WHAT'S YOUR SUMMIT? Episode 2: Twin Falls Trail, Washington

We hiked to Twin Falls, which are two beautiful waterfalls inside the Twin Falls National Park. We had two new hikers with us, Benjamin and Jennifer Thompson, my husband and sister-in-law. It was great having them on this adventure. Benjamin and I have been married for 12 years. We practically think alike. So when it came to getting up and over big rocks, the movement was much more intuitive. Jennifer had never gone on a hike with me. She has helped me up and down stairs at her house and watched Ben carry me up and down lighthouses, and other crazy places, but this was a first. I am so glad she came and had an opportunity to jump in the ice cold mountain water!

As I was editing this video, I had a particular feeling that 'Yes! We're doing it!' I think because we had a larger group this time and everyone was taking turns and working together. Secondly, almost everyone, including Sophia and Tychon, jumped in the water! The looks on everyone's faces when they emerged was so pure! There is something about choosing to jump into ice cold glacial water that can make a person feel truly alive! You feel stronger, invigorated, rejuvenated, and brave! We chose to challenge ourselves and we lived! For a lot of people that would be too much for them. It would invoke too much fear and the thought of jumping into dark natural waters would be alarming. The beauty is... that's the point! It's the first step towards awakening to your true authentic nature! Personal Challenge awakens your personal power and your perspective about yourself begins to shift. When this happens, you start looking at the world differently. The world is a less scary place, and you can connect with it more and more. So beautiful!

I didn't show any of the hike down because it felt so natural to end at the waterfall. Plus, the video was getting long. It was my goal to make this video significantly shorter from the first. I accomplished that only by leaving out half the video. HA!

Lastly, after this video, I went home to Idaho and had my Freewheel worked on by Pat Doherty, the man who makes the Freewheel. He gave me practically a new Freewheel and sponsored the whole endeavor. I am very excited about the next hike! It's going to be great hiking with a properly fit Freewheel. We won't have problems with it falling off anymore. 

Big thanks to the Daly, Preston, and Thompson's for being my Team SUMMIT for this hike! What a great time!

If you would like to take part in the next Summit, please contact us at info@laceyheward.com.

WHAT'S YOUR SUMMIT? Rattlesnake Ledge!

We climbed Rattlesnake Ledge on May 7th. It's taken me awhile to edit and post this video. For many reasons, but the main one being that it's taken me awhile to figure out what exactly I'm doing?! I still don't have it all totally worked out, and I may never have it all together. Some of what I'm doing -starting a business, starting over, hiking cliffs, and inviting people to believe in me- is just going to be a mystery unfolding, and I'm ok with that. And I'm sort of ok with taking a long time getting this video out, but my goal is to get the next one out sooner. Say by next week. ;-)

Editing this video brought me right back to the day we did this and it reinvigorated me all over again. It got me fired up and inspired to keep going and made me want to hike more with my family! It was so fun! It was also extremely challenging.

The video is long! 15 minutes! And yet, I edited out so much of it! Still, I wanted to capture the emotion and the challenge of the climb. How every foot fall, and sometimes foot munch was vital to the whole thing. 

The vital parts I edited out will become out-take vids in another post. One video is us talking about this climb, and another is about how much of a hinderance my wheelchair was. Ironic, eh?  We decided collectively after the second climb (next video) that it would be ideal to have a custom hiking chair made. There are already sick alternative mountain bikes made, but you can't take mountain bikes on walking/hiking trails. This would need to be more walking equivalent specific. Or that's the hope anyway. 

What that means is we are looking for teammates! This could be corporate sponsors or talented individuals who see the vision and want to take part in building and/or sharing in the vision by helping us build or get a chair built. We would love to hear from anyone wanting to create a relationship with us through email at info@laceyheward.com. I can also be reached personally at laceyheward@gmail.com. 

I learned so much editing this video. Since What's Your SUMMIT is all about the process, I thought about sharing some of the challenges I faced in making it in a few 'How To' vids, but I wasn't sure if anyone would be interested. If you would be, please leave a comment asking for them. 

Thank you for being in-tune within.

With one voice, 

Lacey

TREEFORT 2016

Right after Nationals, I rushed home to be with my band, The Sheep Bridge Jumpers, to play multiple sets on multiple stages at the TreeFort Music Festival in Boise, Idaho. Wow! What an incredible time! This was our third time playing the festival and it doesn't get old singing and playing our local haunts and favorite stages, as well as listen to some of the most incredible artists shred their style of music. I absolutely LOVE and am honored to get the opportunity to be a part of such an incredible event. Right in my hometown too!


