Last week I was humbled by the kindness, love and generosity I received from the ski community. My fundraiser at Gear West ski shop was more than I could have ever anticipated! I want to THANK YOU, to everyone who showed up to bid on auction items, win free raffle prizes, listen to me chat, enjoy good food and beverages, and celebrate the kick-off to a new ski season. The staff at Gear West Ski Shop showed incredible support and the evening would not have been successful without them. They dedicated so much time and energy leading up to the event, setting it up, and making sure everything ran smoothly during the silent auction - I owe them a lot! Feeling this kind of love and support has motivated me and inspired me to continue working hard and chasing my dreams. It makes me jittery in anticipation for my first races in just 10 DAYS!
Before I get too excited for races to start though, there is a lot to DO in November in preparation for a long season. There is also a lot that I have learned I DO NOT want to do this time of year…
Thanksgiving is coming up and it tends to be a holiday that very few skiers have the chance to celebrate. Often times, we are already on the road, racing or in search of snow for high quality training. Growing up, I was fortunate enough to spend Thanksgiving with my family and ski on snow because we took family vacations to West Yellowstone for the annual ski festival. However, my four years in college kept me away from any family celebration. Now that I have more flexibility in my training, etc. I think it’s important to make the effort to spend this time of year with the those I love. It’s one last chance to be together before the days of FaceTime calls and text updates in the Winter. I have found that spending this time with my family makes me the happiest going into a new ski season.
However, this time of year is NOT the time to socialize like a young adult in her mid-twenties. The old high school and college friends are set aside (sorry guys!) and the brewery tours come to a stop. No longer can I meet up with a friend at a bar or restaurant or accept an invitation to a party. Tis the season of staying in and watching movies at night so that I can be well rested for important training and sharpening sessions the following morning. Goodbye social life! Hello ski season!
The season can get long on the road so I want to have a stockpile of books that I can turn to for entertainment while resting before races or after hard training sessions. November is a great time of year to DO RESEARCH on the best novels, biographies, sports stories, etc. that will keep me hooked all season long. My go-to book trader is my mom, who reads about a book a day so I’m always falling behind. I also like to trade with some of my teammates, my sister, or other friends! Anyone have a good suggestion?
DO NOT do research on your competitors. Skiers start to get antsy in November in anticipation of the race season. Frequently, athletes will post on social media about their grueling workouts or first time trials of the season. Personally, I can quickly get sucked down the rabbit hole of what my competitors are doing to prep for the season. This can escalate into totally psyching me out and making me think that I am not doing enough. In reality, I can only control my own training and how I approach the season so there isn’t really any point in comparing myself to other skiers. I put my head down and do my own work. (This is obviously much easier said than done).
Do pack your Aeropress espresso maker. When you’re on the road, you never know when you’re going to get a good cup of coffee. When it comes to race morning for me, this is a NECESSITY! Rather than depending on my lodging arrangement to provide quality coffee, which it often does not, I like to come with it myself and make as much of it as I want! And then some more! ;) An Aeropress is small and packs well in a duffel bag, making it the perfect solution.
Do NOT pack your coffee grinder. Unfortunately, I have developed into somewhat of a coffee snob. Can you tell? My favorite part of the morning is taking that first sip of freshly ground coffee. Sadly, a coffee grinder can take up quite a bit of space in a duffel bag and doesn’t make the cut when packing a bag that I am supposed to live out of for 4-5 months. ☹
Do pack your slippers for hotels. Slippers are a great way to stay cozy while on the road and also keep your feet from getting dirty or spreading germs. Hotel hallways and lounges can be filled with germs and you don’t want to walk around barefoot. However, always putting on your snow boots just to grab some ice or to quickly ask your teammate in another room a question can get pretty annoying.
Do NOT pack your fashion shoes. These days, I rarely wear jeans. Let alone a nice pair of shoes! When I have to fit 2-3 pairs of ski boots, running shoes and snow boots into a bag, there is no longer room for any sense of fashion. Occasionally, I attend an event or outing during the season and show up slightly underdressed. But this is just one of the consequences I have to face, and I am okay with that!
DO get excited for the season!! It's a long one, but it's what I've been training for the past seven months. I can't wait to get it started!