Keene native Tom Biesemeyer is hoping to get off to a strong start in the upcoming World Cup alpine skiing season after struggling early last year.
Biesemeyer, who is on the United States men's alpine ski team, opened the World Cup season in Lake Louise, Alberta with a 29th-place finish in the super-G event.
Last year Biesemeyer's first full season on the World Cup tour.
Photo by Eric Schramm
Keene native Tom Biesemeyer skis in an FIS downhill event at the U.S. Ski Team Speed Center at Copper Mountain, Colo. on Nov. 15.
"I crashed in the first three of the races and there are only seven races," he said. "I felt like I was kind of behind right from the start. And I was kind of just trying to play catchup, just trying to prove the fact that I can be competitive and I belong. That was really hard mentally. I just felt like I hadn't done what I felt I could have."
Biesemeyer said he was in the top 20 in the first two super-G races when he crashed. The first was at Lake Louise, and the second was in Beaver Creek, Colo.
Part of Biesemeyer's early season struggles a winter ago can probably be attributed to inexperience. Last year, he had to adjust to living on the road and competing at the highest level.
This year, Biesemeyer said he's more comfortable and has made some changes in his daily life that will hopefully translate into more success on the hill.
"I think the biggest thing is knowing your schedule and then sort of adjusting your routine to make it as comfortable and familiar as possible," he said.
When asked about his goals, Biesemeyer said this season he'd like to get to the podium, something that has always been a dream of his. But he also said his main focus is to be aggressive and to "ski with no regrets."
"The most satisfying thing for me is to just know that I didn't leave anything on the hill, and I didn't sort of back off or ski intimidated," the 23-year-old said. "I just sort of go out there and race and do everything that I can for myself. That's my biggest goal: to go out there and not get caught up in everything else that I can't control."
Biesemeyer has shown flashes of potential. Last year at the FIS races at Copper Mountain, he won four super-G events. He said those wins came against a field that included World Cup skiers from Austria, Canada and the U.S.
"There were guys there that went on to win World Cups that season, last season, which was pretty cool to be able to win against that field," he said.
One hurdle he doesn't have to worry about this season is getting his first World Cup points. He earned those in February when he took 30th place in a super-G race in Crans Montana, Switzerland. In that same race, Lake Placid native Andrew Weibrecht came in 23rd place.
Weibrecht, who is on the "A" team this season, said Biesemeyer has been doing well so far.
"I think he's really poised to make some noise this year," Weibrecht said. "He's just got to get his head right and make it happen. I think that there's no reason why he should not be able to be a solid, solid contender."
Like his Adirondack teammate, Biesemeyer's strength is in the super-G, but he has been working on improving in downhill and giant slalom.
"My downhill has gotten a lot better just because my technique and my fundamentals of skiing have gotten a lot better," he said. "I think because of it I'm able to build more speed on the skis."
Ultimately, though, Biesemeyer's success is likely going to be determined by whether he can reach that next level mentally.
"It's just a matter of being relaxed and letting yourself do what you normally do and trying not to get too hung up on placing, knowing that you went out and skied the way you can ski," he said.
"If I can go do that, then I'll be happy and I think I'll get the results I'm looking for and I'll build off that. I think you can't mature and reach the next step if you are holding yourself back by getting stressed out over things that you can't control."