Katie Tsuyuki

For the Love of Sport

I really do love sport and I loved watching the Olympics.  So much that I neglected to do other work, like writing blogs, to take in all the inspiring athletes pursuing perfection in front of judges or being the fastest in their craft.  I don’t feel too guilty because it was a bit like homework for me. 

Rosie MacLennan has to be the first to mention.  I feel amazed that I chose her to follow, and she ended up Canada’s only gold medal.  In times of high pressure and somewhat being under the shadow of Karen Cockburn, she performed fantastic and kept Canadaat the top of trampoline.  Canadian’s are so proud of what she accomplished. 

This is not to say that I have forgotten about JessicaZelinka, who may have been a bit behind in the heptathlon but she still killed it in the hurdles, just missing the podium.  Her story alone is so interesting, being a mom and an athlete, two full on major jobs; I can only imagine what that must be like.  

Of course, last but not least Phylicia George, from my home city of Toronto, and even closer to my home town, Markham.  A still blooming athlete with more Olympics to come I am sure. 

The work all these athletes put into their sport is incomprehensible to people who do not pursue a sport and just watch them perform.  It is easy to say how “disappointing” it is for someone to miss a mark but hard to truly empathize with those feelings.  I suspect a small business owner may understand, but then their window of opportunity is a little winder when compared to an athlete.

I get it.  My life for over ten years has been snowboarding, and I love it.  Still it never has been easy.  Lack of guidance at the start and middle was a struggle.  The stigma snowboarding has had in the past never helped me in any way.  

 The looks my parents got when they told people their daughter was a snowboarder are memorable, I am thankful they are so awesome.  They gave me a chance to prove snowboarding is a real sport, like diving or gymnastics, just like them I do this though hours of hard work.

I am excited to have a chance to change what it means to be a snowboarder in Canada.  This movement is happening all over, especially with riders like Kelly Clark, Gretchen Bleiler, and Hannah Teter, who I see on snow and in the gym on a regular basis. 

We are the ones who are diligent and committed to our profession in every way, and are willing to try new ideas.  We will be inspiring for other females of all ages all around the world and we deserve to be called Olympic calibre athletes.              

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Olympic Fever

I really love the Olympics.  This is a most exciting time.  I love waking up and checking what I missed, being glued to my CTV Olympic app, and checking in on all the action, sometimes even drama.  Although I do feel as though I am missing out on most of the Canadian coverage of the Games, since I am in Oregon for some on snow training, the Americans do a great job of showcasing their athlete's talent.  All the way from NBC national broadcasting to the local stations, they are supporting their athletes.

I almost expect the USA to be at the top of the score board with an astounding 539 athletes at the Games. China has a close second in medals with only 384 athletes, still much lower considering the population of both counties.

Then there is Canada with our 281 athletes, and a fraction of the population compared to the powerhouses of USA and China.  Still we're holding our own and currently in 11th place; great for a small country that is 35th on the list of world populations, much lower than any of the countries who are the top of the score board.  This just shows that Canadians love sport!

Jessica Zelinka
Rosie Maclennan
This is a time, just like the Winter Games, where I thrive off seeing these athletes perform no matter what sport they are doing.  Seeing the 'eye of the tiger' in their look is inspiring and something I can easily relate to.  I am so pumped to have relations to athletes like Jessica Zelinka, heptathlon athlete, who I share a mental trainer with, Bob Palmer.  Also  Rosie Maclennan, trampoline athlete, with whom we have the same Pilates instructor, two time Olympian and bronze medalist Fanny Latourneau- Roussel.  Lastly with Phylicia George, running, we share a best friend, Tenika Davis.  Makes me feel that I am on the right track.
Phylicia George

Jessica is scheduled to start her seven event competition tomorrow and I am excited for her to start as she is the first to begin of the three I am following closely.

Regardless, I have been anxiously following all my Canadian athletes through the press and twitter feeds. I love seeing the medal count grow every day as our dedicated, diligent, and brave athletes achieve their dreams though following their passions.  No matter what their finish is I am proud to have them representing my country.  To even make it to the Olympics is a feat and a journey, I should know, I am on the path myself right now!

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My Rope for Hope Experience

Four months ago when Make-A-Wish and I decided to team up for their first Rope for Hope event I really didn’t know what to expect. All I knew was that I was interested and wanted to help. Our phone conversation concluded with me being a guest celebrity and although it wasn’t necessary for me to raise money I felt inclined to do so. Mostly because while I get to live my wish everyday the Make-A-Wish kids are facing life treating challenges which affects both them and their loving families. 

