While skinning a lap up Whitefish Mountain Resort recently with good friends Katie French and Megan Couser, a man skiing down stopped and asked us if we were training for something. The first thing that popped into my head was “Yes! The Whitefish Whiteout.” Never before had I done a ski mountaineering race, but with my new backcountry gear, I was inspired to try it. Before I could reply to the man, Katie answered “Life.” There couldn’t have been a better answer!
Although races are fun and motivation for training, in the end results don’t matter; it is the big picture that counts! Staying active and healthy and happy and passing that on to your kids is, I believe, one of the best gifts you can give them. Being in the outdoors and enjoying the beautiful earth that the Lord created for us is something not to be taken for granted.
Another good friend, Maria, who is normal in the sense she doesn’t have to compete at every sport, asked me why I decided to try ski racing. I knew it certainly wasn’t to win, so why would I sign up to race a sport as a newbie? There are many benefits in competition that do train for life!
The people are amazing and inspiring! The Whitefish Whiteout brought all levels of racers. Especially inspiring to me, and hitting close to home was Danni Coffman, 33 weeks prego, and out participating in the fun! She raced the ascent category and straight up killed it! So impressed and happy to see this beautiful pregnant lady staying active. Another inspiring lady was Marg Fedyna, 49 years old and owning it with the win of the women’s AT class, as well as beating some very strong men! Sheli Thomas is another one of my heros. This race was also Sheli’s first ski race at 50 something! She stuck with it and completed the race! Sheli continues to challenge herself with crazier races all the time. It was just a great time to meet some new gals, and catch up with old friends.
Another reason that I decided to try ski racing was the challenge, of learning to race a different sport, and cross training with motivation. It is true that results don’t matter, but in the end I’m competitive at heart, and I at least wanted to keep some of the other gals working for it. But with that said, I was truly able to enjoy the event without being nervous or pressured with expectations. I got a great 2 hour race effort out of the deal and it was a blast!
Whether racing an event just for the accomplishment of finishing, or trying to qualify for a more prestigious event, or wining a world cup; there is self-reward in pushing yourself to levels that would not otherwise be attained without the pressure of a race. Racing teaches a person a lot about themselves. I encourage that all you ladies try some sort of race. Set attainable goals, put yourself out there, get fit, and have fun! Just remember that in the end you are training for life!