I want to start by introducing myself. Hi! I’m Kirk Schornstein. I’m a two time Paralympian attempting to qualify for the 2018 Olympics. I’ve been on the Canada Para-alpine national team for seven years and I’ve been ski racing for 15.

Moving to Whistler for the summer:

Despite being two years away, training for the next Paralympics is already underway. This summer, the team and I relocated to Whistler, British Columbia in order to train together at one of the Canadian Sport Institute’s gyms.

Training together will be a huge benefit as I prepare for the 2016-17 ski season. It requires never-ending focus and consistency, and there is no room for distractions.  Training alongside my teammates gives me an opportunity to bond with them and my coaches, and helps keep me motivated.

Typical day:

For the past month, I have been going hard and training twice a day. In the morning, I focus on my lower body and core work and then cardio in the afternoons, typically on a stationary bike.

So far, training is going really well. I’ve been able to keep up with my teammates without any irritation to the knee that I injured last March and I’m enjoying bonding with the team. We push each other and keep each other accountable. We also share tricks we’ve learned along the way, mentor each other, and keep things fun.

Training… requires never-ending focus and consistency, and there is no room for distractions.

Mental readiness:

Being in the gym isn’t the only place I’m challenged. While in Whistler, I also ensure my mental strength is being tested.

Over the years, I’ve experienced a series of tough crashes, some resulting in injury. My mental game is still one of the biggest things holding me back from my podium goals so when I’m not in the gym, I’m taking time to train and prep my mind for race day.

I’ve learned new techniques to help ignore and eliminate thoughts of fear and stress. On race day, my mental preparation begins the second my alarm goes off and I know it’s show time. I make sure I tackle any fears head on using the tools I’ve learned over the course of the summer.

When I’m not in the gym, I’m taking time to train and prep my mind for race day… I’ve learned new techniques to help ignore and eliminate thoughts of fear and stress.

Fueling up:

In addition to making sure my body and mind are ready for competition, nutrition plays a major role in my summer training regimen. Being conscious about the type of food I put into my body during the offseason allows me to dig deeper and train longer when I am working out.

One of the great things about the offseason is that it is a lot easier to keep an eye on nutrition since we can cook for ourselves and don't have to rely on restaurants when traveling from one competition to the next.

If eating well means I can go an extra few minutes on the bike, then it all adds up at the end of the offseason.

This summer, I hope I’ll be able to close some big gaps and show true progression once I get back on snow. All the hard work I put in at the gym will hopefully lead to a Top 5 finish at World Champs this season. Until then, I have lots of hard work planned for the offseason months.