After our third stage on Sunday at the Bittercreek Brewery for brunch, I left thinking about my future. What would it be like returning to ski racing? Would I have to give up my love of music? I wished in my heart of hearts I could find a way to combine my two passions together. To create this fusion where I could do both. Was it a pipe dream to live in two worlds? At the same time, I thought about how most of my bandmates were just like me! They were all skiers or snowboarders, just like me, who were called by the mountains, and shared that love through music. Cody Barnhill, our bassest, and a fine shredder has made a career of skiing and also spends time infusing music into his life. Connor Wade, our fiddle and mandolin player is a full-time teacher, writes songs about skiing our local mountains and spends his free time playing music as often as possible. Cameron Bouiss, drummer, works at a ski shop in the winters and runs his own business to boot! So does Mark, the lead singer! He's a full-time photographer/videographer with his own business, snowboards and announces comps in the winter, and finds time to manage this band, too! Then there's me. I do all the same things, but I fit more closely along the lines of starving artist.


Somehow I would like to actually thrive while I'm going for my passions of adventuring and playing music. Perhaps together. Time will tell I suppose.

Day 5 Nationals Flying home

I put in headphones and lay my head back. Something catches my eye and I look over. What the?! There I am! I'm sitting right next to myself! Across the aisle. I'm wearing the same clothes I was on my way out east.

I watch myself for awhile.

I'm laughing and talking to the person next to me. I'm enjoying watching this encounter. My exuberant gestures, head bobbing and laughing out loud. I didn't realize how big my cheeks got when I laugh. God, I still look like my baby pictures. Those cheeks! It makes me smile watching myself laugh.

Suddenly, everything shifts, and we're falling. Wait! Somethings happening! The plane is going down! I'm scared! No one seems to notice! I'm trying to get her attention, but myself doesn't seem to notice either. She just keeps smiling and laughing!

No! This can't be happening! Not yet! It's not time yet! After everything, this is the way I'm gonna go?!

I bite my lip and hold back the tears as I watch her spiral downward.

Then it shifts again and she's suddenly skiing... backwards! Down a GS course as if skiing away from me! Down, down, down. She's still smiling. She's waving at me!

I love her! I don't want her to go! She's wearing bright colors and looks so happy! She loves it here! On the mountain - skiing. All she wants to do is support children like her, in their own dreams, and adventure the world with other people, championing for greater love and respect for the planet, and the beings that share it. I want to make all of her dreams come true, but I'm so afraid I'm going to let her down! I don't know how! I don't know what to do!

"Don't go! No! Not yet," I yell to her, but she doesn't hear me. She doesn't here me! This is my greatest fear! This moment! When it all ends. It all just slips from my fingers and I never did those things! Because I was too afraid. Too afraid to crack my tough, independent, strong and physically brave heart open to actually tell anyone what I actually wanted to do with my life! Auugh!! It's almost too much for me to handle.  "STOP!"

 

I jerk awake. I'm on the plane. Sweating. I look around. Did I say anything in my sleep? Was I moving around? No one's looking at me in my giant puffy coat with the hood still partially covering my leaking eyes, looking totally bewildered and dazed. I assume I didn't do anything hysterical. But then, I don't really care if they did. I am totally empty of all my masks.

Just before dozing off I had been reading the Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. At the end of his book, Ruiz describes the death of the 'mitote' or the parasitic judge and victim. This must be where the plane crashing and eminent death idea came from.

I'm on my way home from my ski racing adventure. I had such an awesome time catching up with teammates, athletes, coaches, friends and family. I am so grateful for the trip! The whole experience brought back some great experiences for me! Some questions have been answered in my mind about what I want to do, and yet I wonder if there isn't something more Just beneath the surface. Time to dig a little deeper? What's possible? 

Day 4 First Slalom Nationals

Day 4: First day of slalom. DNF. That's what it says on the print out next to my name. It stands for “Did Not Finish.” On my second slalom run I hooked my outrigger on a gate and it spun me around so that I couldn't push myself and my heavy sit ski back up to finish the race. The rules state that, if you fall you can finish the race without assistance, but if you receive assistance you are disqualified. I flailed around on the course for a bit, but I knew that with the tip of my ski higher than my tail, I wasn't getting up any time soon. Assistance came and I accepted it… gladly.

