Almost There! – Thanksgiving, Snowboarding, and School

3 weeks left until December 22nd, also known to me as the last day of school before winter break! I just got off Thanksgiving break, but still… Something to look forward to. Well, better than the 188 days until school officially ends, at least.

Over thanksgiving break, our cousins Oz and Otis came over from Nashville, TN, and we had a fun time playing in the snow and around Breckenridge. We helped them learn to ski, and they went all over, from Keystone, to Copper, to A-Basin! While we weren’t playing with them, we were shredding hard at Copper, almost every day! I learned a lot of new tricks on rails, and I can’t wait till more terrain opens on the mountain. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like much more is going to open any time soon, as we haven’t been getting much snow at all.

On Thanksgiving, we snowboarded at Keystone while teaching our cousins how to ski, then we came home and ate and ate and ate and ate…. etc. Pie, stuffing, corn, turkey and croissant rolls were all part of an amazing dinner. If only Thanksgiving could be every week…

School’s been going pretty good, for being school. I’m working to bring up two grades to 3.5/4.0’s before the end of the semester, as I’m currently off-track for my goal, which is a small goal of a perfect GPA, which for this semester is 4.33 (I’m only on track to have a 4.0 right now 😦 How sad), and which combines with my 4.14 and 4.16 from last year to equal 4.21, and if I can pull off another near-perfect semester I can finish sophomore year with a 4.24 GPA. But anyways, most everything besides AP World History has been pretty easy lately, and it seems as though it’ll stay that way until the end of the semester.

There’s only 32 days until the New Years Eve Rail Jam at Copper, and I’m still going back and forth on whether or not to compete in it. Currently, I’m leaning towards yes, because I’ve been landing a couple of decent tricks on rails, but at the same time I wouldn’t want it to go like the Howelsen Hill Rail Jam went last year, with me crashing every other run, completely missing rails and falling all over the place in front of the judges, overall taking last place. I’ll probably make a final decision at around a week before the Rail Jam, so we’ll see.

 

 

 

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Photo Shoots and Snowboarding!

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Two photo shoots last weekend at Keystone and Breckenridge made this last weekend really awesome! Last Friday (On opening day), we went to Keystone to load the gondola at 7:45, before the general public, and took some photos for Keystone before heading down (on a literally perfect groomed run!) to the new 6-person Montezuma lift to wait for 9 AM, when the rest of the people waiting in line came down to load the lift. We got to ride the first chair up, and took a few more pictures at the top before taking a few more laps by ourselves. Overall, it was really fun and a great experience, plus we got to miss school!

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Unfortunately, on Saturday, Jadyn broke her arm, so she’s out for a few weeks. She’s pretty bummed about missing all the snowboarding days on-mountain, but hopefully she’ll be back in just a few weeks! I drove a ton by myself that day, driving one of our 4runners around Copper to pick up Jadyn, then driving her to the hospital to get pins put into her arm. It’s really sad, but knowing her, she’ll be back on snow at the earliest safe date!

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On Sunday, we got invited to do a photo shoot at the Grand Lodge at Breck, and that was a great time. Dad, Isaac and I got a few shots snowboarding down Breck (Although they only have ONE run!) before coming inside to take pictures with the rest of the family plus our friend/snowboarding teammate Aurora, who had spent the night with us. We had pictures taken of us while we were eating, playing in the pool (a few of the shots involved us out of the pool, which was FREEZING), and walking around the town of Breck. It was really fun, and I’m so glad we got to do it.

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Yesterday, I went to Keystone with my friend Matthew to take a few laps after school (I get out at 12:15 on Mondays), and we had a blast racing each other at high speeds (nothing exceeding 40 MPH… At least I don’t think so. Still, nothing compared to the 70 MPH I clocked last season at Crested Butte), sliding a few rails in the early-season park, and doing some flat-ground tricks going down the mountain.

Team Summit officially starts on Saturday, and I’m extremely eager to get back on the mountain with our coaches. Isaac’s been progressing his skills like a madman, with new tricks being learned and mastered almost every hour (it seems like). It’ll be interesting to see how he can do in competitions this year!

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I don’t have pictures of our photo shoots yet, but they’ll hopefully be posted on Keystone’s Instagram pretty soon!