Within a week I was already at $1500 and decided to up my goal by a thousand dollars.  It took a while but all these people helped me come very close to my goal. Overall, I raised $2380 with the help of; Sony of Canada, G&G Electronics customers, Cheryl and Gary Tsuyuki, Edith, George and Kimberly Myslicki, Linda Nakamoto, Teddy Guay, Kris Owikawa, Linda Owikawa, Anna Holancin, J Peter Milner, Stacey Carmichael, Susan Sims, Derek McDonald, SportExcel Inc., Edison Wai, Canadianweb Solutions, Kristina Jacobson, Ken Coombs, Ray Edamura, Derek Salvatin, Anita Cristan, and Helen Thomas. These people made a big difference in lives that needs change. 

It was amazing how fast the time flew by and before I knew it I was in front of City Hall in Torontobeing greeted by the wonderful volunteers of the Rope for Hope event.  I had a great support crew; Garrett, Kimberly and my parents, who showed up along with my trusty camera man Roberto.  Before I knew it I was being whisked up the elevator to go up the 27 stories of City Hall to the roof. 

A company called Over the Edge were the professionals running the ropes course and I could tell they were well educated in their craft.  I would even say that climbing was their passion.  Jeff was helpful getting me into my harness and making sure it was tight and all the clips were closed and I was safe to go.  Next, I was on to a mini training course to make sure I knew how to work all the equipment.  Mad Dog from Virgin Radio in Toronto was repelling with me, and his comical comments relieved some of the tension, which was mostly coming from him…I was calm still, but that wasn’t going to last long.
The last step was getting on to the roof, it was at this time the true height of the building hit me and as my head poked out from the well of the ladder and I saw over most buildings in the downtown core.  Without even thinking I was strapped into the repel device and the safety device.  My camera man radioed in for the green light and it was my time to go. 

So now I had to get on to the ledge, the ledge that leads to nothing.  I was pretty good until I was told to turn around with my back to the abyss of air.  It got even worse when I had to lean into my harness and trust it was going to hold me…it was a 30 story drop behind me.  Once I was comfortable I was really excited to get on the move. 

It seemed like it took forever to get down the first half and I was sure to stop and take in the views of the cityscape and the lake.  I knew this was a chance of a lifetime.  After the halfway mark the rope was feeding through the device smoother and I was able to cruse down.  When my feet hit the ground I was a bit sad it was over but relieved.  It was also great to see all the wonderful people at the bottom greeting me. 
Other participants in the event included wish children and families, such as Tara, 18, Cystic Fibrosis, 
whose wish was granted in 2011 and had a double lung transplant in February 2012. Tara is doing so well that both her and her dad went over City Hall as a team to support Make-AWish. Wish dad Brian , and firefighter Shaun, rallied together to raise funds and support MakeA-Wish, post 4-year-old Owen’s wish to be a firefighter, which was granted on World Wish Day® in April. Wish child and wish ambassador, Madison, 14, Leukemia, and her best friend, YTV’s Life with Boys star, Michael Murphy, took part in Rope for Hope yesterday as well. 

Make-A-Wish really knows how to put on a good show and I am proud to be associated with them.  I strongly suggest everyone should do a charity event like this.  It was new and exciting and a unique challenge for myself, another gala, walk, or run does not seem that interesting after doing Rope for Hope.  So keep an eye out for the next Rope for Hope event that will be coming to your city soon!!    

Family Matters

Have you ever worked with your family? My family’s lively hood is based on working together and it makes for an interesting dynamic.  I swear that we could get our own TV show from all the shenanigans. 

The past few days have especially been exciting.  The gym I work out at in Toronto is no more and Gary, my dad, found this most advantageous.  Through special circumstances all the equipment in the closed gym was purchased and had to be moved to the new space in G&G Installation’s building. 

It all started on Monday, I went into former ATP for a workout and was met there by the whole gang, Mom, Dad, and Brother.  They were working the deal and taking inventory, which seemingly was irrelevant because they took everything, and I was there to do the last workout in that gym.  The deal was done and in the middle of my set and I noticed my Bro and dad were already ripping out the special flooring in the other room.  Before I was finished six helpers were loading dumb bells into a van.  I got into the packing action too, adding to the workout I just had. 

A prior commitment kept me busy for that night but the next afternoon I met the crew in the new space.  I was surprised to see the mirrors and floor already installed and a lot of equipment to be set up.  Apparently I arrived just in time to start unloading what remained in; 2 vans, 2 suburbans, a cube van, and a full size closed trailer. Everyone was in full swing. 

Dad was directing, Mom designing the space, my Bro literally throwing things out of the vehicles.  Me, I was the floater, helping where ever they needed me; washing windows, carrying stuff, sweeping ,etc.  As easy it as it sounds on paper it’s never that smooth in reality.  There were really three bosses instructing associates who were slaving away to create this gym.  Some yelling happened, miscommunications, and a lot of confusion.  Never the less, we did it and within 48 hours we fully tore apart a whole gym and reassembled it to make a beautiful place.  Surprisingly only few sustained an injury. 
 I had my first workout there today, it felt great to be in the new GYT Fit private gym.  Thanks to all who helped put it all together :)

It was a great reminder that when it needs to happen I have a family who can be counted on even when things are on the line and last minute.  I can’t forget about all of the other awesome people who are always there for us too, yes Jenna, Derek, and Dan that’s for you, sorry if I missed anyone.  When the bat light goes out these people really step up to the plate. 

Although working with family has it challenges the benefits are worth it.  I guess it helps when your family has been doing it for over 60 years!


Empowering the Youth

Seems in these fast times with more attention to the media and less to ourselves we can easily get lost in the mix. At least, this is how I feel and I am an adult…most of the time. 
Empowering ourselves and others give the chance for change.  This can be a catalyst to something grand, something imperative to a life. 

Today I was able to see others in my hometown community of East Scarborough take steps to empower the local youth at the 2012 Unity in the Community Youth Conference hosted by the East Scarborough Boys and Girls Club.  I was invited to speak on a panel discussing empowerment and how we were empowered. 

One person spoke about how education and being self sufficient empowers them,  referring to the “catch a man a fish or teach a man to fish” phrase.  Another spoke about how expression through art empowered them with the freedom of creativity.  I spoke about how inspiring youth through setting an example of following a passion supported by hard work empowered me.  What I didn’t say was that even just being there, feeding off the energy in the room also empowered me.  What a feeling!

I then found my way around to different workshops.  The first was with Claude, he was speaking to a group of males about how education was the key to success.  He emphasized that it doesn’t matter if you do it all at once, because sometimes life happens, but you do need to complete it at some point to give you the best chance at success in life.  The next was with a group of young females and that leader spoke about how media contradicts itself constantly, how it is important to recognize this and take it into account when buy products or thinking about one’s body image.  The last one was with Amir, this was mostly a discussion on how our perception of others affects us and why certain faces makes us feel differently about people before we become acquainted with them.  I am sure the participants in the groups were as enthused as I was. 

The last big event was the community walk, a 5km walk around the heart of East Scarborough.  Not only was it a chance to get out into the beautiful Torontosun, but it also gave me the fortune to speak to some of the youth at the conference on a more personal level.  Three students in particular caught my attention.  A bubbly girl named Khusubu, the creative one, Taylor, and the comical one Mayo.  I loved learning about what their passions were and their special roles in their clique of friends.  I was so impressed on how bright and insightful this gang was for being in grade 8, they all spoke at least two languages and were so open minded.  I was especially taken with 13year old Khusubu and her discussion on how insecurities are derived from fear…she is going to email me the book she is writing and the one her friend is writing…no big deal.   
When I left the conference with certificate in hand and a thank you card I really felt as though I needed to thank the East Scarborough Boys & Girls club for having me at the event.  I loved meeting new people, like constable Mat Crisp, and talking about how to make changes and improvements in local communities.  I felt recharged and motivated to go out and empower the people around me.  This day was the best part of my week and I will be sure to carry it for a long time! 

Special Thanks to Nneka for the invitation

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Passion Pushes Athletes

Lately I have been trying to notice everyday people who live with passion in their lives.  Since I have been spending a lot of time in Blackcomb’s park I have had the chance to meet up with new riders who are truly locals.  
First, I met Martin; he is from Argentina and an instructor for the resort.  He packs in whole days where breaks are seldom.  Next I met JP, fully educated and trying to make a  career in Whistler in the fitness industry.  He also is on the mountain every day he can be with big smiles, taking full advantage of his pass.
It is clear to me that snowboarding is their world.  It’s what they dream of day and night, where goals are not necessarily to be a pro, but to learn, practice, and improve.  Snowboarding is their passion and I was excited to see them expressing it.  The past couple of days have had a lot of great times. 
All this makes me think of the passion of other athletes, not just snowboarders.  With 76 days left until the start of the 2012 London Summer Olympic Games, I can almost feel the excitement building across the country, and I too want to get involved.
I decided to choose an athlete to follow to and though the Games, this will give me an inside feel to the big event from a participant’s point of view at the Summer Games.  
Rosie MacLennan
I have a connection to a few athletes who are potential or are going to the Games already but none who’s sport can be related to snowboarding.  That is until I remembered my Pilates trainer, Fanny at Health Movement, also trained a trampoline athlete, Rosie MacLennan.  Trampoline would be perfect as it is several acrobatic movements in a row and it’s judged.  I definitely felt there is a connection. 
I contacted Rosie and she is thinking about it now. I am excited to connect with another athlete whose passion is pushing them towards perfection and greatness.  There must be many similarities in our journeys to the Games.  This also gives me the change to help promote the interest of our Olympic team, so we are all active in supporting them. 
Until I get a response, it’s back up to Blackcomb to practice my own craft.  My own qualifying for Sochi starts August 25th at Cardrona resort in New Zealand, and I am going to be ready to bring it!

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Above the Clouds

Seems like life always has more curve balls than expected, thus far my time in BC has been a bit frustrating.  Festivals, weather and other miscellaneous happenings are interfering with my plans.  As I have said before, during these days it is important to see the positive side.  

Yes, those are people!
Where's the Pipe?
I have been home for two weeks and due to weather, contests and photo shoots I have not ridden a solid day in the pipe.  Most of the time the pipe looks like this.
 That’s not to say that I haven’t been getting work done, just not the work I planned to do.  I came here to work on two specific tricks, but end up riding jumps, rails and the natural features of the mountain.  The positive part is that I still work on the essence and fundamentals of the tricks on these other features, and I must admit that I do have a lot of fun working new components. 

This makes me think about my seminar on passion and how a good work ethic supports my following of snowboarding.  Sometimes I don’t want to try new things because I know I will be awkward at them, let’s face it…no one wants to look uncoordinated and sloppy.  But in the end I trust my coach and am determined so I am willing to put myself out there; at this time of the year it means getting soaked too!  I know it will all contribute to the successes of my goals in the future. 

For today, it’s getting some house and computer work done.  I have the privilege of Rope for Hope, a thirty story repel in June for Make-A-Wish Foundation, so, I will be looking for sponsors.  Check out all the action HERE

For tomorrow, it will be waking up and looking to get the most out of my day.  My fingers are crossed for the sun to be out!!!    

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The last ten years of my life have been passion driven, and I must say that I am privileged to have found things I was passionate about at a young age.  I was lucky enough to be exposed to many experiences to gauge what my possible passions were.  However, not every kid out there is as fortunate as I was, and I am pretty sure the schooling curriculum does not include finding your passion.  So, for the past few weeks I have been composing a presentation to take to schools and social groups to get kids thinking.

My goal is to get them to think about what they are good at, enjoy, and are interested in.  Or to just be more conscience of what is happening around them so they can get some ideas on what they could be passionate about.  I feel this is an important step to get kids motivated and confident again. 

Included in my presentation is talk about how to make passions a realistic occupation, since I have so many great examples around me to pull from.  I live with examples like my friend Tenika, who is pursuing acting and modeling, but has her Bachelor of Arts in political science.  When speaking to her about this project she reminded me that your passion almost has to be an obsession, where perseverance gets you though many set backs.  With her, it is audition after audition, where getting turned down is a very common occurrence.  Another amazing example is my parents and our family business.  They deal with a lot of crap, but they are passionate about retail.  My Mom loves the social aspect and my Dad loves directing and taking care of everyone.  At times he sounds like air traffic control, making it happen for the people around him.  Lastly, I think of my own adventures and how the love of snowboarding makes me responsible and have initiative to work on my own on the mountain and off the mountain.  We are all people who followed our calling.   
Even though all our passions are different we all have one common trait…a great work ethic.  This characteristic allows us to live our passions as a job, where we live to work and not work to live, and we are okay with this.  It would be amazing if the next generation of workers lived like this too.  More people would take pride in what they do, work quality would rise, and the ordinary person would live a much happier life.

