I’m spending this week in Sun Valley Idaho with the beautiful people. Not only do I speak of the towns folk in this vigorous mountain hamlet clothe in their ensembles of fur coats layered over distressed rhinestone studded jeans pasted over slender legs marching in the latest version of winter boot. The people here are beyond a doubt healthy and fit, they make a point to recreate often in the great outdoors, come winter or summer, just as movie stars Clark Gable and Lucille Ball did in days of old. Sun Valley takes play to a higher ground!
This week is like no other overly filled with uber fit people raising the bar to World Class Playtime because of the 3rd Annual Sun Valley Nordic Festival, (SVNF
) is under way. The Festival, is all things Nordic, including but not limited to, AXCS (American Cross Country Ski) National Masters Championships, Downtown Jam and Nordic Sprints, Twilight (no vampires) Nordic ski and dinner at Galena Lodge and the Boulder Mountain 32 and 15K Tour just to toss out a few of the events. So not only am I surround by the beautiful town folk but I’m also immersed in an athlete invasion and these are still not the beautiful people I speak of.
The beautiful people I’m singling out of this Mecca of superior beings are the adaptive skiers that have come here for this week of Nordic ski racing and I’m hanging with them. They are who I was for 27 years, at the highest level of sport, a Paralympic athlete training all the year through with my entire focus on me, myself and I achieving glory for me, my people and my country in that order. I competed in 3 different sports, 9 Paralympics, gaining 14 medals and into infinity and beyond as I won just about any and every accolade an athlete could, retiring from my athletic career in 2006. Some in this group are just beginning their journey into Paralympic sport.
Marc Mast, founder and director of the Wood River Adaptive Programs, WRAP,
capitalizing on the SVNF events to create exposure for adaptive cross country skiing, collaborated with the US Paralympic Nordic Ski program to create a nordic athlete development camp and take advantage of the weeks racing activities. Marc asked me to come instruct during the camp. You see I have been teaching cross country sit skiing since I retired from ski racing in 2006. As the date got closer Marc wanted me to race as well as instruct.
I thought I was done with ski racing, but I’m really having fun! It's taking me by surprise, a big, huge, massive surprise. Truth is I love it, this very bliss like zen like mode I get into when I race pushing my body to a line, backing off when I go in to far over the far side of my threshold, then as quickly as I can pulling back so I can be pushing again and again and again holding that edge so tight. I had forgotten what fun that game is.
Once I hung up my race suit I was never quite sure if my ego would handle cross country ski racing without a glory goal and be pleased only with the razor-edge push, push game. So I never enter another organized cross country ski, that is until now. I’m with a great crew of people, friends, athletes, coaches, volunteers, organizers and maybe that’s why my racing is so easy to slip into without that need to win. Today during the Biathlon race I was determined to test myself (I'm racing myself into shape) and as I rounded the turn into the downhill a sit skier was down. Without a second thought I stopped to help right the skier, then be on my way to finish my race, my time amiss.
And in the second race of the day, the Downtown Jam, two-lap sprint course, I was teaching the best line to a new-be sit skier as I warmed up. In my past racer life I would not have stopped to right a competitor or easily offered help with the best line to ski as I was only focused on what was best for me. It seems I have turned a corner and my ego is, well, enjoying this ride, immensely. I’ve discovered I am able to ski race while experiencing and practicing the joy of all my past hard work by moving out of myself, sharing what I know and being a part of a growing adaptive ski racing community. Thank you Marc, WRAP and US Paralympics for helping me get my play on! I think there is a cross country ski race in Truckee on February 16th.
Blessings to All, with joy Candace
© 2013 Candace Cable
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