We started the last race series of the season in Norway. Our first two days in were spent touring and training in Oslo. It is a very beautiful city but also very expensive. The first day we were lucky enough to jump the new k120 hill at Holmenkollen, probably the most famous ski jump in the world. Someday soon I hope to compete at that historic site. The next day we jumped Midtstubakken, the k90 hill, and cross country skied on the World Cup trails. I was amazed at the length and variety of trails. You could ski all day and never be on the same trail! And the views from the top of the jumping hills overlooking the city of Oslo and the ocean are memorable.
After two day of training and we headed to Hoydalsmo, Norway for the weekend competitions. Unfortunately our team struggled and did not come away with great results. Our “batter’s slump” continued. The day after our competitions, we drove to Stockholm, Sweden to pick up another coach and athlete. We spent a night in Stockholm, another one of the beautiful cities I have visited. Then it was on to Ornskoldsvik, Sweden, (six hours north of Stockholm). It is a small city in northern Sweden and has one of the coolest ski jumps in the world. The outrun (area where you land and slow down) goes underneath a train track! We spent the next week training and felt confident heading into the competitions. Unfortunately no one could put together a good jump and race when it mattered. Teammate Nick Hendrickson jumped really well (8th place) but didn't ski very well and finished in the high 20's. It was a hard weekend and I think the team took a blow mentally.
We were excited for the last competition of the year in Rovaniemi, Finland. Rovaniemi has the northernmost ski jump in the world located at the Arctic Circle. It is also the hometown of Santa Claus! Unfortunately, I never got to see Santa and ask him if he could help me with my jumping, but we saw plenty of his reindeer. Team USA once again had a rough week and ended the last two competitions with no points.
For me, the season was not what I expected or wanted. I have already put the year behind me and am looking forward to training even harder for next year. I have to say that even with the struggles, I am still so proud to be representing Aspen as a member of the US Ski Team. I am thankful for the support of my coaches, the National Nordic Foundation, and friends and family back home. Next year the Olympics will be held in Sochi, Russia, and one of my goals is to make that Olympic team. With that in mind I plan to train harder and smarter than ever for the next nine months.
Come watch us jump if you travel to Park City this summer!