I am excited about this project and having the opportunity to inspire others to follow and live their dreams, as I was inspired to do years ago.  I have found great supporters like Sony of Canada, Iyashi Bedrock Spa, Anakie, Scott Goggles and iFound.  And I can’t forget about my incredible parents and coach/partner Roberto Marfia.  My supporters mixed with passion and work ethic is a recipe for success.  And with a little help, I believe anyone can follow this recipe.  I would love the chance to help a kid find their way and place in this world.         

If you would like more information on a presentation, which right now is a free presentation, please fill out a email form at /   

Last Leg of Contest Season

I left the US Open at Stratton Vermont last week with a feeling of needing more.  It was a strange contest in the sense that they ran close to a thousand runs in the pipe the day of my qualifying.  For the first time they ran both men’s pre-qualifiers and qualifiers in the same day, including women’s qualifiers, heat of 70 men and ladies for two runs.  Strange.  This translated to the women’s second run as a write off, with some of the women even choosing not to take a run because of the condition of the course.  The organizers then decided not to let the men ride their second run that late afternoon because of the dangerous condition of the pipe and let them ride the next morning…I just wish we had the same luxury. 

So, I had to finish my contest there with an unsatisfactory finish and turn to just having fun with my family instead.  I was ok with it because I had a great time, renting skis and skiing with my Mom and Dad.  My latest video blog is about this, check it out here. It was a lot of fun to make. 

Now it was time for me to focus on the new task at hand.  Canadian Nationals, also known as the Snow Crown event.  I made some appointments in Torontoto see my witch doctor and to get into Iyashi, my two favourite places to get fixed and unwind.

My witch doctor I can’t give details on her identity, but I will say she is the best and has worked with many famous Canadian athletes.  I always feel like a can of worms going to see her since there’s always something wrong with almost every sector of my body.  Still, it’s great to keep things in check and get my hips and spine realigned, my ankle scaring broken down, etc, etc.  She’s not really a witch, but I call her that because I instantly feel changes after seeing her and that is hard to accomplish with normal physios. 

I was sure to get into Iyashi for a relaxing, almost meditative time.  Not only was the heat good on that cold rainy day, but so was getting things in order in my mind.  I was happy to hear just how much rock bathing was catching on in Toronto; I think people would like it if they tried it, it’s a great way to quiet down in the hustle of a city.

I flew to Toronto to Calgary the next day and was greeted with bizarre weather.  In one day it hailed, was sunny and warm, then very windy, and finally snow finished it off.  Typical Calgary weather in the spring! I met up with friends and made plans to go see John Carter at the Imax.  It was the best movie I have seen in a long time; very inspiring for the next day of training. 

That day was today.  I had a decent day of pipe riding.  Some real pipe legends have come out for this event, including Olympian Crispin Lipscomb.  It was really fun to get back in the pipe with my old friend.  Brad Martin and Bahamian rider Kory Wright were also out boosting airs.  No one got crazy, just had fun, in fact I think I did more ticks today they did.  I laded my run a few times after warming up to the new pipe.

I really want to do my best in this contest.  We lost a day of training; tomorrow’s training was cancelled due to warm weather coming in.  I have scheduled a virtual session with Sport Excel so to me I will be riding the best private pipe.  I have the need to get more out of this contest, especially after the unsatisfied feeling the US Open left in me.  I am hungry for the podium and am doing my best to get myself there.  Friday will be a great day, a great contest!       

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Mammoth to Stratton

 When I awoke on Saturday morning I could see the sun was cresting over the peak of the mountains, there was no wind, and I just had a feeling it was going to be a great day.  I made my breakfast as usual, eggs, toast, avocado, tomatoes and a superfood smoothe, visualized some and stretched.  I was ready for game time.

The pipe looked great, dressed with all its fences, banners and blue dye lines, with a perfect shape to it.  I was really in the ‘zone’ dropping in for practice.  I only needed three runs to get comfortable and ready to be judged.  I had two smooth runs which landed me in eighth place.  Roberto didn’t say anything to me, but I was relieved when I heard “Katie Tsuyuki made it to finals” after my last run.  I was pumped but I knew there was more to come. 