Here we go!

4 days until the start of the season. November 10th kicks it all off, starting at 9 AM on Keystone Mountain. We’re doing a photo shoot for Keystone, and as a result, we get the first gondola of the season! Also on November 10th, we have Breckenridge and Copper Mountains opening for the season, which is crazy to think about! It seems like just yesterday that I was finishing my last race of the season at Nationals…

Anyways, after the 18th, which is the kickoff for Team Summit, my weekends will be completely consumed with snowboarding, which is going to be awesome (although not for my homework :P). I thought I’d write down my goals for the season, since it’s so close to starting.

My goals for the season (competition and tricks):

  • Frontside 720
  • Backside 540
  • Make it out of one heat at Rev Tour.
  • Podium at Ski Cooper BX
  • Top 10 at Nationals

The list is significantly shorter than last year… And that’s probably due to my focusing on boardercross more intensely this year. Also, one more thing that I’m super stoked about, I’m (unless something happens that prevents me from doing so) going to be competing in the Revolution Tour for BX! It’ll be awesome to see what the next level of competition is like, just to get a taste of it, and who knows, maybe I’ll make it out of a heat or two!

Competition-wise, my schedule is going to be all boardercross, unless I decide to do an early-season Slopestyle or Slalom. Tentatively, my schedule goes like this:

  • January 25th – Rev Tour BX at Ski Cooper
  • January 27th/28th – USASA BX Ski Cooper
  • February 2nd/3rd – USASA BX Ski Cooper
  • March 2nd/3rd/4th – USASA BX Crested Butte
  • (Possibly) March 9th – Rev Tour BX at Sugarloaf, ME
  • April 1st-5th – USASA Nationals

There are two Slopestyle competitions at Keystone and Breckenridge on February 10th and 24th that I might do, but we’ll see how focused on boardercross I am then.

 

 

End of Cross Country Season!

Whew. That was interesting. I’m acting like I’m reacting to the entire cross country season all at once, if you couldn’t tell. Cross Country was definitely an interesting season, with its ups and downs. Unfortunately, I ended the season on a down, getting sick, running terribly, and not going to regionals (which is tomorrow, but I’ll still be there to cheer on the team!). But overall, it was a good time. I think, if I can keep up my fitness from the season, I’ll be well prepared for the snowboard and track seasons. During the season, I ran farther than I ever think I have in my life, and that took some getting used to. Prior to the season, I’d go on 20-30 minute runs, and that was the longest I ever ran. During the season, we’d go on 60 minute 7-7.5 mile runs every week, and while that seemed extremely long at first, it eventually became easier.

The last two meets didn’t go that well for me, and that was because I got sick a few days before the second-to-last meet, which also happened to be my birthday. The last race, which was last Thursday, went a bit better, but I could definitely still feel the sickness when I ran.

I finished out the season with a best time of 20:02, with my times going like this:

  • 22:01 (8/26)
  • 22:38
  • 21:15
  • 21:18
  • 20:02
  • 20:15
  • 21:45
  • 20:37 (10/12)

Last meet, I was working to break 20, and was on great pace for the first two miles, coming in at 5:59 and around 12:50 (I didn’t see the second mile marker, cause I’m pretty sure I was caught up in a pack), but fell short the third mile as my legs locked up and I started coughing a lot. I’m not even sure what happened, it just seemed like I was feeling amazing for the first two miles, then when running up a hill, started to tire extremely.

 

I had a few amazing and/or fun races, such as Leadville, which had a ton of steep hills, resulting in me finishing in 22:38, although 13th overall for the JV race, which was awesome. It was an extremely fun race to run, and I didn’t feel tired at all when I finished. Another fun course, as well as my favorite by far, was Fruita, where I ran 20:02. The course started on a big downhill, then went around a lake, up a hill to a huge field with some small hills in it, then back down around the lake again. I felt amazing during the whole race, and my only regret is that I didn’t push myself a bit harder during the final mile, as I wasn’t even tired when I finished. Next season, if I do Cross Country again, I’ll (hopefully) be more prepared. I know all the courses now, which will definitely help me run faster.

