Despite the looks from the title of this post, I’m not in Aspen. I’m in Toblach, Italy preparing for the last World Cup race before the Olympic Games. However, last night was an Olympic Sendoff party in Aspen hosted by the Aspen Skiing Company. I am very sad to have missed it, but I feel included because of all the stories and pictures I’ve received from the event. Out of the 4 Aspen athletes competing in Sochi, only Torin Yater-Wallace (ski halfpipe) was able to attend the event. The rest of us (myself, my teammate Simi Hamilton and figure skater Jeremy Abbott) were represented by family members. Here’s a picture of all the representatives on stage from Mary Hatanaka. (All of my pictures of the event are from Mary.)
My parents represented me onstage. (It appears from the pictures that they brought a poster of me with them. I am mortified.)
Here is my mom giving a little speech:
Simi was represented by his mom Ruthie Brown and stepfather Al Byer, both of whom are coming to cheer us on in Sochi. I’m excited to see them.
Here’s Torin. I’m glad one of us athletes was able to attend.
The Aspen Skiing Company gave a beautiful belt buckle to each of us.
I’m very excited to get to use it.
I am so grateful to the Aspen Skiing Company for hosting the event, my parents for attending in my stead and the community of Aspen for the incredible support. I am disappointed I could not be there in person, but I feel very connected from across the ocean.
I had a good very basic training day here in Toblach. Even though Italian breakfasts are generally limited, this is our second hotel in a row with the option to boil your own eggs. I really like this feature because I like my eggs very soft.
The entire Olympic team is here in Toblach, and it feels like a big group relative to what we had last week.
It dumped snow all day.
I waited to train till the afternoon and the stadium was empty.
The swirling wind made it nasty to be outside.
Luckily the groomer went out just before I got on the trails, and I had perfect tracks.
I skied with my technique coach Zach Caldwell.
Zach is from Putney, Vermont and is here as a guest technician for the U.S. Ski Team at the Olympics. I am very glad he’s here because I needed to revisit my classic technique. Zach generally travels to one race series each winter, and I always ski better when he’s around. He is incredible at bringing my focus to the right thing to get me to ski fast. He’s a little tired after travelling over here two days ago and was working hard to keep up with me today.
As I was walking back from the stadium to the hotel, I saw this banner promoting Cortina, Italy’s bid to host the 2019 Alpine World Championships. Cortina is 30 kilometers from here. The “queen” stage of the Tour de Ski every year starts in Cortina and finishes in Toblach.
Next year’s Alpine World Championships will be held in Vail/Beaver Creek, Colorado. I am proud that Colorado is hosting a major FIS championship, and I wish I could watch.
After my ski this afternoon I played cribbage with my teammate Ida Sargent. We enjoyed the delicious snacks I received yesterday from Mark Doughty and family.
Lastly, Kikkan Randall got her hair re-dyed today in preparation for the Olympics. Here’s the “before” shot:
And the “after” shot: