To St. Moritz with love

ALPINE SKIING - FIS WC St.Moritz
I freaking love that place… Everytime I’ve been there, its been awesome…Both conditions, weather (at least most of the time) and basically just living. Its so beautiful there and its by far one of my favorite places…I feel so comfortable with the slopes and for sure that shows on my results there as well.
This last weekend I had my best result in downhill, ever; 14th! I know, that one idiot that managed to stumble on to this blog, and doesn’t know that much  about skiing, would probably not think that is a good achievement. It is though, to me….because you gotta start somewhere. When you do better than you have ever done before it is good. I’m for sure taking my time getting better in downhill, I’m painfully aware of that…but at least I’m slowly moving in the right direction. Next DH race is Beaver Creek and the Championships. Skiing “The Raptor” is something I’m equally scared and excited about, but mostly that last part.

Sunday was even more amazing! Finally I skied with the speed I’ve been missing in the last SG races and skied into 7th place! 😊 With that I did the best I’ve ever done in a speed discipline! My previous also being from St.Moritz last year (10th). Such a great way to sum up the WC races before coming into the World Championships in Beaver Creek. Now I’m taking a mini-vacation to recharge my batteries. See you in Colorado!

ALPINE SKIING - FIS WC St.Moritz

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Learning to know your idols

SG is way more fun for me than DH… Well, obviously because I’m a way better SG skier than a DH skier, but also because it reminds me a bit more of GS. This time – for the first time – I got to start with bib nr 1! That’s a new experience; there is no line to follow, nobody has tried out the course before you, there is no TV you can watch before you go and you really have to trust yourself and the plan you do on inspection! I did chicken out some turns, but mostly I did an OK solid run. With that I ended up 15th, something I’m fairly happy with! 🙂

The biggest part of my day was by far witnessing history being made with Lindsey Vonn taking her 63 victory in a Would Cup and with that,  becoming the most winning female skier in history. Now THATS a super impressive accomplishment that is gonna be hard to beat. I’m still just a little bit intimidated and proud to be racing in the same competitions of many of the skiers I watched growing up. The names that I only knew through the TV screen, I’m now able to know and talk to…Many I which I even consider my friends. I love that about this sport; friendship is not divided by borders or countries and we are not rivals more than in the course itself. Also, being one of the younger racers in this circus, you would think the older barely acknowledges your presence, but no, not at all….They greet you with an open mind and they are the nicest people there is. Age has no meaning here, other than the experience you have or lack.

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Dear DH in Cortina

Dear DH in Cortina,

Two days ago, you were so sweet and nice. I could ski wherever I wanted and you still had my back! I thought I was starting to figure you out. I started to lean on you, trust you, but your support was gone and I was wrong. You seemed so easy and nice, but I underestimated how difficult you are.

Until next year…

Sincerly,
Ragnhild

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When all goes west, go right.

Hi,

It’s me again! I noticed I haven’t really posted anything ever since we were in pre-season in Switzerland, and a lot of stuff have happened since. I will try to sum up what I find most important here.

The season started pretty OK for my sake. I ended 15th in the traditional first GS race in Solden. My (then) second best result in GS in the WC so far, so I can’t complain. Then we had a fairly long break which was spent home in Norway, training dryland and practicing being-up-to-no good. Early November we flew over to the US and started training in Vail, Colorado. This is basically a time where you continue training and working on maintaining whatever form or shape you’ve gotten yourself in throughout the summer…Then you race!

Aspen for my sake, did not go really well. After a shameful first run; it did seemed like I just got skis for Christmas last year, I tried to go all in for the second run. That worked out perfectly until I decided that “grabbing the bullet” (meaning: for us non-americans out there; going in a tuck position) was a good idea right before the most difficult turn. That ended up in a SOS saving procedure like no other. I did, believe it or not, finish and got two lousy points from it. I have to admit I had high hopes for Aspen, since it went so well over here in the US last year. With me becoming a better skier, so does my expectations of what I wanna accomplish. I know Beaver Creek and Aspen are two very different hills, but with my skiing being fairly solid lately, I was eager to show the rest of the world what I could do.

Then came Lake Louise, Canada. The county of maple syrup and extremely nice people. Here we raced two DH races and one SG race… The first DH race was a trip to Shittville, Imberrasmenttown and Crap-city. It’s that feeling when everything you do goes wrong and it just doesn’t work out. You feel bad, angry, annoyed, embarrassed… I keep wondering where my self-confidence and my faith in my skiing went, cause me and him obviously did NOT take the same road to get here. (Don’t worry, my egotistic-everyday-life confidence is still presence!) The second DH race went a tiny bit better, though still within the city limits of all the above.
Instead of me keeping all this locked up inside, all my emotions and feelings; I thought I’ll share it with the world. I know I seem like the happiest girl in the world, but I do have a different side. A side which doesn’t come out too often, but I absolutely am aware of.

