Monday, December 24, 2012

Vail's Kloser gets first World Cup podium

Vail's Kloser gets first World Cup podium

Vail native, moguls skier finishes second in Kreischberg

Heidi Kloser, of Vail, jumps during the women's freestyle World Cup dual moguls skiing competition in Kreischberg, Austria, on Saturday. Kloser placed second.
Heidi Kloser, of Vail, jumps during the women's freestyle World Cup dual moguls skiing competition in Kreischberg, Austria, on Saturday. Kloser placed second.
AP photo
VAIL — When Vail residents Mike and Emily Kloser get an early morning phone call from their daughter Heidi overseas, they never know what to expect.

But in Saturday's 7:30 a.m. call from Austria, they received some of the best news they've ever heard from Heidi — she'd made the podium in a World Cup event.

“This call was one you wake up to and are extremely happy to hear the news,” Mike Kloser said on Saturday afternoon. “We're incredibly excited for Heidi.”

The second-place finish — Kloser's first podium in World Cup competition — came after another top-10 finish last weekend, a seventh-place effort at the season opener in Ruka, Finland.

Kloser told her parents that her outstanding qualifying run, and the Kreischberg course itself (one of the flatter on the circuit), had her feeling good about her chances going into the finals. 

“I qualified second, which is the highest I've ever qualified, so I went into finals really excited,” she said.

Dual moguls World Cup competition pits athletes against each other in a head-to-head format on a jump-and-bump course, with judges scoring the athletes on technical turns, speed and aeriel maneuvers to determine a winner. Some formats have mogul skiers side-by-side only in the final rounds, with a seeding system used to determine those finals, but the format used at Kreischberg on Saturday was similar to NCAA basketball, where competitors were seeded down to a field of 16, followed by four rounds of duals.

Kloser went head-to-head against her teammate Eliza Outtrim in the round of 16, besting her to make it to the round of eight where she defeated the Canadian Chloe Dufour-Lapointe. In the final four, Kloser knocked out Austrian Brittney Cox to qualify second into the final round against teammate Heather McPhie. 

“I had a bit of a sloppy run against Heather, but I'm really happy with my second-place finish,” she said.

McPhie is undefeated in dual moguls so far this season, winning every matchup in Ruka, as well, where she defeated Kloser in the round of eight.

“It was great going into finals with Heidi,” McPhie said after the event. “When I saw her coming up the cat, I couldn't have been more excited for her.”

Moguls coach Garth Hager said the finish was one of the best he's ever seen.

“Both Heather and Heidi were very consistent today in trusting their speed into the bottom jump where they were able to make up ground,” he said. “They trusted their skiing and didn't worry about what anyone else was doing. In doing that they were able to make the bottom as clean and fast as they could.”

McPhie knew that for Kloser, qualifying for finals with a guaranteed podium was a milestone accomplishment for the young skier. McPhie, 28, has eight years seniority on Kloser, who just turned 20 in September. In Ruka, McPhie defeated Kloser in the round of eight

“As soon as I saw her, I told her ‘I'm going to be competitive in about five minutes, but right now I'm so stoked for you,” McPhie said. “The U.S. is killing it right now, and this was a great Christmas present for all of us!”

Kloser, McPhie and the rest of the Americans will get to spend Christmas at home in the U.S., with the European wing of moguls competition over for now.

“We're so excited that Heidi will be here for Christmas,” Mike Kloser said. “She'll work with the Ski Club Vail coaches here during the break and also help coach some of the young athletes.”

Kloser will return to competition Jan. 17 with a World Cup moguls event in Lake Placid, N.Y. 

Thanks to the Vail Daily for the article. 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Fall Training

After we got back from Switzerland we got a few snow storms and I thought that it would just continue to snow, but it did not. We played a waiting game for a while, got to ski some flats at A-basin for a few days, then Ski and Snowboard Club Vail blew snow on Golden Peak for clubs to train on. They built a short mogul lane with a jump for the mogul skiers, and it was great to have that to train on. I was able to concentrate on a few things that I need to work on in the moguls and jumps as well. It was pretty nice to be at home and get ready for the season, continue strength training and skiing without having to drive all over the place. I also got to bounce tramp at the new acrobatics center at the Vail Ski and Snowboard Academy. It is so cool that they have an acrobatics center in a public school! I really wish that they had that room when I went to school there, but fortunately I still get to train there. 

