New Season, Same Life

The Early Season training is about to be underway, with the team leaving for Portillo Chile and Vale Nevado in early september. Where we will be on snow and training for a strong season to try to get the edge over our international competition. The few summer months are just about over with many of the team staying on snow and constantly training. The team as a whole, has a set schedule for dryland training and heart rate monitoring to keep us in prime physical shape to enter our season. from monthly camps at the OTC and daily heart rate monitoring we are able to use technology to help give us the edge, for our endurance both on and off the snow.

As for the summer, between the training camps at the Olympic Training Center, the traveling and the heart rate testing. I have found the time off to do those rare things that i enjoy, the unique moments to find my soul. Taking a chance, where we have traveled to enjoy the local scenery. Try new things and make the experience of lifetime, every time. From being a healthy hero for the Alaska Running Club to Snorkeling and Surfing while at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista. To fishing new remote locations in Alaska and biking the highest mountain passes i can find. To Qualifying for the Boston Marathon and hiking the highest hill i can find. Its the new experiences that will ultimately make me who i am and help my story shine. The dreams , the many dreams i have and the many ways i plan on helping others are still in full force. Just taking more time, with limited funding. Though i cannot be more thankful to all those who help and believe in me. From Netcracker Technology who funds my skiing season to the HighFives Foundation, Kelly Brush Foundation and CAF who have come together to help make my Summer Paralympic goals achievable with a new Hand Cycle. I plan on pursuing a life of adventure and unknown, moving forward, trying new things and helping as many as i can a long the way.

I cannot be more thankful for all of you who follow on my adventures and i cannot be more excited to tell you how training in Portillo and Valle Nevado turns out.

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The Power Of Perspective

Inspiring video on the life and times of Andrew Kurka. Sometimes when all else fails all you have to do is keep moving forward.

 

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Never ending season

With the plane filling up I am sitting comfortably. Reflecting on my season and looking forward to what’s next. The year ended well, from the podiums in World Cup Finals. All the way to being overall champion at US nationals at Loon Mtn New Hampshire.

Thinking back I’m starting to realize how much I love skiing. From the sponsors and the friends. To the people that believe in me and the difference that can be made and the true impact i can have on others. I go almost instantly from being happy the season is over. To being excited for what is next. After all the season never ends, its simply on to what is next, its simply time to take that next step.

The end of season fundraiser Adaptive Spirit, was a another great one. Where I had the chance to see my sponsors, and talk to new ones. Not just about my own personal dreams but the difference we can make together. Whether it’s taking kids with cancer fishing, or veterans. There are people that believe in my cause and to see the support, is all it takes for my mind to fly with excitement of the next step.

Whether it’s cycling, finding a boat for giving that once in a lifetime experience of fishing Alaska, or giving that chance of a lifetime to visit Alaska. I know I will keep taking that next step forward and I am thankful to everyone that helps give me that chance to help others.

As for the US Team and training, our next step will be going to the Olympic Training Center at the beginning of May to work with professional weight lifting coaches on our conditioning and performance goals. It is an exciting next step in strengthening our bodies. Preparing for the up and coming World Cup Season. Where i have a deep down feeling, we will have another dominating season. Thanks to all our support. Which is you, our followers, and the amazing event which is Adaptive Spirit.

  
  
  

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Looking ahead

With World Cup Finals just ending in Aspen Colorado and another season coming to an end. I can feel the positive emotion and excitement for team USA, a very strong very young team. Looking forward to our future and what we can do not just in this sport but for this sport. Ending off the season, i felt we definitely did it right winning the women’s Nations Cup and Placing a close second behind Russia for the mens Nations Cup. A Globe representing the best World Cup teams to compete this year. I have no doubt we would’ve been in that first place spot, if not for some unfortunate injuries that occurred at the end of the year, including Tyler Walker and Jamie Stanton.

Despite the injuries, we still had a very solid team, the rookies were able to step up and step in with some impressive podiums in World Cup Finals, including Josh Elliot and Thomas Walsh putting down both a silver and a Gold.

Looking ahead, the future is nothing but bright. With a young team, talent, perseverance, and heart. I know we can go far, and be the best. Many of us were barely etched out for a globe, winning a globe means to be the best skier in the world for this year. Though many of us didn’t get the globe, we came in a close second or third. Which tells me with the heart and dedication we have as a team, we can truly dominate in years to come.

Completing goals is something i can feel we can all relate to, it gives you a sense of accomplishment shows that things are moving in the right direction. Thats why I’m proud to have completed my goal for this year, it speaks to me personally and brings faith to everything i have hoped to accomplish with my career. As an athlete i understand i am on a pedestal, an example. Put in a place of opportunity to make a difference for the world or at least for many others. Seeing the team like this, knowing i am consistently progressing and going from one injury a year. To a full year of constant skiing, having the opportunity to represent my country and knowing i can come back stronger. Helps me to feel nothing but thankful and know that all the injuries, the surgeries, the sweat and the tears. Count for something, they make my story that much more impactful and help me to show what i have been through and hopefully make a difference for others going through a similar difficult time.

 

 

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Consistant Momentum

Moving forward is a strength, never easy, always constant. But for some, it is a way of life. Something that is second nature and always nudging at the back of your mind. I find this momentum, a form of inspiration. To move forward, always searching for whats next always doing your best along the way.

