Sunday, October 8, 2017

It's Getting to Be That Time of Year Again

It may still be 80* in Virginia but the leaves are changing and falling, Copper Mountain got 24" of snow recently, Sugarloaf had a dusting. Winter, snow, and snowboard season will be here before we know it.

Things are slowly starting to fall into place. Whitney is captain of the women's snowboard/freeski team. We talked about getting a private coach again this winter but UMF has a new snowboard coach so it was decided to see how that goes first. She's started dryland practice and has spent a lot of time in the gym already. She's also back to the trainers at school to help keep her body working.

One of her big purchases this fall will be a new race board. She's working with a friend to design a custom graphic for it and hopefully will have it ordered soon. That also means new bindings. At least she got the boots last winter.

Schedules are starting to come out. Maine Mountain Series has theirs done and I'm sure the rest of the USASA series are working on it. The Hole Shot Tour races are also posted so it's almost time to start making travel plans. I know I'll be at Lake Placid for USCSA Nationals in March and at Copper Mountain for USASA Nationals/Hole Shot Tour in April. Hopefully I'll be able to get to a few more races this winter as well.

Here's to a snowy winter!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Another Season in the Books

Another snowboard season is in the books, or almost. I think Whitney is going to head to the slopes one or two more times before calling it good. She really wants to snowboard as long as she can but she also wants to save the gas money of the drive to Sugarloaf. We'll see. She's got school projects to work on and tests to study for as well as needing to think about packing up for the summer. She'll be leaving some things at her aunt's house again over the summer, including all her snowboard gear. It'll take some planning to figure out what gets packed up to stay in New England and what comes home.

Overall, from my perspective, it was a good snowboard season if we're talking about how it went competitively. Whitney tried new things and was successful at them and she also did well in her boardercross races. The new things she tried this year were giant slalom and racing NorAm/FIS. The giant slalom races went really well. She made her first attempt at it in NH and felt good after the race. Her second outing was at USCSA Nationals where she came in fourth. A good showing! The two NorAm/FIS races she entered overall went well. The one at Sunday River was a bit of a challenge to get to with the blizzard in Maine and the one at Copper (USASA Nationals) was a physical challenge with her twisted ribs. She improved her finish between the two races and I'm sure she'll do better next season.

Other aspects of her season were very challenging. The coaching from CVA didn't work out as well as we thought it would. There were issues, mainly communication but other things as well, although I think the coaching she did receive was good. There were a lot of issues with the UMF snowboard coach. Nothing good came from that situation. We're not sure what will happen next season with either but there will be change, just not sure what the change will be at the moment. We have all summer to figure things out, try to find a good coaching situation for Whitney, and figure out what will be best for her snowboarding career.

Enjoy the summer! See you on the slopes next winter.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

USASA Nationals 2017, Wrap Up

Overall we had a really good trip to Colorado. Whitney loves snowboarding out there and really enjoyed hanging with the team from Massanutten. She got to network some, although not as much as she thought since everyone, including her, was busy. I enjoyed the bit of skiing I did. Hopefully next winter will be better here in the East and I'll get to Massanutten more so I'll feel more confident in my legs when we go to Copper next year.

We had to get up super early to catch our shuttle to the airport. We had the chattiest driver! I was actually pretty impressed with what she's done in life, including being in the military and driving massive construction trucks (the kind you have to climb a ladder to get into). I don't know how anyone could be that talkative that early in the morning. Anyway, we got to the airport in time to get some bagels and coffee and wait. While we were waiting (for bagels, I think, or maybe working our way through security) I got a text that our flight was late. Again. It was coming in from San Diego and had mechanical issues. We ended up leaving just over an hour late. We got to Dulles ok where Bob picked us up. Things were pretty efficient there, he was able to get our bags, including skis/snowboard, and was waiting for us by the time we got off the train to the main terminal. He got us home (one time I appreciate the toll road), we moved Whitney's snowboard to my car and she packed up the rest of her stuff then we went through the Chick-fil-a drive through and went to Baltimore so she could catch her flight to Maine. Super long day for Whitney since she didn't get back to her dorm until 2:30am.

Before we left Colorado Whitney had sent an email to the trainer at school that she's been working with and he told her to come in on Tuesday. She managed to get up in time for her 8:00 class on Tuesday then went to the trainers after they opened. She told me later that they used a tool to determine if she had broken or cracked her ribs and it felt really weird. It was determined that it was unlikely a crack/break but more likely a contortion of her ribs. All I could think of was that it sounded painful and how the heck was she still snowboarding?? The trainer made her an appointment with the local chiropractor and she went to see them on Thursday. They said she had rib dysfunction (twisted ribs) and after a painful adjustment she was fixed. Well, her ribs were back how they should be but she was still in pain. She was told not to sleep on that side and to be careful of hugs and twisting her torso for a few days. Because of her experience she was told to take this weekend off from snowboarding but she could hit the slopes again next weekend. She was just glad not to be told that she was done for the season. She's really hoping to be able to keep snowboarding until she has finals in May. We'll see if Sugarloaf is open that long.

