Posted December 30, 2009on:
This is my last blog of 2009 as we move into the Olympic year. I spent my last month of the year traveling around Europe, ski racing. This doesn’t sound like anything different than my usual winter routine but I have vowed to enjoy my time traveling and to try and embrace the differences each new country brings instead of being home sick.
We started the month in Are, Sweden and that made appreciating new places easy. Although the world cup did not go as well as I had planned, I really liked how Sweden seemed to be a hybrid of the best things about the U.S. and the best things of main land Europe all rolled into one country. When you are on the road for long periods of time it is the little pleasures, like finding Ben and Jerry’s ice cream in a Swedish grocery store, that can brighten your day.
Then, after a stint on the Europa Cup grind, all of the girls got some much-needed time off for Christmas. Christmas away from home is a tough reality for the U.S. Women’s technical team but, if I do say so myself, we made the best of it. On the 24th we went to the Christmas market in Salzberg, the birthplace of Mozart! Between the stands of Christmas cookies, gluwien, specialty foods and ornaments, we found our cheer! After exploring the city and the market thoroughly we headed back to our new apartments in Kaprun, where the owner showed us how a traditional Austrian Christmas is really done! We started with a Champagne toast around a beautifully decorated Christmas tree. Then we moved on to a delicious five-course meal that began with a curry pumpkin soup and ended with a gingerbread soufflé!! After all of the food we needed some fresh air and the Austrians were way ahead of us. Carrying torches we walked to the town castle to sing Christmas carols under the stars. Apparently, the carol Silent Night also comes from the city of Salzberg!
The next morning was Christmas morning and we all tried to make it as much like home as possible. Around our little Christmas tree we ate a big French toast breakfast and opened presents from secret santas. There was plenty of food, chocolate, laughs and friendship to recover anyone for the last race of the month in Lienz. In Leinz, I had my best result of the season so far. I am proud to say that I moved up from starting 50th to finishing 20th with the third fastest second run.
I am now headed back to the U.S. to celebrate New Years with my family and race some Norams. It will be good to get back on my home turf and try to score some FIS points so I can have a better starting position in the upcoming races the year!
Until Next time, Happy New Years!!!