How My Ski Racing Journey Led Me Down a Path of Self Discovery
Having your feet attached to two narrow parallel sticks while racing down a snow covered mountain provides you with more than just an adrenaline rush. It can teach you to take risks, to always do your best, and most importantly to trust your abilities. As a former ski racer I believe that participating in competitive sports not only teaches people how to tackle physical challenges but also the mental and spiritual challenges of life. Ski racing taught me valuable skills that help me be a strong competitor on and off the slopes. As a result of my experience I am able to bring drive, commitment and passion to everything I do.
I started ski racing when I was 8 years old. I completely fell in love with the sport and started training to become a competitive racer. While I had to miss a lot of school to train, I felt myself getting physically stronger and consequently more confident. I was able to do 100 press-ups and sit-ups a day! I felt like a mini super-girl!
When I got older I attended the British Ski Academy, where I trained in the mornings and did my school work in the afternoons. My day to day routine revolved around an active lifestyle that helped me become a stronger athlete. For instance I would wake up at 6AM every morning to go running. At the time, I hated doing this but looking back, this exercise instilled a great deal of discipline within me that I am able to apply to many aspects of my life. Many of the habits I was taught while training as a ski racer are applicable to daily life and have helped me develop both as an athlete and as a person. The sport has taught me how to:
Foster Inner Strength
Ski racing is tough on the body and mind. It requires you to wear a skin tight catsuit in -15 degree centigrade conditions and continuously get knocked down and get back up. This can be physically and emotionally draining as you are pushing your body to the limits and getting frustrated when you do not see the results you desire.
Building the formidable inner strength to deal with this requires drive, commitment and a willingness to push yourself. One must keep in mind that the process of achieving your goals is equally as important as actually achieving them.
For instance I was only able to see the fruits of my labor after I became a FIS Licensed Ski Racer. It was then that I became aware of all the skills I had accumulated from my years of training.
Carrying the title of an FIS Licensed Ski Racer was a responsibility but one I wore proudly. I was grateful that all of my hard work not only helped me gain a tangible title but also self confidence.
My past endurance and stamina training has cultivated a drive within me to achieve my goals. I am currently an Actor, Singer and Producer and the tenets of competitive sports have allowed me to develop a relentless personality. If I get a rejection for a role I keep trying; practicing until I feel I have reached my full potential. With practice and perseverance I believe that anything is possible.
Competitive ski racing has trained me to work well in high stakes situations. For example, on the Ski Cross program I had to stay calm and focused while racing three other skiers down a course. While this was incredibly intimidating, the top of the slope is no place to doubt yourself. Flanked between your competition you must trust that you are a strong athlete. You must compete with the knowledge that you are doing the best you can. Even if you come in last it is valuable to know where you stand with competitors so that you can improve for the future.
While having physical competitors may drive you to do better, sometimes the best competitor is yourself. On the slalom course you are on your own, racing only against the clock. This internal drive can be stronger than any physical competition. Nothing beats the feeling of setting a personal record.
Ski racing helped me find an inner courage I didn’t know existed. I am more inclined to take risks in my personal and professional life and try not dwell on the ‘what ifs.’ This quality has greatly helped me when having to make difficult decisions. I find that the rewards of a risk often outweigh the potential losses. While practicing and being prepared were crucial to my success as a ski racer, it was my willingness to take a chance that put me over the top.
My ski racing journey has led me down the trail of self discovery. It helped me grow physically, mentally and spiritually. I hope you can apply what I have learned from ski racing in your own life and it has inspired you to take on a new and challenging activity of your own.