Winter Ready!

With winter knocking at the door, this is a great time to get your body ready for all the g-forces, bobbing and turning you will put your body through this season.

Let’s be honest…most of us are weekend warriors and surf a desk or some sort of seat in our regular time. So let’s get those limbs and core strong so the weekends are a little more fun and the weekdays are a little less sore! 

 This not so Olympian workout that can be done at home or at your local gym and it will get you better prepared for what’s to come in the winter season. 

Warm Up

Warm up is very important for the body and mind to prepare for the exercises; it should take about 5-7mins and include exercises like skipping or jumping jacks and stretching.

Here is a great warm up routine that activates all areas of the body

Snowboard Workout

Before doing any exercise routine make sure you’re healthy and have been cleared by a doctor to exercise. If you have never lifted weights or performed workout style exercises I strongly suggest you consult a certified personal trainer to make sure your positioning and movements are correct.

I like to pair exercise together to keep it interesting and to keep moving. When exercises are paired together I find I do not need to rest as much as single exercises.

How to: Each pair of exercises has 10 repetitions (reps) to be performed for 3 sets or rounds, alternating the exercises.  So, perform exercise A for 10 reps and immediately perform exercise B for 10 reps and then rest, that is one set or round. 

Box Jumps + Weighted Twist

Box Jumps: Height is not always the goal; sometimes it’s just to jump. Choose something you know you can jump onto, one step in a staircase, or even a board on the floor. Some gyms will have stackable boxes that are ideal. Start by facing the box or platform in a knees bent and ready position, when you’re ready, with both feet/legs, bend down and jump on to the obstacle, landing in a squat/bent position and stand up tall to complete the movement. Step down and do it again. Challenge yourself by adding more height to the box, start further away from the box or add reps. This is for your mind just as much as your body. Start small and work your way up. This exercise will get your ready for when you have to jump over those fence lines or be limber to dodge a body in the lift line. 

Weighted Twist: Find something that’s heavy for you and sit on the floor with your feet in front. Holding your weight straight out in front, try to lean back a little. Rotate your core so your hands and the weight come all the way to one side, and even behind you, it’s ok to bend your arms and the end of the rotation, a full range of movement is the focus. Rotate to the other side, going to both sides is 1 rep. Challenge yourself by leaning back more or adding weight. 

Step-out Lunges + Plank

Step-out Lunges: From a standing position, step out with one leg far enough to lower your body to let your back knee bend to touch the floor while keeping your front knee over your front foot and toward your little toe. Without your hands to help, push off the floor with your front foot to return to the standing position. Complete 10 reps on one side before switching to the other. Challenge yourself by holding weights, closing your eyes, or adding reps.

Plank: Starting in a push up position, bend your arms so you are supporting your upper body weight on your elbows. This is the plank position. Try pulling the bottom of your spine in towards your chin to maintain proper positioning. Hold this position for at least 20s-30s. Challenge yourself by holding the plank longer or by adding weight to your back

Sumo Squats + Leg Raises                  

Sumo Squats: Standing, spread your feet so they are wider than your shoulders, if it’s more comfortable, you can turn your feet outwards like a duck stance. Keep your back straight and bend your knees to lower yourself towards the floor as far as you can. To come back up think of squeezing your inner thighs to help you ascend. A straight back is the key to good body positioning. Challenge yourself by holding weights and adding reps.

Leg Raises: Start by lying your back on the floor, with your arms either by your side or laid out in a “t”. Thinking about only using your core, raise your legs off the ground until they are in a “L” or perpendicular to the floor, at the top squeeze your core to slightly lift your hips off the ground, and slowly lower your legs back to the floor. This is one rep. Challenge yourself by slowing the movement, adding weight to your ankles, or adding reps.   

I swear by these movements and exercises and implement them or variations of them into my workouts on a weekly basis. But I don’t just train for my sport, I train for life…so bring it!

Does Competing Get Results??

Many of the halfpipe team and I have been competing for a long time, a lot of our riders have been competing for more than a decade and yet they sit in the middle of the pack when it comes to  world ranking lists.

There are many factors to think about when asking “why” to this predicament. First, the quality of the fields has increased significantly over the last couple Olympic cycles. Another, the rider has to choose between two circuits contests to compete in, which leaves the rider with hard decisions and a hard to swallow credit card bill. They then have to find work whenever they can to cope with their expenses. Also, the amount of time which the athlete gets to train verses compete may be the biggest factor.

Our Canadian team are pushed to compete during the whole Olympic cycle, leaving little time to train and rebuild.

Choosing training over competing a hard choice for a rider to make in situation where funding doesn’t support this decision; choosing to take a step back with the hopes of leaping forward. Our system has become results driven, especially since 2010 when Own the Podium came into play. Yes, they got us on the podium, but at what cost to the development and sustainability of sport?