 

Snowboarding season is coming up fast, with Arapahoe Basin opening last Friday. Keystone opening day is November 10th, and we’ll be there on the first chair up the newly renovated Montezuma Lift. Less than a month left!

Weekday Excursions and Cross Country

Even with the constant drag of school, I still have it really good. Like, much better than most kids my age (At least I’m pretty sure. I can’t account for every sophomore in the country). Almost every day, I get out of school early due to my Academic Athlete schedule for snowboarding in the winter. On Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays I get out at 12:10, allowing for a bunch of free time where I usually go into Breckenridge and do stuff, such as run somewhere, work at YoYoLoco, do some homework, and write these blog posts! The only drawback is that while cross country is still in season, I have to be back at the school at 3:00 (except on Mondays, then I don’t have to go back to the school, giving me around 2.25 hours (subtracting the time on the bus) to do whatever!

A few times (the most fun ones), I packed my ENO hammock and go and chill out and eat lunch in my hammock. I usually hike/run up a ton of stairs to the top of Carter Park, a local park, then set up my hammock in the woods overlooking the whole town of Breck. To sum it up in one of the most overused words ever, it is awesome.

Looking back, I’ve went to quite a few different places. Most days I just go to Starbucks or another local coffee shop, but some days I plan out to go to other, more interesting places. Last week, I went to Silverthorne to go skate at the skatepark (only for 15 minutes though :P), and the week before I went to Frisco, to work at my favorite place there, the Next Page bookstore/coffee shop. In that same week, I went and played tennis at Carter Park with Dad for an hour, and that was great. I’ve gone to a few different restaurants to get food, and overall it makes for some good variety during the school week. Last year was a bit different (I didn’t have a 6th period, so I got out of school at 10:40 on Tuesdays and Fridays), and I got to do a ton of things (like go snowboarding on a weekday, then rush back for track practice!), but this year is still extremely fun after 12:10 on Mondays/Tuesdays/Fridays and after 1:05 on Thursdays.

On another positive note (let’s call this one G# 😛 ), my birthday is in less than two weeks! It’s so weird to think that I’ll be 16 years old (I have no idea why it wasn’t weird to be turning 15, but 16 is somehow more different than just a single digit more), and to commemorate this slightly significant event in my life, I’ll probably write a blog post looking back at the past few hundred blog posts I’ve written. Although a lot of the early ones are just posts I “wrote” with the help of Mom when I was really little, and the period from 2013 to 2015 when I was writing a ton didn’t include a ton of quality posts, there are still a lot that I consider to be influential in developing my writing skills, and (along with the weird ones that I wrote when I was around 9) I’d love to reread those.

Finally, I just wanted to write a quick update on my cross country season. I’ve been doing pretty well (according to my own standards), and recently clocked a time of 20:02, which smashed my previous PR by a minute and 15 seconds. I’m so close to sub-20, and that’s now my goal for the end of the season.

My progression for the season goes like this so far:

  • 22:01 (8/26)
  • 22:38
  • 21:15
  • 21:18
  • 20:02
  • 20:15 (9/26)

I have two races left (assuming I don’t beat any of the top 9 on my team to go to regionals), and my goal is to break 20 minutes in one of them (although I’ll see how close I can get at the next one!).

 

 

Honest review of my classes.

Well, now only 264 days until the end of school. So close, I know.

School’s been going good, for being school. AP World History has been the toughest, but I like the challenge. I feel like without it, school would be literally a breeze. It seems like PE, Chemistry, Spanish III and DP Math are all jokes, and all for different reasons. I’m pretty sure I have explained why PE is terrible before, but in the case that I haven’t, I dislike it because the level of physical exercise it provides is almost the bare minimum, totally menial for athletes participating in other sports.

Chemistry… Put simply, it’s around 20-30 minutes of learning, followed by 50-60 minutes of playing video games. Not only is it frustrating that we barely do anything, but it is equally as frustrating that what we are learning is extremely basic. I’m pretty sure I learned how to convert milliliters to liters in the fifth or sixth grade, in addition to learning how to balance a chemical equation and how electronegative a certain element is.

DP Math… is supposed to be an extremely high-level course, but it seems all we do is do problems out of a textbook, then go home and do 50+ questions on the same topic, with the same questions, simply with different numbers, rearranged variables and a different setup. I literally could teach myself what we are learning in class in 10-15 minutes at home by looking it up on the internet, then practice it for another 5 and be done.

