Aspen ski racer focuses on life in the moment |

Aspen ski racer focuses on life in the moment

Kate Ryan
U.S. Ski Team
Aspen's Katie Ryan works her way down the course.
GEPA pictures/ Florian Ertl | Florian Ertl/GEPA pictures

I’m currently savoring life.

It’s a tinge bitter at the moment, but at least I can taste that.

It also tastes sweet and light.

I am en route to Aspen after two weeks preparing for and racing in the World Junior Championships in Jasna, Slovakia.

I did not race up to my expectations for reasons that are my own. This was disappointing, even heartbreaking.

Yet this trip was also filled with fantastic adventures, bold moves and kindred friendship.

The book of the trip is “The Power of Now”, a reread for me but just as valuable the second time around, and that’s what I’m doing – living in the moment, savoring life.

By being more determined to be present, I have found that I’m much more bold this way.

The entire World Juniors crew was stationed on a huge summer camp-like compound right next to a popular water park.

Every day after skiing, the parks connecting our townhomes were filled with skiers turned futbol, stick ball or Ultimate Frisbee players.

Through this environment, it was easy to become acquainted with my fellow competitors – the same competitors that will be with me on the World Cup Circuit ,and in five years we will say, “Remember when we were neighbors in Jasna?”

One of the highlights of the trip was during opening ceremonies.

We ended up in a deserted town courtyard via the athlete parade where endless speeches could be heard.

An unknown Slovakian rock band started playing, signifying an end to the preceding.

After a couple seconds, I decidedly bolted up to the base of the stage and started dancing around alone while the entire World Juniors stood watching me with a gapping mouth.

I ran back after a song to my Team USA, all laughing their heads off. I don’t think I would get away with that at a World Cup, so better I pull moves like that while I can.

“To see the world, things dangerous to come to, to see behind walls, draw closer, to find each other, and to feel. That is the purpose of life.”

This was Life Magazine’s motto preached by Walter in his newest movie ‘The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.”

Walter got me thinking about my downhill race and how I felt so much leading up to and after it.

My best event, and I blew it, ending up in 14th place when just a day earlier I was winning splits on the training runs.

Amazing that one race result can make me so sad to the point of tears, but also amazing that it could make me feel that much at all.

I take it as proof of passion for adrenaline and the life seen through sport. That was the only race I’ve cried after this season, and I’m determined to make it my last because no race is worth crying over.

Fifth-place finish in the super-G and a couple good training runs confirm that I’m going to be just fine.

Now, back to savoring the sweetness of the day.

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