The U.S. Ski and Snowboard association has created an athlete profile for Erik. There are some interesting tidbits of information along with his results and stats. Check it out here: usskiandsnowboard.org/athletes/erik-sparkowski
Lake Placid, New York - The Empire State Games will be held this weekend in Lake Placid and Erik is ready! In it's 38th year, the games bring together 2000+ athletes competing in over 30 different winter sports. More information about this exciting event can be found on their website www.empirestatewintergames.com/
The New York Ski Educational Foundation wrote an interesting article about Erik as he prepares for the World Cup in Canada. Read the interview here.
Erik is excited to compete in the Ski Cross World Cup on January 18th in Alberta Canada. Click here for recent Hartford Courant Article.
Mount Hotham, Australia - The FIS Australian New Zealand Cup Finals just wrapped up on Mount Hotham. Located in the heart of the Australian Alps, if the video is any indication a breathtaking (and windy) location. A big congrats to Erik with a 2nd place finish! This win will increase his FIS points for world ranking. Good on ya, mate!
Valmalenco, Italy - The qualifying race was tight yesterday. Of the four male Americans, Erik was the only racer to qualify for finals. Fifty one racers advanced to the finals today to determine the best in the world and we are happy to report Erik placed 13th! See the rest of the results here. Additionally, America won the overall for all events!
The month of February was full of ups and downs, and I'm happy to say I came out of it in perfectly fine shape. While out in the Lake Tahoe region, I both got sick halfway through our training block, and got robbed and had my computer, passport, and good portion of my ski equipment stolen. Needless to say, I was happy to head back east and visit family for a short while and get geared up for our NorAms at Sunday River. The course at Sunday River was awesome, and had a little bit of everything. I was prepped for some good icy racing, but it managed to snow several feet leaving us with a healthy snow pack on course both days. I happily got away with two 3rd places, and top American both days. It was a good experience coming off of getting my stuff stolen and being sick for training. It was even better, because my dad got to watch me in my first race back at his college racing hill from his days at Bates. It was lots of fun to say the least! Immediately following I repacked my bags and flew off to Colorado for our races at Ski Cooper. Cooper is at 11,400 Ft. Above Sea Level, which made things very difficult for me. I had an asthma attack on the first Nor Am day, I pulled the second Nor Am day, and I got skied into in the finals at the Rev Tour race and dislocated my jaw and banged myself up pretty badly, thus finishing 4th. It was rough, but I kept moving and went home to get myself tidied up for Nor Am finals in Blue Mountain, Ontario in early March.
January started off with a roadtrip from my house in Keene, NY all the way to Edmonton, AB, CA. It was only 40-something hours versus our drive directly to Prince George last year which took a good 56. Needless to say, I was pretty happy about it! I trekked with my good friend Jon and his girlfriend Jess and we had a great trip full of jokes, inconsistent sleep patterns and my constant drowsiness that kept me away from the wheel for most of the drive. We took a fun detour to Mount Rushmore, which looks surprisingly small after seeing all of the pictures of it on advertisements and such. Nonetheless, it is an amazing tribute and patriotism is in the air even at 9 AM when its cloudy and -13 F out! After a night in South Dakota, we kept on trekking to Edmonton, to a nice little sprint course at Sunridge, not all that far from downtown Edmonton. The races were a good way to get things started for us, and I pulled a 6th and 13th with some good heat racing and only getting tangled in the nets after crashing once! After Edmonton, we continued down to Canmore, AB for a few days before having to drive to Prince George, BC. We had a good gym session and some really cold turns (-36 F to be exact!) to keep our legs moving at Nakiska before continuing the trek up to "PG". The Jasper National Park Highway was closed while we tried to get to PG the next day, which led us to backroad on old logging and gas access roads which made for lots of nerve wracking driving and a pretty darn good time checking out the backcountry in the foothills! The weather started to improve for us in Prince George, and the track was an awfully good time! I pulled a 7th and a 6th respectively, and made top American both days. We left Prince George in a hurry to get to our next race in Solitude, UT, which also happened to be the US Grand Prix. We stopped in Golden, BC to pick up my girlfriend Megan from her trip to Kicking Horse, and he helped us get down to Utah on our straight through drive without a hitch! The US Grand Prix is a great event because some amazing talent comes over from Europe and our American and Canadian world cup rosters also come back across the pond for the event. They really do their best to make you feel like a world cup athlete at a non world cup event, and it was a really fun experience to run an absolutely massive course with world cup royalty. I ended up placing 21st, I was the 4th American and the 2nd Junior, as well as 1st American Junior. I was happy with my result, and my only complaint about the whole event was that we had to make way for the boardercross event and we didn't get additional training time on an amazing track. Racing concluded for the month of January, so we decided to saddle up and drive the eight hours to Tahoe for some more training for the end of January into the beginning of February before our next set of races would kick off back east in Maine. Weather was great and we had some fantastic training despite me falling slightly ill for about a week and a half.
Post Europe trip in November, I came back home with a good idea of what I was going to have to work on before our season started off in January. I started my season at Whiteface, but our weather was uncooperative at best, so I went to Squaw Valley, CA for several weeks before we would have to leave for our first race. Following the trend of uncooperative, weather at Squaw started out hot and windy, but dryland workouts and roller skis on the pump track at Woodward Tahoe kept my legs fresh and feeling good, so that once the weather got better I could get back to working on fundamentals to get better prepared for the race season. Tahoe is known for having some crazy weather, so I was glad to have a few good days of freeskiing in good conditions under my belt. I flew back home on Christmas day and enjoyed a little time with my family before heading back to Whiteface to continue working on my fundamentals. At the end of the month, I started packing and gearing up to head off to our first few races in Edmonton, Alberta and Prince George, British Columbia, Canada.
So since my last personal update in Reno, my laptop was stolen and the road trip continued so only now, in Mid March, do I have a new place to type to you from!
So, last I said I would let you know what happened on a month per month basis. This post, I'll be starting with November.
My season began in Mid/Late November and included my first trip over to Europe for any reason. Flying from Montreal to Munich, we then drove to Pitztal, Austria. Being that this was my first time back on snow since lacerating my kidney, I was both nervous and excited to get on course. Most of our competition had already been on snow for about 5 weeks and had plenty of course time, while 6 out of our 9 days, including race days were weather days. I didn't finish well in either race, but the snow time and the exposure to Europe was extremely positive and meeting the competition I'll be facing in the future was very productive. Europe as a whole was very foreign as expected, and I wish I had more time to experience the culture while I was visiting. I had a day in Munich before flying home, but I got food poisoning the night before so I was in no shape to visit the city itself. I'm looking forward to my next visit immensely! After flying back home, it was late November, and I geared myself up for a month or so of training before our race season in North America officially kicked off.