I was hoping that we would get to train on a full course at Wolf Creek ski resort but unfortunately they did not get the kind of snow that they got last year and we had to cancel our camp there. I trained a few more days on Vail before Thanksgiving. I headed over to Aspen on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving with my family. We stayed at my grandparents cabin on the backside of Aspen mountain, there was not a much snow there as there normally is this time of year, so we did not get to do all of the activities that we wanted to do. We stayed in Aspen for a few days, and I got to watch the women's alpine world cup. It was great to be there to support my friends on the alpine team and watch them race. I had never been to the women's alpine world cup before, I had seen the men at Birds of Prey, so I was happy that it worked out well and I got to watch them race. 

After Thanksgiving I went back to Vail for a few days, did some more training and decided to head out to Utah for a little team camp that was taking place of the Wolf Creek camp. I got a lot of jumping in at Snowbird and the Utah Olympic Park. It was nice to work with the team coaches and see some of my friends in Utah again. 

I have had great training this fall, and I am really looking forward to the first world cup in Ruka Finland. 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Skiing again

My first trip back on snow (after my injury) was in Chile.  It was so great to be back on snow!  I skied flats only for the first couple of days to make sure that everything was feeling solid.  I was very happy to be back on snow, skiing again. It snowed quite a bit in Chile so I got so ski some powder before I was allowed to head into the moguls.  I always love a good powder day so it was great to just get to float around before I stared mogul training again.  I got to ski moguls without airs, on the fourth through sixth days. It was great to have some days with out jumping and really just work on turn shape and pole plants. On the seventh day of skiing, I was allowed to hit the jumps again! It was so fun to be soaring through the air over snow with skis on my feet again. I was not expecting to be aloud to do any real tricks the first day of jumping but my coach told me I could do some 360’s again.  It felt like I was really back after I did that fist 360.
I knew that my knee was feeling good and I could really start to train hard on the snow again. I was able to do more each day. I was skiing faster, jumping higher and throwing harder tricks.  I was not expecting to be throwing my back full in Chile but everything was going really well and my coach let me throw it on the second to last day of training.  It was really great to throw that trick and get the first one out of the way.  After I got hurt, I was a little scared when I was thinking about throwing my back full on snow again. I just did not want to be afraid or have any apprehension when I got to a mogul course to throw full again. Despite my fear of being afraid, I was not. I was actually less afraid to throw my back full in the moguls than I was to throw my back layout.  I was very pleased with the way my Chile camp went.
After the Chile camp I headed back to Park City, UT for some more water ramping and strength training. Then I headed back to Vail for a couple of days before I headed to Italy to do some biking.
I had been wanting to go to Italy for a while, especially since I missed Junior Worlds in Italy this season, so my parents had planned a nice biking trip to Italy before I would go to Zermatt. Unfortunately my mom broke her ankle a few weeks before we were going. It sounded really brutal, she had to be rescued from a really steep hiking trail and carried down when it was possible. She had a homemade splint made of newspaper, sticks and duct tape wrapped around her ankle for support. When the trail was too narrow and steep to carry her she had to hobble down it on one leg. It did not sound like a fun experience at all. She ended up getting surgery and was not able to make it on our trip.

My dad and I still headed over to do some biking, since we already had plane tickets booked.  It was a great time but we really missed my mom. My dad and I rode to a lot of really cool places. We climbed Passo de Stelvio (pictured on right), it was a long and steep one. We rode around several lakes and over more mountains. We also did a  via feratta (climbing) course on the Dolomites. It was a great trip. 

Friday, August 31, 2012

Injury and Rehab

Getting hurt is always hard, it is hard to stay positive and understand why things like this happen. Sport is rewarding at times and incredibly frustrating at other times. People say that everything happens for a reason but it is hard to see a reason why such hard things have to happen.  In the end my best guess it to make us stronger, and the good things that much better.
The first couple weeks after surgery were a challenge, lots of pain in my knee and a hard time doing anything.  Once the pain and swelling went away it was pretty much the same ting until I could walk again. I would do some aqua jogging and upper body workouts.  Figuring out how to carry the equipment around was always a challenge. I got pretty good at hopping on one leg. After I started to be able to walk my muscle started to come back.
 I went on vacation with my family and it was nice, it has been a while since we went to a beach and it was really fun. We got to do some snorkeling and paddling.  The place we went was really nice, not to many people, it was very pretty and the water was a really comfortable temperature.
After the family vacation I went back to Vail for a little while, did some more upper body workouts and more physical therapy.  I headed out to Utah shortly after. In Utah I worked with the Physical Therapists and the strength coaches at the Center of Excellence.  It took a while but I worked hard and built my muscle back to a good strength.  After I passed my strength tests I was able to water ramp and it was great to put skis on my feet and hit some jumps. 