Now it's time for me to put my ski gear away, figure out how to return my rental skis (the ski shop is closed for April), and look forward to next season. Whitney has plenty of time, or at least a few weeks, left to snowboard and enjoy herself. I'm glad she's got a longer season up there so she has time for some fun riding. She doesn't get to do that much during the season; she's too focused on training.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

USASA Nationals 2017, Day 3

Today was a pretty good day although the results weren't what Whitney was hoping for. She was up early and off to the course with Chad. Things were run a bit different than she was used to, although it's how NorAm races are run. They ran two time trial runs; for the women they took the top eight directly into the brackets after the first run. The rest of the field did a second time trial and they took the top eight from that into the brackets, the rest were done. Whitney had a decent time in her first run and finished 16th. Her second run was faster but so were some of the other girls and she unfortunately ended the day in 17th and didn't make the cut. It's unfortunate since her strength is racing not time trials. She was really upset but there's something to learn from every race. I think that although she didn't make the cut she still had a good day racing.

She's off riding with Chad and some of the other guys from Massanutten who aren't racing today. She's also going to stop by the Donek tent and see about taking some boards for a test ride. She's been riding on a borrowed Donek board for this season and wants to look at one that would fit her better.

Later...I caught up with her and the Massanutten guys by the NeverSummer tent at the vendor village. They got a bunch of stickers and had a good talk with the NS reps that were there. Whitney is sponsored by NS and riding one of their boards, mainly for her fun trips to the mountains these days as they doesn't make race boards. She loved the Donek board that she tried, and it has nothing to do with the fact that it was a yellow board although that didn't hurt. The board that she tried was a much better size for her and she loved the way that it rode. Time to save up the money to buy a new board or talk to them to see if they'll sponsor her, which would be awesome.

Dinner and hanging out with the Massanutten guys tonight, packing, then up early for our shuttle to the airport.

USASA Nationals 2017, Day 2

Yesterday was another practice day. Whitney hung out with the coaches and a couple of the boys from the Massanutten team in the morning then she and Chad were on the BX course for her practice. She is feeling better although her ribs hurt. The good news is that with two EMTs here neither think her ribs are broken. She'll just soldier on and do what she has to do then rest after her race. Her practice went well then she rode for a while before coming into take it easy.

We didn't get nearly as much snow as they were calling for but we did get an inch or two overnight. It's probably good, the amount they were calling for would have changed how the course was riding. We got some snow flurries during the day yesterday and heavier snow during the opening ceremonies that was really pretty although it was cold.

Somehow the Appalachian Series found their way to the front of the parade and the Maine Mountain Series wasn't far behind. I watched them go by then moved over to a spot by the announcers and watched for a while. It was just getting cold and snowy so Kelly and I went inside to her condo. I met Whitney after at the App Series party and talked with Mark and Ellen, the series directors for a while.

Then it was pizza and wings at the Young's condo and watching video that Chad took of the riders on the BX course. Mostly he got the start and was going over their ride and how they could improve. It sounds like this race is mostly in the start. If you get a good start, get the hole shot and down to the lower part of the course you have a good chance. The top of the course is a bit technical then it's just fast, stupid fast from what I've heard.

Time to get ready for race day!

Friday, March 31, 2017

USASA Nationals 2017, Day 1

Whitney and I flew out yesterday to Colorado. Our flight was an hour late leaving DC (mechanical issues in Orlando made the flight late getting to DC, then we had more issues in DC) but we still had plenty of time in Denver to get our bags before our shuttle came. We got to Copper about 7:30 last night, checked in, then went for pizza. Our condo is nice, although it's on the edge of Center Village and a longer walk than we would like to the middle of things. It's not too bad though.

This morning Whitney went to registration and got her practice bib for today and her race bib. She met up with the guys from Massanutten and Chad, took a few fun runs then she went over to the BX course for practice. She thought the course was pretty good and definitely fast. She took a hard tumble and hurt her ribs but seems to be fine. We met for lunch then she was going to go back out riding with Chad for a while but it's been snowing off and on all day and then there was thunder. She called to let me know she was headed back to the condo and said that most of the lifts were closed. We're guessing they're on wind hold. I have to say though that it's coming down pretty good right now (they're calling for 8-16") and I'm sure the visibility on the slopes is pretty low. Hopefully the snow will come down tonight/tomorrow and stop so they can get the course in good shape for Sunday's races.

Tonight we're meeting up with the Massanutten gang, the parents, riders, coaches who are here for dinner. Tomorrow she's got practice and the opening ceremonies are late tomorrow afternoon.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

We're Packing and Heading Out!

I think we've got all our winter gear backed - skis, snowboards, boots, warm clothes, snow boots. It's hard to think about what you need for skiing/snowboarding when it's 70* outside. Of course we're heading to Colorado where it's 54* out and they're expecting snow over the next few days. I can't wait to get out there, have some fun, and watch Whitney race!