As you may know from my earlier posts, growing up in Tahoe we didn’t just ski, we raced. As a matter of fact, we never just skied. If we were on the hill, we were either crashing gates in hopes to make the Olympic team, or tucking downhill against each other when the races were over. We raced so much that as an adult, I either need to be racing or teaching someone how to ski. I don’t do good with just recreational skiing.
But there was one race in particular that stands out as me just being…….stupid! You see, our team was having a stellar season, and so was I! In fact, I was racking up golds on every hill we raced on. Every team knew that when we showed up it was going to be a long day and a disappointing awards ceremony. And on this one day, we happened to be racing against Kirkwood’s team on their hill. I remember pulling into their parking lot looking for the other team so we could see who we were going to stomp that day. As we got out of the cars, I noticed that it was decently cold so I kept my big down jacket on.
We hit the hill with enthusiasm and well deserved confidence….okay…ego! As we skied down to the course, we entered the gates and did what is called “slipping the course”. You ski through each gate sideways, sliding down the hill. This way you get a slow feel for the course, and you smooth out any bumps or ruts that are currently an obstacle.
We had two hotshot coaches that we loved dearly! Mike Spaulding and Chuck Frye. As I was slipping the course, Chuck was on the side of the course and he yelled out to me,
“Be sure to lose that jacket before you race. You don’t need it slowing you down!”
To which I agreed…but again, it was really cold. I got back to the start house (Where you enter the gates to start your race.) and I still had the jacket on. Once again Chuck yelled to me,
“Dude, lose the jacket!”
I responded with an, “It’ll be okay.”
“Chris, give me the jacket and I’ll ski down and give it to you at the bottom of the course.”
I had raced these guys before. I had no doubt that I could beat them. A jacket wasn’t going to be the thing that held me back.
“It’s cool Chuck. I got it.” I said.
They gave me my countdown and I kicked out of the start gate. I raced hard because I knew I had to prove that a jacket wouldn’t cause me to lose.
“Wait…what happened?!?!” Well, you’ll just have to read the rest tomorrow. 🙂