Danelle Umstead Blog - Offseason? What Offseaon?

Aug. 31, 2009, 3:32 p.m. (ET)

2009 was a stellar season for Team Vision4Gold, We trained with the coaches and other athletes from the National Sports Center for the Disabled in Winter Park, Colorado. When the season was over we headed back to Park City, Utah for a couple of weeks. While in Park City, we received our official email for nomination to the US Adaptive Ski Team (USAST). This was one of our major goals for the season, and Team Vision4Gold is now US Adaptive Ski Team members. I could not be here without my guide/husband Rob and his commitment to us. We really worked hard to get where we are. It shows hard work and working together as a team pays off.  I love you Rob for making my dreams your dreams, and believing in me when I couldn't.

Our friends at The National Ability Center in P.C. let us borrow their tandem bike for a day. After a ride on the rail trail in Park city, we decided we wanted to get a tandem bike for our x-raining and recovery workouts. We scored one on craigslist, and bought a child seat to put on the back of the bike for our 2 year old son Brocton.

After our stop in Park City, we packed up our travel trailer and started our summer journey. Nomads on the move...final destination Oregon, for summer skiing on Mt. Hood with the USAST. We decided to go to Yellowstone National Park on our way out to Oregon. I was very excited to discover this beautiful part of our country. We did a lot of hiking, and exploring in Yellowstone. After leaving there we camped our way through Montana, Spokane, and Roosevelt, WA. Our friends met us in Roosevelt with some stand up paddle boards, so we could paddle surf on the Columbia River. It was nice to just relax and hang out by the water. This is one of my favorite parts of the summer; living 3 months where home is the great outdoors. 

Throughout our journey Rob and I found every way possible to fit in our workout program to where and what we had available to us. If there was not a gym we had to be creative, and it was comical at times. Our equipment that we traveled with was a weighted ball, sport cords, jump ropes, yoga ball, and a few other things. We stopped at rest areas to use picnic benches; we draped sport cords over trees, and even used Brocton for added weight. We did have a few minor injuries (not Brocton) with snapped sport cords along the way.

We rolled our camper into campground close to where the team was staying in Welches. The camp ground had a pool, workout facility, trails, playground, and much more. Brocton's summer sitter Morgan drove 45 minutes everyday to watch him while we trained (she has watched him every summer).We could not have this opportunity without Morgan's help, and Brocton really likes being with her too.

YIPEE, Super G training! 12 days on snow training super G. This is very rare to get the opportunity to train this much in Super G. It requires a lot. Timberline Ski area went out of their way to provide USAST with top notch hill space, all the b-net they could find, they even had the cat drivers build us a start ramp so we could work on our starts. All of the coaches of the USAST really worked hard to make this happen for all the athletes. They had to get on the hill early and set up so much netting so that we would be safe.

The courses they set were AWESOME! I love training and racing. It is exciting, adventurous, challenging, frustrating, rewarding, constant hard work, and a LOT of fun.

The snow conditions were like race conditions. We would wake up at 5am every morning to be on the hill by 7.  After training we would get back to the campground, do recovery,(a lot of tandem bike rides) go to the team meeting, back to the campground cook dinner, get the little man to bed, and then tune skis.

Rob would clamp the vices onto a picnic bench outside our camper and tune by citronella candle light. Not only was it hard to see but he would be attacked by bugs while doing it. I am sure we had a lot of bugs waxed into our skis.  It was definitely long days, but worth it for sure.

In July we did it all over again. But this time it was a technical camp training in giant slalom, and slalom. We had 12 more days on snow. More long days, steep terrain, variable snow conditions...another valuable camp with a ton of progress. The coaches really did a great job on both camps. Team Vision4Gold knows the training will only make us stronger and faster for this upcoming season.  Go to our website for more info www.Vision4Gold.org

Life for me is not always an easy journey, but it is one I will continue conquering.