I wanted to start something new for the new year and try out blogging. I’ve always had more on my mind than what I say publicly on Twitter, and hopefully it’s entertaining for you to read as well. Without a 140 character limit, hopefully I can be a little more honest and say exactly what I want to. I’ve been on this kick lately of dishing out the truth in a lot of situations, and I’ve definitely said some controversial things. Controversy is good, right? It gets you to think critically, and I feel like everyone could use more of that.
Anyway, I daydream and think to myself during long-ish car rides.. especially because my girlfriend, Audrey, was sleeping. I was wondering if 2011 was a success or failure for me. My first reaction was that it was a definite failure. I had the worst ski season of my career, hopefully that was my rock bottom. The poor season created a domino effect with my financial security taking the biggest hit. I lost my funding through the US Ski Team. I was dropped from the Elite Athlete Health Insurance. I moved 4 different times from June-November. I currently have no “home” because I couldn’t afford rent. All my belongings are in a storage space in Park City, UT. For the first time in 2 years, I was back in the work force work a part-time job during my training periods. I was too poor to attend any of our team’s summer/fall on-snow camps. I was truly living like a bum. Living week-to-week was a struggle.
On the other hand, 2011 was a great learning experience for me. I’ve never been so stressed out in my life, but I held it together. I had been slapped with real life, right in the dick. I look back and I’m glad I didn’t cave in. I had plenty of help to keep persisting.
First off, my family was incredible. Even though it’s a small family, there’s lots of love. They never expect me to quit for any reason. Their generosity and support kept me up right when I was ready to give up. One example is my mom had my brother drive out to Utah in October just so she could buy my LoveSac from me. They are always there when I need them most. Me being homeless this winter may be a blessing in disguise. I will be treating Tahoe as my home base when we don’t have training or competitions. I will be able to see them more than usual, and I’m excited about that.
My girlfriend, Audrey deserves a lot of credit. She helps me even when she has no idea she is. She keeps me level headed, always has the right things to say, and reminds me what is really important in the world. Our relationship has blossomed, even though my financial situation hasn’t. I’m grateful that she is not impressed by material things and she likes me for who I am.
Also, my teammates were very inspiring. One in particular, Dave DiGravio. He was in the exact same situation I was in. We both had to move around quite a bit during the late summer-fall to save as much as we could for the season. He is incredibly selfless, helping me find a place to stay in November. He also came up with a brilliant idea of selling our junk on eBay (which helped both of us survive in November). In addition, Dave’s work ethic is impeccable. He is a great workout partner and I credit him for helping me be in the shape I’m in right now. Also, another great gym partner is Joe Discoe, one of the strongest guys on the team. I mention these guys because they were there everyday that I was there and we were on the same program. I am not taking shots at anyone else on the team. They either do not live full-time in Park City, or they are not on the same program.
Also, I received a lot of support from employers. I’ve worked a number of years with two programs in the summer: Mogul Logic Ski Camp in Whistler, BC; and CVA Trampoline and Skate Camp in Maine. They employ me every year and I get to teach people how to do what I love to do. It’s a great opportunity for me and I can’t thank them enough. I’d also like to thank PowerAde for employing me part-time during the summer.
Sponsors are big help, all of them are listed under the “sponsors” tab on this page. One sponsor in particular, Heavenly, has been an incredible supporter. They invested in my heavily up to the 2010 season in hopes that I would have a good result in Vancouver. I disappointed them by getting injured a month prior to the games, and I am very lucky they stuck with me. Sponsors aren’t too happy when you have a shitty season and get them no media coverage. I just hope to vindicate them for sticking with me.
If you’re reading this, you deserve a big thank you. I have an amazing fanbase. You have come together to help me countless times, and you don’t realize most of them. There were plenty of times in the offseason I wanted to throw the athletic career away and get back into college or the workforce. You have all kept me in this game and I can’t thank you enough. I love when you guys congratulate me on a good result and I hate breaking bad news to you like I did almost every week last season. I am extremely fortunate to have such great fans, probably the best in freestyle.
2011 wasn’t a complete failure when I account for everything. I learned how to scramble and survive. The most important lesson I learned is that when you focus and believe in the right things, it can be an incredible weapon for you. During the summer and fall when I couldn’t attend our important pre-season snow camps, my focus and work ethic was right where it needed to be. This has made me into a stronger person and competitor.
I can’t forget that my 2011 ended with some successes. I got my first podium of my career with a 2nd place in Ruka. A week later, I got the second podium of my career finishing 3rd in Meribel. I’m currently ranked 2nd in the World in my sport. I got to spend Christmas with my family in Tahoe and New Year’s with Audrey and her family. I’m hoping that all of the lessons I’ve learned from my failures will avenge the (mostly) awful 2011 I had.