Dew Tour 2013

The Breckenridge Dew Tour was the first of five Olympic selection events for US Olympic hopefuls like myself to make our mark. Starting off the week strong I qualified 1st on Wednesday with a score of 89.6 (results and writeup). On Friday morning it came down to the last run of Superpipe Finals, my second run and final chance to wow the judges (results and writeup). With a score of 89.0 I landed myself 2nd place and walked away with 800 points towards my Olympic ranking (ranking and writeup).

Watch my second place run here: Angeli VanLaanen 2nd place Dew Tour Superpipe run

All smiles!

To top off my exciting result, America swept the podium with Maddie Bowman in 1st and Brita Sigourney in 3rd!

Dew Tour Superpipe Podium 2013


I am overjoyed and grateful to start off the season on such a high note! Big thanks to my coach Luke Allen, my amazing friends and family, my sponsors AtomicOakley and LymeLight Foundation and everyone who believes in my skiing.

Next up is the Copper Grand Prix this week. Qualifying on Thursday and finals on Friday. This event is the 2nd of 5 Olympic selection events. The “Road to Sochi” rolls on.

It Was Fate

LymeLight Foundation

In the midst of fundraising for my documentary film LymeLight, a Lyme Disease awareness piece based on my story, I was contacted by the chairman of a non-profit named “LymeLight Foundation.” I remember being very surprised by this news, for I had yet to hear of the foundation and searched this name many times before choosing it for my film. As I met with LymeLight Foundation in the months following our introduction, the potential for a partnership blossomed. Not only do we share the same name, we share the same mission: “to bring support to the Lyme community.”

For over a decade I battled Lyme Disease and was challenged both physically, emotionally and financially. Through my journey back to health, I experienced the rocky road that Lyme patients must travel. From flying cross country to find a Lyme literate doctor, to paying for the majority of my treatment out of pocket, I know the burden Lyme patients carry. I am fortunate to have had the resources required to take on treatment, but the harsh reality is that many are not able to afford it. LymeLight Foundation has filled the much needed role of providing grants to young people and children battling Lyme Disease. The money they raise goes directly to patients needing support. As LymeLight Chairman Scott Bedford explains, “LymeLight Foundation aspires to bring hope for a healthy future to children and young adults struggling with the disease. The financial cost of Lyme Disease can cripple an entire family. A grant from LymeLight Foundation can help ease that burden.”

I am thrilled and honored to announce my partnership with the LymeLight Foundation. I have signed on as a spokeswoman for the coming year and will carry this cause with me throughout my competition season. Along with spreading the word about their great work, I will be donating a portion of all my winnings.


The Comeback update #1

Seems fitting to start with a stroll down memory lane…

Hello from sunny Breckenridge, Colorado. It’s update time…

After returning home from New Zealand, I spent 2 months preparing for the North American winter ski season. With strategic planning, training, eating and mental preparation, I feel ready to take on the busiest competitive season I have ever had. (For example, I have 4 contests before Christmas, when in years past my first contest was mid January!)

Thanksgiving day I set out in the “Silver Bullet” (my Subaru Oakback) from my cozy home in Salt Lake City, Utah to chilly Boulder, Colorado. I was lucky enough to spend a fabulous “Friendsgiving” at the beautiful Katrina Siegfried’s home. I rolled up to her house right as dinner was being served. Katrina took on the challenge of baking a feast that stuck to my Whole30 dietary needs. In a nutshell, Whole30 eating cuts out grains, legumes, dairy and anything processed/refined. Basically I can eat meat, vegetables, fruit, nuts and seeds. It was quite the treat to be able to eat everything at the table. Believe me, this NEVER happens!

I have been skiing in Summit County for 9 days, 4 of which have been in Copper Mountain’s halfpipe. With it being the first halfpipe open of the season, everyone and their brother is here. It is a wonderful, yet busy reunion of old friends and new faces.

Day 1, 2 and 3 at Copper had their ups and downs, falls and triumphs. But today provided my most profound lesson yet.

“When making a comeback, you must let go of what was, what could have been, and what should be… and focus on what is.” 