Its been a great few weeks and team USA isn’t looking back, just forward. With US Nationals out of the way, and a few Silver and Gold Medals under our belt. We can’t wait for World Cup Finals on our own turf, Aspen Colorado, here at the beginning of March. As a team we have done well on the international circuit.But right now we are looking to the future. What is still left to be done. Consistency is key, from all the injuries in the past year, all the pain and all the memories, to all the new things to come, looking forward. Is what gives us the momentum to find our strength and to give our all. In the face of adversity. US Nationals went well, a great team defending a great title, with a chance to remember a great man, our former coach. Sean Ramsden, every year this is a great race in remembrance of him. Competition was firm with some of the best racers in the world showing up from Team New Zealand. But team US was able to still put down some great national podiums and more importantly race on the hill that prepares us for World Cup Finals, our biggest race of the year. Coming up here in a week, it will be hosted at Aspen mountain on the World Cup venue. It is the final World Cup race of the year determining who will win the globes and go home a champion. I will do my best to keep everyone updated with links to watch the race live!

 

 

 

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Moment Of Gold

From Germany to Austria, Austria to Slovenia, Slovenia to Italy, Italy to Switzerland and Switzerland to France. It was a successful season for the US Paralympic Alpine Skiing Team. We were given a chance to inspire and make our names known. Thats exactly what happened. There are moments when all the work and every moment of pain seems worth it. That, to me, is the Moment of Gold. We have all experienced these. As an athlete its the moment on the podium, the moment of success. For ski racers, its knowing you were just a few hundredths of a second faster. Less than the blink of an eye. For others its the fight in every moment of creating success, then having it all pay off. We have all experienced and can relate to this, but the things that make each of us extraordinary instead of ordinary is the ability to fight, its the willingness to work, and the hope it will all pay off. After all if it was easy, everyone would do it. That moment of success is what a lot of the US team was able to experience this trip. Some big medals were thrown down by, new comer Thomas Walsh a Cancer Survivor, Jamie Stanton and Tyler Walker I even managed a Gold medal in the SuperG race in Tignes France. Nearly 40 World Cup medals in 4 countries. It was a great chance to represent our country and bring publicity to the paralympic movement. As a team we are looking forward to much more success and we couldn’t be more thankful for the opportunities that are given to us. We put the responsibility of being an example, on our shoulders and hope its enough to make a true difference. Because! The year has just begun. We have more races starting off February in Aspen and Canada then starting off May we will have World Cup Finals in Aspen Colorado. Our home hill! Hopes are high and theres much more to look forward to.

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From Alaska to Slovenia and in-between

Happy New Year!

With the holidays just ending, the time off to see the family, the break away from the gym, the food. Hasn’t made us lose the edge, in fact it gives strength to an athlete. The time away, helps us to better focus on what needs to be done. The family, helps us realize where  it is we’ve come from and where it is we are going. The food reminds us we need to hit it hard, when we get back after it. It can be a time to remind us why it is we do what we do, for the love of the sport. For a chance to be remembered, not just for the legacy, but in the hearts of many that can say “He inspired me” or “Thats when i knew who i wanted to be”. Its that chance to be an example to others, which is why the holidays are so amazing. the time off reminds us exactly what it is we need to focus on.

Now don’t get me wrong, i didn’t stop skiing. I just skied differently, training was in the morning and in Alaska closer to family for 14 days over the holidays. With free skiing in the afternoon and evening. Even had a chance to ski christmas chute which was my adversary back in the day, i was the first monoskier to ski it and to re visit those memories helped me to realize, exactly how far i have come. Whats amazing about skiing at Alyeska in Alaska other than it is where i had my humble beginnings. Is the Powder and the night skiing is hard to beat. There was nearly 90 new inches of powder at the top while i was there, which made for some fantastic powder skiing and truly helped me get my head on my shoulders and realize why i love and do this sport. But what was even better is i had a chance to sit in Challenge Alaska ski school, where it all began for me. See the shining young smiling faces, have the new young athletes say hi and ask me for my autograph and go skiing. It gave me a chance to hopefully inspire the next generation to pursue the difference that can be made with an extraordinary life. Or to at least pursue above ordinary one.

After the holidays the team took a strong week to gather our wits and start training to get back in the zone in Aspen Colorado. Skiing from the top of Ajax and buttermilk mountain all the way to Highlands. To experience as many conditions as possible and challenge ourselves with the terrain.

 

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After training is Aspen the team has made our way to Europe to start the World Cup season. Many of us can’t wait and are excited, but the snowfall here hasn’t been all to great so our first race which was supposed to be in Abtenau Austria has been moved and delayed to Kransja Gora Slovenia. Which has given us an extra few days to relax and get acclimated to the time change. While getting a chance to tour the city of Innsbruck Austria and ski the top of the world famous Kitzbuhul Downhill. One experience that was great for me, was while touring a museum here in Austria i was able to look back at records where my mothers maiden name goes all the way back to the 1500s. Something else that was personally touching is i had a chance to say a prayer in the famous Jacobs Cathedral and light a candle in honor of those who have lost their lives due to disabilities.

In the next week TeamUSA will be competing in Slovenia and traveling to Tarvisio Italy for some Giant Slalom and Slalom competitions, i will do my best to keep you updated! Thank you for your time, your support, and for following on my adventure.

Thumbs up!

Fist Bump!

High Five!

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