AST Athlete Journal: Jamie Casselman
It’s Jamie here, checking in for my last athlete journal. The past month has seen a lot of changes in the world and in ski racing due to Covid-19. It all happened so fast, so I thought I would take this time to let you know how it has unfolded for me.
Near the end of February, Raphael, Liam, and I left to Norway for the World Junior Championships. Our first stop was in Trysil for a six-day training camp with coach Greg Frechette. We had some amazing SG, SL, and GS training with the Norwegian Junior and World Cup teams.
Then, we headed to Narvik to meet up with the rest of our World Junior’s team, which included two of my teammates, Cassidy and Claire. Northern Norway is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been; looking out the plane window at the endless, snow-covered fjords was absolutely breath-taking.
Once we got settled, it was time to kick off the events with DH and SG. The track had to be shortened due to some weather issues, but it was still a fast and exciting course. We all gained some valuable speed experience and Liam surprised everyone with an 11th place finish in the Super-G from bib 68! The next day, the women did their alpine combined race and the men were able to get the SL portion of their alpine combined off. I started bib 1 in the SL and kept the lead all the way to the end, winning my first World Juniors run!
Unfortunately, the SG portion was later cancelled and I was unable to get the chance to compete for the gold medal. This was greatly disappointing for me; however, it also gave me confidence to know I can compete with the best in the world. The last race held at World Juniors was the women’s GS where Cassidy achieved a strong 21st place result.
At 10 pm on the night before the men’s GS race, we got some news. World Juniors was cancelled due to coronavirus. This was followed by the news, two days later, that the remainder of our season was cancelled. Nor-Am Finals, Nationals, and Spring Series were all gone. While this situation was unfolding, I experienced a whirlwind of emotion.
Going from the highlight of my career, sitting in the leader box at World Juniors, to such an abrupt halt to the season, was very disappointing. It is hard to look back and think what could’ve been. It is hard to think about all the time and work we have put in to this sport without getting the chance to achieve the rewards. It is hard to see the sport you love disappear so suddenly. However, this virus is much larger than that and I am glad to be safe at home with my family. One good thing in all of this, that I am very excited about, is that I secured a World Cup spot for next year in alpine combined because of my Nor-Am ranking.
Spending the last two weeks at home in quarantine has given me lots of time to reflect. It has made me realize how strong my passion for skiing truly is. In fact, being locked up in my house can’t even stop me from finding ways to ski. I have been occupying my time by coming up with different ways to train in quarantine. First, I built a start ramp out of all the snow I could pile up in my backyard. I set up race timing on it and did about 200 runs in a 1.7 second course. I analyzed my technique with video and I was able to improve by a whole 0.15 seconds. I started building a home gym with, the biggest project being, a new squat rack. I am hoping to also get out for some xc skiing and mountain biking soon. The preparation for next season has already started.
I would like to thank all our sponsors that supported us this year. I would also like to thank all my teammates and coaches for making this season one to remember. I couldn’t have asked for a better crew to experience it with; it was one of my most fun years of ski racing ever. Although we didn’t have quite enough time to show our full potential, we accomplished many goals and proudly represented Alberta with our passion for ski racing.
I hope you and your families are staying healthy, enjoying some family time and being able to get outside for some fresh air and exercise. Thanks to all for the season; I can’t wait to see you next year!
Check out Jamie’s Athlete Profile here.