Thursday, May 18, 2017

From the Ski Race to the Rat Race

Someone once told me that you can't be an elite ski racer forever. Perhaps they were right. Or maybe not.

Mackenzie and Pati

But one thing's for sure, you can't be a college ski racer forever, because the NCAA only gives you four years. So if you haven't won an NCAA Championship by the time you're a senior, you're done trying. And there's no petitioning for an extra year. 

Mackenzie Kanady left town yesterday for the high plains of northeastern Colorado, where she plans to help Halliburton squeeze the lifeblood of Earth's internal combustion engines out of the grassy steppe east of Greely. She'll be spending long days in the field, putting her recently-acquired mechanical engineering degree to use, keeping the oil-drilling infrastructure operating and keeping that dinosaur juice flowing out of the ground and into our Fords and Chevys.

She's been told her assignment is going to involve brutally long hours on the job in all kinds of weather, in a high-consequence environment in a high-stakes industry. So, needless to say, she's going in with some trepidation.

This past winter, Etienne was a substitute schoolteacher for the Anchorage School District, and an assistant coach for the South High School ski team.
And Etienne Richard left town, too.  He boarded a plane on Wednesday of last week, arriving in Canmore, Alberta in the middle of the afternoon. He went straight from the airport to the office at his new job and spent the next two days cramming frantically to get up to speed in order to be ready to make a sales pitch on behalf of his new employer at a big conference over the weekend in Kamloops, British Columbia. By all accounts, Etienne inspired lots of crowd participation during his presentation, and everyone left the building feeling great! He has agreed to provide his sales and marketing services to Zone 4 Timing. So if you're looking to organize a race anywhere in North America and you want to know how fast the racers went, you ought to give Etienne a call, because he'd love to tell you what his new employer can do to brighten your day!  (You may have noticed, if you clicked the link above, that Etienne's photo isn't on the staff directory page yet. But he told me he really does work there. And he's always been pretty straight with me so I have no reason to doubt him.) 

Etienne and Davis Dunlap on the road - finding a moment of relaxation and repose

Both Etienne and Mackenzie are changing pace, leaving familiar academia and elite athletics behind in exchange for the world of corporate balance sheets, production goals, and regular paychecks. It's an exciting transition into new territory. But coming from the rigorous lifestyle of a college student-athlete, I'm sure they'll both find their new work environment to be a fun (rather than a daunting) challenge.

Etienne and Mackenzie with their teammates in 2014

Monday, May 15, 2017

Wedding Bells

The Seawolf Ski Team matchmaking service is once again in full effect! It was with great exuberance and joy that the staff here at the UAA Ski Team Blog got word recently that Marine Dusser and Erik Bjornsen have recently decided to get married! Erik, as you know, skied for the Seawolves in 2010-2011. And Marine skied for the Seawolves from 2012-2014. Though they were not on the UAA Ski Team concurrently, Erik was attending school right across the street at Alaska Pacific University when Marine arrived at UAA.

That's Erik on the left, and Marine on the right. With their chaperones, Lasse and Etienne.
Since graduating from UAA, Marine has been living and working in France, but her ski-industry job has sent her travelling all around the Alps during the winter racing and event season.  And Erik has been been spending his winters racing around Europe on the World Cup circuit.  During the past couple of summers, Marine could often be spotted in Alaska during one of her many visits to see Erik, while Erik has spent a lot of time training in Marine's home town of Villard de Lans, a village in the mountains overlooking Grenoble.

Again, chaperones Lasse and Etienne keeping things from overheating...

Now we're all wondering when the wedding will be? Marine and Erik are saying they plan to get married next summer, most likely in France. 

Marine in Montana

Still in Montana...

Erik on his way to a second place at NCAA's in Vermont. 

Marine on the Anchorage Hillside.

Erik in Russia.

More recently. Again with the chaperones - Sadie and Rosie this time.
Congratulations to Marine and Erik on their marriage engagement! The entire staff here at the UAA Ski Team Blog world headquarters wishes you the very best together!