Friday, February 17, 2012

Rocky Mountain Trainer Results and National Team Selection Results!!

Taking work very seriously...

It has been an incredible week. On Saturday, we wrapped filming for Go With a Pro, four days of shooting ski tips for National TV, shot by PSIA. That was a fun, exciting experience, and a great pressure situation to put myself in. I got to practice standing around and then performing to my potential, while staying in a good, happy, easy frame of mind. It was a really wonderful experience!

Saturday afternoon, Kurt and I got together to train a bit and refocus toward the upcoming Rocky Mountain Trainer Exam, which began on Monday. We made some big leaps in my understanding, and I had something really specific to focus on.

Sunday, we got up early and went in to tune the two pairs of identical skis I have for tryouts and selections this year. We worked hard on them, and then I went and met Dennis Handley and Cindy Lou to test the tune and do a couple of runs. It was great to ski with both of them, Cindy is such an outstanding skier and she has this wonderful energy that keeps me honest and focused. Dennis gave me a great picture in the bumps and we worked on the crud skiing portion.
Dancing on the job...

My kids hooked up with us about 1pm and we went and played in the Sherwood Forest, a super fun black tree run which is now Bodhi's favorite. After that on the way down, we pulled up at MAC 6, a short double black, and I asked Bodhi what he thought.

"I can ski that", he said, and dropped right in. He skied it like a champ with Ethan and Tom cheering him on, and we called it a day.

Monday morning, I woke up with a fever of 102. The walk to the bathroom from bed was exhausting. I laid down on the floor and thought, Uh-oh. This doesn't feel a lot like high performance skiing... but they only give the RMT exam once a year, and I really wanted to participate, so off I went. I made the last load for the chair at 8:28, four minutes late, and we were off and running.

The RMT group was skiing very strong, and it was great to get out there and focus, even with this horrific cold, which was turning into full blown super sick quickly. I was trying to keep it under wraps as much as I could, but I was feeling so crappy that over the course of the day, I had to lay down in between manouvers to recover some energy before the next chair ride.

I wasn't the only one suffering, two other candidates were sick, one was recovering from a severe concussion, and we all soldiered on, supporting each other. By the end of the day, it was all I could do to keep my eyes open as my skin broke out in goose bumps and my body ached in rushing flashes. I was exhausted and I felt like if I could just straight run to the bottom, that would be better than having to turn my skis.

On day 2, we had our indoor MA session. I laid down in an office before my session and promptly fell deeply asleep. I was dreaming. I woke up suddenly and didn't know where I was or what was going on. It was my turn to go in. I was pretty incoherent in my MA session, they said that technically the information I gave was accurate, but it was really hard to follow. (I'm not at all surprised.)

I went home to Kurt's and fell asleep. When I woke up around 6 that night, I had no idea what I had said in MA.

On Wednesday, I had a feeling I was skiing just below the bar, but I was happy to participate. I wanted to give it my best and get the feedback, and I knew that if I did get invited to Nationals, I would probably be skiing at 60-70 %, like I was now, and I needed to know where that would score.

Wednesday was also the day that the candidates would be announced who had been selected to go to the National Tryouts. I turned off my phone. I didn't want to be distracted. About 10:30 I turned it back on on the chairlift to send a text, and there was an email from PSIA.
Erik and Colby demonstrate bootfitting at the RMT exam...

I was terrified. If I looked at it and I wasn't invited, how would I perform for the rest of the day for RMT? But now that I knew it was there, I couldn't not look. Here's what I saw:

Dear Katheryne:

We are pleased to inform you that you are invited to the on-snow portion of the PSIA-AASI 2012 Alpine Team Selection.

The application review team has reviewed your application packet, and evaluated your writing samples and video. Based upon this review and your experience in the field, we feel you possess many of the qualities that are vital to being a successful team member.

To continue in the selection process, you are required to attend the on-snow selection event at Snowbird, UT, beginning the evening of April 22nd through April 26th. The on-snow event will provide you the opportunity to further demonstrate additional skills and abilities that team members exhibit daily as inspirational educators, lifelong learners, and inspirational athletes. Additional details and information regarding particulars of the selection event are below. 

I let out the hugest whoop and holler... I had made it! I was invited to go! This feeling of incredible elation filled me up, and I wanted to share it. I immediately texted my friends who had also applied, urging them, check your email!! The invitations are out!!

Exams and selections are always hard because it is a competition against yourself. You either have put together what the selectors need to pass or hire you, or you haven't. We have all been in situations where people that we train with, people who have trained us, have not been selected, or we haven't' and they have. Balancing your joy with the sadness of watching team mates and training partners not pass is really hard.

The training group in Aspen has been working closely together for years. For many years before I moved here and for the three years since I've been here we have been a tightly knit group, supporting each other and cheering each other on, being willing to speak frankly with each other, being willing to say what is real and hard to hear in order to grow.

Yeah, Kolby has this in the bag. RMT exam nerves...
Many of the group from Aspen were invited, and some people were not. It was more difficult that day to finish RMT wondering who of my team mates had been selected, and hoping that they all had been, and worrying what it would be like if they weren't.

I screwed my head back on and got back in the game after a couple of wobbly pivot slips, and refocused. Celebrate National Invite later, (oh my god, I'm going To the Show!), finish this exam first.

One good thing that came from looking at the email was that I got a big burst of energy which sustained me almost through the crud skiing section. By the time we got down for indoor presentations, I was wiped out.

Then came the long wait for results.

Results for National Invites came trickling in. I was wondering who had been invited from other divisions who I've trained with and chatted with and dreamed with.

Every single person who applied that I know has dedicated their lives to being a professional ski instructor. These are people who work back to back seasons year round, who uproot their families, who live on shoe string budgets to help people learn to love this sport. These are people who are examiners in multipule divisions, who spend their entire paycheck on certification and travel to gain the qualifications and depth of knowledge that they need to be the best that they can be.

I sat on the stool in Out of Bounds bar, with Tom and the boys, Kurt, and my friends all around. People came to support the candidates on their day off, and sat, waiting for results. Schanzy was their with the kids, Will was there, Alex came, just to be there and say good luck.

Finally, results came. I had missed the skiing by 9/10 of a point. I did really well in the teach. My indoor MA score was low. The feedback was really positive, and I was so happy it was over. Now I could go to bed for the next two days before I get to get back to the business of actually teaching a client.

Two of my teammates in training did not get invited, and it was really heartbreaking to find that out. Two more of the RMT candidates, who killed it and who passed their trainer's accred, did not get selected for Nationals. It was a bittersweet night.

We rounded up the kids, Kurt got on his bike and rode home, and I crawled into my bed and passed out. I slept around the clock except for the odd coughing fit until the next evening. I'm finally out of bed today, and the bathroom doesn't feel like such an arduous journey to get to.

Its a bit unreal this morning. I'm going to tryouts. I have six weeks to dial my skiing. I'd love to be hired for the job of team member, but the point of this whole experiment was to go to the tryout. I feel hugely grateful for the community of friends, and family, and sponsors, and benefactors that have made this possible. I get to go live my dream and ski at the Nationals in April!

Thank you for helping make it possible.


Russ said...


MJ said...

Wow! The post we've all been waiting for!