- Tess Johnson
Our Zermatt camp this year was full of surprises and fun. The weather proved difficult to get the 16 days on snow that we were hoping for, and due to wind and snow, we only got 10. This is one of the wild parts of Zermatt that make training so variable, not to mention the extremely icy conditions that typically make up our mogul course. Weather aside, I still got some great training, had so much fun with my team and, learned a lot about myself as an athlete.
On the days that we did get up the three trams to the glacier to ski, I was working on piecing together my new competition run with a new top air: 360 mute grab. Although this is only a minor change to my air package in the grand scheme of things, I am really excited and it's taken a lot of hard work. Along with this addition to my run, I've been working on consistently accessing a higher, faster level of skiing in the moguls, and there was one day where I did some of my best skiing to date! This day came after a particularly tough crash I had, so it was very redeeming to achieve some of my best training after the fact. In this crash, I injured my lower back and shoulder, but thankfully was back on snow within two days and feeling much better. When I crash, I tend to crash hard, and while it's most likely because of the risks I take to become the best I can be, crashing is undeniably a part of the sport. I'm grateful that I have stayed healthy through them all (*knock on wood*), in part due to my amazing strength coach, Josh Bullock, and our injury prevention regimens. I think, however, that the more accepting I am of the inevitable failures and crashes to come, the less they will impact my perseverance. This mindset helped define this particular setback as minor, which was key in making sure I was back on my skis making improvements and having fun.
For the many weather/off days that we had during this camp, we found plenty to do. Zermatt is one of the most amazing places in the world, so even though it was frustrating not being able to ski a lot of the time, there were loads of activities to distract us. There are so many beautiful Matterhorn-featured hikes, and we brought tennis rackets and soccer gear which kept us occupied physically. Nearly all of us on the mogul team are enrolled in school at one institution or another (I am in the process of applying to the Harvard Extension School which entails enrolling in several classes), so we had lots of reading and academic priorities to attend to as well.
All in all, it was a really, fun, productive camp full of learning experiences. Our team practiced patience with the constant tram closures and learned how to make the best of imperfect situations. Similar to our Chile camp, there were collective and individual battles to be fought, but we left Switzerland healthy, happy and better than we were before. Thanks for following my journey, it means the world to me!