A couple of the other Canadians, Harrison Gray and Sarah Conrad
The whole day passed before the women went, and although in final’s practice my board was fast, when we finally dropped in for our one practice run after men’s finals, I could feel my board sticking to the right wall.  The sun had been baking that wall all day! I had a feeling this wasn’t good. 

No matter how much brushing I did to my board there was just no wax left in the base and white patches were showing though.  Oh no!! I had no choice but to roll with it.  I threw my run as best as I could, but it just looked off balanced, with one side of the pipe having more amplitude than the other.  I was unable to better my placing.  Still at the end of my runs I pulled up my goggles, smiled for the camera, and waved to the crowed.  Can’t let them know about my disappointment…I wanted to be the best sports woman I could be! 

As soon as I could leave the bottom of the pipe I had to make a break to where I was staying to get things in order before leaving.  It was already three-thirty and my flight out of Reno, a three hour drive away, was at eight-twenty.  I had to take a very quick shower, pack, and gas up and I was on the road an hour later.  I was traveling to the US Open.   

I just made it into Renowith enough time to check my bags; it was going to be a long night ahead of me. I flew from Reno to San Francisco then a red eye to Newarkon to Albanyand finally a two hour drive to Stratton.  Twenty hours of travel…it’s almost less to New Zealand!  Not to mention when I got off the flight to Newark it was by birthday! For the day I did have a great Thai lunch with my friends and a celebratory martini. 

When I arrived in Stratton, still my Birthday, I spent the day and night sending Birthday wish thank yous to everyone who sent me a message.  I thought it was a good time to ask for them to ‘like’ my fresh Athlete Page on Facebook, it took me hours to send a hundred and thirty messages, and then some, to everyone, but I felt great after.  By the way, thanks to everyone who liked my page <3  

Today was the only day of practice for the US Open and I was so tired from all the travel and work the day before.  When I arrived at practice I felt as thought I was in another world.  I decided, after I couldn’t do my run, that I would go home and nap during the break.  This was a great idea because I came back charging with half full batteries instead of empty! I landed my run a bunch of times then headed home to get some rest and more work done.  Tomorrow I have qualifiers and have to perform.  So lots of rest tonight, good food, and then it’s back to wearing my game face.  This in one of my favourite contests, so I am excited for it!



No Matter the Weather

When I turned up at practice on Monday morning I was ready for anything; thank goodness because of the 80km wind gusts and sometimes white squall conditions were unfavourable.  Practice started late because the pipe maintenance people had to deal with the six inches of snow in the bottom and when the course did open we had to ride in the gusty cross winds. 

Many athletes left training with only a few runs under them but our crew, Lauren Shanahan, Coach Roberto Marfia, and myself, stayed until the end.  I had heard a storm was coming in and I wanted to get a good feel for the pipe.  The pipe its self had a beautiful shape…it was just the stubborn weather that was adverse.   

I awoke Tuesday morning to sun out my window but still there was that pesky wind.  I had a bad feeling about practice.  Sure enough the message came down the line that practice was cancelled for both snowboarders and skiers.  This was going to be the last day of practice before qualifiers.  A bit annoying but I was okay with this, I had Bob Palmer that evening, so I was going to ride in my mind anyway. 

This extra time gave me the opportunity to get some much needed work done.  I started my athlete page on Facebook and sent the word out to my FB friends.  I updated my website with news and some pictures.  In addition to all of that I set up a meeting with the Make-A-Wish foundation to see if I could be a part of their Rope for Hope event.  In this event 90 participants who raise the most money repel from a 30 storey building in the heart of downtown Toronto.

When Roberto came back from the riders meeting that night it was said that if the skier qualifiers were cancelled on Wednesday then the formatting would be changed to a one run qualifier including both skiers and snowboards, opposed to the separate days for skiers and snowboarders who get two runs each.  Again this was all good because I have Palmer in my corner.   

My meeting with Bob Palmer was great.  We went through some preparation exercises that will give me the edge on my competitors.  To me I had a great day in the pipe, working my passes and running through new tricks I want to land.  I ended the meeting in a state of readiness. 

That night I went to bed listening to the howling of the wind outside my window and even was woken up by it in the middle of the night.  I had a feeling that the skier qualifiers would be pushed back and the alternative format would be implied. 

