With a slow start to the season in Klingenthal with a crash and only being able to compete once, I was extra motivated to do well in the next Continental Cups in Ruka, Finland and Otepaa, Estonia. While I was home I was able to get some much needed rest and family time after breaking my nose in Klingenthal in the second jumping competition. But after one week of letting my nose heal back into place I was back at training. Two weeks after getting home there was a World Junior Championships Qualification being held that I was extremely excited for to see who would be on the team for World Juniors. Everything with the competitions went smoothly and I was able to put together two solid competitions finishing first in the 5k event and second in the 10k event. After this event the team was decided and was looking strong and every one was getting excited for the event.
With momentum and confidence building I was ready to head back overseas to Ruka, Finland for the next two Continental Cups. With Ruka being one of the most infamous big hills in the world I was excited to redeem myself from the crash I had in Klingenthal. Finland was pretty much what everyone told me it would be like with barely any light and almost always being cold. The first few days were great with easy skiing on endless trails in a winter wonderland where everything was white with snow, the only problem that was we hadn't jumped yet. This was where I really saw what people had said about Ruka for as long as I can remember. It was windy! We went the week without jumping until Thursday when we had a window where we could get some training jumps before the competitions. We all warmed up as usual and did catches with our coach as usual.
Riding up the jump on the chair lift the wind was very calm, then as soon as I got to the takeoff I felt, once again, the extreme Ruka wind. One of the most nerve racking things that can happen on a ski jump is when you can barely hold your skis from flying out of your hands because of wind. As soon as the hill was ready we went to the start gates and started to put our equipment on. I looked down the hill seeing that the wind had calmed down realizing that it was simply windy at the top of the ski jump. The session went well and I had the hill mostly figured out all I needed was to do jump well the next three days in competition. The next day we did our pre-race intervals and had our PCR jump. All three rounds went well for me, in both training rounds I was in the top 15, now all I had to do was jump well in the PCR. When I took my jump I thought I was mostly out of it however with wind compensation I was able to secure a ninth place position, with my teammates also jumping well placing in 13th and 14th.
The next day was the first competition and the waiting began. The wind was all over the place and the competition got pushed back three hours. Eventually we finally did get to jump. I didn't have the jump I'd wanted but I was in the points so I was ready to race as fast as I could to stay and even move up places. In the race I felt great and skied with two of the fastest guys on the circuit. By the end of the race I knew I had moved up some places and I finished in 18th place with the 13th fastest time which was a personal best. The next day we had another competition and the same thing happened with the jumping it got pushed back again and again until they eventually decided to cancel and race off of the PCR. I was happy with this decision because i was sitting well, in 9th place I knew if I skied like I had the day before I would be in line for a personal best. At the beginning of the race I was ready to go and excited, however I had not anticipated how tired I was from the day before. By the end of the race I hadn't had the race I'd hoped for but finished in 13th, my first top 15! Overall I was ecstatic about the weekend having two top 15 results in the two days. These two results made me excited going into the next weekend in Otepaa, Estonia where I had two more races before World Junior Championships at home in Park City.
Results day 1 Ruka
Results day 2 Ruka
Results day 1 Otepaa Results day 2 Otepaa