Danelle Umstead Blog - There's no place like home

Oct. 12, 2009, 6:35 p.m. (ET)

The hardest question that Rob and I get is... Where are you guys from?

This is really difficult for us to answer. We have established a home base in many different places.  I would have to say our home is anywhere in the great outdoors.

Taos, NM is where Rob and I met after a day of skiing at Taos Ski Valley. Rob was the head coach of the Taos Ski Team for nine seasons. My girl Kaleigh and I moved to Taos full-time after my mommy passed away due to cancer. We wanted to be closer to my dad and my amazing step-mom.

My parents and Kaleigh are still full-time residents in Taos. We get home to Taos at least three times a year. Brocton spends a lot of time there while we are training or racing. We have a very close group of friends in Taos too. Taos, NM is a magical place. There is nowhere else like it in the world.  

Immediately I felt like I was home when I moved there. Even though I did not grow up in Taos, that is home for me. The entire Taos community is family to Team Vision4Gold they follow and support us in our journey.  If you ever get a chance to visit Taos, you may never want to leave. I don't!

Manchester, MA is where Rob grew up. His parents, sister and brother in-law, twin nieces and some friends still live there. We go home to visit them at least twice a year. Manchester is on the ocean, where we go sailing or fishing on the water. Rob's family is remarkable, they are a loving family, who welcomed me immediately, and always made me feel at home. We have spent some time in Boston, what a cool city! I went to my first Red Sox game at Fenway Park with the family. I had never been to Massachusetts before I met Rob, now it feels like home to me, too, when I am there.

We spend every summer in Hood River, Oregon. Our son Brocton, was born in Hood River. We have a great group of friends all over the state. The summers there have endless choices of outdoor activities. We live in our travel trailer and enjoy camping throughout that beautiful state most of the summer. We spend our summer skiing, doing yoga, hiking, tandem biking, stand up paddle surfing and kite boarding. Rob has been going to Oregon for 17 summers. He does his own ski race camp with a great group of kids. He also teaches kite boarding on the river when we are not training up at Mt. Hood.

Park City, Utah is where I started ski racing with the National Ability Center (NAC). The NAC is a great adaptive program. This is where it all began in the ski racing world for me. Rob was a coach there for Park City Ski Team before he started guiding me full-time. We were married at the top of Snowbird, with our families, and dear friends who joined us for this awesome celebration. Then we all skied down in our wedding clothes hopped on a bus to go celebrate the wedding in Park City. At least three times a year we come home to Park City and spend at least two weeks to a month each time here. We love the community, the outdoors, our friends and working out at the Center of Excellence.  

Winter Park, Colorado is where we spent last winter, and will go to again this winter. We train with The National Sports Center for the Disabled. (NSCD).  Their competition program is one of the best. Athletes across the world go to train there. Last season was an epic season for Team Vision4Gold and the training there was exactly what we wanted. NSCD gave Rob a coaching job for when he was not guiding me to help us try to make ends meet financially. The employee childcare at the mountain is better than we expected. Brocton loves going there. Even though we are US Adaptive Ski Team (USAST) members now, we will continue to train with NSCD when we are not training with the USAST. Winter Park is a very cool community, ski area, and is good old fashion fun. I have made so many good friends there that I believe will be lifelong friends. I love the cold winters, good skiing, amazing training and great people. When not traveling for races, this is our home in the winter time.  

Being gypsies is sometimes hard, with moving around so much. How many people in this world truly have the support of so many different communities? We are lucky that we have that love and support from all the places we call home. In every community there is the outdoors, which is our favorite place to be, and where we feel at home.

Go to our website to learn more about Team Vision4Gold, www.vision4gold.org