10 years ago I would have been extremely disappointed in myself and beaten myself up relentlessly for my shortcoming. She was a champion, but she wasn't that nice to herself. With age comes patience and realistic expectations. Having any expectations of myself, in any kind of race at this point in my life, is like sprinkling fairy dust on a pile of shit hoping it turns into a pony! Ok, maybe I can have some expectation, especially after winning some hardware already at these races, and my past experience, but slalom? It's #slalom. Let's just say the poopy pony is more true.

I celebrated by taking teammate, Ricci, to visit my sister's place #dacres permaculter farmstead. I hadn't been there before. It was really cool to see so many working and moving parts to the land conservation going on there, even in the winter getting ready for the growing spring season. I was very inspired by the efforts of the many hands that had touched that place.

Later we had spaghetti dinner, a Wednesday night tradition, at the Browns -my Dorchester, New Hampshire neighbors. The food was warm, delicious and the company was exquisite. Ricci and I were supposed to go to a race banquet, but this was - from what I heard later - way better.

My niece and nephew told jokes that had us laughing and crying. We played music and mostly we spent quality time together that warmed my soul right up! There are some things in life you just can't win, and medals can't buy. #lifeisshort #sowhat #lifeisbeautiful #momentslikethis #makingmusic

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Day 3 Second GS Nationals

 Lasse Eriksson, Ray Watkins, and Kevin Jardine - Coaches of the US and Canadian Para Alpine Ski Teams.

Lasse Eriksson, Ray Watkins, and Kevin Jardine - Coaches of the US and Canadian Para Alpine Ski Teams.

"A coach is someone who tells you what you don't want to hear, who has you see what you don't want to see, so you can be who you have always known you could be." - Tom Landry
My first coaches were instructors from @recunlimited @bogusbasin who took me to my first race, the Idaho First Security Games @brundagemtn. They also encouraged me to race the #dottyclark @bogusbasin and believed in me long before I did.
My first competitive coach was @julieminahan with the @nationalabilitycenter. Julie was an incredible coach that taught me work ethic, what it truly means to be a strong woman and how to MAKE my dreams come true!
Then I made the US Adaptive Ski Team in 2001 and the Paralympic ski team in 2002 and these guys pictured became life long coaches and friends.
I asked Coach, @kevinjaspen @usparaalpineski why Paralympic athletes? This was a while back, but it really stuck with me. He said something to the effect, 'There really isn't much of a difference between able bodied racing (AB) and what you do. I coach you the same way I would an AB. I really don't see the difference other than equipment and what you've been through. It's ski racing.' I love that answer. It's really stuck with me through the years. "It's ski racing." That's it! That's all it is! Simple!
It's been fun for me to do a bit of coaching myself and work with young kiddo's and also veterans, who are looking for that outlet to freedom and transportation to explore their true potential. Coaching ski racing allows for exponential growth without throwing someone down a tree run and saying, 'Good luck! Try avoiding trees!' Instead, as a coach, you get to witness the 'ah ha!' moments regularly and then watch that athlete go from having very little confidence on a green run, to a fierce ripper on a black diamond! This is a taste of the thrill I imagine these top level coaches get when they watch their athletes race down the mountain.
DAY 3: Won my second Bronze medal in giant slalom! Maybe this old tiger still has her racing stripes! Great hugs and thanks to @ray_watkinsx @lassetheswede @kevinjaspen and @usparaalpineski also @mountainhardwear @smithoptics @pocsports for the sweet gear!

Day 2 First GS Nationals

LaceyHewardPOC

I'm not skiing like a ski racer at all! I'm enjoying my free ski run after first run inspection, imagining I'm riding a snowboard, working my single plank edge-to-edge at my own pace. And I'm smiling so huge! This is me! This is what I love to do! Listening to my body and how and where it wants to move.
I've gotten very accustom to listening to my own rhythms. My very survival has been dependent on me being attuned to what my body, my mind, and spirit needs from me. Not to say I'm a guru at listening to my needs, but I've definitely developed a practice of listening. I know this because I'm aware when I'm consciously ignoring them. And now I'm here. Ski racing and noticing all kinds of things!
I remember who I use to be and how I use to have no clue what I needed, or how I actually skied, or what I wanted. I just waited for someone to tell me how to do it and what to do. Then I'd attempt to fiercely do that. Not a bad tactic, but also not exactly self aware.

