TODAY IS THE DAY!
Please, take a moment and give back just a bit to the sport that is so deeply woven into your fabric. Amount doesn’t matter. Just get your name on the list. Join your friends. Let us know you’re out there and still dreaming of flight. If you name a coach or mentor who helped get you there, I’ll add them with your name. Just put it in the comments section.
Let’s do this.
Curator USANS Story Project
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Summer road trips. To this day, I still love to take road trips. Now I travel with my family, trying to teach my boys about the “rules of the road”. On these trips we have stopped in and met up with old friends and created new ones along the way. Last summer we spent a few days in Steamboat, the summer before we made some stops in the mid-west, catching up with the guys I grew up skiing and travelling with. It is always so great to connect with everyone and see the changes that have taken us down various paths.
This love of the road started back in the early ‘90s, when road trips were a way of life for skiers. I don’t know how many times I have crossed the country in search of snow and training camps, but the adventure it created, and family I found, has stuck with me to this day.
One such trip was a spur of the moment decision that took us to Thunder Bay Canada. Initially, we had been competing in Fox River Grove at the Norge Ski Club. A few of us, 3 jumpers and one combiner, had stuck around for a few weeks to take advantage of some training. One morning we woke up and decided we would head to Thunder Bay Ontario to catch up with a training camp that was taking place over the weekend. A group of skiers from the East were planning to have a training camp there, and we thought it would be great to join in. A few phone calls were made, heads up given, and quietly, off we went. Driving the 11 hours north to a new training venue for a few days on a fresh hill.
A small Nissan pickup was the perfect transport. Cap on the bed, roof rack full of skis and 4 determined souls. We headed out, taking turns driving and sleeping in the back. This was a relatively short trip, but driving through the night and arriving in the morning was the goal. As I remember, we drove up in the early morning to the ski jumps, not really sure what to expect, but ready to get our skis on and start flying. The coaches were more than a little surprised to see us show up and roll out of the back of the truck.
We spent the day jumping and found a site to set up camp. We spent 4 days there, jumping and training with the other skiers. Having the park all to ourselves in the evening allowed for some exploration of the property in the evening.
As the camp wound to a close, we packed our gear and headed south back to base. After arriving home safe and sound, we parted ways for a few weeks, knowing we would soon see each other at the next camp, not to mention spending a good part of the winter traveling together.
I miss the freedom of those days, I especially miss the people. Ski jumpers are a tight knit family, always have been. I am proud to have been part of it, and call it my family. Nothing like it in the world.