Enjoy the start of a new season with this brand new webisode!
I’ve been out here in Colorado; the mecca for all things alpine racing this time of season, for about a week now. After spending a few days tinkering with my equipment I am finally starting to make some solid progress. I have mostly just been focused on the SL side of things so far, but look forward to jumping into some GS soon.
Here is some video from the last two days.
One of our team sponsors this season is Sync Performance who hooked us up with some incredible training gear. If you are interested in any of our uniform go here and enter the code “redneck2014″ for some awesome Redneck swag!
Thats about it for now, I will post some ripping GS video soon!
The photo on the left was taken last spring, on the right, this fall. I am fully ashamed by this. I am happy with how fit I am now, but last fall I was just as in shape as I am currently. Winter makes it hard to keep up physically but as an athlete you are required to do anything necessary to keep a level of fitness that will allow you to preform at your best.
Knowing is half the battle. Time to do shit right this time around.
I lost my cool for a second up on the hill the other day. No, I wasn’t shot-putting skis or cracking poles over my leg, but I did get bummed out over some crappy turns that I should have known better than to make. If I am skiing like an idiot and I know it I should be able to change it, right? Sometimes it’s just not so simple.
Thanks to my many talks with Barbara as well as having the privilege to guest coach the extremely talented youth from the Killington Mountain School in Austria these past two weeks, I have come to realize something more than ever before. Bad runs suck. Terrible days are rough. Weeks of struggling are straight demoralizing.
My trip to Austria was sweet; I say these things purely as observation so bare with me.
In a career there are extreme amounts of hours/days/weeks/years that are devoted to your work.
People consistently say that when you blow a race, a year down the road you wont even remember it. I am sorry, but I am going to call bullshit on that one. If you blow a sweet race, there will still be a sting to it when you think back on it down the road, even if you have surpassed that particular day result wise by miles in the time since. Don’t get me wrong, there is a difference between still feeling a sting and dwelling on it, but that’s a whole different beast. For now lets focus on the sentiment at hand.
Sure, a crappy race is a bummer, but a tough day of training? My god, those are going to crop up more days than you could ever remember. I mean that. You might recall a missed result, but you will NEVER recall a bad turn or a run in training where you leaned in and fell. And those things certainly do not do well to dwell on in the moment.
I have personally been at this for a while and I know what it is to work at something for years and then some. The fact of the matter is that you will ALWAYS be working on something. The only moment in an athletic career where you stop working towards the unattainable thing that we call perfection is the day you quit.
I know what it is to be cussing as I slide past a gate in training, berating myself for a week inside half and a lost outside ski. I understand the way a bad run can turn into a terrible day that can turn into nearly unbearable weeks. I get that sometimes things just don’t go your way no matter how hard you deem them to be otherwise.
I lost my cool for a second up on the hill the other day. I cussed and I may have clicked out of my skis and dropped my poles more aggressively than absolutely necessary as I strode away from the group to go stand solitary near the edge of the piste on the glacier.
But in that moment it is important to look from without instead of from within. Bad turns are inevitable. Bad days are a choice of perspective. You will never have the power to change what is past but next run is something fully in your control. Remember that, and use that tool to stave off days or even weeks of unnecessary frustration.
It is October 18th and in just under a week I will be leaving for Colorado to really get this season started. I apologize for my silence recently, and I promise as this season gets underway there will be a constant stream of updates. So lets get this thing started off shall we, with pictures, videos, and words!
I just flew home from Europe last night where I was attending an extremely productive training block with the Killington Mountain School on the Stubaier glacier in Austria. KMS had me on as an athlete/coach and it was a blast being able to further my own skiing while also being something of a mentor to the young guns who have a huge amount of potential at that school. It is extremely gratifying giving feedback to kids who share a deep and honest sense of passion for the sport.
The trip also gave me something that I haven’t had in years which is a solid prep camp on snow before the season starts and I am running around trying to prefect my technique before the first Nor-Ams at the end of November. I feel that huge progress was made at this camp and it has gotten me ready for Colorado next week.
More info to come about my plans for the early season, but for now enjoy the pictures from Europe and of course a few glimpses of my skiing. I know there are still plenty of kinks to work out, but it feels good after being away all summer. Enjoy,
Really psyched to introduce the tuckermarshall.com tank tops! If anyone is interested please let me know by leaving a comment, emailing me, calling or texting me, messaging me on Facebook, or sending smoke signals. I have a limited quantity so first come first serve. They are $20 a piece and if you live far away and need them to be shipped add on an additional $5.