My friend Tori Beattie gave me some amazing advice. She suggested I treat each trick as if I am learning it for the first time. This really resonates with my current struggle… my frustration comes when I compare my current skiing to how I used to ski 4 years ago. My plan is to calm my mind and focus on the progress I am making. Rome was not built in a day, and I WILL ski to my potential once again.

BIG shout out to my friends, family and coach Luke Allen for all the positive vibes and advice this week.

Cheers to patience, dedication and strength of character!


The Comeback

I traveled to New Zealand and found old friends, new friends and family, many a muddy sheep, sunny days at SnowPark, powder days at Treble Cone, trials and tribulations and greatest of all… confidence in my health.

It has been a long journey back to health for me over the past 16 years. After 2 1/2 years of intensive treatment, lifestyle food and activity restrictions and both physical and emotional turmoil, I’m happy to report I’m back doing what I love most, SKIING! My trip to New Zealand this past month solidified my triumph over Lyme Disease. After placing 2nd in the North Face New Zealand Open on September 1st, any self doubts I had about returning to competitive halfpipe skiing have vanished. This event meant far more than any in my career. Below you can check out a quick edit of my run at the NZ Open, just click the “NZ Open 2012″ link.

NZ Open 2012

My trip began with a 12 hour flight, giving me plenty of time to reflect on the past few years of my life. How much had changed, and how much was still the same. I was surprised to find butterflies in my stomach as I boarded my flight at the Los Angeles International Airport. Excitement and yes, I was nervous! This was my first trip abroad in 2 years and my first competition back in even longer. I also found myself being nostalgic. I have the fondest memories of my previous trip to NZ in 2007. I met people that are to this day some of my closest friends and won the New Zealand Open halfpipe event. Now I can add my trip this summer to those fond memories. Having only 3 weeks in a halfpipe before my comeback event, I was able to put together a run that landed me in 2nd place. To top it all off, my adopted NZ family showed up to cheer me on with signs! Check it out along with other moments from my trip in the gallery below.

A huge thanks to my family and friends for always believing in me, the Toomey family for welcoming me into their home and going above and beyond as hosts, my boyfriend Reid for being a constant support at any hour of the day/night, Peter Legnavsky for connecting me to anything I needed in Wanaka, Freeskiing NZ for the event footage, Anna Segal for being an amazing friend and the most fun partner in crime, the memory of friend and fellow skier Sarah Burke for giving me inspiration in my moments of doubt, and last but certainly not least my amazing sponsors who made this trip possible ATOMIC and OAKLEY. Also, I want to thank everyone who sent support my way throughout my recovery from Lyme. There is one word that sums up my overall sentiment, gratitude!

Cheers and see you on the slopes this winter, whoohooo!

May horaaay!

May has brought much more than just flowers this year! Here is a recap of what’s been going on:

  • *Lyme Disease Awareness Month began.
  • *I released a trailer and Kickstarter fundraiser for LymeLight, my Lyme awareness film.
  • *ESPN, Powder Magazine, Skiing Magazine and Grind TV wrote articles about LymeLight, creating buzz about Lyme.
  • *Friends, family and community spread the word about LymeLight and Lyme Disease awareness.
  • *My “LymeLight kits” went into production (T-shirts, wristbands and other Lyme awareness gear coming soon.)
  • *I ran my first 5K race, and dedicated my efforts to Girls On The Run (a program that promotes young girls being active), Lyme Disease awareness and the memory of Sarah Burke.

What a BIG month May has been thus far!

The second week of May marked the release of a month long fundraiser for LymeLight, the Lyme awareness documentary I am making. I have been working with Neu Productions since November 2011 to capture footage for the film. Our goal is to raise enough money to produce and complete the documentary, take it on tour to spread Lyme awareness and share my story around the world. To find out more about my project and how you can get involved and donate, visit the LymeLight Kickstarter page.

I’m blown away by the support LymeLight has received from family, friends and community! With nearly every person I know -yeah you know who you are :-)reposting, emailing, tweeting, and telling people in their lives about LymeLight, we were able to raise 25% of our goal in 7 days! Now we are at 70% on day 14! Beyond just raising money to finish LymeLight, with everyone’s help we’ve spread the word about Lyme Disease far and wide. My dream of raising awareness has already begun to come true, thanks to the support of people like you!

