I have been back in the states for a couple of weeks and I still think about Australia daily. Australia was everything I hoped it would be and more. The people were amazing, the land and animals beautiful, and my ski training was extremely productive. The last part of the trip we went to Mt. Buller in southern New South Whales and were able to train and compete on a second course. The course was a blast and the competition day went well with me getting 3rd! The event was supposed to be duals but due to horrible visibility and weather the final results were based on our scores from the one run qualifying round. It was disappointing to not be able to dual and win :) but I was happy with another podium and my $750 in prize money. This was the first time I have ever won prize money skiing!
After the event we went to Melbourne for our final two days. The city is incredible and we were able to see a lot. The highlights for me were the botanical gardens and the Melbourne Cricket Grounds (MCG). The MCG is actually the largest spectator sporting facility in the world with seven stadiums. The Australian Tennis Open, Sydney Olympic events, and many cricket and rugby matches are all held on the grounds. Our final night we decided to spend on the beach in the harbor. We explored a pier and rock jetty only to discover hundreds of wild penguins surrounding us. After speaking with a team of scientists we discovered how truly unique our experience with the penguins were. The penguins have just recently inhabited the rock jetty built during the Olympic Games and are a complete secret to everyone as to preserve their habitat. We just happened to show up immediately after sundown which is the only 45 minute window these penguins are active. We witnessed mating, feeding, playing and I even was able to pet two penguins. It was an amazing experience that perfectly capped a hugely successful Australia trip!
I am down in L.A. now and continuing my volleyball training. I now have a coach that is training me full time and is also going to compete with me. We have our first tournament this weekend. When I am not on the beach I am at Virtual Snow, a simulated ski training facility in Santa Monica. I will continue my training here until the snow begins to fly in Park City the beginning of November. I am extremely happy with how all of my training is going and with how Australia went, but by no means satisfied. I am motived and working harder than ever with anticipation and excitement for the opportunities that will be presented to me this ski season! Thank you so much for your love and support. I will keep you updated on volleyball.