The World Junior and U23 Championships revealed the fact that young skiers in this country are competitive on the world stage. Our future talent is spectacular... The question now is how can we get better?
World Junior and U23 Championship Teams
Matt Whitcomb, Ali Deines, Amy Caldwell, Reid Lutter, Randy Gibbs, Andrew Johnson, Pat Casey
World Junior Team:
Alexa Turzian, Rosie Brennan, Liz Stephen, Jennie Bender, Liz Habermann, Sadie Bjornsen, Parker Tyler Karl Nygren, Matt Gelso, Tad Elliot, Alex Howe, Charlie Smith, Reid Pletcher, Colin Struthers
Lindsay Williams, Morgan Smyth, Morgan Arritola, Laura Valaas, Tazlina Mannix Mikey Sinnot, Ben True, Brenton Knight, Bart Dengel, Tyson Flaharty
The term 'cautiously optimistic' was what came to mind when I returned from Europe on the 12 hour Frankfurt/ Denver flight. I am optimistic about the prospect of having this team be very similar next year. I am optimistic because we are trending towards greatness at the international level. I am optimistic because the 10 months ahead give us 10 more months to gain on the competition.
The results for World Junior and U23 Championships would be better followed by checking out the FIS web-site for results.; The web site is slow, awkward, and confusing, but the results are all there. A quick glance at the FIS site (www.fis-ski.com) would show you that team USA had 16 top 30 results during the championships. It would take a little more digging, but you would also find that 5 of those results were top 10’s and every top ten came from a different athlete. I am confident in stating that these are the best results that team USA has ever had at world junior and U23 championships. However, with the new race schedule and U23 category it gets a little fuzzy trying to compare results like this.
Comparing results in this fashion is always a mixed bag. It is hard to tell what other countries have for talent that year. It is hard to tell who hit the wax or who picked skate skis in the classic qualifier. However, it isn’t hard to see what the trends are. The skiers in the USA are getting more competitive on the international level. Our clubs and coaches are doing a better job at preparing young skiers, the athletes are doing a better job at taking care of business, and the ski industry is putting better equipment into the pipeline.
Each and every athlete on this trip was doing their best at preparing for their races. I would say that each athlete was ‘All in’. The small things (details) add up to equal the one big thing (success). It may seem like the details of wearing your heart rate monitor, replacing carbs and electrolytes before, during and after training, grinding and waxing your skis... etc are all minor. The details are what make each workout successful or not. Becky Scott told our Continental Cup skiers, in a meeting this fall, that the difference between her skiing just barely in the top 30 and her skiing in the top 5 was making the most of every workout. Every workout every day… Team USA was making the most of every workout in Italy. All athletes were taking care of the details that they needed to in order to succeed.
Now what? Well, some of you are still racing… For those of you in Presque Isle, or Scandinavia I wish you good luck on your last set of races. For those of you who are done with racing for the season there is not a minute to loose. Learn from your season by making a list of what went well and what could be better. Make a plan and initiate the plan ASAP. Consistency in training is the most important thing. So, get out the door and start building your base fitness up again. Long easy efforts should be a staple this time of year, but never get away from strength and intensity.
We have roughly 10 months to gain on the competition… So, don't rest on your laurels. Get into it... Pay attention to the details every workout. Don't take this time off. Learn from your success and mistakes, make a plan, and put your plan into action.
Everyone put your hands in the middle and do something that you feel uncomfortable doing. Yes, make a cheer because it is humiliating if you would do it alone, but there is safety in numbers. Being part of the team can let you do things that you can’t do alone.
Get the most out of each workout… Here Bogus Basin Nordic Juniors are giving the onion their hard time trial day. (Keelin Ryan, Charlie Fereday, and Jordi Johnson)
Long easy workouts this time of year can include some cross training like backcountry skiing in the La Salle mountains seen here.
Base endurance is lost during the race season. Now is the time to build it back up.
If you are a leader on your team take a young skier under your wing this summer. They look up to you and you can show them how to do it better. (Will Barta from Boise racing hard.)
Learn how to be better on your skis. If you have crust to cruise on, or snowmobile tracks to explore and the conditions aren’t perfect go anyways. You can’t go fast if you are timid on your skis.
(Zack Simons getting up on the qualifying in West Yellowstone.)
Listen to your coach. Ask questions, make training plans, and follow your training plan. Make a list of what went well and what can be better next year…
(Ben Husaby in West)
Train smart (Morgan in West)
Rest Well (Morgan in Davos)
Be Great! (Rosie, Alexa, and Liz in Sun Valley Supertour)