Killington World Cup

I can not begin to describe just how much the World Cup at Killington meant to me and how much fun I had during it. I averaged two and a half hours of sleep a night and everywhere in between was non-stop action but I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

Killington was brought under the spotlight by FIS and in my opinion they excelled. The countless volunteers were absolutely amazing in preparing the venue and always had an enthusiastic smile on their faces. It was such an incredible feeling to be walking through the crowd on the way up for my run while being greeted by friends that I have grown up with. Friends that I have ducked ropes and skied out of bounds with. Friends that played a large part of where I am today and it seemed… right that they were all there.

I know, I know. I wasn’t racing or anything but guys, come on. There was a World Cup held on the single trail that I have skied countless times every year since before I can remember! Do you recall season 5, episode 1 of two year old Tuck ripping down bumps with no poles? Yup, that was Superstar.

At one point during the weekend a KMS coach looked over to me and said, “Tucker, we’re having a freaking World Cup on Superstar!” I know I wasn’t the only one to feel immense pride in what my home mountain had accomplished. Bravo to all that were involved. I sincerely hope we get to do it again.

Now, I had a big plan set out in my head of how I would post video updates everyday and what film I would take but in the end I didn’t actually end up getting that much. I was too wrapped up in what I was doing and also insanely busy. But I guess that is of how it should be. Living in the moment without anything extra.

I did get a few shots of course, not to mention my GoPro course preview, so please, please check it out.

Thank you to everyone involved that made this weekend possible. You truly are the real heroes.

-Tuck

 

 

Colorado Video Update and Other News

I flew over to Colorado for a quick trip to get on snow last week. Spent 7 days there with 7 solid days on snow! Glad I made the trip to get dialed before I forerun the World Cup at Killington this weekend! As usual my training depended on the generosity of the teams out there. I am so grateful to all of those who helped me out last week.

 

In other news I am so incredibly excited for the World Cup here. I haven’t been able to sleep in a week. Not from nervousness that I might blow up forerunning and have a bunch of GoPros sliding down the hill after me, but excitement that this awesome event has come to where I grew up skiing, on a trail that I have skied more times than I can count. And yes, okay, maybe the first thing too.

I poached some training today. The snow is absolutely incredible and the venue is coming together really quickly.

Training on Skylark, trail skiers right of race venue

Training on Skylark, trail skiers right of race venue

Tomorrow there is a hill free ski at 9:30 followed by some training. Then the fun begins! If you are around at all this weekend, come say hi!

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My siblings Cody and Chelsea with Superstar in the background

 

 

 

 

 

 

Geilo, Norway

Hey everyone. The following is from a post I did over on redneck-racing.com. If you have already read it then disregard this post, but if not then here is what I am up to!

Tucker checking in here from Geilo, Norway. It was a pretty last minute trip so here is a little back story on how I got here.

 The following is an actual conversation I had with Robby discussing our potential trip. It was great to get him on the phone because he usually doesn’t return my calls. He was excited to have found a one way nonstop ticket to Oslo for $213 which was leaving 4 days from then. He had emailed one team about training who had not yet gotten back to us and that was the extent of our planning. So in Robby’s mind we were all set, maybe even a little too organized.

“I am really tempted to just buy this ticket right now before the price goes up and if they don’t get back to us we just go with the flow and figure something out when we are over there. There are a few glaciers in Norway too and worst come to absolute worst we buy a $100 ticket to Munich and train somewhere down there.”

So four days later Robby, Cam (the current Redneck intern), and I checked into our flight heading to Oslo with something of a plan to head to Geilo which is a hill that trucks in snow for early season training. But for the most part we were just “going with the flow” which tends to have a crazy way of working out for us.

From Oslo we got a rental car and drove 3 hours north (would have been 2 if I was driving) calling friends for training and lodging ideas along the way. I’m basically fluent in Norwegian but most of these people didn’t understand the Pittsfield accent, so it was a little tough. The first hotel we tried we found on the internet costing $60 USD a night. It seemed like the best deal so we went to go check it out. It ended up being a complete hole in the ground. Meaning it was a literal hole in the ground as in the place and its foundation didn’t exist anymore and there was a 30ft hole where it used to be. If there had been some sort of roof over the hole we could have managed. Bummer.