I know firsthand the hardships that come with taking time off from the circuit to train. Not being a part of a nationally recognized high performance program with snowboarding’s National Sports Organization and not competing meant that I did not qualify for any support or grants from Canada. For an entire Olympic cycle I fundraised and sought corporate and private sponsors, like Sony Canada, to help me get to my dream. I used hard work, determination and a bit of luck to get me there. Not everyone has this chance that I had.

There is ample evidence that an athlete doesn’t improve going from contest to contest with little support. Like all things that have high yield, they need to be nurtured and sustained, not deserted when things get tough.

Imagine what our talented halfpipe team could do with mainly training camps during the first two years of the Olympic cycle and only worrying about quotas and results going into the qualifying year. Training camps would be open to any recognized provincial athlete who has shown proof of commitment and talent. I believe the yield would be high and Canada would be back in the top ten of the world ranking lists again with more than one miracle athlete. 

You can’t own the podium all the time, at some point you have to build it before you own it. 

The Refresher

Sqamish from Above 

My time home in Squamish after nationals was invigorating.  Not only did I get quality time in my house but I also was able to ride my favourite mountain, Whistler Blackcomb and pick up some new techniques on riding. 

Being back in my own bed was heaven; I even call that bed the coffin because you could spend the rest of your life in it.  The feeling of my own effects around me was comforting after the long journey of traveling for competition.  When I am on the road I hardly think about how much I miss my room in my home, but when I return I definitely appreciate my belongings and their placement. 

Aside from enjoying my house I also spent time tidying my garage and the small things that always need tending to after I have been away.  I also must admit that I cleared most of the Teenaged Mutant Ninja Turtles WII game, love my video games! 

Heading up to Whistler was beautiful too.  There, it was still a winter wonderland with fresh snow right to the village.  I met up with my great friend and snowboard tuner Yohann Sheetz to take some peak to creek runs.  In spite of it being spring it was cold there maybe minus five to minus ten.  That first day my legs and feet were burning from the long runs, my feet were used to six minute pipe laps and we were riding twenty-five to thirty-five minute runs! But it was awesome to get some last powder days in before the end of the season.
Whistler Blackcomb 
I finally had the opportunity to get together with Olympian and Whistler local Crispin Lipscomb to learn new edging and stance techniques on my snowboard.  I felt it was necessary to get back to some fundamentals; at times you can take leaps ahead by going back a few spaces. 
Crispin Lipscomb

One always feels a bit awkward when trying new things, and so did I, but I was pumped to be learning new ways to use the full potential of my snowboard.  Crispin had a lot of great pointers to improve my carving, and I had a blast putting them to use. 

I cursed thought the on snow techniques, but needed more practice to refine it off features.  Riding some mellow small park and rails was so enjoyable; we only took one run though the full sized half pipe.  I loved learning these new things about my sport and applying them. 

The continual learning of snowboarding is one of the most alluring aspects of snowboarding.  The three days with Crispin were fun and they now leave me with new concepts to think about and utilize in my half pipe riding.   

Summit County 
Home is always the favourite trip during the year, but now it was time to go back to Summit County, Colorado, to get in some spring conditions to train.  Breckenridge and Copper are great stomping grounds to have consistent courses and learn new tricks. 
So far it has been a great riding trip, getting back some old tricks and I even won a quarter pipe contest in Breckenridge.  The time ahead will be short but intense and I will achieve great accomplishments from it…but I am looking forward to heading back to Squamish after :)   

Back to Katie's Site Here /

Canadian Snowboard Championships

The Canadian Snowboard Championships are over and as I had forecasted, it was a great contest.  The contest was unlike any I have been to before.  Probably the best Canadian contest in a while.

For me it started with arriving in Calgary three days in advance.  My first day riding was a fun one and it was great to see some new faces around the Calgary Olympic Park pipe, but I was especially stoked to see the old faces too.  The sun was out with warm and soft conditions. 

There were the same conditions the next day, so the officials made the decision to cancel practice.  It was a little funny because I was starting to see a pattern emerge.  This was the third cancelled practice before the contest this season.   

Once again I turned to my mental coach, Bob Palmer, to help me visualize some snow time, giving me an edge on other athletes.  We had a great session in substitute for the last day of training.  Although almost nothing could prepare me for the conditions on contest day. 

It was a Friday and it was warm all day.  We didn’t get started until the late afternoon hoping the cooler temperatures would help keep the pipe’s shape.  Although we waited later in the day to start, the semi-qualifiers of the women and men left some ruts and bumps across the bottom and down the walls.   The worst part was that the temperature was dropping leaving the rutted shapes frozen in the snow.

