By Micah Morris , Jr. Reporter
This fall I was invited to Austria with a group of skiers from all across British Columbia, who qualified for the BC Alpine High Performance Camp. I wanted to get the perspective of some of the girls my age and learn a little about their ski racing career, because even if they are not yet winning World Cups, they all have that potential.
The towering mountains and rolling hills of the Alps have a beauty of their own. I can’t understand why the Austrians would want to build buildings on the side of steep hills, but they have managed to do so. In the cute towns of Finkenburg, and Hintertux, it’s always a hike to get from one place to another.
It is interesting to ski in a different place. It was only my second time skiing on a glacier in the summer time and it was icy and warm, but because we gained so much elevation on the three gondolas and one T-bar to get up to the top, we always had to be prepared for drastic weather changes. We ended up only skiing six out of the eight days due to 200km winds one day and then two and a half feet of snow over night, but that didn’t stop us from having fun and training hard.
I found it inspiring to see how hard the girls were trying to get the most out of the camp. The minds of ski racers are all very similar. We all want the same things and can all relate closely to one another. Traveling with these girls is different because almost all of them are from other teams. We didn’t know each other well, but in a short amount of time we became quite close and supportive of one another.
I interviewed each athlete individually, asking them questions about their ski racing career. Many of their answers were similar, but funny and truthful; reminding me of all the steps that must be taken to reach the top in our sport. The interviews also showed me how similar each of us are.
These are the girls that I interviewed:
- Gabby Smith- Vancouver/Whistler BC
- Katie Fleckenstein- Vancouver/Whistler BC
- Nicole Foster- Calgary AB/Fernie BC
- Katrina Van Soest- Kelowna/Silver Star BC
Why do you like to compete?
- Gabby: It’s a lot of fun traveling to other places and meeting new people, but I also like the competitive feel I get from racing and knowing whatever your place it is always just a learning experience for the next time.
- Katie: I compete to win. I like the feeling of having something to work towards and having an end goal.
- Nicole: It’s exhilarating because of the speed and to put yourself out there.
- Katrina: I like winning. It gives me adrenalin and a push that says, “yah I can do this!”
How do you stay focused for a race?
- Gabby: Before the race I try to have a good night’s sleep and a big healthy breakfast. When I am in the start carrel I listen to music, stays focused on myself, and try not to get distracted by other people. Personally I don’t like talking to my coaches right before my run because it gets me out of focus. In the gate I usually remind myself about how much training I have done and that I am physically and mentally capable of skiing well.
- Katie: I have a hard time staying focused, but I have a routine that I try to follow. I like to do a lot of singing and dancing with my friend to get me pumped up and exited for my run.
- Nicole: Whenever I am nervous a picture my self walking through a door and into a field, than sitting in a chair to watch the sun and view. Something that I always do before a race when I am standing in the start gate is I think of my exact line that I will take for the first few gates.
- Katrina: I like to be with my friends beforehand because it keeps me loose. I always force myself to smile, so that I stay up beat and it helps me remember my good days of training.
What is your favourite part about racing?
- Gabby: The people I meet and the memories that I make are always amassing. Obviously results are important, but they only occur if I am enjoying myself and having a good time.
- Katie: I meet a lot of new friends, and have a blast with my team. It keeps me busy with something to always look towards. I JUST REALLY LIKE TO SKI!
- Nicole: Being with my friends traveling and training, and I JUST LOVE TO SKI!
- Katrina: I love racing because it feels good to have a strong solid day on snow, knowing that I accomplished my goals, and I JUST LOVE TO GO FAST.
Where do you see yourself in a couple of years?
- Gabby: I want to make the BC team and continue racing because it makes me happy, but education is also really important to me.
- Katie: NOT in a desk job, somewhere skiing, and having fun!
- Nicole: I don’t see myself continuing in competitive ski racing, but I want to stay active in the mountains. I want to experience all types of skiing such as cat and ski touring.
- Katrina: On the BC team and attempting to make the National team.
I myself have learned many new things from this camp such as: different techniques, I got an idea of how other people deal with the pressure, and how much hard work it takes to become a successful ski racer.
Austria has been an incredible opportunity and a great place to interview a few of BC’s Fast Females, maybe even one of our future World Cup ski racers. I know that even if ski racing isn’t the path that we choose, ski racing has given us confidence, determination, leadership, independence, and friendships. These memories and life skills will stick with us for the rest of our lives.
ABOUT JR. REPORTER MICAH MORRIS (FERNIE, BRITISH COLUMBIA)
My name is Micah Morris I am 15 years old, I have been skiing since I was two years old, and am a member of the Fernie Alpine Ski Team. Growing up in Fernie, BC I have had many opportunities in all sports such as soccer, volleyball, mountain biking, climbing, long distance running and hiking. I am surrounded by my family of skiers and I quickly discovered my own love for the sport. I love to compete because it is thrilling and it motivates me to push myself to a higher level. It also gives me a chance to travel around to new places in Canada and in other countries, and meet new friends. I have a great passion for skiing and writing. Not only would I like to share that, I want to be able to inspire the woman around me to continue with what they love and to stay dedicated to their sport.
Fast Females in the Spotlight: Marielle Thompson