It has been one of my goals over the past few years to win the NASTAR National Championships and get the chance to train with the U.S. Ski Team. This year, I reached that goal and had the amazing opportunity to train in Valle Nevado, Chile for ten days. As the NASTAR Champion, I was invited to train with the U.S. Women’s Technical Team whom compete in Slalom and Giant Slalom on the World Cup. My dad, grandfather and I flew to Chile on September 8th, 2011 and arrived in Santiago early on Friday the 9th.
When we arrived at Valle Nevado Ski Resort, we found ourselves in the middle of a fresh snowfall. We unpacked all of our things and headed to dinner, meeting the US Women’s Technical Team for the first time, including Hailey Duke, Resi Stiegler, Mikaela Shiffrin, and Megan McJames. They were the four athletes in training that were there and it was amazing to be able to meet my idols. Saturday, everyone free- skied because the fresh powder conditions present were too dangerous for us to gate train. After the first day, training began. We started with Slalom training on the Sunday and it was amazing to be able to watch the top World Cup athletes ski gates. Some afternoons we free-skiied and others included trips to the gym for core strength and flexibility training. Slalom training proceeded to go excellently the next two days. The U.S. Ski team coachers, Roland Pfeiffer and Pete Atkins were very supportive and coached me like one of their own! Day 3 we had a slalom run all to ourselves, which my dad and granddad had helped ice down 2 days before with the U.S. Coaches and it was like an ice rink by Day 3! I was only about 3 seconds off the U.S. girls times on a very icy and technical slalom course, and they are 10 to 12 years older than me. The girls kept me pumped up and motivated even though they are so much more experienced.
By Day 4, I was really ready to train Giant Slalom. While Hailey Duke, Resi Stiegler and Mikaela took the training day off, Megan McJames and I had an opportunity to get in some great GS training, with the Canadian National Team. As the days ticked by, they even helped me with boot fitting, canting and ski tuning over and above what dad did for me! With the last days drawing near, I relished every moment I could. Following the last day of training with the “girls”, we packed our things and reluctantly said our final goodbyes and began our long journey back to St. Louis, Missouri.
Reflecting on the trip I realize how amazing it was and how I wish I could do it again. My goals are set on being a U.S. Ski team member in the coming years, with the ultimate dream of the 2018 Olympics! The girls were all very nice and accepted me as if I was a fellow teammate. It was an extraordinary occasion and I want to thank NASTAR for making my dream come true! I will remember it for the rest of my life!
2011 NASTAR National Champion
3-Time Junior Olympian and GS Bronze Medalist in JO’s
Ski Club Vail J-3 Athlete
Hometown: Wildwood, Mo