Two years ago, on a sunny day of April, I swore I would never ski race again. I had had the worst ski season of my life, full of worries and tears. I had had enough. No more gates, no more bibs, no more races. That was it, I had made my decision. I couldn’t stand my passion any longer.
It was not just about a race. There had been a team change, no fixed coach but the available one took us to the races, every time a different one and I really did not feel comfortable on my own skis. Nor even once. I gave up. I spoke with the ski team president and told him what I had gone through during the season.
Apparently, he did not get mad at me, but helped me find a solution. So I changed coach and type of training, from a race-focused training to a teaching-focused: I began preparing the selections to become a ski teacher. I had a new group, a fixed group, me, Martina and Ginevra and one single coach, Umberto. We were always there, every weekend, Umberto & his angels (like Charlie’s angels). I had fun, that was probably the best ski season ever. I had no competition pressure, because I did no races and I was really happy.
Then Umberto got married and decided to teach to Aprica this season, so I could no longer train with him. The team I used to train with, Evolution Presolana, which is also the reason why I got in contact with Umberto, decided to create a specific course for my category, the young adults. They wanted us to train with another group, made up of very very good athletes, to do races and a lot of training in the gates. I was not willing to get back to something that didn’t make me feel happy. I couldn’t give up my own happiness.
I am very critical, you know that, it’s part of me and, even though some days I wished I could only appreciate the positive side, I always have the negative clear in my mind. I preferred to be critic once more and to speak with the president and the coaches who created this once more.
As M had failed the selections last year, due to a lack of training into the gates, they wanted to do this. But doing the selections was not my goal. I mean, maybe one day I would like to become a ski teacher and to do them, but that day is not today. University is my priority, school is my priority and I don’t have time to train for the selections. I said no. I refused the course, I told my dad, so that he didn’t book it by mistake, I collected my ski pass and my stuff and I walked out the Evo Headquarters (I actually didn’t even know where the HQ where until Saturday night).
Due to the lack of snow, and honestly of lust, I didn’t go ski. Nor even once. All the medals from the past seasons, hanged on the side of my bed had never weighed so much. In January, when the snow became better, I actually had my skiing-lust back. But I had no time. I had to study, study, study. Senior year is not a joke, trust me. And then the semester finished and so there was no longer an excuse.
Thanks (sorry, sorry everyone who is reading this but for me it was an amazing gift, I know it caused problems to anyone of the team) to internal conflicts both in the ski team and in the ski school, the person I didn’t want to face was no longer that involved with the team. So I called the only one coach I really care about, Mauri, and asked him if I could go skiing with the group, no matter if the children had a race, I wouldn’t complain, I would help if needed, I just wanted someone to ski with.
He said yes, that there was no problem at all and that he would be glad if I came. After a long evening, I came home, I got myself ready and at 6 am he came to pick me up. The kids were amazing, so happy and excited for their race. I somehow felt racing ski. Then, at the starting moment, I understood what the kids were feeling: uncertainty, fear, pressure. I didn’t want to be at their place.
Of course there are countless things that I miss of ski racing: having a coach who really cares about you, who comes to speak with you whether the race was good or bad, whether you are doing right or wrong. I miss having a team with whom share horrible and dirty hotel rooms before races, to train every day for a bigger goal, to have fun while training.
Ski racing is a tough sport, but it is also an amazing sport. Seeing it from another perspective made me understand how much it means to me and why I shouldn’t quit. Maybe I will never be at the starting gate again, but for sure I will be on skis again… soon.
Have you ever had an experience like this? I know it might sound strange, but I guess it was what I needed to close the circle…
Have A Safe Journey!