early season action

The month of November was dedicated to some high intensity training with the Canadian Para-Alpine Ski Team in Nakiska and Panorama. It was probably one of the best camps I’ve had in quite some time, despite the bitter cold that is common in these places at this time of year.

We focused the majority of our time testing and experimenting with some new ideas to make the sit ski perform even better than it already does. I’m not at liberty to divulge the details of what we were playing around with — but let me say that the changes we made will open up a new world of possibilities. In a sport where we measure in increments of time we noticed exponential gains.
We’re hoping to get this new prototype on the market fairly soon so that it can create new opportunities for aspiring world champions, freeskiers, and first-time skiers alike. Stay tuned.

As an interesting side note, Nakiska is an international hub for early season training for some of the greatest able-bodied skiers in the world. I had the pleasure of training alongside one of the greatest of all time, Didier Cuche. I couldn’t resist introducing myself to him, and after chatting for a little bit he asked me if I could ski powder in my sit ski. I immediately showed him the Freedom Chair, and he was totally impressed. He invited me for dinner and we spent most of the night talking about the future of both our sports. Didier’s an amazing athlete, a champion amongst champions.

After two weeks of solid training with the team I made my way back home for a week of rest and rejuvenation. Nothing beats hanging out with friends and family, and enjoying the simple pleasures in life like cooking, and taking my best bud Rome to the dog park.

Rome and I enjoy some time together before the first snowfall arrives.

I also had some great days in with m’lady at home, doing yoga, and riding up at my mountain. We lucked out and got an unusually good day of riding in for early season, which was a great way to start off the winter.

Living the dream with my girl.

Early season is a funny thing for me though. I usually have around 30 days of race training under my belt when the local hills are just opening, so when I get home all I want to do is shred so hard! But often, early season comes with plenty of hazards like exposed stumps, rocks, and terrain that haven’t filled in yet.

It’s so hard for me to gear down and ski smart, especially when I’m so amped for the winter ahead. I got caught being a little cheeky on opening day of the backside. I was running a bit too hard and landed on a stump, breaking my ski, and narrowly avoided disaster. Strong reminders that every run of every day is filled with challenges and hazards, and to properly assess the environment before dropping in. You simply have to respect the mountains no matter how many times you’ve ridden them.

Well it’s another week and another flight! I’m off to Colorado for some training and the first series of competitions for the season ahead. Always an exciting time of year — a great opportunity to put all the hard work and training to the test to see how you stack up against all the other skiers who live to ski fast!