These last few months have been such a wild and fast paced ride packed with travel, some training and of course great times. The month of April is somewhat a time 'off' for our team when we have the freedom to travel and do what we choose! I went on several super fun adventures from learning about Backcountry skiing safety here in UT to Jackson Hole, Montana, Washington DC, Boston and Steamboat, needless to say I was constantly moving but having a blast! Below are some pictures from all of my spring time activities in the last month, Enjoy!
As it usually goes during the season, it has been a whirlwind of travel and learning experiences these last few weeks. To start I traveled to Lahti, FIN where I was reminded what very cold, humid weather feels like (time to bundle up ha!). With some improvements in parts of my jumping I was able to put together a solid performance during the team sprint event (I was paired with Taylor!). The team sprint is a 1.5km loop and each athlete does five laps, tagging off to their teammate after each lap. It is a high paced race that goes by real fast, except this time when I would be looking forward to putting my puffy coat back on coming down the hill into the stadium as the wind and cold was cutting to the core. Regardless it was still a fun weekend at a venue I have spent very little time at being reminded what Winter is supposed to be like, below are some photos from Lahti!
After Lahti I traveled to Oslo, Norway which in my mind is the Nordic mecca of the world. I may be exaggerating but I have been told the amount of people that show up to the events at the legendary Holmenkollen venue are over 50,000 people. Most of those people show up days before the event, pitch their tents along the cross country loop for a weekend of camping, partying, and watching their favorite sports live. It is an awesome vibe and so fun to be around and experience, it truly reminds me why I love my sport when the people I am skiing by are just as excited about me skiing as I am. My performance in Oslo was not what I wanted which didn’t make me all to happy, but I was able to ski off some frustration and gain back my good mood rather quickly. After Olso we then traveled to Trondheim, NOR for the next set of competitions. I made steps in the right direction each day, however they were still nothing to write home about.
On the other hand Team Dad-Bryan Fletcher who had announced that Trondheim would be his last competitions before retirement went out with an incredible bang. It was so inspiring watching Bryan truly embrace his love for the sport and put together some of his best performances all year. Makes you think that when tapping into your love and enjoyment for something is when true potential is shown. Bryan has been the veteran (and Team Leader/Dad) on our team ever since I was named to the National Team. He has played a key role in my progression and for that I will be forever grateful, pumping him for stories and hearing his opinion on things was always a good time. More on the tremendous amount Bryan did for our team at a later date! Check out some photos below from our Norway tour.
After Norway I traveled back to Central Europe, Klingenthal, Germany to be specific. I had been here earlier this year (January) and it felt slightly odd to be coming back to the same place for another competition. We jumped right into the swing of things with minimal time to catch our breath before the competitions, fine by me. Klingenthal is known for how windy it can be and it lived up to that during our competitions. Nordic Combined is an outdoor sport so there is no complaining, only focusing on the things I can control. I continued on the right trend with my jumping and unfortunately my best jump wasn’t used for a race as it got to windy and the round was cancelled, however I was still happy with my jump. Germany is a powerhouse on the World Cup circuit these days so a home event filled the stands with tons of noise makers, cowbells and excited fans making for a fun but brutal race. After Klingenthal we packed up and headed to our final stop of the season here in Schonach, GER. It was another learning experience for me with trends in the right direction and as always lots to learn and motivation gained. I am now on my way back home for some rest, recovery and enjoying the spring time with family and friends! Below are a few more photos from the end of the season!
The Olympic Winter Games… what an experience! Man did it start off with a whirlwind of things to do right from the get go. As we first landed in Seoul it was the first that our whole Olympic Team had been assembled, exciting for sure! We spent the night at a hotel the USOC seemed to have taken over, that was where we went through processing. This was everything from getting all of our Olympic clothing and making sure it fit and we knew how to wear it. You might laugh (I know I did) but for the Opening and Closing Ceremony outfits there was a specific way to put everything on, down to how I was supposed to tie the bandana around my neck and where to tuck in the sweater. It was rather comical a few days later when our team was getting dressed trying to remember these instructions. We also went through what I would call a logistical briefing from security, from how to be the best Team USA ambassador to how your family can get tickets, lots to take in! The next day we went on a short jog to shake the travel out and then hopped on a bus for the ride up to the Olympic Village in PyeongChang! After we got settled in it seemed like we pretty much hit the ground running. We had lots of new parts to our day (for me at least) with things such as press conferences and extended travel due to much higher level of security than I am used to. After a few days I was able to get a hang of our scene and settle back into a normal routine with what felt like everything figured out! Below are some pictures of our first few days and the travel on the way there!
