I have been training hard all summer and it has finally paid off. I am off to Europe tomorrow and will be competing my first two World Cups! The first will be in Seefeld, Austria and the second will be in Klingenthal, Germany. I will be meeting up with the U.S. "A" team who have been in Europe since New Years. Words cannot describe how excited and fortunate I am to be competing at the highest level of nordic combined. I will stay updated with my blog and take lots of pictures! Wish me luck!!!
If you are reading this post, then the world did not end! So, I guess I will wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Anyway, I had such an amazing time at home. I was in Aspen for about about two weeks and was able to see family, catch up with friends, and of course I went alpine skiing.
I arrived in Aspen on December 21st to house full of family members. It had been a whole year since I had seen most of them and it was great catching up. The first two days I went for cross country skis on the trails. Aspen had just received new snow so the trails were in good conditions and it was good to see a lot of skiers on on the tracks.
Then on December 23rd, my birthday, I finally got to go alpine skiing! I had skied at Snowbird about a week before, but I was happy to be skiing on my home mountains. I joined up with fellow Aspenite and USST alpine member, Katie Ryan. I am a pretty good alpine skier, but Katie made me feel like an amateur. I had a fun day, but was very tired after chasing Katie around the mountain. That night, I went to a Christmas party at one of our family friends' house. It was the perfect birthday!
On December 24th, I woke up early and headed to the locals, and my favorite mountain, Aspen Highlands. We had just received about 10'' of new snow and wanted to hike Highlands Bowl (the Bowl). The Bowl is pretty much the same as backcountry skiing. To get there you have to hike about 30-40 minutes, but when it is a powder day, it is the place to be. My friend Riley and I got onto the mountain and headed straight for the Bowl (see pics below). That evening my family got to celebrate my cousin's birthday. We had his Dad's infamous clam chowder, watched a movie, and played some guitar.
The next day was Christmas. My family woke up and headed straight for the mountain to ski with more family members. I know what you are thinking, and yes, I have a really big family. Anyway we skied on Snowmass the whole day and then everyone headed to my house for Christmas dinner. We had a huge feast and was able to see my cousin and his wife before they left for France.
From then on I pretty much went alpine skiing. I had some awesome days on the mountains and am glad to get to have a little fun in during the break. I am now back in Park City prepping for U.S. Senior Cross Country Nationals. These are the biggest national races of the season for the cross country skiers. I will be racing in a 15k skate race tomorrow and then a skate sprint next Tuesday. I thought it would be good to get in a couple last races before I head over seas. After the COC races in Park City two weeks ago, I learned that I have earned a spot on the World Cup circuit! I am extremely honored to be able to ski with the best nordic combined skiers in the world. I leave on the 14th and will be skiing on the World Cup in Seefeld, Austria and Klingenthal, Germany.
I will keep you posted throughout the season! Happy New Year!!!
Hi! My name is Michael Ward. I am a 23 year old from Aspen, CO now living in Park City, UT to continue my career as a Nordic Combined athlete. I am on the 2015-16 US Nordic Combined Team and am honored to live and train with the best in the world.