The results are in and the season has come to a close. Looking back, it has been a wonderful year. Heck, It’s been a wonderful five years! NCAA’s marked the end of my college racing and I couldn’t be more excited and surprised about everything that has happened.
Flipping back through my planner, reflecting on the season, I was surprised to count that since we first left for the West Yellowstone Ski Festival in Wyoming 18 weeks ago, 17 of those weekends our team has either been traveling to races or racing at home. (17 /18 weekends?!? Holy Crap. No wonder my friends think I’ve disappeared.) Ski season always feels like a huge whirlwind, one that leaves all of the participants extremely exhausted and ready for some warm weather and sunshine. Looking back at the all of the accomplishments during the season is super exciting, however looking around and realizing all of the things that have been put off because of ski racing is quite terrifying. This realization generally results in a daunting to-do list that typically starts with doing laundry.
First up: A look at my post-season bedroom.
My parents have always called me “Hurricane Alice” and it’s easy to see why. Fortunately this year’s disaster zone did not require a shovel for clean up. Here’s a quick game of I Spy:
Four loads of laundry, a Saturday Morning of power cleaning and half a bag of Lindt Chocolates later, the hurricane region has been deemed safe for human occupancy.
One by one the items on the To-Do list have been crossed off. It feels really good to finally be able to spend the proper amount of time on homework assignments and have “free time” to go play in the sun (when it’s around). We have had a lot of really nice days in the Keweenaw lately, although every Bluebird day seems to be followed by snowfall. It’s really nice during the day (totally Chaco weather!) and still gets below freezing at night. I can’t wait to have an open morning to go crust skiing through the trees! These temperature conditions also mark the maple sap harvesting season. After 4 years of looking out my bedroom window at one of the most beautiful Maple trees around, I have finally remembered to place a spile and collect sap. Get your pancakes ready!
Making sure to take the time off to do fun things is super important. Every year, after the last race of the season, the last thing I want to see are my skis, boots and poles. Races are over, I’m D.O.N.E. During the winter, we are required to be moving forward at lightning pace. Keeping up with the training, racing, and school work is exhausting and doesn’t leave much time for anything else. The off season is important because it reminds us who we are outside of ski racing. We finally have time to spend with our friends, have hobbies, and catch up on all of the things we may have missed during the winter. It feels good.
In the past it has taken months after the last race for me to get excited about skiing again. This year, it only took a week. I’m not sure if this is because such a huge chapter of my life is coming to a close, or because this season was so much fun, or if it’s the sun, but whatever the reason maybe I’m excited to see what next year has to offer. Training for next season won’t start until May, so for now I’ll enjoy every minute of the off-season freedom and let every stride be a reminder of how much I love this sport.