This is the seventh and final installment of a seven part series in which the U.S. Ski Team’s Noah Hoffman recounts his 2010-2011 season. With the 2012 season just around the corner, the series comes to its conclusion with a SuperTour Finals, and a spring rest.
I had an extremely eventful end to the race season with some really good and some disappointing results. In addition, I’ve had an incredible, whirlwind spring. I’ve spent time with some great friends, seen some amazing places, and made some big decisions. Overall, everything has been awesome since my last update!
My season ended with Spring Series in Sun Valley, Idaho. The week was jam-packed with five races in eight days. In the time between World Championships and Spring Series I got sick, recovered fully, and had five solid days of training in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. I was feeling good and ready to ski fast when I arrived in Sun Valley.
(I am bib 6.) The first race was the 50 kilometer national championship. I felt very good until the last of seven laps. At that point I experienced some cramp-spasms that caused me to stop skiing and lose contact with the lead pack. My coaches and I believe it happened because I was dehydrated. I have known for a long time that I have trouble staying hydrated, but this was the first time the problem had cost me a good result. That experience was a huge eye opener.
The highlight of the week for me was the fourth race, a classic sprint. Sprinting is generally not my strong suit. The time trial in the morning went pretty well; I was 24th (top 30 qualify for the quarterfinals.) I had never made it past the quarterfinals in a sprint, so I was pretty nervous. My quarterfinal went very smoothly and worked out just as my coaches and I talked about. I was able to ski with the group until the one hill on the course where I made my move and finished in the lead. In the semifinals I got extremely lucky. My teammate and I tangled up at the beginning and crashed. For the rest of the race I was chasing the pack. By the finishing straight I was up to fourth place but only the top 3 move on. All of a sudden, the second and third place finishers in front of me got tangled up and fell. I couldn’t believe my luck in making it through to the finals! I got a little tired in the final and ended up fifth out of the six skiers, but it was still a very good day for me.
With all the excitement of the sprint, I had forgotten to drink anything. I was so dehydrated that I could barely stand up for the last race the next day. It was a hill climb up Dollar Mountain in which I should have performed well. Instead I struggled all the way up. Guess what, HYDRATION is going to be the word of the summer for me!
After Spring Series I headed to Park City for some surgery on my shoulder. Over the past two years I experienced some reoccurring shoulder problems, and I needed to address the issue as soon as the season ended. Five days after my last race, I had the labrum in my left shoulder repaired.
So far, everything has gone as well as I could have hoped. I’ve been in a sling for the last five weeks, but I only have one more week of immobilization! I’ll head back to Park City next week to begin rehab.
I have tried to stay as busy as possible while in a sling. My parents and I took a weekend trip to Kansas City to visit some of my dad’s side of the family. It was a great trip. We saw an incredible Jazz concert at 18th and Vine, “internationally recognized as one of the cradles of jazz.”
The lead singer of the group we saw was formerly of The Temptations. We also had some great Kansas City barbecue and went to a Royals game. My cousin Justin took me out one night to show me a good time!
After a couple more days in Aspen I headed east for a “city trip”.
It was warm and everything was blooming! My first stop was in Washington D.C. to see my friend Robert Oppenheimer, who goes to George Washington University. I had never been to D.C. and it was great.
Here Robert and I are at the Lincoln Memorial.
This is the World War II Memorial. There was so much to see I could have spent another month checking everything out. Robert was a great host, showed me around, and made sure I had a good time. He and his roommate Chloe were very generous to put me up for 5 days.
Next I moved on to Philadelphia to see a friend of mine, Jon Schafer. Schafer really knows how to show his guests a good time. He took me out to game 7 of the Flyers vs. Sabres NHL playoff series. It was a great night and a great trip to Philly! Thanks Jon and wife Kathryn for their generosity!
Lastly, I headed to New York City to meet up with my teammate and friend Liz Stephen, and to watch another friend of ours, Julie Blume, dance in the Metropolitan Opera.
Liz and I got dressed up to go to the Met! Julie has been a modern dancer with Parsons Dance Company, but this was her first opera. I had never been to an opera, and I enjoyed it enormously, much more than I thought I would!
Julie and Liz on the Brooklyn Bridge.
I walked around the site of the US Open! In New York Liz and I stayed with another friend of mine, Tom Watts.
This is the view from Tom’s apartment. Thank you, Tom, for your generosity and for sharing your space with us. I am so lucky to have such great friends!
As soon as I got back to Colorado I headed down to Boulder to watch my friend Laura Hatanaka graduate from the University of Colorado. She is an excellent student, and it was great to see her success. She was awarded the Mechanical Engineering Senior of the Year!
Here are Laura, her brother John, and me in Boulder. While on the Front Range I also spent time with my grandparents, aunt and uncle, and cousins. A group of my friends and I went to the Rockies’ game on Monday courtesy of my Uncle Tom List. It was a great game and a ton of fun! Thanks Tom!
Finally it was time to get to work! Last Friday I sat down with my two coaches, Zach Caldwell and John Callahan. Every spring we sit down to talk about the past season, my training plan and goals for the coming year. Essentially we try to cover anything I do or could do as it pertains to skiing (and some things that don’t have anything at all to do with skiing.) The biggest decision we made is that I’m going to continue skiing and continue to put everything into being the best in the world. This is something I want to revisit every year. I have several other things I want to accomplish in my life, and if I ever feel I am not improving in my skiing I will move on to the next pursuit. The other major thing we decided is that I am going to give up my NCAA (collegiate) eligibility and turn professional. I now understand that I will not ski for a university, and there is no other benefit to remaining an amateur. On the whole, our meeting was very successful and I am optimistic and impatient to move forward towards next year.
I am now getting back into full-time training. With my sling on I am able to spin on a stationary bike, use the elliptical trainer, and hike (both outdoors and on a treadmill.) I am also beginning a search for a title (headgear) sponsor. I’ll let you know how it goes.
Thanks as always for your continued support!
The US Ski Team’s Noah Hoffman spent most of the winter racing in Europe, with stints back in the United States for National Championships and the SuperTour Finals. With two top-30’s at World Championships in Oslo, Norway leading the way, Noah had his best season to date, adding strong performances on the World Cup and U23 World Championships.
Along the way, Noah sent periodic updates back to friends and family – a digital diary documenting the entire 2010-2011 training and racing season. The journey started over a year ago with the end of the 2010 campaign and a trip to New York City. With stops in Bend, Oregon, Lake Placid, New York, Finland, Latvia, Estonia and Norway among others, Noah had plenty to write home about before he wrapped things up in Sun Valley, Idaho this April at the SuperTour Finals.
He has graciously shared these updates with FasterSkier, providing a unique year-long perspective on the life of an elite ski racer. We will publish Noah’s updates in serial form, with a new one coming every few days.
The Hoffman Chronicles