Become part of my season and get an AWESOME tank in the process by getting in touch with me today!
Ah, summer! In an alpine racers light, (and just about everyone else’s) it is a time to sit back, relax, and unwind. Maybe visit a beach, get a tan, and reflect on a hard fought season, and of course, to look forward to the next.
Summer isn’t all tanning and idleness however. While not traveling to far reaches of the country, and in some cases the very far corners of the world to find some on snow training, your time is packed with, (or should be packed with), training your body to handle the rigorous demands of your sport.
Being a professional athlete is a choice. But to be competitive, you must adopt the lifestyle that comes with it. I didn’t always empathize with that sentiment as when I was 12 or 13 my brother Jesse walked into our TV room to find a younger, much chubbier me, having a lunch of cheese balls straight from the canister. Much to my chagrin, (and benefit), he took them away and sent me to make a “real” lunch.
Yes, as I have learned since that day, you cannot survive an athletic career purely on talent, and your body most certainly cannot sustain a full ski season without feeling negative effects if you do not train your body in the off season.
So how do we prepare ourselves to excel in this physically demanding sport of ours when the rest of the summer slackers start to lose their edge half way through the season?
The obvious answer is time spent in the gym. Nothing beats good weight training and explosive power sessions to mimic the forces you feel during skiing. But this is summer, and when you weary of staring at yourself in the mirror as you do yet another rep, it might be time to step outside and get some cross training in.
Here are some alternative training regimens that I like to implement on a day-to-day basis.
As simple as it sounds, hiking is a great way to get some fresh air and work on the part of the body that is predominantly one of your most important features in ski racing; your legs.
Hiking is something that I’ve been doing for as long as I can remember and as I was reverting out of my cheese ball years, I would hike almost everyday in the summers with my sister and 3 dogs.
It can be dangerous from time to time however, as my sister and I found out one day when a downhill biker came barreling down on us and as I calmly reached for my dog standing far off to the side of the trail, the only warning I had for what happened next was a small scream from my sister as the tire went into my back. When I came to, I was upside down lying in a couple inches of water and my sister standing above me screaming at the biker who had hit me at full speed. After my protective sister had reduced the guy to tears, I apologized and sent him on his way.
Don’t be dissuaded though. I have had many more successful attempts since then, and it is a great and simple way to get lean and strong. When you are ready to amp it up to the next level, I encourage implementing hill sprints into your hike. Start with 5, 15-second sprints with a 2 to 1 rest ratio, and work your way up to a minute or more with 15-second progressions. Each progression should at least have 5 intervals in it. Hill sprints are fantastic for working your anaerobic system, which correlates strongly to a run in a GS or slalom course, which is typically a one-minute sprint. Remember to take your time and improve at your own rate.
Being outside on hot and humid days can be rough in the summer though, and sometimes you wont feel like trekking up a hillside. So if you happen to find yourself on a body of water this summer, go for a swim. Swimming is incredible exercise that works every single muscle of your body. Even if you do not know your strokes, it is extremely beneficial to doggy paddle for half an hour. If you can go longer, then do so.
Being in the water is a good test of your aerobic capacity, and if you really want to push it, try the ocean, or go surfing.
Last fall I went on a surfing trip off the coast of Maine, and despite only having surfed two or three times prior, I paddled myself out into the extremely choppy surf we had that day. For two hours I fought the waves and repeatedly got pegged by the fins of my board in the chest. I probably swallowed about two gallons of water and only managed to ride the top of a couple waves with my knees before falling headfirst into the swell and getting pegged again, but I came back to shore that day feeling more physically drained than I had all summer. It is intense how physically demanding it is when you are battling the ocean.
Summer is certainly a great time to unwind, and time in the gym is fantastic. But incorporating some diversity in your training can reduce the monotonous motions that are likely to drain your motivation.
Regardless of your summer training plans, just remember that an athlete’s happy place is when they are doubled over gasping for air after that last rep or after that last push to the summit. Having that confidence when your skis hit the snow and your boots click in could mean the difference between a good season, and a season that turns your passion into a career.
Recently my buddy over at HardSnowLife, Craige Marshall, (no relation), asked me to write a little something to give insight into my life as a ski racer. I have reposted the article below. The main focus was on my upbringing, so enjoy my own personal in-depth viewpoint. You can view the original article and the awesome site he’s has at hardsnowlife.com.
