The summer is now over and the leaves are changing. That only can mean one thing, winter is just around the corner. I am currently over in Slovenia with the rest of the national team and a couple juniors. It has been a great summer and fall, so let me catch you up with all my training, competitions, and travel.
At the end of August, I traveled to Europe with the team to compete in the nordic combined Summer Grand Prix(SGP) competitions. I had two goals for the trip. My first goal was to qualify for a World Cup event. Second was to score World Cup points. The first competition was in Oberweisenthal, GER. I had never jumped there before and was looking forward to jumping on a new hill. On top of that, my training during the first three days in Europe had gone really well. I jumped pretty well and ended up qualifying for the first SGP. The roller ski race went even better! I wasn't feeling great during the days leading up to the race, so I went in with an open mind and planned on skiing my own race. It wasn't until I crossed the finish line that I realized that I had skied up to 29th place and the 4th fastest time! I had just scored the first WC points of my career! I was extremely happy with my overall performance and was looking forward to the following competition in Tschagguns, AUT.
After Oberweisenthal, we drove to Tschagguns, AUT for the next SGP. I was excited to keep the momentum rolling. I ended up qualifying once again for the SGP. During the jumping competition, my teammate Adam and I both had our best jumps on the hill. Everything seemed to be going well, until the weather took a turn for the worse and they had to use the provisional jump for the roller ski race. I was a little upset, but these things happen and it is important to not dwell on the things that I can't control. I started the race in the 40's and skied up only a couple places. I was still happy with the race because it was a difficult course to make up time on other skiers. Overall, I was happy with the competition, and was looking forward to the final two SGP events in Oberstdorf, GER.
After Austria, we packed the vans and drove to Germany for our final two SGP events. It was decided that for the first competition that Jasper and Ben would get subbed in for Adam and myself, giving them a chance to compete for the first time this trip. I was completely ok with the decision since I had just raced twice in three days. The second day, I was hoping to ski, but I had been struggling a little more on the larger hill(HS140) than the past few days, so the coaches and I thought it would be best to continue to ski Jasper. Jasper has had an amazing summer and his jumping/skiing are coming together really well.
All in all, our team made some significant improvements on the ski jump over the past week and a half. We qualified all four of our quota spots in every competition, and even Taylor and Bryan had some great results. I think our team came away from the trip with confidence and on a positive note.
After the SGP tour around central Europe, Jasper, Ben, Adam, and I decided to take a few "vacation" days and head to Barcelona. We toured the city on mopeds, ate some great food, went to the beach, and took in the Spanish night life. We were there for three nights, and it was a much needed break.
After Spain, I returned back to Park City for a couple weeks. Training in Park City went really well and was getting anxious to get back to Europe. I was only in Park City for three weeks, and then returned to Europe for one final fall training camp. And that brings us to now. I have been in Slovenia for a week and things are going great. We have been jumping in Planica, SLO, Kranj, SLO, and Villach, AUT. Today we went on a hike to the peak of a mountain that overlooks Austria, Italy, and Slovenia. We are here for another week and have some fun days of training planned. I will continue to update my blog, pictures, and whereabouts. Hope everyone is ready for the snow to start falling!
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.