I have no problems with American Literature. It’s a pretty good class, and although it does get boring sometimes, I can see the point of everything we are doing.

Spanish I. Oh wait, there are two more I’s? I would’ve never have guessed. Spanish III, at least for me, is like I am taking Spanish I all over again. I didn’t even take Spanish II, and yet I still speak Spanish just as well or better than most people in the class. I will say I am learning a bit, but not on the level that I expected this class to be, and if nothing else, I get a lot of practice speaking Spanish.

 

So those are my classes. My day usually starts off with an extremely challenging and difficult class, followed by 3-6 hours (depending on the day) of basically nothing. A major plus, however, is that I get out 2-2.5 hours early on most days, and that definitely helps a ton. I have a three day weekend starting tomorrow (with a cross country meet on Saturday), and I’m definitely looking forward to some more time off (who’s not?).

Back to the grind…

Well… Only 275 days until the last day of school! Yay. Positivity.

Summer was amazing. With all the amazing places we visited over the last 3 months, it’s easy to lose myself reflecting on nostalgic memories, especially when comparing to… school. Today marks the first day of the second week of school for me, and I can already tell, this year is going to be much different than last year. I like half my teachers, and most of the other ones I can put up with for the rest of the year.

There are a few significant changes from last year for me. First and foremost: AP World History. Now, I’ve only had the class a few times so far, but I can already tell it is going to be more challenging than any of my previous or current classes. I know it’s going to be hard, and I’m prepared for that, so I think I’ll be fine.

Unfortunately, since I didn’t take PE last year, I’m required to take it this year. Which means PE 1, with all the freshmen. Which sucks. I can’t think of a more pointless class for those who actively participate in sports. But, I’m required to take it, so I can put up with it for one semester.

 

That’s it for my sophomore school year for today. So then, back to the past. From the time we got back to Breckenridge up until school started, we did a lot. We hung out with Team Summit on an amazing in-ground trampoline, I helped stop a theft at YoYoLoco before having an awesome YoYo Night yoyo playing and performing, and we hiked Mt. Elbert, the tallest 14er in Colorado for my mom’s birthday. We took a quick week-long trip down to Texas, where we stayed with our grandparents, I got my driving permit, attempted to run a 6 minute mile in 100+ degree weather (I ran 6:02) and had an amazing day with the Halls at Six Flags. I even took a trip down to Austin, where I hung out with my friends Sage and Calvin, and we went cliff jumping. Even though I broke my thumb and lost my GoPro at the same time, it was still the best day of the end of summer, what with climbing an abandoned building and jumping off cliffs in Barton Creek and bridges into Lake Austin. If you haven’t watched my video on Instagram, check it out here!

Last week, we had an extremely fun poker night with our friends the Rizzo’s, and I improved my Texas Hold ‘Em skills throughout. Before playing, we had played airsoft in our front/back/side yard until we couldn’t see anymore, which was also a blast.

I’ve also been running a ton, which is mandatory now that I’m on the cross country team 😛 I’ve had two meets plus one pre-season scrimmage, and they’ve all been for the most part pretty good. The first official meet was last week, and I thought I did pretty well. I ran a 6:45 first mile, 6:55 second mile, didn’t keep track of the third mile, and finished in 22:01. I ranked around 155th out of 319, and I was okay with that as it was my first meet.

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Running my first cross country race!

My second meet just occurred yesterday at CMC in Leadville, and it was a significantly harder course than the first one. The course started with two laps of a big hill, then went down to a winding, hilly loop that finished at the finish. I ran an extremely slow and conservative 7:40 first mile, then ran a 6:50 second mile, and again didn’t keep track of my third mile. The race was a JV/Open race for me, as I hadn’t qualified for varsity at the previous meet, so I placed pretty well, taking 13th out of 75. I finished in a time of 22:38, which was around what I predicted I would get.

Other than that, it’s just been a stereotypical few weeks, with school, weekends, sports, and lots and lots of homework, which is probably what I should be doing now. Snowboarding season starts in around 2 months, and I can’t wait (figuratively)!