Since I was a young boy, I have thought about traveling the world and where I would go if I could choose. I told myself that when I graduated from high school I was going to backpack around Europe for a few months; but I was offered a college scholarship to play baseball that would pay for school, so I made a decision. When I was about to graduate from college I told myself that I was going to get out of the country and travel the world; but I was offered a career opportunity I just couldn’t pass up, so I made a decision. I made another decision to take an incredible career jump that would take me to Colorado Springs and then had to make another decision and another and another and another. My point in telling you all this, is that I believe that everything happens for a reason and the decisions we make shape who we are and lead us in the direction we are supposed to go.
When I was six years old and came to Vail with my family for our first ski trip, I told my mother that when I grew up I was going to live here! Here I am today with all of you! If I had made one different choice, taken a slightly different path, I don’t believe I would be here today working for such a great organization, working with the top coaches in snow-sports, and working with the best young athletes in the world!
My first time out of the country arose out of my position here in Vail as the SSCV Strength and Conditioning Director. I wrote an abstract, my first one, with Ernie Rimer from the Center of Excellence in Park City, and it was selected to be presented at the 6th International Congress on Science and Skiing (ICSS) in St. Christoph am. Arlberg! It just so happened to be during the same time that some of the SSCV alpine athletes were in Stams Austria at the Schigymnasium for an exchange the clubs do each year. We stayed in a building that was built in 1273 and I couldn’t help but imagine who and what came through that building over the past 740 years. I got the opportunity to get on the hill with all of the athletes to observe a training day and time trial day. Let me tell you that we are right up there with these young Austrian athletes and all the hard work we are putting in during the off season is what will continue to take everyone to the next level!
The ICSS was a five day congress that offered a broad interdisciplinary spectrum of current research in Nordic and Alpine skiing. The top sport scientists from all over the world came to present the latest research they are doing to take skiing, equipment, wax, and on hill tracking to the next level. The scientific program consisted of 103 oral presentations and 63 poster presentations. I did a poster presentation over the 5 days. I learned a lot about energy systems and how we need to train different athletes in different ways, about the fundamentals of eccentric training, about the biomechanics of skiing, about boot and ski design, and much, much more. With so many great minds from all over the world you might be asking how did they communicate. Well, everyone was required to present in English which was easy for some and extremely difficult for others. It was difficult for some of the presenters as questions were asked, as you could see that they knew what they wanted to say, but couldn’t translate it in their head to get the point across.
The numerous social events of the congress allowed everyone to make friends, build great relationships with other like minds from all over the world and enjoy the best that winter has to offer in the Arlberg! We got to experience the Christmas holiday through Austrian music and customs they have been doing for centuries. The people I met on this adventure will be lifelong friends, the places I saw will be ingrained in my memory forever and the experience I had is a once in a lifetime event!
Live your life to the fullest and learn all you can from anyone willing to share their knowledge.
Thank you all for allowing me to be part of your journey because you will always be a part of mine!