toThere has been a lot of traveling the past couple weeks! After training in Planica, we drove to Chaux Neuve, France for the World Cup. Our team had a great first period of the season and we were able to ski 5 athletes in the World Cup for the second period. The weekend in Chaux Neuve didn't go as well as I had hoped andy jumping was below average. Fortunately Taylor and Bryan had a good showing. The first day of competitions they were both able to sneak into the top 20, finishing 19th and 20th respectively. The second day was another good day for the two brothers.
After the weekend in France, we drove to Seefeld, Austria for the Seefeld Triple. It is three days of competition. Day one is a one jump 5k race with no qualifier, day two is a one jump 10k race of the top 50 from the previous day, and day three is a two jump 15k of the top 30! Each day the points are combined for each athlete. Because it this is not an Olympic or World Championship year, it was one of the biggest competitions of the season. We were able to have a jump session on the hill early in the week which was really nice. My jumping continued to be a struggle and the coaches decided to sit me out for the weekend. It was a tough pill to swallow. In short my jumping is not at the World Cup level. Even though I wasn't competing, it was fun to watch my teammates. After the first day, the whole team made it into the top 50 and were able to ski the next day. To top it all off, Ben Berend was able to ski to a personal best 43rd! I believe it was a big stepping stone in his career
The second day, was a little tougher for the team. Bryan was the only one able to make it into the top 30. On the third and final day, the weather took a dramatic turn. We woke up Sunday morning, looked out the window, and saw it snowing...very hard. The jumping was delayed and the jury decided to do a one jump 10k instead of the two jump 15k. Even with the tough conditions, Bryan had one of the best competitions of his career. He had a great jump and it put him into a good position going into the cross country race. It continued to snow throughout the day making the race very challenging. But Bryan was to have a great race. He was able to ski from 9th up to 7th in the overall and finished with the fastest time of the day! It was a good day for U.S.A Nordic Combined!
I am now in Planica training for the week before the Continental Cup. I have been working hard to improve my jumping and try to earn another shot at the World Cup. I have some work ahead of me and it isn't going to be easy. Luckily I have my teammates, coaches, family, and friends to help support my efforts! I will keep you apprised of my training and where I am heading next!
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.