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We arrived in Planica, Slovenia on the 15th for our pre World Junior Championship training camp. Unfortunately, like most of Europe, we were greeted with poor snow conditions and a lot of rain. Despite the lack of snow we still managed to get some very good training in on a crowded jump hill and a short cross country loop. I had, by far, my best jumps of the season in Planica, which was a nice confidence booster preparing for World Juniors.
After our time in Planica we headed to Oberstdorf, Germany to compete in a team World Cup. Sadly, we were informed of a new rule put into effect this year stating that only competitors with Continental Cup or World Cup points are allowed to compete in any World Cup event. The only member of our team that fit that criteria was Ben Berend. Although I was a little discouraged I had to look on the bright side. It was pretty awesome to be able to spectate a World Cup and there was actually snow in Oberstdorf. So, those of us who could not compete in the World Cup were allowed to fore jump every jumping competition and get some great skiing at the cross country venue.
As soon as the World Cup was over we packed up and drove to the beautiful town of Predazzo, Italy, the site of the 2013 Nordic World Championships and this year's Junior World Championships. Needless to say, this is an amazing place to compete. 

I went into the first day of competition with confidence and high hopes, knowing that if I jumped well I had a real shot at a top 15 or 20 finish. Unfortunately I had a complete lapse in focus and had one of my worst jumps in over a month putting me in 41st place, well outside of striking distance. I was frustrated, distraught, angry, and all kinds of those emotions rolled into one. So, I decided I was going to take my anger out on the cross country course, and I did just that, for three out of four laps. I pushed the pace for a group of skiers but by the last lap I was completely out of gas. I ended up 36th out of 58 skiers with the 30th fastest time. Overall this was probably my worst competition I've had all year and it has been tough knowing it was on a big stage. But, great competitors don't give up after bad days, they pick their heads up and get ready to put the hammer down next time. Which is exactly what the plan is for tomorrow in the individual 5k event.
Time for a little redemption!


 
 
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And so it begins... Our arrival in Planica, Slovenia on Wednesday marked the beginning of a two month long stay in Europe as myself and other members of the NTG prepare for Junior World Championships and a handful of international competitions.

Our first week will be spent in Planica, Slovenia training, before venturing to Oberstdorf, Germany for a World Cup weekend. 

I would like to give a huge thanks to the countless individuals that have supported myself and all of the athletes on the Junior World Team. Stay tuned for some more updates on life in Europe!


P.S. Follow me on social media to see what I'm doing everyday.

Twitter: @AGantickNC
Instagram: gigantick

 
 
After a hard week of competitions in Park City, Utah it was time to come home and regroup for a week. I spent quite a bit of time hiking up Mount Werner and getting fresh turns in some of the best powder conditions I've ever seen. I found it beneficial to take some time away from normal training and refocus before traveling back to Park City for our final Junior World Championships tryouts. 
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An awesome powder day in the boat with the Straightline Sports crew.
Following a week of recharging mentally, I was ready to put in a good result at the JWC qualifier. I was much more pleased with my jumping and started the race in 4th, just 18 seconds out of first place. On the 3rd out of 4 laps I took control of the race and finished in first with a 24 second advantage. This was by far my most complete competition of the year. I was excited to take some steps in the right direction but I know I still have a lot of work to be at my best. Winning this race also solidified my position on the Junior World Championship team in Val di Fiemme, Italy. Also representing the USA in Italy will be fellow teammates Jasper Good, Ben Berend, Nicholas Madden, and Erik Lynch. 
After the JWC qualifier I spent the next two weeks doing a pair of local 5 kilometer races and really focusing on my jump training. I went into jump training with a new attitude, willing to make any kind of change necessary to get out of my jumping "slump". Luckily, Martin Bayer is one of the best jump coaches in the US and I've started to make some big improvements. My training jumps have started to be consistently better and I feel I'm well on the right track to put in some good results over in Europe. Our team departs for Junior World Championships on January 14th. 

A special thanks to all the individuals who donated to the National Nordic Foundation. With your help our travel expenses to Junior World Championships are greatly lower, allowing us to focus on putting up good results while overseas. You are awesome, thank you!

Stay tuned for more updates as the most exciting part of the season begins.

Also check out this article in the Steamboat Pilot about chasing Olympic dreams in Steamboat.