Swimming Upstream: a Tucker Marshall Story
The majority of American ski racers know Tucker Marshall. Even if they don’t know him, they know of him. I’m sure the line, “Why doesn’t that old guy go to college?” has been passed around plenty of times in his direction. His path has been an uncommon one- he has chosen not to attend college in order to race independently for the last few years. As a 1990, he is certainly one of the oldest athletes in the U.S. who is still skiing and hasn’t attended college or been on the national team. But does he care what you think of him? Here is his answer…
It is 6am on a cold, early winter day. I roll over and, hands beneath my stomach, I try to conserve what body heat I have left. My dad must have slept through the night again, letting the wood stove that heats our house during the winters, go out. It can’t be much more than 45 degrees outside the thin blanket I have draped over me, and I know that if I roll over, most of the body heat that I have saved over the course of the night will quickly disperse.
Somewhere, my mom screams for me to get out of bed. I resist her efforts.
My brother Cody has made the US Ski Team, making it 3 for 4 in our family. I am the last, as I start my first season of international competitions. People ask me, now more than ever, if I feel pressure being the youngest Marshall. I always understood the sentiment, but never sympathized with it. I knew that the path I lead would be unique, and that I would have to find my own way.
For the third or fourth time now, my mom screams for me to get out of bed. I rebel against her, and the sport that requires me to wake up on weekends before the sun rises. My 6-year-old self implores my mom to let me sleep. I assure her that I don’t even like skiing.
“Tucker,” my mother says to me, all frenetic berating now gone from her. “If you don’t want to do this anymore, if you don’t like skiing, than tell me. You can stop right now.”
I groan, climbing out of my small single bed, more springs than cushion, and duck my head to avoid the slanting roof of my bedroom, making quickly for my suit, pants, jacket, and gloves.
She had given me a choice, but not really. I had heard the condemnation in her voice.
Completing my second year F.I.S without any improvement to my World Rank is a harsh ending to the season. My friends gear up for one more year of high school, and while I said that I follow my own path, I happen to fall into what my brothers and sister have done before me. After homeschooling is done I will set my focus toward my ski-racing career and set thoughts of college on a back burner. Well… not so much a back burner as a far corner in a dark, dark room somewhere.
My friends beseech me to reconsider. When I ask one of them why, he replies to me, “Because, I don’t want to see you working at McDonalds when you grow up.” A bit condescending, but no worse than I had received in the past, somewhat ostracized for my life decisions growing up.
Looking back on the choice that my mom gave me nearly two decades ago now, I realize that her offer was sincere, and I see that it was really the first time I was ever faced with the decision of if I wanted to continue what I was doing or not. A choice I considered, and wrestled with, exponentially over the years.
Without going to school, I was certainly outside of the social norm in society. On the other hand, growing up outside of that framework and being teased for years about who you are, it really forces you to turn inward to look at yourself and ask if you really like who you are as a person and where you are headed. It eventually made me more confident and eliminated a lot of insecurities I ever had about myself.
My thoughts were also on the US Ski Team and how they look for athletes they could develop, and build. I believed that collegiate skiing was the death knell for a lot of great athletes. I see now that my current age has nullified that theory considering my class has already moved through college, and some of them are still competing quite successfully today.
But if I had gone to school, I often wonder if I would still be racing, or if I would have taken an easier route.
Those who don’t have a stigma against my path often find it inspiring, saying how brave it is of me to stick it all out there and do what you love, regardless of the uncertain future. To be perfectly honest, I think I took what I considered the easier road. We fear the unknown, and for me in the family that I grew up in, the path I chose was certainly the one more traveled.
I am still criticized today for my lack of formal education. From people I hardly know, to close friends that I have known for years, they all talk to me of the wisdom in getting a higher education. It is not that I disagree with their words but everybody makes their own path through this world, and I think a lot of people don’t follow the path they really feel pulled to.
In my opinion the McDonalds comment was flawed at its core. It was meant to inspire fear, implying that I would grow up, and live an unhappy life because of financial instability. But how do we measure a successful life, if not by happiness itself? We need money to live, but which comes first? Is it finance or joy? The two are not always directly correlated.
I may have taken the path more traveled in my case. One that was less mired in doubt for me, but I hardly regret it, or the person that it has made me. I know that 6-year-old me did not fully grasp the weight of climbing out of bed that day, but I am glad he did.
Tucker is one of the brave ones. He has so far successfully stiff-armed the real world with only a dream and the desire to be the greatest Marshall in history. Besides me, of course. He has no chance there.
Follow his accomplishments and check out some of his rad video blogs on his website.