2017 Winter Universaide
I am super excited to tell and share everything about my experience at the 2017 Winter Universaide Games in Almaty, Kazakhstan! I was able to participate because I started my first college classes in the 2016 summer and fall semesters! I decided to start my education and to study early childhood education because of my inspiration from working at the local preschool, Holy Name Preschool. Once I started school I was able to get free schooling from an organization called First Impressions that supports local preschools, teachers and families for education and financial aide. I could have not been at these Universaide without Holy Name and First Impressions and Colorado Mountain College! Once deciding to go to these games, everyone was very skeptical of myself going to a country that was this far away but once I arrived in Kazakhstan it was nothing but smiles and warmth. We were greeted as soon as we walked out of the airplane by local university students who all helped out at this event and translated and did everything for us 24/7. They took us to buses that were specifically made for the games and we had a police escort to our new home in the athlete's village. We arrived and there was lots of security that surrounded our village for the comfort and safety of all the athletes and staff. Our USA Team was located in a great location in the athlete's village were we could go to very nice gyms, pools, entertainment centers, beauty salons, aa huge dining hall, shopping center and so much more. They built this village for the comfort of athlete's on and off the hill or from their event. There are many sports in these games such as all snowboard disciplines, alpine skiing, freestyle skiing, nordic, ski jumping, biathlon, curling, hockey, speed skating, and figure skating! I really felt as if I was at an Olympic Games and had an unbelievable Opening Ceremony, where we got to march and be in front of more than 10,000 people. There were 59 countries at this event and some became very good new friends! The mountain were the snowboard venues were was one hour away from the village and was one of the most beautiful mountains I have been to. Our race hill was in perfect condition and all the volunteers and race crew did such an amazing job with everything they did including our last day when it snowed 25 cm! They kept the course so perfect while it continued to snow more and more through out the day. The events were so professional and it was intense having cameras following you and that it was all broadcasted live. There would be press waiting to talk to you and locals eager to take photos and made you feel like the best athlete in the world. My giant slalom competition I was very happy with! I was able to qualify in 9th position in the finals and made a few mistakes but gave it all I had and ended up getting 9th place. I was happy to be in the top 10 for all of the amazing riders that were there at this event. The next day at the slalom however, was very life changing. We had many delays due to snow but once the start gates opened it was like nothing mattered. I qualified 9th position again going into finals and I was able to advance and keep advancing until the big finals! I was so happy to be in the top four and was very excited to be in the top two! I took home a silver medal, not only for myself but for those who have helped me get there. Thank you Holy Name Preschool, First Impressions, Colorado Mountain College, USSRT, Demon United, Action Spine and Sports Medicine, Outside of the Box, USA Team, to Myles Silverman and Cameron Zavell for a great experience and awesome memories, to my family, my coaches and trainers, my teammates, my friends and fans for your support!