This winter I’ll be heading to Europe to train with
the best ski mountaineering athletes in the world. This is a dream come true! Thanks
to sponsorships from La Sportiva and Gore Tex, I hope to represent the U.S. at
the Ski Mountaineering World Championship Febuary 9th – 15th.
|Near Ophir Pass, CO|
I grew up in Colorado with two
brothers to pave the way for adventure, and I’m a mountain girl through and
through. I love skiing, I love mountaineering, and I love going fast. Skimo
racing was “my sport” right from the start.
I started skiing at a very
young age but ended up on a telemark setup in college. When I traded those tele
skis for proper, lightweight touring skis, I couldn’t believe how fluidly and
efficiently I moved. I loved the soft sound of the skis gliding across the
fresh snow and the tranquil presence of the mountains and trees around me. I
could cover so much ground in a day of touring that it seemed like the perfect
way to explore the mountains. When I’m on my skis I feel like I found that thin
place here on earth, that place where you feel like the space between heaven
and earth is ever so fine and they blend into one.
I was hesitant to
take skimo racing too seriously because I didn’t want to loose the beauty I had
found in it. Still, I headed to Jackson, WY in 2011 to compete in the National Ski
Mountaineering Championships. The competitive side of my personality wanted to
see what I was capable of. I went out with passion and drive and to my great
surprise, I won the women’s gold. A month later I went on to race at the World
Championship in Italy. At Worlds, I finished top ten in three different races
with my highest placement being 7th place.
I was happy with my
performance, but most of all, it was a thrill to ski with the best skimo racers
in the world. Training in Europe this winter will give me a chance to continue
learning from the pros. I hope to get faster with transitions, downhills,
terrain changes, and I am sure I will learn more than I can imagine when it
comes to the French culture and language, mountain adventure, and driving
really small cars on very narrow roads (luckily, the French drive on the right
side of the road).
I’m also excited to be surrounded
by a culture built around ski touring. In the Alps it’s common to see whole
families touring the mountains on skis. I hope that by being part of a U.S.
team and training in Europe, I can help raise the sport’s profile back home—and
close the gap between U.S. and European athletes.
I would be thrilled to
place top five at the world championship and to podium would be a dream come
true. I’ve been training hard to have a shot at doing that, working with my
first coaches, from the Mountain Athlete Gym in Jackson, Wyoming.
They helped me design a training regimen to increase overall strength and
Keeping up with workouts has meant
getting creative, however! My husband and I spend the summer and fall seasons
climbing. We have a goal of becoming the first people as a married couple to
climb the 50 classic climbs of North America—we’re 40 routes in and counting.
The climbs themselves have been
great for increasing my comfort level on exposed terrain and tolerance for bad
weather. It’s harder to fret about a 4-hour rando race after experiencing 35-hour
pushes to get up (and back down) mountains. I’ve learned to focus my mental
game on the goal instead of fear, and to move at high speeds under all types of
conditions. Most importantly, of course, I learned that I like climbing snowy
mountains best if I also get to ski down them!
runs into the mix has meant working out under all conditions. I’ve been
training on sand, rocky hillsides, grassy slopes, in the middle of cactus
deserts, down long sections of remote pavement and, once in a while, a nice
dirt single track.
It’s also meant that
I’m not always on my A-game for climbing. One week, in Red Rock Canyon outside
of Las Vegas, I trained so intensely and ran so much that I could not even hold
onto the rock afterward. I took a nap while my husband and my brother climbed—who
would of thought you could run so much you couldn't hold onto something with
But I stick with it because I want
to pursue skimo racing with all I have this year. I want to push the limits of what
I think I’m capable of and try for a spot on the World Championship podium.
This is my chance to travel, to represent the U.S. abroad and leave it all on
the course. Who knows where it will take me? Through it all, my goal is to
embrace the whole experience. Hopefully one day, after all the races and after
my husband and I are done with our climbing project, it will lead into becoming
a coach myself. To introduce the young and old into the adventure of ski mountaineering
and all that it has to offer.
A Five Part Video Series presented by La Sportiva and GORE-TEX to follow.