Jessie’s Spring Travels

Jessie shares where she’s been and what she’s been up to this spring! 

Spring is a great time to kick back, relax, and have fun exploring new places, hang with family and friends, and do all the things we can’t do during the race season! I had a great time at home in Minnesota after spring series, and got some much needed family time.

Then, after a few restful days stressed out days spent finishing my taxes, my Mom and I took off for Texas to have some beach time on South Padre Island and visit with my Nana!

The beach! I love love LOVE all the waves!

The beach! I love love LOVE all the waves!

Nana all bundled up to stay warm!

Nana all bundled up to stay warm!

My Nana has beautiful gardens and she let me and Mom help out with some fun projects! I’ve decided that someday when I have a garden of my own I really need to grow roses.

Nana, Mom and I did lots of fun garden work.

Nana, Mom and I did lots of fun garden work.

Posing with the mulch bag :)

Posing with the mulch bag 🙂

The most beautiful peach rose ever!

The most beautiful peach rose ever!

We walked the boardwalks over marsh area on South Padre and saw a lot of really cool birds as well as a mama alligator and one of her babies!

Baby Alligator!!! Yikes!

Baby Alligator!!! Yikes!

We also went on a boat to see wild Dolphins (not ones in captivity!!!) and it was so cool seeing them playing around.

3 dolphins following a fishing boat, looking for the reject fish.

3 dolphins following a fishing boat, looking for the reject fish.

South Padre is known for it’s crazy amazing sandcastles. It didn’t disappoint!

A huge, huge sandcastle!

A huge, huge sandcastle!

Cheesin'.

Cheesin’.

Then I flew home, spent 14 hours in Minnesota and took off again for Phoenix, Arizona to visit some my other grandparents! My Meme had come to see my races in Canmore but I hadn’t seen my Grandpa in a long time and really wanted a visit. Combined with my other grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins that I saw during the tour of Canada, I am such a lucky girl getting to see so many family members! It made me so happy!

My Meme and Grandpa Clif.

My Meme and Grandpa Clif.

Thanks to a time zone change working in my favor, I was up at sunrise for some awesome hikes in the desert! I learned that a saguaro cactus takes 70 years to grow an arm, and they only flower for less than 24 hours. So I was super lucky to see all these:

Look at all those pretty flowers!

Look at all those pretty flowers!

Another blooming saguaro.

Another blooming saguaro.

It was a beautiful hiking trail.

It was a beautiful hiking trail.

After a visit that was all too short, I returned to Minnesota for 4 full days, which were busy but very fun for me! I was honored to present Lifetime Achievement, and Lifetime Legacy Awards to 12 people who have spent a significant portion of their life contributing to the ski community in Minnesota. It was humbling and inspiring to hear their stories and see all the hard work that people have put in for years and years so that young skiers like myself have the opportunities that we do!

Presenting at the Minnesota Nordic Ski Association's year-end event. (photo from Bruce Adelsman)

Presenting at the Minnesota Nordic Ski Association’s year-end event. (photo from Bruce Adelsman)

One story that really stuck with me was that of Toni St. Pierre. She wanted to play sports in high school, and after running with the boys cross country team, wanted a team of her own. It makes me so mad to hear that she wasn’t allowed to start a girls team. But Toni didn’t just get frustrated – she DID SOMETHING ABOUT IT. Before Title Nine even came about. Here is an excerpt from the awards program about her:

“Toni loved to run and ski and she was very
good at it, but her school did not have a girls track, cross
country, or Nordic ski team and she wanted to compete.
So she sued. The American Civil Liberties Union took up
her case against the Minnesota State High School League,
filing jointly with Peg Brenden, who was a St. Cloud high
school senior who wanted to play tennis. The case went
to trial in the spring of 1972 before U.S. District Judge
Miles Lord. Lord ruled in favor of the girls. Judge Lord
considered the girls case as one of his “proudest decisions”.
The decision was one of the first in the nation to deal with
the issue of equal rights for girls in high school sports, and came a few months ahead of federal legislation, signed by President Nixon. That law, known as Title IX, prohibits sex discrimination in programs and activities at schools that receive federal funds.”

It was because she had the guts to go up against the “good ‘ol boys” that actively tried to block women in sports that I had the opportunity to race in high school and gain the experience and love of racing that led me to the World Cup scene. Every high school girl in sports owes Toni St. Pierre a huge thank-you. If you’d like to hear more of the inspirational stories, this link takes you to the awards page.

Getting a hug from Bill Simpson, who created the Stillwater High School team and received a Lifetime Achievement Award! (photo from Bruce Adelsman)

Getting a hug from Bill Simpson, who created the Stillwater High School team and received a Lifetime Achievement Award! (photo from Bruce Adelsman)

On Sunday evening, we had an end of season, welcome home party at the Stillwater High School. It was free, open to everyone and it was so fun to see about 150 people there, celebrating with me! I handed out lots of posters and got to share my stories from the past season. It was really fun to see so many young skiers all pumped up about sport. While Stratton is my club team and really a second home for me, it’s so wonderful to be able to embrace every opportunity to share my experiences with my ski community where I grew up!

Sharing photos and stories from my season.

Sharing photos and stories from my season.

An excited little skier!

An excited little skier!

Now I’m in Boston, visiting my boyfriend and yesterday I cheered him on in the Boston Marathon! He ran for the Children’s Hospital and he did an awesome job. It’s so strange to not be the one racing, but I was hopping up and down on the other side of the rope cheering him on! Training officially starts up again soon but in the meantime, I’ll be doing some running and hiking just for fun…whatever my body feels like it needs that day!

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