It has been a busy December but a fun one for sure. After Lillehammer I traveled back to the US to compete on home soil. Something I don’t get to do very often so it is a special weekend for me. I wanted to share more about that and how it feels for my team and I to get that opportunity. Before we traveled to Steamboat for the competitions we were in Park City for a short week. We got some great training and fun skiing, the team got out on a fun backcountry ski, check out photos of that below.
After our week in Park City we drove over to Steamboat for the Continental Cup weekend. Because of how well our team performed on the Continental Cup circuit last year we had additional spots giving the opportunity for some younger skiers to test their skills on the international level. This is key for developing athletes and something that played a huge part in my development, it gives athletes incredible motivation to see where they stack up and continue to improve their level. For myself, competing in my hometown is very special, and one of the few times I have the ‘homefield advantage’. Steamboat put on an amazing event that all of the athletes were pleased with. Before the comps we had an evening skiing with some of the younger kids at the Winter Sports Club followed by an autograph session including all nations. It was awesome to see so many young kids totally pumped to be getting signatures from my team and all nations, there was a ton of energy in the room! The first day of competition was a typical perfect weather (rather cold) day at Howelsen Hill making for a great event. I didn’t have my best jump but was in contention enough for it to be a super fun race. We raced under the lights just after 6pm and man was it cold. It was almost comical watching all the athletes try to stay warm leading into the race as we were all changing. It was a super fun race right off the bat, after a few laps a large chase pack had formed in which we had several US skiers, while Taylor Fletcher had broken off the front (he skied away for the win!). It was a wild race, I lost a little steam at the end but had a solid day finishing in 9th place.
On day two Steamboat delivered again with perfect weather, and not quite as cold. Again I had an ok jump that put me into a very similar position to start the race as the day before. We raced in the evening again under the lights and a great crowd came out for the race making for a super fun atmosphere. Very early on in the race a large lead pack formed, it was almost 15+ skiers deep at times and we had 4 US skiers in the mix of it (myself, Taylor, Jared & Ben). It was super fun racing in the lead pack with three of my teammates in front of our home crowd. Thanks to our wax techs we had awesome skis and we able to get some good recovery on the flats and keep the pace high climbing the brutal hills. The lead pack started to pick up the pace and it ‘thinned’ out to about 10 skiers going into the final laps. At the very end of the race the paced got boosted and I did everything in my power to hang on as long as possible, I didn’t have enough juice to stay near the podium but I was able to finish in 8thplace, a solid finish to end the weekend. We also had 4 US skiers in the top 10 and 5 in the top 30, a great showing for our team. Overall this was an awesome weekend with tons of support from the home crowd.
I am now back in Europe for a few short days of training before I head to my next World Cup competition in Estonia next weekend. I am really excited for the new year and feeling good about how it will shape up. You can watch my team and I compete via the NBC Gold Pass here and you can always check results here. As always follow my social media for more up to date posts and media!