Now that the season is coming to an end and I am looking back to review it and set new goals for next year- I want to take the chance to really thank and recognize the people that helped make it possible this year.
After being named to the National Team this year, about three months before the World Cup Season began, the US Team received a massive budget cut, cutting all funding available to B-team members for World Cup Skiing. Being determine to make things work, I set out on a search for supporters. With a knowledge that I would be spending 5 months racing at $150/day plus all air fair between venues, as well as overseas two times- I set out on a search to raise $30,000. I frantically applied for every grant I could find, and started asking for help.
I want to thank my many friends, family, supporters, sponsors, club teams, and everyone else for stepping up and generously offering your help via financial support, cheers, and/or pointing me in a new direction. The US faces a unique challenge in that we must fund our way to success. Many times this may seem tough, frustrating, and unrealistic- but at the same time I think it challenges us to develop new skills and create a family of supporters. When we get our moment of success or glory, we get to share that success with the thousands of people that got us there.
I am just at the beginning of my career, and I know that this year has only set a bar for my future. I look forward to continuing to set new goals and chase after these goals. With the Olympics only two years away now, and a recent jump in motivation among american skiing-the US has a presence on the World Cup now. We are excited to show up, mix it up, and be competitive among the European and Scandinavian countries. It truly is an exciting time.
With that, we are still faced with the same financial challenges going into next year as well- so the quest for support continues.
I want to take the time to recognize and thank some of the crucial people that made it work for me this year. First off, thanks to my home town for putting their forces together to get the 501c3 Elite Opportunity Fund running. The Methow Valley has a large amount of talent that has come from it, and I know that will only continue. With some of the best skiing in the world, and many enthusiastic athletes- it's hard to not grow up loving the sport. So thanks to everyone that either donated to this Fund, or helped put it together.
Second, thanks to my present team, APU for making it possible. I couldn't be happier with a group of people and coaches to work with every day and then show up at races with! I have a pretty unique opportunity where I get to attend school full time while racing as an elite athlete. This has taught me a great deal about time management, being flexible, and burring your head in the books while racing. It is a special thing going on at APU with an incredible amount of talent and enthusiasm. Thanks to Erik Flora for leading the charge, and getting it done!!
|Rockin Support Crew!!|
Third, I want to thank the US Ski Team. The support and structure that is set up for all of us athletes traveling on the World Cup is incredible. Every wax tech and coach is there to make it happen. If it means bending over ackwards to make sure you are comfortable, set for success, and prepared for everything- they will do it. Thanks guys!
|Thats what success looks like! Kikkan with her Crystal Globe and the US support Staff|
Fourth, I want to thank the National Nordic Foundation. This is something the US cross country ski community has worked to put together in order to support a variety of talented athletes in the US. Starting at the J1 level, the NNF has tried to make it possible for the young incoming talent to be able to attend races in Europe for the first time. As they work up the chain, this organization has also helped me attend World Juniors and U23's for the past six years, along with many other young stars. Thanks to Dave Knoop for leading that charge and donating so much time towards helping athletes. Also a big thanks to the many people that have donated to this cause.
Fifth, I want to thank all my teammates. My US Team teammates, my APU teammates, my NAWTA teammates- all of them. Thanks for pushing me, supporting me, and being great friends. You guys rock!!
|One Team among many different teams!|
This fall I started working with Carlile Transportation for my headgear sponsor. Little did I know that I was being introduced into a new group of amazing, happy, enthusiastic people. It has been nothing but wonderful working with everyone over there- not to mention learning about the trucking industry around Alaska and the lower 48. I want to thank Harry McDonald for being such a generous supporter of the APU program!
Alaska Ski Education Foundation and United States Olympic Committee. Thanks for the support through Grants you provide to the athletes! Every bit truly helps!
Fischer, Salomon, Swix, Skhoop, Rudy Project, Hammer. Thanks for keeping me speedy with fast skis, comfortable boots, speedy poles, stylish clothing, speedy eyewear, and healthy!
And finally, thanks to all the wonderful people that sent support through various manners. Maybe even kind notes, cheers, or high fives. You are all wonderful people and help keep me going. I can't tell you how much it means to get a nice email after a good race, or a response to one of my blogs. I love to hear that people are out there cheering and watching. Like I said, being able to share these goals and this passion with others is what makes it so special.
With a benchmark year done and over- I am now looking forward to this next year. Next years highs will be World Championships in Val di Fiemme as well as the World Cup in Sochi. The Sochi races will be the test drive for the following Olympic Year. Exciting times to come!!
It's crazy, and maybe a bit hard to believe- but only 1 more weeks before training for next year begins. WOW!!