Many people want to know how I celebrate the holidays. I usually stay in Europe, where we have to return to after our holiday break for the next World Cup race. It’s too much for me to deal with the jet lag back and forth across the pond. This year I was alone, but managed to surround myself with good people and good fun. Christmas Eve I got to slide on one of my favorite tracks – St. Moritz, Switzerland. I yelled, “Merry Christmas!” as I jumped on to my sled and couldn’t stop giggling the whole way down. It was exactly what Christmas should be like. I picked a branch off a tree during training, put it in my room with one red ornament. I had made my own Charlie Brown Christmas Tree! It was awesome, then went to the top of the mountain for dinner, had an adult beverage, and thanked the heavens for such a wonderful life.
Christmas Day I had to train, but there was no sliding. I did a three-and-a-half-hour workout, treated myself to some Swiss fondue, and started to pack up my stuff. I was invited to a Christmas race in Igls, Austria. It was a two-and-a-half-hour drive from St. Moritz. Last minute, I decided to pack up my stuff and do this fun race on Boxing Day (December 26). It turned out I had a friend not too far away in Kitzbuehel, Austria and he decided to meet me in Igls as well. I arrived at 9 a.m., and there were two training runs at 10 a.m. I slid from 10-11, had lunch with my friend and talked him into trying skeleton. The Christmas spirit was definitely high among all the people who came to race and the officials, athletes, and myself all came together to give my friend the gear to try it. He was to be our forerunner for the race. He had never done skeleton before, but he was going from the top today! I also had to do another lift, and luckily the U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Team allowed me to pack the team’s weight set. I set up my own weight room at the top of the track and multi-tasked. I lifted between heats, helped my friend try skeleton for the first time, and raced. Again, I yelled “Merry Christmas!” as I sprinted down the ramp for the Christmas race. I did not win, but I did get second place and had one of the best Christmas holidays yet.
I am now in Altenberg, Germany preparing for our next World Cup race. I have official training tomorrow on the first day of the year, so it will be an early night for me; however, I look forward to moving on into the next year of my life. I am blessed to have so many good people in my life, and the opportunity to go sledding really fast on the first day of the year! Happy New Year!!!