We had several days of training both on the jump hill and cross country trails before each competition which was great. It was also around then that it started sinking in that I was at the Olympic Winter Games (OWG). Two moments stick out to me the most. The first as you might guess was walking into Opening Ceremonies behind the US flag, man was that cool. Watching the ceremony unfold sitting next to some of my best friends and hundreds of other world class athletes it starts to sink in, then they light the torch and everyone starts yelling for it has officially begun. My second moment was on a training ski, sunny nice day with the team and as we round the corner in the stadium to head out on another lap I look up and can see the ski jumps looming over the complex with the rings conveniently in the foreground and then my teammates skiing in front of me with simple training bibs marked by big Olympic Rings. [One small info note: at the Olympics Nordic Combined has an individual 10km race off the Normal Hill (90m), an individual 10km off the Large Hill (125m) and a 4 man Team event off the Large Hill in which each athlete skis a 5km race.] Next thing I knew, the first competition on the Normal Hill had snuck up and it was time to compete, man was I pumped. Although I didn’t have my best personal performance in the competition I took away what I could, the biggest thing being the fact that I had just achieved a childhood dream of competing in the Olympics! Below are some photos from Opening Ceremonies and the first competition!
With a well-placed day off after the competition I was able to enjoy something I hardly get to do, watch other winter sports live! A few of us went to watch the US Women’s Hockey Team on their quest for Gold which was super fun! I also finally got to go to one of my favorite sports to watch while I am on the road in Europe, Biathlon!! I actually spent that evening with my parents and then went to that event with them, it was super fun as we ended up next to a comically loud group of Norwegian fans! It was amazing to spend some time with my parents and see some other events before diving back into it. Over the next little bit we got to jump the Large Hill in training and have more days on the cross country course, both of which were super fun! I really liked the course in PyeongChang as it was both challenging for my endurance and technical skills all at the same time. On the jump I was able to make some improvements during the training which makes for having more fun ski jumping! On the day of the Large Hill competition I actually had one of my best memories from the games, funny enough in the training round. I had a better jump and was stoked on having fun flying and as I came out of the outrun I looked over and saw my family and the rest of the USA cheering squad going wild, so awesome to see that many familiar faces cheering us on!! The competition itself was a bit better for me but still not a performance I would hang my hat on. Again I was able to take away so many things and experiences to learn from, which I now have up my sleeve when the games roll around in another four years. Below are some more pictures from time off and the second competition!
Overall the OWG were an amazing experience with such a killer crew. We stayed in the same condo as our Ski Jumping team, with whom we rarely get to spend much time. It was an absolute blast hanging with them, watching events after ours were over and exploring a very foreign country. Closing ceremonies was another incredible experience as well, I had not known that all of the countries walk together. It was so cool to walk into the stadium with other countries, new friends and my good friends all as one. One last walk wearing the stars and stripes in front of the world was such an honor. I will be able to take away so many things from my time in Korea and I am incredibly grateful for that.
I am now in Lahti, Finland to kick off the final month of World Cup competitions. It will be another action packed month and I am pumped for what’s to come, stay tuned!
January has blown by, although at times it felt like it was moving along at a snail’s pace. As you know this past month I was in the midst of my first Olympic Selection Period, let’s just say I wish I knew at the beginning what I know now. I have been on the World Cup circuit the past few weekends since my last update, learning a lot about myself. Since my last update I traveled and competed at several different World Cup venues. I had results at those that made me want to harness my inner Rod Kimble (from the movie Hot Rod) and go kick punch my anger away in the woods. I had somehow allowed myself to start to slip away from where I thrive, both technically and mentally. I have had to force myself to learn from these weeks and do everything in my power to take a step forward. Although it didn’t happen as quickly or when I wanted it to I have started back down the right path.