Ski racing is all about taking risks and the right choices at the exact right time. If your skiing good, you don’t really have to think about anything. You go around in this bliss, where skiing is the easiest thing in the world. For me this is kinda “believing that this world is full of pink clouds, rainbows and unicorns.” The tough part is when shit just doesn’t wanna go your way. I’ve earlier written about that other lovely world, but I’ve rarely written anything about when I ski bad and all the negativity that goes around in my head. And yes, as impossible as that sounds with me having a negative thoughts, they do occur.

It really doesn’t matter how many hours I’ve spent in the gym or how many GS turns I’ve done before I get to the start of a race. It’s all about that day, that run and that moment you push out of the startgate. For me as well as others; it’s all about having faith in yourself and your capability to ski. To trust your skills and forget about the rest. In Aspen I couldn’t. I let stuff get to me, started questioning my skills and let me tell you; whenever you start second guessing yourself, its hard to turn that around. Its like a seed of negativity eating your insides and you have a devil on your back whispering all this in your ear. Now, I’m the first to admit I haven’t really had any adversity or misfortune. I haven’t been really injured or had some kind of a setback for a long time. All the stuff I’ve had, passed within a few months or so. So, yes, I know I’ve been lucky! But then what do I have to say about a few shitty races not going my way?! “Boohoo..poor me”, right?!
Well, everything is relative. So with my skiing career being as good as it has been, I haven’t experienced a real setback yet. Meaning: stuff that aren’t even a dot on a map for others, seems big to me. So when I say things are tough or I feel like I’m banging my head against the wall, I’m well aware that people have it way worse. But somehow you ended up reading this blog update, so apparently you have a small interest in listening to what I have to say. This is my story, my life and it’s seen though my eyes so here it goes.
I know I’m the only person that can make these thoughts go away, or to at least have them, acknowledge them, but then send them out of my head as fast as they have gotten there. I just need to find my way to do it. New races means new possibilities, a fresh start and all that, but sometimes you drag your baggage of negativity with you too long.  I want to say its easy to restart, but its not. It takes more of me than anything else. If I knew how to turn it around, I would never have these bad thoughts to begin with. What I do know is this; once you crack a small portion of that code to turn it all around, its the most satisfying feeling there is.

This started to work in my advantage in Åre, SWE. At least my second run of the GS there, which made me end up with a 13th place! Being Norwegian and all I’ve skied a couple of times in Åre before and that hill gives me confidence. Trying to pull all of my shit together; forgetting the past and skiing in the presence, worked and finally I started believing in “me” again.
Trying to take that small amount of confidence and bring it to the final races before Christmas in Val d’sere, FRA.
France was both a good and bad experience. First of, I got a couple of DH points and broke some codes in understanding that discipline. Second, and what was not soo great… I had my first real close encounter with the safety net. I would say thats a good skill that I haven’t ended up there before the age of 22, but one time had to be the first and I feel lucky to walk out of there with just a small scratch.

Then came Christmas and being home with family really does wonders for you. Re-charging batteries, eating waaaaay to much good food and just relaxing away from the daily circus and stress. When you then go down in Europe again, its with new energy and a new improved attitude. Well, Christmas break didn’t last too long though. 4 days is exactly my definition of a holiday break, but it is what it is and its gonna be my future these coming years. Anyhow, it was with a heavy heart that I had to leave family and those good times behind. Doing these Christmas races feels like a pain in the ass, because you want to have time off. It takes a lot this circus, but if I knew what was gonna happen in Kühtai, I would be singing and skipping all the way to the airport. I ended 5th in the GS, meaning my best result in the WC so far! Happy, happy day!!! I think, for me, this is the moment when it turned around. Those grim and negative thoughts I had before kinda go away once you achieve something you are pleased or happy with. That feeling of achievement and reaching some of your goals is pretty awesome! After only 3 days away (the shortest little race trip I had before I could go home again), I flew back to Norway to celebrate the new year with some of my closest friends.

December 2014 is over, a new year begins and January means speed. We do pretty much all of the speed races in this month alone. This year January consists of: Bad Kleinkirchheim, Cortina and St.Moritz. Now, it didn’t really start out great with Bad Klein, since both of those races, literally, blew away. Due to insane weather storms and temperatures up to 18 degrees!!!, there was no chance to run and they got cancelled. Bad Klein for me has a special meaning as this was the first WC speed race I ever did. It’s an intimidating hill to start in, but after skiing there everything else seems easy. With zero racing happening in Austria, you pack up your life (we do live in bags) and move it along to the next place.
So, this make me actually catch up to the present. I am currently in Cortina, which is one of the classics and I love this hill. It has a little bit of everything in it, and the scenery around is the most beautiful there is. They also rescheduled the DH race from Bad Klein to go here as well so now we have 3 races here. First one already starting tomorrow!

This is where I end my summary. Its been some interesting times for me. I’m learning more and more about how I work and how I’m put together every day. There are bad days as well as good days being a top athlete and I’m not just talking about results. There are gonna be heavy, grim days which you don’t really understand whats the problem and there are gonna be happy days where everything is easy.
Bottom line: Life is full of ups and downs. Sometimes it seems like you are stumbling in the dark trying to find your way. Just remember; the difference between stumbling blocks and stepping stones is how you use them.

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