The winners of the raffle have been decided. Each of the 51 tickets purchased was assigned a number between 1 and 51, and using numbergenerator.org, I generated 10 random ticket numbers each representing the prizes 1-10. The numbers generated were 42, 24, 28, 16, 50, 23, 37, 30, 22, and 32. That makes our big winners......
Grand Prize (Blizzard Skis): Charlie Brown
Second Prize (Shred Goggles): Andrew Arnott
Third Prize (Sync Backpack): Hilary Day
Fourth Prize (Signed and Framed World Cup Bib): Christopher Shields
Fifth Prize (Swix Ski Poles): Mike Sundstrom
Sixth Prize (Signed World Cup Race Bib): Jyl Bradley
Seventh Prize (Signed Training Bib): Nana Boffa
Eighth Prize (Hat and T-Shirt): John Kelley
Ninth Prize (Two T-Shirts): James Tautkus
Tenth Prize (Two Posters): Sara Clark
Congrats to the winners, and big thanks to everyone who entered the raffle! I'll be in touch with the winners tomorrow about how to get you your prizes!
It's pretty crazy how quickly a string of DNF's can pile up. It feels like it was just yesterday when I switched over my primary focus to slalom, yet it took me 16 World Cup slaloms to finally break into a second run. I entered last season with two career World Cup slalom starts, both of which resulted in a hike or two or three. After starting off last season with a win on the ANC circuit and a podium in the Europa Cup opener, I was given starts in all nine regular season World Cup slaloms. It was a great learning experience for me. I ended up DNFing or hiking in all but one of the World Cups I entered. I realized there were some major adjustments I needed to make to be a threat on the World Cup.
After a switch to Blizzard/Tecnica and a really focused summer prep period in France, New Zealand, Australia, and Norway I felt like I was finally feeling consistent and fast, a combination that had eluded me throughout my career. I went into the start of the World Cup season with a lot of confidence, yet still started off the season with a hike and a DNF in the first two races. After 13 tough and disappointing races to start my World Cup career I began to question if my skiing was good enough for the difficult World Cup tracks or if maybe someone put some kind of DNF voodoo on me. I decided I wasn't cursed and got back to training to keep making adjustments to get myself prepared for the more challenging World Cup courses.. After an awesome 10 days of training and racing on steep gnarly icy stuff between my DNF in Val d'Isere, France and the third World Cup of the year in Madonna di Campiglio, Italy, I became much more comfortable on the tougher tracks. In Madonna things went a lot better than my previous 13 World Cup slaloms, while I didn't qualify, I made it to the finish line with minimal mistakes for the first time in my career. I definitely didn't push it to the limits by any means, but I was very happy to know that it was possible for me to make it down a World Cup slalom.
After more than eight months since my last World Cup race in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, we were finally back in action in Levi, Finland last weekend. They did a great job preparing the slope and we had some great days of training leading up to the race. Unfortunately I didn't have the best day, I went a bit too direct on the pitch and wasn't able to keep up with my line and had to hike. For some reason my learning curve in slalom has been much steeper than it has in GS at every level. I didn't win my first carnival slalom until four years after my first GS win. I didn't get my first Nor-Am slalom podium until 3 and a half years after my first GS podium. I didn't get my first Europa cup slalom points until 3 years after my first GS points. I scored World Cup points in my 5th World Cup GS. I've just completed my 12th World Cup slalom, and hiked for the 11th time. It's definitely extremely frustrating, it's a pretty terrible feeling to get all pumped up for the race and then not perform the way I would've liked to. I'm happy with how I'm skiing and know that I'm still getting faster and that I will eventually get it together on the World Cup like I have on every other level. I'm hoping my first World Cup SL points will be as good as my first Europa Cup SL points were last year when I broke through with a 3rd place :) I'm home now for a bit to work out and to get back on snow a little later this week. I'm also really excited to watch the women race at Killington this coming weekend. It's finally looking like winter here in VT and I can't wait to see the first World Cup action in the east in a couple decades! Pretty incredible that races in Alberta and Colorado had to be cancelled but little old VT will be able to get the races off despite an unseasonably warm November. Here are some pictures from Levi, hope you enjoy them!
PS I'm going to try to do a post every week or two this year, instead of the post every year or two that I have been doing.