Sure enough today, the now 160km winds cancelled the skier qualifiers and there was no practice for anyone.  Here is a picture taken with my Sony NEX-5 with a fisheye lens.

Once again I am left to snowboarding in my head where it is always sunny and with a perfect pipe.  To me, I have already performed my run about twenty times and practiced a bunch of drills. 

Tomorrow it should be sunny out, go figure.  I might only have one run, but I am ready for that run and will make it count!      


The Quebec World Cup

Getting to Quebecwas a little crazy.  First was the flight from Denver to Toronto, which was the best part of the trip.  We upgraded to First Class and it was great.  Truly a more civilized way to travel, being fed and lots of moving around room is the way to go.  Thank goodness I had upgrade credits that needed using.

We arrived at Pearson airport on time but it always takes so long to get luggage, plus clearing customs, we ended up spending an hour in the air port.  This was not good because coach made the decided to drive to Montrealthat night so we could hit up the first day of practice. 

Once all was said and done, eating and saying hello to the parents, it was already 7pm, we had a 515km drive a head of us and I knew my Aunt would be waiting for us to arrive.  We needed to get to Montrealquick. 

The 401 highway was our main route and about 40kms in to the trip the speedometer went out, so I had to drive according to RPMs.  I am used to this because of my boat training; sometimes the speedos didn’t work well on the boats, so you would do what you can.  Driving fast, I was driving with my head on a swivel.  Lady luck was on my side and I made it safely to my Aunts in less than 5 hours. 

The next morning there was practice at the resort, Stoneham, at 10am, and we were still 280kms away.  Roberto drove the rest of the way while I got some sleep so I would have some energy for the 3 hour practice I would have to ensue and perform in. 

We made it and were on course, with accreditation and bibs, by 11:45am.  Phew! I was a bit surprised to have such good practice.  I thought I was going to just do straight airs but I was able to pull it together and get my run down a couple of times.

It was also great to see good friends at the top of the pipe.  I have slowly befriended Chinese rider Xuetong through her coach, my friend, Christopher Clark.  “tong tong’ is her nickname on their team and she’s always smiling and high-fiving when we meet up.  Her and ‘crazy Dr. Loo’ are very patient with teaching me Mandarin, it’s taken me a while to learn ‘how are you’ and ‘I am fine’.  It’s much different from the Japanese that I have learnt in the past, and I have troubles with the intonation, but I am happy to try.   

Coach and I were relieved to finally get checked into the hotel, unpack, eat, and catch some Z’s. 

Tuesday’s practice when very well, with the sun shining and pipe having a much better shape, I practiced various runs with ease, and I could feel the energy building for the contest.  That night I had a meeting with Bob Palmer  to get my mental game up too.  It was great, and I was fired up.

The late morning of Wednesday was a snowy one with light fog in the half, the men rode first and there ended up being a half foot of sugar snow in the bottom.  Neither of this mattered to me because I was so in the ‘zone’.  It’s hard for me to describe to you exactly what happened or what I was doing because it was almost dream like.  I was on auto pilot that morning.  I did my runs and nothing else mattered.  This is what the ‘zone’ is like.  I didn’t even notice anyone else’s runs…I leave that up to my coach.  At least I got that right that day; that I definitely found the sweet spot in the zone. 

When I reached the bottom of the pipe I heard from the announcements that I had made semi finals and I was so stoked.  On to twitter I went telling everyone about my accomplishment.  I had made it though…or so I thought I did. 

Later that night, after preparing all evening, I received a call from Canada Snowboard telling me there had been a tabulation mistake and I actually missed finals by a point and a half.  I was SO BROKEN!!

Just heartbroken with this news! I was in the dumps.  My balloon had been totally deflated.  This contest meant a lot to me, and this mishap made me feel as though I was on the brink of quitting.  I know a lot of people envy what I do, but I also envy what everyday people get to do too.  Life is way easier to punch a clock, get a steady paycheque, and sleep in your own familiar bed every day.  There is so much ambiguity in my life that at times it drives me crazy and the people around me crazy.      

So, with all that happening I am lucky I have the support of some great people in my life.  My Mom and coach who help keep things in perspective; friends who make time for me when I am around and fully understand when I need to work.  I get a lot of love from these people.  At least how I live helps separates the real from the fluff.  No matter what the result of the contest I know I am always winning at life with these people around me.  There will be more contests and it’s a build to greatness.  It is a hard road, but would be much harder alone.