I started off the 3rd week of May by running my first 5K race. This is an accomplishment that solidified my triumph over illness. It was only a few years ago that I was unable to run at all due to severe pain and arthritis.

Here are a few photos of Becca Babicz and I during the “Girls On The Run” 5K at Sugarhouse Park. We dedicated our race to the memory of Sarah Burke and Lyme Disease awareness month. Thanks to Reid Persing for his photography skills and support.

I encourage you all to get out and partake in Lyme Disease awareness month! No matter what form your support takes, every bit of energy towards this cause makes a difference. Here are a few ideas of ways to get involved and spread the word:

  • *Reposting the link to the LymeLight Kickstarter page on Facebook.
  • *Share with the people in your life why you’re motivated to spread the word about Lyme Disease. (In person, over the phone or in an email.)
  • *Wear a lime green ribbon or article of clothing to symbolize your support.
  • *Join a community event/walk/race and wear lime green.
  • *Blog about Lyme Disease awareness month, sharing what you know and feel about this illness.
  • *Instagram/tweet/facebook artistic photos of limes, with captions mentioning Lyme awareness month (Being creative by using the “play on words” to catch people’s attention.)

Thanks to everyone for your support! Let’s keep the ball rolling…


Believe in Sarah

I have written and erased sentences for days trying to find words to express my thoughts/feelings on whatSarah Burke has meant to me. I feel strongly compelled to share this story. It says it all.
When I was in high school I followed my older brother to Whistler, BC to attend a summer ski camp named “Momentum.” This camp was located on the Blackcomb glacier and specialized in moguls and park skiing. We would wake up early and take 2 chair lifts over grass and mountain biking terrain to the last bit of snow left on the mountain. There were jumps, rails, a quarterpipe and a halfpipe. I had never skied park let alone heard of hitting rails, so you can imagine how all over the place I was on my skis that week. I tried my first 360′s and slipped out on so many rails, that by the end of the week my hip was black and blue. I was a mess! But the best kind of mess there is. I was sun burnt, bruised and sore but had the biggest smile on my face. This is the week I fell in love with Freeskiing. This is also the week I found my hero, Sarah Burke.
But wait… there’s a twist in this story. Half way through the week I ran into a speed bump on my way to “falling for freeskiing.” There were many coaches at this camp, Sarah being one of them. These were talented and impressive athletes. We all looked up to them so very much.
…The speed bump came when a coach (who will remain nameless) told me to stick to just skiing, that maybe park skiing wasn’t for me. I was heart broken. I loved this new sport more then any sport I’d ever participated in (and I tried them all!) As I was hiking up to the top of the hill with tears in my eyes, Sarah came up to me and said something that changed my outlook. She told me to follow my dream no matter what anyone said. She believed in me fully! She was able to see past my tight and torn non stylish gear, my non twin tip skis, my amateur abilities, my lack of formal ski training and see the potential that lay within. She saw something in me that I had not even begun to see in myself.
I took her words to heart and 5 years later placed 3rd at the US Freeskiing Open. That day, the same coach that doubted me in Whistler years prior approached me and complemented my skiing. Everything came full circle. He now saw the potential that Sarah saw in me years before.
Frankly speaking, Sarah is the reason I am a professional skier. She not only paved the way and created a place for women in freeskiing, her friendship inspired bravery. I looked up to Sarah in every way. Her kindness and inclusion of all people lit up a room. Her dedication and drive for freeskiing is inspirational and unmatched. I will hold onto every lesson learned from her, every gift she gave me and cherish all the memories we made over the years.
Today and everyday, let us be thankful for all we have in life. Let us be thankful for life itself. Let us fill up our days with passion and dedication. Let us continue to follow in her iconic footsteps. Let us be thankful for Sarah.
With love and gratitude, rest in peace my beautiful friend.
Trennon Paynter said it best: “She’s in every snowflake, every ray of sunshine, every breeze. More than ever, now and always, I #BelieveInSarah.”