I admit sitting in that parking lot with no place to stay and no training as of yet I was a little skeptical of the go with the flow plan. But alas, Google provided and found us a tiny little cabin for $16 a night each with no running water but a very clean (when we got there) communal bathroom and kitchen area. And even better than a place to sleep that night, we finally heard back from a team that was willing to let us train with them the next day. Score!

Since then our plan has been pretty day to day. There are not a lot of teams out here offering full gate training but luckily the local ski club lent us their gates for the duration of our stay so the past two days we have just been setting our own courses. Robby says if you do not get more than 10 runs in the course it is technically a day off so we’ve been getting in our milage. The snow here is also incredibly firm so even after 20 runs each the surface isn’t marred in the slightest.

 We are here until Sunday and that is when we are met with our next challenge. Due to the lackluster number of teams training at this venue the mountain plans on closing during the week days so we have been sending out emails, texts, and calls looking for a place to put gates in the ground. As of now it looks like we will be moving 4 hours (2 hours if I’m driving) north and west to a place known as Juvass where we will find a glacier and hopefully plenty of teams to train with and maybe I’ll even find a girlfriend, I don’t know, I’m getting ahead of myself.

  We do not have a return ticket just yet but we are tentatively planning on flying back to the States on the 29th because (yes, you guessed it) that is the cheapest day to fly back and Cam needs to be back in time to figure out his Halloween costume. The tickets are only $158 so if Robby keeps on bargain hunting at the grocery store he might even make money on this trip.

 That’s it for now. Julia is shredding over in Austria currently and you will hear from her soon. Keep hammering!

-Rednecks

How To Thrive With Very Little Income

A few years ago amid my couch surfing tradition every fall for training and early season races I ended up in a basement. I was generously offered lodging for two weeks (I stayed three) and even had free meals. Well… the fridge was always over full and they didn’t seem to be around much so I helped mitigate that problem.

When I moved into my new haunts I was surprised to learn I wasn’t the only dweller of the dark. My friend and fellow ski bum Warner Nickerson appeared out of one of the rooms and gave me a high-five because we had both scored on actual beds this time. Well mine was a murphy bed, but still a bed.

Warner had been there for two weeks by that point (originally scheduled for one) and along with his training he was composing an article for his column in Ski Racing Magazine dubbed Warners World. The topic of that months piece was on the challenges of the independent ski racer. Him and I conversed for a while about this subject as we were both mutually involved in it.

I remember asking Warner if he believed that his best days were in front of him, or behind him? He replied with a small chuckle and grin saying, “Oh I absolutely think my best days are in front of me. If I didn’t believe that, why would I still be doing this?”

I share that sentiment with Warner. If I thought that I was no longer growing as a competitor in professional ski racing I would have retired already.

Unfortunately last week I received the very disheartening news that my head sponsor of the past 5 years have decided to withdraw their backing for my upcoming season. I am unsure if it is a lack of faith in my future, or merely the synching of an ever increasingly tighter belt for support of professional ski racing but it is an especially tough blow to take as my ski company have also started to draw back their funding for me as well.

It is in these trying times that I question my involvement in ski racing and what I am precisely trying to accomplish. Many have counseled to “stay with it for as long as you can” while plenty of others have advised that I move on into the “real world”, while simultaneously telling me that the real world actually kind of sucks.

It comes down to this.

Every morning in the summer my alarm goes off. I wake up, hit the snooze button, and fall back asleep for another 10 minutes until it starts buzzing again. I repeat this cycle for about 1-2 hours before I have to roll out of bed and start my day job to help pay for my ski career. I paint houses which is easy work, if not incredibly monotonous. Honestly, when I am holding a paint brush I question my life choices almost daily. I am a man of passion and turns out I have little passion for painting houses.

Earlier this summer after slabbing enough paint onto siding to moderately cushion my bank account I decided to spend it all on some training at Mt. Hood. Each morning my alarm would be set for 5:30AM to catch the first lift at 6:30. I don’t think it ever actually went off though because like a kid on Christmas morning I would be up waiting to make those first few turns.

I think that is a very special thing in life. To wake up excited. It is easy to fall into the routine of what we must do to survive while ignoring our potential to thrive. It is easy to dream, but difficult to act on your idealistic view of the world.

To mold reality to our wishes might not always be easy. I imagine this winter I might have to spend a few extra nights sleeping in my car in lieu of hotel rooms. My PB&J consumption might sky rocket and my Slalom skiing will probably get more attention as my hobby of GS skiing takes a backseat.

