USSA athlete spotlight: Wiley Maple

Wiley Maple
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO, Colorado
2012-13 U.S. Alpine Ski Team

SQUAW VALLEY, Calif. – As a winter sports athlete, I spend most of my summer anxiously waiting for the snow to fall again

However, this late in the ski season that same feeling takes hold for an opposite season.

Having spent the last few months on the road bouncing around Europe and North America, jumping on and off planes, trains and automobiles, packing and unpacking, I dashed through so many times zones that my internal clock is so screwed up I’m not sure which way is up.

All I want is a little slower movement and some time to properly explore my surroundings. When the end of a season comes in site, the year’s array of abuse seems to finally catch up with you, and your body’s physical and mental exhaustion comes crashing back.

Finally planting my feet firmly back on U.S. soil, I feel home enough for now to push through this last stretch of the season.

Opting to take all the stress out of traveling, I decided to drive rather than fly to the last races of the season.

A solo road trip is pure freedom to me after coaches and team managers have thrown me around the globe nonstop for five months.

With no fear of insane overweight charges and rushing between tight connections, I loaded up the van with all the essentials for a road trip: bikes, tent, skateboards and skis. And I hit the road for the long haul out to Squaw Valley, Calif., for the U.S. Alpine Skiing Championships.

Nationals are always a fun event to wrap up the season. It pulls all our teammates together at the end of a long year for some more “laid back” racing.

Squaw Valley put on a perfect championships with a variety of events planned for athletes, fans and weekend partiers.

After racing every morning, we scrambled around to an array of events ranging from pro-am benefit races to a Wailers concerts.

At one point Audi even threw me the keys to an R8 Audi to test drive for an hour. With only a teammate in the car, we found some deserted back roads and proceeded to follow the rules of all posted road signs.

“That speed limit sign had a 1 in front of the other two numbers right?Oh, definitely.”

Needless to say, the Audi handled a little better at speed than the old van.

The last few days, I even got out for some slush bumps on a pair 205cm Atomic Arc’s from 1980 in jeans and a T-shirt.

With nationals wrapping up, the last thing on the agenda this year is a spring camp in Mammoth Lakes before starting dry-land training again in May.

I will be spending the rest of my April avoiding any planned ski team activities and am hoping to cruise around California a bit to see some friends in San Diego and Tahoe City before returning to training in May.