AST 2020 Athlete Journal: Devin Mittertreiner
Ski racing is a sport that I have loved since the moment I began at the age of 8. When asked why I loved it I said “I love going fast.” Being fast is the principle term that can be used to describe ski racing, but to be fast in this sport it takes much more than just going down the hill quicker than the rest of your competition. You need to be mentally strong and fast. Decisive in your decisions and able to promptly move forward from both positive and negative days. In a ski run there are so many split second decisions that determine the outcome of your race. It is a sport that revolves around hundredths, and at the end of the day whatever side of those hundredths you are on usually decides your overall mood.
From day to day you have to be mentally fast, both in your actions while skiing to the way you treat every day as a new day and move forward. I find my journey through ski racing has had a lot of ups and downs, similar with most ski racers. It is a sport that fluctuates so quickly in results through on and off days, snow conditions, and mental game.
I struggled at the start of the season with getting into the right mental state. This year for me was a big lesson on life and how it works. I dealt with loss, family illness, and other struggles in my family life. My mind was all over the place, bouncing from places of sanity to confusion, to stress. It may not be the healthiest place to be as an athlete, but it has allowed me to grow and learn how to deal with, and turn situations some people would see as these negative things into something motivating. I’ve learned that things don’t always go the way you want and that life can change in a split second just like a turn in a ski race.
The past month of the season has been very full on, and this is the way it is expected to continue. We began February with a series of races in Lake Louise. These races created more of a low pressure situation compared to the high pressure and competitive Norams we have been racing this season. They provided an opportunity to build confidence and get more comfortable in the starting gate before the pressure that usually comes as the season nears an end. Both leading up to and following these races Kosta, Tora and I held down the fort at home in Alberta with some quality training under head coach Darin. It was a great training block which is often rare midseason and was valued greatly before Kosta, Darin and I ventured down into the states for some races.
We had 8 starts planned while we were down there, spreading between Colorado and Utah. These races we had envisioned as great opportunities to score and as a good step in achieving our goals for the season. We came into the trip with high aspirations and positivity, but the view of the trip quickly turned. We battled tough conditions in Colorado, and followed it up with crashes and minor injuries in Utah. While Kosta ended the trip with an injured shoulder and me with some stitches in my shin, we did not have the most positive view on the trip. We spent lots of time talking with Darin as he shared experiences, tactics, and ideas from his racing career on treating each race as a new opportunity and not getting bogged down by races in the past.
With our trip in the US coming to the end just as February was ending as well, we met the team in Whistler for a series of two GS races and two SG races. It was nice to be reunited with the team and share the positivity from the four days that included many podiums by the Alberta Ski Team.
From some of the lows I experienced in the US and working up to some highs experienced in Whistler both as a team and individually, I plan on keeping the momentum rolling into the last month of the season. Treating each race as a new one and doing my best to be fast, both on and off the slopes!
Check out Devin’s Athlete Profile here.