I can see why ski racing was awesome when I was young! I was moldable and impressionable! Like a sponge I soaked up all this fascinating micro technical knowledge about ski racing and all of its possibilities. I aimed to please and stretched to win!
Now it's pay bills, avoid breaks and sprains, more time, energy and freedom I long for. Ha! Don't get me wrong... I still LOVE racing! And I love tuning skis and being part of a team and skiing and training. But can I truly afford it in other ways?!? You know what's very cool to me? All the incredible athletes! Wow! I watch them fly down the course today and I was looking around thinking, "where are all the spectators? Where are the bands and fans for these guys?" Everyone skied so well and was really giving 'er!" So cool!

Day 2: I finished 2 good Giant Slalom runs after 10 years of ski racing retirement, and came in 3rd! Not bad for this come back gal!
Then I crashed in the finish and took a ride in the wambulance to ER where they determined I am fine. Most expensive day ever! I'll be racing again tomorrow! @pocsports @uvexsports @smithoptics @pingtour @loonpov @usparaalpineski @volklskis Thank you coaches!

I'm going to NATIONALS. That's right.

 Sitting on the plane.

Sitting on the plane.

The plane's about to take off. For the first time since getting the invite I'm excited! Someone got me first class! Who arranged that?! The guy at the counter? Kevin? Jessica? I don't know but I'm feeling it!

The plane assends and I remember! I AM an ATHLETE!
Everyone watches me as I get on late. And I feel it. There are murmurs and I feel it and remember. They're not talking about me because I'm weird or different. Their talking about me because they can tell there is legitimately something special about me. I remember what this is like. Before all the dialysis. Before I got sick. Before it all went to shit. Before…

And suddenly I'm excited! IM BACK!

This time I'm 10 or 13 years older- however you wanna look at it - wiser in any case. And I feel better than I ever have. One back pack is in the overhead compartment. One bag! No more crazy D bags to carry around every where! I wanna cry! Is this real? I've never felt so light!

My kidney sister, Ali, dropped me off. How perfect! My sister who gave me my new start, dropped me off for my new start! Like a duckling she leads me to the waters edge and says, “kick some ass”! I fucking love her so much! If I had to pick one person to spend the rest of my life on a desert island with, it would be her. And we wouldn't even suffer! We'd have so much fucking fun!

This is it! We're flying! All the fear and foreboding I've been feeling all week about racing and what to do with my life, money and other life stuff, is gone! I'm going to Nationals!! What the hell am I doing?! This is so crazy!! I laugh inside and smile out loud! With a broken shock, no race skis, retro race clothes and cheesy wheelchair, I head east, to Loon Mt., New Hampshire with new conviction that THIS is going to be so much fun!

God, I'm old! But I don't give a damn! Cause I've never felt so good! I'm alive! Thank God, I'm alive! Thank Ali, I'm alive! And I'm living! “Here we go! Life is short! I know for sure! Here we go!” @loonmountain One cool thing I've got going is @mountainhardwear @usparaalpineski #idahogirl thanks #united #skidreams #sowhat #lifeisbeautiful #lifeisshort #monoski #onepowski

Little Rippers means big FUN!

Years of building up and breaking down my body, sacrifice, pushing myself to the brink of collapse both physically and mentally, and quieting my exuberant soul until I’m as focused as a hawk… passing this knowledge and experience on to others makes it all worth it.

 Leaving limits behind.

Leaving limits behind.

January 7-10, 2016, I had the opportunity to coach 5 eager athletes in a Youth Paralympic Race Camp, with the support of Higher Ground Sun Valley. These athletes had all the energy and fire to truly go for their dreams. They were ready.

I had 3 days to convey to these young athletes, ages 9 to 16, everything that ski racing encompassed and the additional life skills I wanted them to take home, so that no matter whether they continued in their pursuit to ski race or not, they would have the confidence to keep moving forward. This was a lot of pressure I was inflicting on myself, but these athletes were important to me. They were like me and they were my mirror. If there was one thing I could impress upon them, it would be that they were enough for all their dreams!

 Watch and listen. Then watch and listen. Only then show and tell.

Watch and listen. Then watch and listen. Only then show and tell.

I decided to cram everything I knew about being an athlete and a ski racer, into 3 major parts: BALANCE, FLEXIBILITY, and PRACTICE. The next three days flew by, and in the end, did I really get every pointed I wanted to make across to these brilliant little rippers? No. Probably not. But the most important element of skiing was accomplished… TO HAVE FUN!!!  In the end, that’s really all that matters anyway. That’s why I started ski racing in the first place, and it’s the same reason I ski today! Because there is no other thrill like it!

For all of you who’d like to nerd out on my curriculum, here it is! 3 days of undeniable passion for this awesome sport!