But seldom are we met without adversity in life. Money may be a necessity to survive but dreams are the energy by which we live.

So I am going to keep setting my alarm and if the snooze button breaks with the overuse of me trying to forestall life, I will know that it is time for a change. But for now, I will rise, I will live, I will thrive. Car camping and all.

-Tucker

A Question

I love the gypsy type lifestyle that I was born into. I travel a lot during the winter season and if I am in one place for too long, I start getting restless. When my wheels hit the road again I feel like a weight is lifted and we are on to the next great adventure where I cannot wait to see what lies around the next corner.

When I am home however I do not really get that anxious feeling.

As my next trip approaches I do not feel relieved, I am actually sort of sad in a way because I am in my comfortable space, and now I have to reach out into the world again and become some sort of adventure man again. I am intrinsically that adventure man through and through but sometimes it is nice to just be comfortable for a while.

I do something peculiar whenever I leave home these days. I don’t look outwards to the next adventure ahead but instead I peer inwards to what I am leaving behind. I see the unread stack of books on my coffee table placed just so. I see my bed half made, and that pile of clothes in the corner that I never got around to unpacking the last time I came back. I see my room as I see my life. A little chaotic at first glance but with a systematic cleanliness that usually only I can decipher.

As I look back on my chaotic cleanliness, preparing to shut the door for the last time in who knows how long I always have this singular thought.

What if I don’t come back from this trip and this is how my parents and family see my room as I have just left it? The stack of books just so, the bed, the clothes. I imagine them walking through my personal space that I no longer belong to anymore, living in the grief of my absence, wondering if there was ever a system to my chaos or if I was just rolling wildly through life.

It is a sad thought but one I can not help but have. I think it started with my brother and has only been reaffirmed solidly by my friends Ronnie, Bryce, and most recently Murphy. Beckie and Spencer are also rarely far from thought and never forgotten.

As we grow older we are going to lose more and more friends and family. 5 seems like so small a number and yet much too many at the same time and I am deeply saddened that it will only rise given time.

It is because of this that my mother worries about my adventurous side. Her biggest fear is something happening to me. I think one of my biggest fears is nothing happening to me.

I fear living life without really living it. Without ever truly embracing it. I jump into any exciting/mildly dangerous activity I can because I want to feel that rush of being alive. Of fully embracing what I have.

My absolutely favorite part about life is doing things that terrify me and accomplishing those tasks despite the panic bubbling up inside of me. An interesting thing happens when you are facing your fears. You either let it consume you, let it own you. Or you rise above them and stamp them down until they are a whisper behind what is required or you. It is such a unique process and subsequent feeling.

My best friend calls me fearless but I don’t think that is it. Everyone has fear. Maybe it is bravery, or perhaps it is being young and reckless. But probably it is simply just stupidity.

I went rock climbing last week and as I have a healthy fear of heights it was an activity designed for my panic button. For my search of a life lived. There was an incident with my ropes and honestly, (mom), nothing to write home about but it was a scenario that could have had some very real consequences. When it happened and I was up there, hanging hundreds of feet above the ground on what could have been a very short trip to the bottom, I wasn’t even that scared. I was angry. So incredibly angry at myself that I could have caused everyone I knew all of the grief that I was and currently am feeling over losing Murphy.

I like to think I have a pretty good idea of where the line of safety and life meet but sometimes for me it is blurred. I don’t have to put myself up on a cliff but in the same moment I consider that I could get hit crossing the street or any innumerable amount of random accidents that can happen to us in everyday life. I don’t like the thought of living in fear; of not doing things in my life that make my heart beat a little faster when there is a very real possibility that I could get taken out by something so arbitrary.

Would I not be living life in fear if I had decided to keep both of my feet planted firmly on the ground? Even if I did there is no guarantee for safety. Is hanging from a cliff side any more dangerous than walking down the road? I knew I could do it if everything went according to plan, yet it is all about managing risks and sometimes there are circumstances outside of our control.

So where does the line lie? How can I continue to live but not feel like I am risking not only my life, but the well being of all those that I love?

I imagine it is a line that I will walk for the rest of my systematically chaotic mess of a life. However long that may be.

Rest in peace Murph knowing you’ve made us all more insightful, better human beings. We love you.

#senditforMurph

Tucker

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