October 5, 2017

Hello all! Sam Wall checking in.

I hope at this moment many of you are just getting set to head to Alberta Alpine’s Octoberfest. Should be a great event.

After a trying spring, it feels good to be settling into the flow of another season. As I write this the team is all packed up ready to return to Saas Fee for our second three week block on the glacier. September was spent in the gym in Calgary, Canmore and Edmonton. I spent my summer in Jasper but joined the team in Calgary for this past block. Although I am not a fan of the city, the dryland sessions are for the most part very enjoyable due to having such a great crew and excellent trainers.

For most of us veterans, Saas Fee is getting awfully familiar, but with lots of experience on the same glacier, it allows us to truly maximize our time on snow and help the new guys as well. For example I’ve learned to take things very slow for much longer then I think. Big things for me are making sure to think about technique or headspace and putting “going fast” on the very bottom of the list. Ramp things up too early and you’ll most likely burn out before the camp is over. Throughout the years in Switzerland we’ve had a lot of fun days all over the valley. We’ve discovered a lot of fun little adventures to have as well as tips and tricks to getting around. I’ve been making sure that the new faces on the team have been getting the tours here and there so they can pass things on when our crew is gone.

I’m super psyched on the new team and how well we’ve gotten along so far. I think the similarity in age this year has made for a tight knit team. It has also been great fun having Zoe back in the ranks after a bad crash early on last season. Her wit keeps us all on our toes.

In terms of coaching staff I think its unanimous that Thedy is a huge score for our program and his experience will prove invaluable throughout the season. It’s extremely refreshing to have some new faces around but its also a huge relief to have JM’s continued support and experience present as well. This camp is exciting as it will be the first time on snow that we have all four coaches together as Jen Clarridge wasn’t in Saas Fee in August. We all look forward to working with her.

To wrap this up I’m looking forward to this next camp and the season getting started. It’s always a good day to be back with many familiar faces. On a side note I was bummed to hear that the North Zone FIS team didn’t quite work out. I think that would be an extremely valuable team to have around. Once in place I have no doubts it would be a perfect step for moving club athletes in the north who don’t have large FIS teams, to the Alberta Ski Team. For example in my career, I’m sure that would have been the logical move for a FIS team rather then heading down south, if it were to be in place. Anyway, I hope that can get rolling in the future but in the meantime I hope the lack of north zone FIS teams doesn’t prevent athletes from making that move onto FIS. There are no bad options for teams in the south it’s just a matter of making that commitment.

Thanks for your time! See you all around.

– Sam

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