 Zach Miller (bright orange helmet) US Paralympic snowboard team hopeful. Tim Ball (Blue HG coat) instructor to Zach, Alaina ONeill not shown but her board is, and myself.

Zach Miller (bright orange helmet) US Paralympic snowboard team hopeful. Tim Ball (Blue HG coat) instructor to Zach, Alaina ONeill not shown but her board is, and myself.

DAY 1: BALANCE
‘The best way to train for balance is to get off balance. It’s not always about having a clean run. Most times it’s about who recovers the quickest that succeeds.’  

Physical Balance: Strong core! Able to recover quickly in challenging circumstances. You mix up your workouts and cross train to keep good physical condition.

Mental Balance: Strong Thoughts! No matter what disappointments or successes come your way, you know who you are and are able to stay focused on your goal.

Heart or Emotional Balance: Strong Heart and Will! You have the determination to keep going for what you love and want. You are able to balance your athleticism with other aspects of yourself and those you care about.

 Doing some balance training in the gym with medicine and bosu balls.

Doing some balance training in the gym with medicine and bosu balls.

“The best way to find balance is to get out of balance.” -Lacey Heward

DAY 2: FLEXIBILITY
Flexibility is the ability to move in any given moment with one’s surroundings or situations. It is the ability to see ahead what’s coming, and problem-solve for the onset.

Physical Flexibility: Quick action! You see something coming and you are able to quickly adjust your body to respond to the situation.

Mental Flexibility: Open to new ideas! No matter how situations shift, change or stay the same, you can think outside the box in order to find helpful solutions.

Emotional/Heart Flexibility: Intuition! You know yourself better than any coach, teacher, or master. You are able to adapt the notions of outside forces to your own needs and abilities.

 Makaiah Danzer (black coat) with Lilly Davies instructing (blue coat). Makaiah was very fearful of moving forward down the steeper part of the hill, but eventually trusted herself to make the turns. She did awesome!

Makaiah Danzer (black coat) with Lilly Davies instructing (blue coat). Makaiah was very fearful of moving forward down the steeper part of the hill, but eventually trusted herself to make the turns. She did awesome!

DAY 3: PRACTICE
Every master has practiced their craft for 10,000 plus hours, to their entire life.

Practice is putting balance and flexibility into action on a regular basis. WHY? So that in any given situation, you can have total confidence in yourself that you can quickly recover, make decisions and solve problems for ULTIMATE FUN!

 The crew heads to Elkhorn lift off Dollar, for some pow turns.

The crew heads to Elkhorn lift off Dollar, for some pow turns.

When you can ski without thinking too much about it, your are totally FREE! And you know you can do anything and go just about anywhere and do what you love to do!

Practice requires dedication, a bit of obsession and desire to have TONS OF FUN!
The ultimate question is, do you have what it takes?

The ultimate goal of race camp may not be to race. But racing forces you to become a confident skier.
-Lacey Heward

Balance and Flexibility are both required to do practice, and practice makes your balance and flexibility stronger.

This day is dedicated to putting into practice what has already been learned.

Tap on photo below to see more photos.

Great big thanks to all that made this camp possible:
Higher Ground Sun Valley including Mose Duchano, Cara Bennett, Alaina ONeil, Lilly Davies, Kelly Boudwin, Tim Ball, Bruce Rogers, Erin Rheinschild, Rich Cardillo and Monty Heath. Thank you to guest coach, David Poole. Additional photos thanks to Nicole Williamson. Hotel and accommodations thanks to Sun Valley resort. Most important thanks to the great athletes I had the privilege to work with: Li Dunbar, Zach Miller, Jesse Keefe, Mikey Williamson, Makaiah Danzer and Ty Wiberg.

A NEW YEARS WISH for 2016

A friend asked me later if I could play this song again. Honestly, I would have to learn it first, I told him. Some of the ideas I had lined out in my mind, and some of the transitions, but I quite literally was feeling it January 1, and just had to bust this one out. It took all of 1 hour. Mostly because I was trying to figure out how to record it in my bathroom where the acoustics sounded best with a house full of people. I dare say I don't even know what chords I was playing, or where that capo was placed. All I knew was that I had to say this - New Years resolutions are a bunch of nonsense. We torture ourselves trying to improve our exterior world. It's really our inner world that needs a little light shed on it. "Maybe this year it's not about changing who I am, but changing my perception of who you are." That, to me, is my deepest paradigm shift for 2016. Imagine what would happen if we just did that one thing. Not worry about our weight, and eating less sugar, and eating more greens, etc. But simply focused on others. What would happen? What could happen?