The True North Strong and Free

If there is one thing I have learned over the course of my career,

there’s no place like home

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Canada is my home and on July 1st, us Canucks join together to celebrate the 150th anniversary of confederation.

So for all of you non-Canadians, here are some fun facts straight from Reader’s Digest (thank you) as to what makes Canada so darn cool:

1. Did You Know the CN Tower…

…was named one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World by the American Society of Civil Engineers? Toronto’s tower shares its impressive status with the Channel Tunnel, the Empire State Building, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Panama Canal, the Itaipu Dam and the Netherlands North Sea Protection Works.

2. Did You Know Niagara Falls…

…has seen its fair share of daredevils? Adrenaline junkies using barrels, rubber balls, jet-skis—even a kayak—continue to gamble with their lives in the quest to challenge Niagara Falls.

3. Did You Know Chateau Frontenac…

…is one of the world’s most elegant and luxurious hotels? The hotel has welcomed many esteemed guests, including King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, Charles Lindberg and Princess Grace of Monaco.

4. Did You Know The Canadian Rocky Mountains…

…have earned the nickname the “Serengeti of North America?” The mountains are home to: grizzly bears, black bears, foxes, wolverines, coyotes, lynx, wolves, moose, mountain goats, elk, mule deer, caribou, bison and white-tailed deer.

5. Did You Know The Bay of Fundy…

…is privy to one of the most remarkable sights in the world—mammoth 15-metre high tides? Over 100 billion tonnes of water rush in and out of the Bay during one tidal episode.

BUT, why do I love Canada??

In all honestly, being a professional athlete in Canada can be difficult. Unlike other countries, ours is not necessarily geared towards athletic achievement. I am currently facing drastic funding cutbacks from the Canadian government going INTO the Olympic season. It all seems a little backwards and hindering the developing of Canadian athletes.

But, that is life as an athlete?

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Train, maintain.

Train our BODIES off snow so that we can gain strength, endurance, coordination, and decrease fatigue. On snow, focus on excellence and repeat those moves until it becomes muscle memory. Maintain so that we can endure and thrive throughout the six months of competition schedule.

Train our MINDS so that we can learn to eliminate outside stressors and focus on your goals throughout the course, event, season. Learn when to turn our focus on and off to maintain awareness and prevent burn outs.

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act… But a habit

But it’s not always that simple.

Apart from our body and mind, we also have to look after and maintain our equipment, book (and catch) flights, hotels, cars, get over 12 hours of jet lag and train (or race!) the next day, try and try to find any internet connection to update family or friends on your life. This is all very do able and just another day in the life of any snowboard athlete.

Right?

On the Canadian alpine team, we have one coach. That we have to pay for.

We don’t have a trainer, a nutritionist, a physio, a wax tech (cries), a mental coach, a travel agent (for real, getting cheap flights is an art). Just us and our Jan.

Any decision to partake in ‘outside’ help comes out of our pocket.

A day in the life

No one said it would be easy. At the end of the day, this is the life I choose. Like any job, it has its ups and downs. I enjoy what I do and am so proud to represent my country.

I embrace Canada’s freedom and acceptance; praise its small acts of kindness, openness, the environmental promise (although there are still HUGE steps to be made) and the compromising nature of our citizens.

I am so proud to be Canadian and wouldn’t have it any other way.

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