Lots of great things have happened in the last month, so many it seems hard to believe that it has only been a month. To start, near the end of our time in Europe we traveled to Ramsau, Austria one of the most picturesque and quaint Austrian towns we travel to. We were there for about a week, the beginning of which was focused on jumping. We trained on the K90 meter hill in Ramsau along with the K125 meter Large Hill in Bischofshofen, a 40min drive away. It was super fun and productive jump training, I was able to continue to make strides in my jumping. The second half of the week we journeyed up to the Dachstein Glacier to get some on snow cross country skiing. I hadn't been up to the glacier before this trip, it was very impressive, incredible skiing with stunning views. One of our afternoons off the whole team went down to Schladming for Go Cart racing. Originally it was going to be an afternoon of messing around but naturally we all got so competitive that it became a very heated competition with some aggressive crashes. It was a fun distraction and happy to say I was the Champion of the track (ha). Needless to say Austria treated the team well, great training and fun times, check out some photos below!
After our trip to Austria we returned to Planica where we had about a week before the final weekend of Summer Grand Prix Competitions along with out last weekend in Europe. As any competition goes there are always things that I look back on and want to change. During these last competitions both myself and my teammate Ben Berend had a race on day 1 that left us both satisfied and taking lots of positives away from. We started within a few seconds of each other and were able to pace the first laps very well. That was key as finishing lap 2 of 5 a large group of fast skiers caught us. In the past this is the kind of group that would blow right by us, not this time. We were able to ski with guys from this pack for the rest of the race, a big confidence boost knowing that it is possible to ski with these guys. It hit me as I was skiing behind Norweigan athlete Joergen Graabak (the reigning Olympic Champion) and was actually able to ski with him, that was a holy s*** moment. It is only one race and not his (Graabak's) best performance but for me the fact that I now know it is feasible for me to hang with these skiers for at least some of the race is a big mental boost. If you want to check out results from that weekend of competition follow these links: Day 1 / Day 2, photos below! Nathaniel Mah also put together a sweet video of myself from this weekend, watch that below as well.
After our final weekend in Planica we packed ourselves up and traveled to Lake Placid for US National Championships the following weekend. It was great to go back to Lake Placid as it had been quite a few years since our team had been there. It was a beautiful fall week with the turning of the trees living up to the weekends name of 'The Flaming Leaves.' We rolled right into the competition weekend with some very difficult (windy) conditions on the jump hill, making it important to stay mentally strong. I was able to do so on the day of Nationals jumping to 4th position to start the race. It was a hard course with grueling uphills and a fast paced technical downhill. I skied the beginning of the race with Ben Berend who started right behind me. Just before the halfway mark I decided to increase the pace and started trying to catch Nathaniel Mah in 3rd place. I was able to move into 3rd later that lap, I then set my sights on trying to reel in Ben Loomis in 2nd place. Ben skied a great race holding me off and I crossed the line in 3rd place, my first podium at US National Championships! Bryan Fletcher took the National Championships with a very dominant win, showing everyone how it is done in tough conditions. For myself and Ben Loomis it was the first time we had been on the podium at National Championships, a great day! After Lake Placid I came back to Park City where I will be for a very short period as I will be in Steamboat for a short weekend and then head back to Europe for a training camp in Germany, so stay tuned! Check out some photos from Lake Placid below.