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World Cup Season Begins (9/4/13)

BY JON LUJAN


New Zealand--Mt Hutt is in there somewhere!

Queenstown, NZ

Coronet Peak, NZ

View from the super-G course at Mt Hutt

Greetings all from “Down Under.” Our world cup season is under way and I am reflecting on the four races we have already had in the absolutely beautiful country of New Zealand. I am so fortunate to be able to travel to all of theses amazing places. I would highly recommend to anyone that has never been to New Zealand to try and visit. It is breathtakingly beautiful there. Words and pictures just can’t put it into perspective, and I don’t think I am eloquent enough to describe the true beauty of it. All I can say is the mixture between mountains and farms is just amazing.

Anyhow, to get to the meat of this blog is to describe a rather rough start to my season. We traveled here and had a day of familiarity skiing at Mt Hutt, which was rather challenging. Fog light rain and low light visibility made the freeskiing day interesting to say the least. The next few days we were unable to ski due to weather conditions, so we spent time in the gym and tried to make the best of it. We then left to drive down to Coronet Peak and prepared for our first races. The hill was one of the most challenging race venues I have had the experience to try and master. Lots of rolls, fall away double fall lines and the snow was super slick with no grip what so ever. Needless to say, I blew out of the first run of slalom three gates from the finish on the first race day, and then on the second race day I also didn’t complete my first run. Mentally this was taxing and I tried to make the best of two days of disappointment. My saying for this was “sometimes you are the windshield, sometimes you are the bug.” I, unfortunately, was the bug.

We then traveled back to Mt Hutt for the super combined and super-G races. The super combined proved to be a fantastic race hill — great vertical drop and super slick conditions. I would say that I got up to max speed within three gates and had poor body position, took a poor race line and then got blown out of the course at a compression and was unable to finish the super-G portion. Ugh, another day of disappointment! So now I am 0 for 3 and this is where I need to reach into my tool bag and prepare mentally for fighting the hill and maintaining good body position and stay ahead of the race course. The fourth race I dug deep and although I didn’t have the best result, it was a small moral victory to just finish the race course. I finished 14th, but to me the finish was a victory in itself. So I will take that and use it as a springboard for the upcoming races.

What my main takeaway from this is that I have to continue to work on my mental game and be able to put behind me poor results and focus on the next series of races. Ski racing is always challenging physically, but I just have to rely on muscle memory and push forward.

As a team, we had a great series in NZ, taking home 18 podiums and several of my teammates brought home their first world cup podiums! Once again, thank you for all of your support as my journey continues!

Go Team USA!!! Also, a special shout out to my parents for their help with this trip — you both know what you did! Love to Mom, Dad and Emily!

Don't forget to follow my journey on Twitter: @JonnyVolcano44, or Facebook: Jon Lujan Adaptive Alpine Skier.