An Olympic season: Here we go… 

Training at Panorama

I am sitting at a hotel in Kananaskis after training in Nakiska. A new season is upon us, the snow is starting to fall, and we are getting hungry for racing.

Our training season is coming to an end, the intensity is rising and the need to win is taking control of our minds. So far the training has been absolutely excellent, we had great conditions everywhere we went and have skied lots and lots of gates.

We started the summer with many, many hours of training in the gym, so many you could have scrubbed our sweat off the gym floor!

Our first on-snow camp brought us to Switzerland. Then we had a camp in Chile, followed by a brief break at home in September for some more gym time, and then we were off again to Europe in preparation for the first giant slalom World Cup in Soelden, Austria. It was a busy, sweaty summer to say the least.

Oh, and of course amongst all of it I planned my wedding (with some help of course) and got married on June 11. Now all of that is behind me – I’ve worked hard all training season, and it’s time to look ahead to the race season, and of course it’s an Olympic season.

My goal this season is simple – to qualify for the Games. There are other goals along the way but that is the main one. I want to be there racing for my country and to be there as a real competitor, not just a participant. My brother Mike has already qualified, and I want to be there with him.

To qualify for our Olympic alpine team I need two top-12 finishes at the World Cup level in my events, giant slalom and slalom. Only four girls can qualify for any of the events, and the fact we have such a strong GS team should make it more exciting. I want to be one of the top four girls, so watch out!

I have been training at both Nakiska and Panorama since the beginning of the month and it has been amazing. The weather has been mild, which is very unusual – typically it’s minus-20 and we’re worried we could lose our toes.

The men’s team and women’s teams have been training at both resorts for all events. Both resorts have good snowmaking systems, and year after year they provide the best pre-season training for us. All the European teams come over and train with us, but here, on our turf we get first pick of the runs!

It’s also great for us because we get a chance to stay and train in our own country, something we don’t get too often. We can go to the movies, and in English. And we can do simple things like watch the new Desperate Housewives episode or the hockey game that night. Now we just need to get a World Cup technical event somewhere, and we could have even more time at home. Wouldn’t that be nice?

The next World Cup races are at Lake Louise. The men and women will be racing downhill and super-G over the next two weeks. From there, the racing moves to the U.S. and for the girls that means Aspen, Colorado; for the guys Beaver Creek.

Next week I will be at Winter Park, Colorado for some NorAm races in preparation for the races in Aspen and a lot of the World Cup girls will be there as well.

We have a long season ahead of us, and who knows what will become of it. We’re pretty confident on the Canadian Alpine Ski Team, and we’re coming into the season knowing that we are one of the strongest teams out there and nobody can stop us from standing on top of that podium.

I hope for a great snowy season in Whistler. Ski some powder for me while I run the gates on the race hills, and I’ll be back in the spring to ski whatever "pow, pow" is left.

Let’s get excited for this Olympic season because the next one that comes around will be right in our backyard! Here we go…

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