Going for Gold 

The Whistler advantage

One week at home and then it’s back on the road again. Just enough time to do my laundry and call a few friends. I am back in Europe now, with five of my teammates, for some Europa Cup races. Our first stop was in Abetone, Italy, a small ski hill known for wet and rainy weather. As it was my first time to this ski area I had never experience the weather here, but when it came it came. Over the two days of racing we saw wind, thick fog, lovely wet rain and a snowstorm. Well, that sounds a bit like Whistler weather now doesn’t it!

At these giant slalom races I was looking to win. The competition was strong as most of the World Cup girls who did not qualify for the Olympics were looking for races. I came through with a fifth place finish in the first race and won the second race by a fair margin of time. I was really happy with both my races; it always feels good to beat the Europeans on their own turf.

The day of the second race, the weather was in full force. In the morning it was raining; then the rain turned to heavy snow and there was fog along the length of the whole course. But thankfully I grew up training on Whistler Mountain and was not thrown off by the weather one bit. I can remember days training on the Orange chair when I could barely see my hand in front of my face. On days like those, you learn how to feel the snow. So that morning when I was inspecting the course I knew that I could take advantage of the conditions. I had a mental edge on my competitors. When most of the girls were fighting the conditions and complaining about the weather I was focussing on how I could use the situation to my advantage.

Following the race we packed up and drove to Austria for two Europa Cup slalom races. But this wasn’t your ordinary drive; well perhaps in Whistler it can be considered an ordinary drive. On that afternoon it took us four hours to get out of the mountains as the roads were covered with snow and the temperature was sitting around zero. This is where my Whistler background came in handy once again. The athletes were driving one of the vans and I was able to take the wheel and felt totally comfortable with the conditions. The drive was just a little long.

Over the next few weeks my teammates and I will be competing in various FIS races around central Europe before heading home at the beginning of March. We will continue to try and beat the Europeans on their turf and represent Canada well. Don’t forget that when the Olympics are over the World Cup season will resume with men’s and women’s downhill races before they wrap things up at the World Cup finals. If you wake up in the morning and want to know what the results are, live updates on the World Cup action can be heard on TEAM 1040 Saturday mornings every two hours starting at 9:50 a.m.

Also, don’t forget to come watch the Canadian team in action at the Canadian Senior Championships from March 11 to 22 at Whistler. All the action will be on the Dave Murray runs.

Finally, I am excited about the upcoming World Junior Championships, being held in Italy from Feb 27 to March 3, because it reminds me of my years at the World Junior Championships and how important these races were to my career. We are sending a strong team again and I am especially interested as my brother Michael will be, hopefully, one of the top performers.

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