The weather was fantastic and the times good in both Valle Nevado and Portillo Chile. With constant training, every day we were either on the snow training for SuperG or GS. The snow conditions were icy and hard, making for challenging but great terrain for training. Every night it would get cold and freeze, then everyday, it would warm up and become slushy. This helped pack the snow in a manner fantastic for setting up a race course. Imitating true race conditions, preparing us for the rest of the season. A substantial advantage was the fact that many teams from around the world were training there are well. Giving us a chance to train and work with them. Helping us to know exactly where our weaknesses lay and how they need to be worked on.
After training everyday we had team exercises and recovery in the gym. Then as night would blow through it was amazing to see the sunsets and change that would almost miraculously take place. Because just near us in Valle Nevado was Santiago, and over Santiago. Every night the sun would set, and the smog sitting over the city, would send out a glow. Though caused by something less than appeasing. The beauty of the sunset was still mesmerizing. The second week we spent training was in Portillo, a very unique place to train. With a beautiful surrounding lake, and a ski lift that takes you over the road. The conditions though oddly more challenging were great. Nice hard icy snow and the conditions were placed on a fun cross slope. Making keeping a edge on the hard ice challenging yet fun. The great thing was, much of the competition wasn’t getting the same training as we were in Portillo Chile. Helping to ski different conditions, really brings a good perspective and strong unique style to the team. It helps me to truly look forward to what the season has to offer. There were a few adventures and fun had off the snow! My favorite, was the chance to kayak the beautiful glacial lake of Portillo.
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.
Tagged adaptive, andrewkurka, biking, cycling, disabled, inspiring, monoski, Olympics, Paralympic, Racing, sitski
Inspiring video on the life and times of Andrew Kurka. Sometimes when all else fails all you have to do is keep moving forward.
Posted in Life and travel, SKiing
Tagged adaptive, Alaska, Alpine, bodybuilding, Colorado, disabled, Downhill, inspiring, monoski, Motivational, Racing, sitski, Skiing, Slalom, X-Games
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.
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.
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!
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.