I had qualified in third place and it was time for finals.  Dropping in was like a rodeo, not knowing where I was going to be bucked, but I was able to pull together a run on my first one and it was decent but I thought I could improve on it. At the end of the women’s first run I was in second. 

At the start of the men’s first run I could see a crew of people start walking up to the pipe course.  They came up the rider’s right side of the pipe and all the way to the starting area.  They were even walking all over the drop on the right side of the pipe.  A bunch of people had costumes on like 80s one piece ski suits with wigs, astronaut cowboys, pokey, etc.  People started walking down the bob sled track and one guy even passed was lying in the patrol toboggan; it was mayhem.  Once we got some crowed control at the top the men were able to start dropping again.

I saw a lot of men getting bucked around the pipe and when I went for my second run all I was thinking about was just staying on my feet.  I accomplished that but the run wasn’t so pretty.  So I was relying on my first run’s score.
My first run won me second place.  I wanted to do better but I was so happy to see how proud my parents were.  It was enough for me.  

                                                                                                           Another awesome part was the flash dance mob and their 2000 boom boxes all tuned into the same transmitted station, from a FM transmitter, the party was pumping in the viewing area.  It was nice to have a Canadian contest with more than 50 people at the bottom.  Here are some pictures, as you can see it was crazy. 

I was satisfied with second, but winning would have been awesome.  Still, it felt good to get back on the podium; it has been a long contest year.  Looking back at all my results this year I noticed that I had a better placing with every contest.  This is the important thing to look at because it’s going to be a build up to Sochi.  I don’t want to be hitting the ceiling now, peaking at the right time will be paramount.  

I didn’t get to say a speech on the podium but I am so thankful for the people who came out to support me.  Of course there were my biggest fans my Mom and Dad, Stacy Carmichael, Bruce Inguard, Chris Castle and Wyatt (my littlest fan).  Thanks guys for hanging out in the cold.  I can’t forget about Joanne Wright, she was our snowboard mom when I was starting all this and it was great to see her again.

Of course none of the people who make my life less stressful, my sponsors Sony of Canada, Scott, Anakie, Iyashi Bedrock Spa, iFound, and Allian.  I am the luckiest person because I get to live my dream every day.

I could never forget about all the hard work my coach puts into me as well.  His dedication and commitment has been paramount to my season results.  So a huge thanks to Roberto Marifa and Focus Elite Training. 

Now I am excited to get some time again to train, and I have taken more things into account this time.  I know what I need to work on in the pipe and out of the pipe to help spring me in front of the competition.  Training season here I come!!


Hearts, Guns and Training

Valentine's Day is always a funny day of the year.  Statistically it's not the day with the most breakups, actually two weeks before Christmas takes that title, but it's third on the list just behind Spring Break.   Actually I was surprised when I looked into some stats on Vday.  The biggest one that surprised me was that approximately 40% of the 180 million Vday cards purchased is done so by parents.  I believe this because I have gotten more cards by my Mom on Vday than by boyfriends.  I also suppose that parents also buy cards for their partners as well.  
My Vday was spent at the gun range unloading magnums of bullets at cans and targets.  Then on the slope with the snow feature I love the most, the half pipe.  I made chicken noodle soup from scratch, yes I love to cook too.  And cuddled down with the special person in my life to watch movies.  I guess to me it's not about spending money or doing lavish things, although flowers don't hurt but I feel that way with any day of the year.  Valentine's Day is about doing things I love to do.  I was sure to call my parents and let them know that I love them.  
The last two days have been training intensive working on drills, visualizing and trying to get  more breakthroughs.  I also have been playing travel agent booking flights, cars and hotel rooms.  There has also been the dealings with Canada Snowboard about confirming spots for contests which are a couple weeks away.  I was amazed at how I could not get a confirmation for contests that I needed to book logistics for.  Or a concise schedule for Canadian Nationals at Canada Olympic Park, I wonder if they know that flights do not get cheaper closer to the date? Well this is nothing new to me, just a little frustrating when you are trying to snowboard on a budget.  My sponsors are awesome Sony is really supportive for what I need.  More sponsorship would be great to cover a training/competing years which costs over $50,000, non Olympic, and over $80,000 for a Olympic qualifying year.  Canada helps with a couple thousand, which is a grant, that I apply for every year and haven't ever benefited from.  Thus is life.  When you get lemons, make lemonade as the story goes.  
I am thankful my parents raised me to pursue and that I really love riding half pipe.  There are ALWAYS challenges and triumphs and new things to learn.  I feel I am expanding as a person in life, love and labor.  
Still, this week is flying by so quickly, the Quebec World Cup will be upon me soon.  It will be a great contest!