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Western Period One

  • Originally published December 15, 2015 for FastSkier
  • Written by Reese Hanneman
  • Photography by Gabrielle Naranja

Well, I guess that was it! “It” being the START OF THE SEASON, that mythical event that we all think about from last May until now, that thing that hangs over our heads and motivated us through every foggy wet swamp run and frozen rollerski. So much rides on “it” at least in our heads; there are unspoken pressures and expectations that weigh our spirits all summer, especially preceding every tough workout or early evening in.

And then suddenly, “it” has already happened. The start. We’ve started.

After starting my season last year on the World Cup, I was looking forward to kicking off a little closer to home, and not being just thrown into the wringer.  I never felt great last season, in any race. I never performed how I had trained all year to perform. There were glimpses of good, but that is not enough to sustain a soul for long. My only real focus for this fall was to get out of my season-long slump and get back to enjoying skiing, enjoying skiing fast, and truly going fast again like I had in the season of 13-14.

I was happy with how these first two weekends of SuperTour races went. For as long as I have been racing, these first two weekends of elite racing have been held in the high mountain west, at illegally high altitude (according to FIS), which always makes them a little funky. Traditionally, if I have done even remotely well in West Yellowstone, it is a good sign when things get a little more vertically reasonable for the rest of the season.

 

The skate sprint was the first race, and I came away content on the day. I was mostly just excited to feel my acceleration there again; the throttle response I didn’t have last year is back. I was psyched to qualify 4th, only a second and change out of the win, which is a great indicator for me. By far the best part of the day was coming down the finish stretch with no one in real contact, except for my brother Logan, and drag racing like weve done hundreds of times all the way to the line. Being right behind him as he won his first SuperTour was an amazing experience!! I’m so proud of him, and couldn’t pick anyone else I’d rather lose to!!

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