Chile: The Big Leap

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Some of you know that I’m away again, this time in Europe. I realize that I haven’t checked in for a while, so here’s an overdue update on what I’ve been up to lately, more specifically my trip to Chile with the BC Ski Team Training Group.

Chile was quite the roller coaster. Our trip started in El-Colorado, where the view was incredible. The sunsets were so beautiful and vibrant—we actually found out later that this was because the city below, Santiago, was so polluted that there was a thick layer of smog above it. Being over 3000 meters above sea level really makes training a lot tougher. Waking up with a headache, a dry throat, not enough sleep, and a suppressed appetite is not the most fun. But the hardest part of this elevation change was losing my breath so easily. I would walk up five stairs and already be out of breath. Just imagine how it felt after skiing 14 runs on a course every day.

The skiing was hard there. The snow was so slick that we couldn’t even stop sliding down the hill while inspecting. I had never skied on such steep and icy terrain. On top of that, I had equipment issues. For the first week in Chile I was skiing on a zero-degree base bevel. This made it impossible for me to roll onto my skis and control my outside ski. I didn’t understand why I was skiing so terribly, even when I was trying so hard. This was so frustrating and it made me doubt myself. Luckily, at the beginning of the second week in Portillo, we realized that I had equipment issues. After fixing my base bevel, my skiing returned to basically normal. By this time, I had gotten so worked up and worried that I would never make the team that I lost focus. We had already skied seven days in a row, took two days off, then everything changed, again. Now we were about to ski another 14 days in a row, and the training was terrific.

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Clear skies every day, rock-hard snow, and no public in the morning—any racer’s dream skiing conditions, and we had two weeks of it. Probably the best part of this camp was training on the same course as the Norwegian men’s team, and just beside us was the U.S. ski team. Cool to think that these World Cup athletes were training in the exact same way as us.

The view here in Portillo was to die for. Beautiful glacier tops, and between them was a big turquoise lake that had the most magnificent reflection. The hotel here was quite unique, too. Rooms were small but quite cozy and every afternoon, once we got back from skiing, we would come back to our rooms where our beds were made and had chocolates on each pillow. Needless to say, it’s something we looked forward to every time. Then we would go to the main part of the hotel for very fancy three-course meals that were served quite beautifully. Everyone was supposed to dress nicely—jeans, collared shirts and sweaters, no hats. No phones allowed, either.

This trip was not possible without my family, friends, and sponsors helping me out to pursue my dream and allowing me to take that next step forward. First and foremost, I want to thank my parents for letting me have this incredible experience, and putting me first before them. I’d like to thank MEC for my warm ski jackets, vest and fleece base layers. I truly mean it; I would not have made it in such cold weather without them. I also want to thank Myriam Beaugé for supporting me constantly, and helping me out with building my website and blog—watch for the video section we’re developing!

Overall, this Chile training camp was a big leap for me and I am now focused on applying what I learned there to our current European trip. Come back soon for the full story on that. So long from Austria.

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2 thoughts on “Chile: The Big Leap

    1. Hi Snejana and Dmitri,
      thank you for inviting me to stay with you (i will the next time I am in Europa), but we have moved from Italy to Austria (Hintertux) for the rest of the camp a few days ago.
      I will update you soon.
      Thanks,
      Kristina

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