On the Eve of a First World Cup Start

While this letter was sent to Dasha Romanov in the days before her World Cup debut in Levi, Finland, we held sharing it until Dasha had the opportunity to read it herself and fully experience all that November 11-12 had to offer her, in her first push out of a World Cup start gate. We couldn’t be more proud of you, Dasha and we’re always cheering for you from Sun Valley! 

Dear Dasha,

I hope this message finds you in the midst of excited preparation for your first World Cup race in Levi, Finland. This is a significant milestone, and I want you to know how incredibly proud I am of your hard work and dedication that has brought you to this point. Racing at the World Cup is a dream for many, and it’s your time to live that dream.

Levi is a place close to my heart, with many fond memories including personal successes that I cherish. I believe you’re going to create your own special moments there, and I’m excited to see you race on a hill that means so much to me.

I have some insights to share with you about the hill and your preparations that I hope will serve you well:

1. Hill Free Ski: Weather permitting, take advantage of the hill free ski. Be proactive and aim to be at the front of the queue; it can give you a strategic advantage to get more runs in. This session is about gaining confidence, so whether you wear your race suit or opt for full gear, choose what makes you feel ready and self-assured.

2. Ski Setup: Prepare your skis for the free ski with the same care and attention as you would on race day. This lets you test your equipment under the current snow conditions and gives you a preview of what to expect, which is invaluable for building race-day confidence.

3. Video Analysis: On the morning of the free ski, ask the team to show you videos from previous races in Levi. Pay attention to the set on the two rollers on the top flats; understanding how to use them to generate speed is critical for a strong first split.

4. Mimicking Sets: Use the hill free ski to practice the lines you’ve studied from the video, especially how to absorb the rollers and gain momentum off their backsides.

5. Transition into the Pitch: Confidence in the transition from the flats into the pitch can make the course much easier to handle. The race isn’t won on the first section of the pitch, but getting it right from the top sets the tone for the entire run.

6. Lighting and Visibility: Levi’s dark backdrop can be challenging, so adjust your goggles to ensure the best visibility for the race time conditions. Being able to see well lets you attack with more confidence.

Remember, while the World Cup environment is bustling and may seem intense, it’s the same as any race—only the surroundings are different. Ski as you’ve trained to, focusing on each turn, and let your skiing do the talking. You don’t need perfect turns to qualify, just use your strength and your ability to adapt mid-course. Use your strength and athletic ability to get out of that gate fast and you NEED to really charge the first 6 gates!!!!

Most importantly, carry with you the knowledge that you’re not alone in this journey. Our entire team believes in you, and there’s no pressure that can weigh you down when you have a community of support like ours behind you. Whatever the outcome, it’s a step forward in your career. And if you come out with points, we’ll all be here to celebrate with you! We always have your back.

Ski free, charge hard, and above all, enjoy the journey—it’s one many only dream of, but you are living it.

Best of luck, and get it!

Here is a vid from your old coach there……. #glorydays