was daily strength training, plus three days of physical therapy with his trainer.
But vacation is over. Today we drove through a storm to Jackson, WY to begin preparation for another competition window. Scott has seven tech (Slalom and Giant Slalom) races in the next nineteen days. We're going to train here with the Jackson Hole Ski Team for three days, then relocate to Park City to train with their team on the race venue. The idea is to gradually get his timing sharp and readjust to the harder snow.
We've adjusted the schedule and eliminated several more races to increase the recovery and training windows throughout the season. He still has 50 starts, but the schedule flows better. The idea is to still be fresh and hungry by the end of the season.