First of all, I have to start off this post by saying thank you to so many people who helped Sam get to Switzerland. Thank you to those who put up prayers and good thoughts, friends and family who supported him financially, all the Instagram and Facebook love, those who came out for fundraisers and bid on silent auction items or bought seafood, those who got up in the middle of the night to watch him race and even the high fives and fist bumps along the way. We are forever grateful. This was truly a goal and dream that he has had for a long time and you all helped make it a reality!
Sam and his teammates knew the competition in Europe would be tough but they toed the start line with the best in the skimo world and competed. We are beyond proud of him. He had a blast! It was an education in training, sportsmanship, dedication to a team and a love for this sport that is often times grueling.
Friday evening late, we arrived in Geneva, Switzerland and took a train and then a cog up to a small ski village called Villars.
On the second evening, the World Championships started with a parade and opening ceremonies. Sam walked with his other US teammates and was lucky enough to carry the flag.
Sunday morning started out the first sprint races. Sam raced well but struggled with his binding at the top of the boot pack.
We had an off day on Monday, mainly due to the fact that the individual races had been postponed due to avalanche dangers. Scott, Sam and I had a nice day strolling around the town of Bex, which was just a quick cog train ride down the mountain.
Tuesday, we woke up and the sun was shining and the individual races were on!
Sam’s coach talking with the US juniors team about the course.
Two Indian athletes getting a quick shot with a few of the US team members.
The junior boys start…
Wednesday we had another off day so we joined another dad and junior racer and headed back down the mountain to a couple castles just outside of Geneva.
The first castle was in Aigle and was on the smaller side. Gorgeous vineyards surrounded this castle and the views were amazing, even in the rain 🙂
The second castle, Chillon Castle, was much bigger and sat on the banks of Lake Geneva.
We were so close to France, that we took the opportunity to have lunch in another country. Unfortunately, we parked in France but realized after we sat down at the restaurant that we had backtracked a bit and ended up back in Switzerland for our lunch! Oh well! We shared a couple charcuterie boards and french fries.
After we got back we joined some other friends for a fun dinner at the local fondue restaurant. I mean, who goes to Switzerland and doesn’t have fondue!
Sam’s last race was the vertical on Thursday. This was probably his best race. He looked great and felt even better. Our US racers are used to going straight up in the vertical and many were calling this race a bit of a “horizontal”. Nevertheless, those Europeans were fast and dominated the field.
The day before we were to fly out, we bid Villars farewell and headed back to Geneva. We arrived in time to walk around the city, cross the bridge and take in the sights of Old Town. We were so glad for this quick trip into the city and it also made our departure out of the Geneva Airport that much easier the next morning.
Our travel was uneventful and we arrived home to feet of snow after what seemed to be one of the biggest snow systems in over a decade. So many thanks to Grandma Peggy and Papa Gary for hanging out for the week with Alice, Paige and Mason. It wasn’t the easiest week to be in Summit County but they took it in stride and had to do a lot of shoveling!
Most of the pictures were taken on our cell phones. My big Nikon decided to stop working right after we arrived in Switzerland. So blessed for this time with Sam. Very rarely do we get time alone with just one of our kids. This was an incredible week spent watching him do what he loves.
We were pretty sure he was going to hang up the skis and boots for the season after arriving home but instead he took a couple days off and then competed in a race at Breckenridge after school, finishing 5th in the men’s race.
Now we are back to school and work.