The Olympic Selection Period ended on the 22nd and I found myself in a bit of limbo for a few days waiting to hear the official nominations for the Olympic Team. As I am sure many of you know, the feeling of not knowing and not being able to do anything about something can easily mess with you. I was very fortunate to spend those few days in Seefeld, Austria which is one of the more incredible places that this sport has taken me. Seefeld had been hit by a massive snow storm right before we arrived, blanketing the town in an immense amount of snow, quickly reminding me of the beauty of winter. I was there with Ben (Berend) who has spent a bit more time in the area and took me on one of the more incredible distance skis I have been on in a while. Needless to say, we were able to find a distraction from all the extra noise that had been sneaking into our lives. When the news finally arrived and I was informed that I was officially going to the Olympics I was beyond stoked!! I had achieved my childhood dream and would be getting to represent my hometown and country competing in the Olympic Winter Games!! I was named to the team along with Bryan Fletcher, Taylor Fletcher, Ben Loomis, and Ben Berend, I could not be more stoked to have this opportunity with my best friends and teammates (photos below).
I am now at my home away from home in Planica, Slovenia for a Pre-Olympic camp which will included jumping on some of my favorite hills along with a weekend of competitions perfect for a tune-up before departure. I will then be departing for the Olympic Games in just over a week!! The best way to follow along with what I am up to is my Social Media outlets or homepage which updates with photos from those outlets, stay tuned!! Here are some photos from my travels below!
Since my last update I have competed in two different weekends of competition on different continents! The first was US Olympic Team Trials in Park City, UT. This event was a winner take all, meaning whoever won the event is guaranteed a spot on the 2018 Olympic Team. The remainder of the team will be named based off of International ranking lists on Jan 22. I did not have my best competition, however it was an incredible experience to have the opportunity to be competing for a spot on a US Olympic Team on home soil. An incredible amount of spectators came out to cheer my teammates and I on. Bryan Fletcher continued his upward trend of results and took the win meaning he is locked in for his second Olympic Games!! Below are some photos from the event!
After Olympic Trials it was quickly time to pack up my life as I would be flying to Europe in a little over 24hrs for the rest of the season (a 3 month trip). My first stop was Klingenthal, GER for a weekend of Continental Cup competitions. This is one of the biggest hills we get to compete on which makes for a fun jumping portion. We had three days of competition, the first day a 1 jump 5km, second day a 1 jump 10km, and the final day a 1 jump 10km. I had my best competition on day number 1, jumping to 16th place. Due to a cancelled World Cup in Estonia there were more competitors here than normal, 73 athletes in total. I was able to ski a smart race and move up to 14th place on day 1 for my best finish of the weekend. On day 2 I had a mental lapse resulting in a bad jump, setting me to far back to be in contention for the race. My coach and I decided to rest up for day 3 and sit out of the race, a hard pill to swallow but I knew it was the right thing to do. On the final day of competition the wind started to act up causing the jumping to be cancelled, meaning we would be racing of a Provisional Round of jumping that was held earlier in the week. I had jumped to 29th place in that so I would still be starting in an ok position for the race. I had a decent race, not my best of days but enough to hold my own and finish in 27th place. As I am learning more and more, with every competition weekend it is important to take away both the positives and negatives and learn how to improve upon them, this weekend was a great example of that. Below are some photos of the competition weekend, and results are here.
After the competition in Germany I traveled to Predazzo, Italy where Ben Loomis and I were joined by the Fletcher brothers. We are here for a weekend of World Cup competitions, two individual events and a team event! It will be an exciting weekend in a beautiful valley. If you want to check results or a time schedule click here, you will also be able to watch these events live on the NBC Olympic Channel website here. Stay tuned to my homepage or Social Media for more daily updates!