Skiing, like life, is all about keeping it simple and making the right decisions. What do I eat for breakfast? What do I do for my warm-up? What skis do I race on? These decisions are easy. Sometimes they get harder.
On Monday, I earned the opportunity to compete in the January World Cup races in Russia and Estonia, as the men’s SuperTour leader. The International Ski Federation (FIS) treats the Continental Cup leader from each “continent” (SuperTour, NorAm, Europa Cup, Scando Cup, etc) as a “Red Group” athlete (Top-30 World Ranking list), paying the fees, travel, and living expenses for the races. What does this mean? It means I’ve got the opportunity to compete in the Russian and Estonian World Cups on FIS’s dime. Two years ago, I raced World Cups in the Czech Republic, Sweden, Finland, and Norway, as part of the same program. It’s definitely the best deal out there.
Traveling to Russia is something I’ve dreamed of since I took Russian my freshman year in college (although I only pretend to know the language). Getting travel visas, etc, make getting to Russia relatively challenging, but as a World Cup athlete, all of those details are taken care of. Racing there would be awesome, especially since there is a Skate Sprint, one of my favorite events, in Rybinsk.
Despite this awesome opportunity, I’m going to stay state-side this January as part of an altitude training block that I’ve been planning with my coaches since last spring. I’ve always heard you’ve got to make sacrifices to be a professional skier. This is the first sacrifice I feel like I’ve really ever had to make for skiing. I’m confident it’s the right decision.
Dialing classic technique, Russian Style (lots of repetition), at a clinic in Lake Placid last October.