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Seasion

Skiing this year was awesome. I had such a great time competing, training and hanging out all over the world. I had some of my best results this season and some of my worst.
Going into the season I felt strong and really excited. I got 6th place in Ruka and was super happy with that start to the season and the excitement continued. While we were in Finland we were worried about the lack of snow all around the world. There was much less snow in Finland than there was last year and there was almost no snow in France. We were worried about the event in Meribel begin canceled. Thankfully it got cold enough and a big storm hit the mountains. The first day of training was canceled but we got some good training in. On the comp day it dumped on the course. It was really fun having soft snow there as opposed to last years ice.
Since the event at Meribel was late at night the lifts were closed and we had to take the bus back up to the hotel. Everyone that watched the event wanted to take the bus back up too. I had to wait a couple of buses and they were all super packed. I got jammed up against a seat and my arm was between my ski and the seat and my sirculation was getting cut off. I was in a horizontal position because people were leaning against me and my feet were stuck up agains the stairs so I could not bring my self to a normal standing position. I was relieved when it was finally our stop. After the event in Meribel we headed home for a couple weeks around Christmas. It was nice to spend some time with my family then. I also coached the Vail kids at their Christmas camp. After Christmas we headed off to Canada, Lake Placid and Deer Valley.
Deer Valley was great this year! I was so happy to put down a good run in qualifying. It had been a while since I had a good one and it felt great to finally feel happy with my run. Training for the finals was not exactly what I had expected. I went out of the gate first since no one else wanted to go and I got the jumps with a ton of snow in them. I came up short on a full for the first time and hiked back up to do it again. On the hike up I nearly got run over by one of the boys that was out of control. He took my ski with him so I had to hike back down and get it, then take it back up. The second full was better since there was less snow in the transition and I could carry my speed better. In the gate I was ready to go. My run was great, I had so much fun skiing down that course. The judges rewarded me with third place and I headed back up for the super final. I went a little too big off of top air and could not control my exit and fell. I skied down the rest of the run but it was not what I was hoping for. I ended up 4th and was really happy with the way I skied that night. We had drug testing after the event and it took me so long to get out of there. It was 11:30 by the time I was finally heading back to the condo. I went to physical therapy after that and had my back worked on since I popped a rib out when I fell in training. I can't believe that out PT actually treated me at midnight thanks Doug!
Duals at Deer Valley did not go so well. I caught my edge going into the top air and barely made it off the jump. Did a huge layout and did not land it cause of the unusual takeoff. I fell on bottom air too since I caught my edge on top and just was not having a good day. We headed off to China and Japan a few days later.
We were all trying to be optimistic that China might have been better than last year but I don't know why. It was the same gross hotel and polluted air, lady bugs crawling all over the place spring boards as beds, toilets that don't work. Food that I had no interest in eating and a super long lap time for the course.
Lets just say that we were all relieved to get to Japan. We stayed in Tokyo for a day in-between and It was really cool to see the city. I descided to go with the rest of the girls hoping that we would go see things around the city. But they went shopping ug, I hate shopping. I was at least hopeful that they would only shop for a little while but they took forever. I decided to sit down by the escalator so they would hopefully see me as they walked by. That was short lived cause one of the Japanese security guards came up to me and tried to explain to me that he did not want me sitting there. I could not understand what he was saying at all and he was just smiling and laughing at me and putting his hands in an x. One of my teammates saw this and was just cracking up and taking pictures of me and the security guard.
Finally they are ready to eat lunch and I try to make plans to meat up with the guys since I am so sick of shopping. My phone does not work there so I have to have one of my teammates who has a working phone call the coaches and they tell me to go to the information booth at the train station. They would meat me there but there are tons of information booths the train station. I stood at one for about 25min tried to see if my phone worked but it did not so I went back upstairs. Thankfully I found the girls and they helped me find the others. I was really not even close to them in the huge train station so I was super lucky I ran into the girls again. Once I found the boys we went and saw the Tokyo Tower and it was cool but the top was closed and it was foggy so we could not see that much. We took the train back to the hotel and then we went to dinner at a ninja sushi place. It was cool they had ninjas as waiters and they even had a ninja magician.
The mountain in Japan was cool. They had a huge hotel at the bottom, it was like 1/4 of a mile long and really tall. They got a ton of snow while we were there so the course changed a lot every day. The snow was great but it made it really hard for every one to see athletes, coaches, judges and spectators included.