noun: a forward or onward movement (as to an objective or to a goal)
If I had to describe this past winter in one word, progression would cover all of the bases. This season I feel that I've made the most progress with my skiing since I learned how to carve a ski. I will give a lot of credit to Mountain Athlete for giving me the confidence in my strength, my stamina and my durability, but mostly for giving me the confidence mentally.
I started this season without huge expectations, just excitement to travel, ski and meet new friends. When Jess Baker asked me in January what my goals were for the season it took me a few weeks of thinking before I could articulate more than, "I don't know, just to ski and stuff." I finally pinpointed that I wanted to make it into finals in a 4-star FWQ event (which then turned into wanting to place top 10 after a few competitions), build confidence in airing larger features, charge harder on crud and (at the very least) attempt a 360. Mostly, I just wanted to feel progress, that my efforts weren't for nothing, and that I had the ability to improve on a skill I've been practicing for 19 years.
"Champions aren't made in gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them - A desire, a dream, a vision.
They have to have the skill and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill."
As the season pushed on I began to feel more confident. I was hiking faster, skiing longer runs, dropping bigger cliffs with less hesitation and even attempting a few 180's. I started to trust my strength and realize that I was more capable and skilled than I had believed.
Competition season began and before I knew it was almost over. I had learned so much so quickly my expectations continued to grow, which quickly got me discouraged. After being first cut after day 1 in Moonlight Basin and Crested Butte my confidence was plummeting. Going into Snowbird, I had more desire to do well than I have in anything before. I felt focused and determined, I had my game face on. I knew I had to push myself, bigger airs, faster speeds and no hesitation.
I can't tell you what was different, but something clicked and I felt more myself, more confident and more aware. I dropped bigger airs than I ever had in competition before and skied faster than I had all season. Overall I felt the confidence click (even if I did have a mild encounter with some shrubbery at the top of the finals day venue).
It was exciting to end the season on a good note, but almost equally as hard for it to be over. I'd had a taste and I just wanted to dig back in for more, keep the progress rolling, push further. With my confidence in my pocket I headed back to Jackson with my eyes wide for more.
Luckily it continued to snow and we were able to spend a few more days playing in the snow. We decided to build a kicker, it was now or never for my 360 goal.
I tried to carry the confidence over from competition and shook off my nerves pointing my skis toward the jump. I heard Hadley yell, "WHIP IT," and don't remember much else until I realized I was back on the ground, standing upright, full speed ahead. I yelled back up the Hadley, "Did I do it!?" and before she could respond I knew the answer based off of her screams. Check, goals complete.
So yeah, this season in one word, p r o g r e s s.