Melanie Schwartz



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2011 Blog

Track 3 - March 4, 2011

Photo of Melanie and Brenda at Craigleith I am currently enjoying a relaxing break because I have two weeks without any team training camps or races. In my time off, I decided to spend a few days volunteering with the Ontario Track 3 Ski Association. It was a great reminder of why I love to ski.

Track 3 is a charitable organization that teaches disabled children to ski. As a child, I learned to ski with Track 3. More importantly, I learned to love skiing and the freedom that it afforded me. I became a Track 3 ski instructor at the first opportunity so I could give back to the organization that had given me so much.

In recent years I have not had time to volunteer with Track 3 due to my busy schedule of training and travelling. Last weekend, I had some time and I decided that I should spend the weekend skiing with the Track 3 children at Craigleith. I spent the weekend riding the magic carpet, side slipping in front of snowplowing kids and loving every minute.

Usually, when I am on skis I am under pressure to produce race results or to improve my training runs. I am always in a rush to get the most out of my training. It was a relief to have a weekend where there was no pressure and no rush. I didn't mind waiting for people or standing in lift lines. For once, it didn't matter what my skiing looked like. All that mattered was that Nick had fun despite his cold, Sean made consistent turns on a black diamond run and Rhys skied for the whole day.

The volunteers and students at Track 3 thanked me for spending my weekend with them and inspiring them. But they taught me more than I could ever teach them. Their smiles reminded me that skiing is a fun luxury that should be appreciated. And that students who are praised for their successes will be more eager to learn than those who are penalized for their failures. Thank you to everyone at Track 3.

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Kimberley Speed Nor Am - February 15, 2011

Photo of Melanie, Andrea and Anna on podium in Kimberley I just finished competing in a Speed Nor Am in Kimberley, BC. In two days, I raced in two downhill and two Super G races. It was a busy week and although the races were great, there were a couple bumps along the way. Unfortunately, there were more falls and injuries amongst the female athletes than usual. I was one of only four women that managed to finish all four races. Hopefully my teammate Karo will be better soon!

For the most part, we had great weather for the races. The snow conditions were good despite fears that all the fresh snow before the races would make it too soft. The only weather issue was the wind. On the second race day, the wind at the top was too strong to operate the chairlift. Everyone spent three hours at the bottom waiting for the lift to start running. Luckily, it was warm and sunny at the bottom and there wasn't a trace of the fierce winds blowing at the top. Boredom breeds creativity and athletes and coaches alike came up with ways to have fun in the lift line and on the magic carpet. In the picture below, Andrea and I used the extra time in the lift line to practice our tucks. We also decided that we should pretend to be siamese twins. So we found an extra large start jacket and we zipped it up with both of us inside.
Photo of Melanie and Andrea practicing their tucks in the lift line in Kimberley
The good news is that we were able to have both Super G races despite starting the day a few hours later than planned. Unfortunately I did not have time for any free skiing before my first race and I think that I may have had a better result if I'd had that free run. But I am grateful that once the lift started running, it ran consistently all day.

Overall, the races were good. The only disappointment is that I only had one really great result from the four races.

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January Optimism - January 26, 2011

Photo of Melanie, Andrea and Kim on chairlift in Kimberley I am engulfed in the thick of ski season. Training and racing are my top priorities and I am skiing most days. Even days off are used to prepare for upcoming training blocks. I am spending a month in BC focusing on training and I will finish this trip with some speed races.

Sometimes it is difficult to spend such a long time away from home. So far, I am content living out of my bags and switching hotels. Hopefully I won't get sick and tired of being on the road until it is time to go home.

In terms of my skiing, I am feeling optimistic. For the most part, I have not been satisfied with my skiing so far this season. However, things have been looking up lately. My training for the past couple weeks has been great. I am enjoying a more easy-going training environment than earlier in the season. The relaxed atmosphere allows athletes to focus on skiing by reducing exhaustion and unnecessary stress.

I've also had the opportunity to work with a fantastic ski technician who has been more than willing to help me experiment with my equipment to try and figure out what works best for me. Some changes to my edge angles and adjustments to the alignment under my ski boot combined with a breakthrough in my training are fuelling my optimism. I have to thank my coach, Lasse, for being patient with my plateau and helping me find the key to improving my skiing.

The true test of my skiing, of course, will be the upcoming races. The snow conditions on the race run are looking good and it seems that there will be a lot of athletes competing so it should be an excellent race. I still have a couple weeks to get used to my new set-up of my skis and practice the techniques I've recently discovered. I hope I will be ready in time. Last night I dreamed about the downhill track, so I'm getting mentally prepared to race.

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