Q&A: Team GOODE’s pro skiers in the time of COVID-19

To say that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the water ski world at large, and members of Team GOODE specifically, is of course, an understatement. In many ways they are like much of the rest of the world; some are home schooling their kids, many are using the extra time to work on home projects and they are probably all trying to fight off the the extra weight gain that seems to be a by product of the situation for so many people.

But unlike the rest of us, they are professional athletes whose usually precise schedules of training, exercise and competitions have all been thrown into an air of uncertainty.

We recently touched base with some of our pro skiers to see how they are doing and how the pandemic and its resulting restrictions have impacted them and their families.

Are you still skiing? If so, what precautions are you taking and what does your training look like? 

  • Karen Truelove: Still skiing and so thankful for it! It’s keeping the norm in the abnormal these days. Since we live on the lake, we don’t have to worry too much about precautions since it’s just outside the back door with my family.
  • Thomas Degasperi: I’m still skiing. I have a small circle of people I see. No gym access but I do workouts at home and swim in my lake.
  • Dane Mechler: I am skiing more than ever. Just before COVID-19 really set in across the nation with mandatory stay at home orders, I jumped in my car and headed to Orlando. I have been here working from home and skiing every day since!
  • Jamie Metcalfe: Oh how I wish I could get out on the water! My training consists of a 5km run, a little yoga, hang board and for the past three weeks some paddling on the balcony rowing machine.
  • Daniel Odvarko: I am still skiing. I’m currently is Santiago, Chile. My family is fortunate to spend quarantine days on the private lake, so it’s just a small group of people. No one goes out or comes in. However it’s getting cold so we are hoping to be able to move to the Northern Hemisphere soon.
  • Adam Sedlmajer: Yes we are still skiing and just trying to social distance as much as we can.
  • Alice Bagnoli: I am still currently skiing. What I do to stay safe is to go to the lake when no one is around and just with my driver , who happens to be staying in the same house as me so it’s not with anyone from the outside. Even though I am a three eventer I’ve been focusing on slalom and tricks since there isn’t a jump ramp where I am. Without any tournaments coming up soon, I am focusing mostly on technique and how I can really improve it without thinking about the score.
  • Brian Detrick: Yes I am skiing a few days a week. Three families share our boat so before someone uses it we are using Clorox wipes to wipe down the wheel, throttle, keys, Zero Off, boat controls and mirror.
  • Ambre Franc: Unfortunately, I’m in quarantine in France and we are not allowed to leave the house unless for grocery shopping. Otherwise we have to pay a fine and might end up in jail, so no skiing for me yet!
  • Ali Garcia: Yes, I am very fortunate to still be able to spend time on the water and train. I am skiing at home with my brother at the moment.

How has this most affected you as a professional athlete?

  • Dane: The unfortunate reality is skiing is a luxury for so many, and when times are tough, time spent on the water and traveling to tournaments is one of the first things to go. This was the first year in as long as I can remember that there was going to be a true “tour” with pro ski tournaments nearly every weekend.  It is a shame to see so many tournaments are facing the unfortunate reality of having to cancel/postpone their event. We will need to use the momentum we had to re-evaluate and come back stronger in 2021.
  • Adam: As an athlete it is hard for me to stay committed to my goals not knowing when and how will our season go.
  • Brian: As of mid April, it has not affected any tournaments I planned on skiing in 2020. There has been a small affect to my off-the-water training and body care with not being able to go to the yoga studio and see my team of muscle therapists who help keep my body balanced. I have been able to adapt by doing more stretching and body work on my own.
  • Ambre: It’s very frustrating to be sitting at home by this beautiful weather and not be able to ski. So of course, I will start my waterski season late which is annoying but there are worse things. I’m thinking about all the athletes that were supposed to go to the Olympics this summer after working hard for the past four years, and finally not being able to compete until next year. So frustrating? Yes. But there is worse!
  • Jamie: Unfortunately my 2020 season has not yet started. This year I was supposed to have an early start to prepare for Masters. Honestly I can’t wait to be back on the water and also in the mountains.
  • Ali: Mostly this has really just made the ski season seem really unsure. We are not really sure when tournaments will be able to start again, when two months ago we were training for the start of tournament season.
  • Daniel: Well, all the plans for the season are on hold. Not sure if there will be tournaments and my coaching schedule is uncertain.
  • Karen: It’s been such an unusual experience to have all the tournaments postponed or cancelled. But since we have no idea when all of this will come under control, it’s worth it to continue training as close to usual as possible.
  • Alice: As a professional athlete is really hard to stay motivated with the fact that there are no tournaments coming up but also with the fact that the way I train is different from usual. Motivation is fundamental for me, what usually drives me is the fact that I train with other people and competitors which push me to overcome my limits and now this is not happening so I need to find another way to push myself to reach a goal.
  • Thomas: Well, no tournaments so it’s kinda sad but we have to follow the rules to get through this.

As a person?

  • Ali: I am a senior in high school, so it has been hard to have all senior events cancelled for my friends I.
  • Adam: I discovered that eating out is not as essential as I thought!
  • Karen: It has reminded me to be even more grateful for what I have. It’s so unique in that no one is exempt from these circumstances and to see all of us all work together and provide each other a little extra grace is something to be proud of.
  • Jamie: It makes you appreciate even more your freedom and the outdoors!
  • Alice: It’s really hard to stay far from friends and people in general, and I mostly miss my general routine of school and life.
  • Brian: For me personally there has been more positive than negatives with the stay at home orders. I have enjoyed life being simple. I have always wanted to work from home but my company never allowed it. I have been working from home since March 13th and it has been great! I am not having to commute to/from work and it gives me more time to sleep, workout and focus on me during these times.
  • Dane: It is certainly difficult to grasp just how detrimental this is to the entire world. I feel very lucky to be able to stay healthy and continue to ski every day in a safe environment but know that so many are unable to do so. It makes you realize that just about anything can happen. I think we will feel the effects of COVID-19 for quite a long time.
  • Ambre: It made me realize that life is precious and no one should take it for granted.
  • Thomas: It’s a scary unknown and it’s not going to take just a little bit of time to get through this until they find a vaccine.
  • Daniel: It’s just a search to adapt. I do not think things will go “back to normal” for a while if at all. Just trying to come to terms with that and adapt to move forward.

How’s the home life different? 

  • Daniel: I used to spend more time in the car and on the road. I’m not doing that now and spending a lot of time with my almost 11-month old daughter. And she is the most amazing little being ever.
  • Adam: Obviously staying at home sucks, but we just had a new baby three weeks ago and so we would be at home anyways!
  • Jamie: From a life where I am never at home, I am now here every day, all day.
  • Alice: Since I do not get to ski as much, I am working out much more. Usually I go to the gym while now I have downloaded a gym app and work out by myself at home. Home schooling is also very hard, doing everything online without having a real professor that explains to you the concepts is a struggle but we are all doing our best to keep going.
  • Ali: My entire family is spending a bit more time together, but I would say we are actually enjoying the forced quality time. We are normally all doing so many different things in so many different directions we don’t actually see each other very much. So the little things like family dinner every night is pretty cool.
  • Brian: Not much has changed with home life besides being physically home all of the time working.
  • Karen: We haven’t slowed down as much as I initially expected. The main change is having the kids home with us 24/7 and adjusting to the distance learning has been a challenge. But it’s been very cool to get to see my kids learn in a way that I wasn’t able to witness when they were at school most of the day. And we are all loving get to spend time with our new pup, Lexie.
  • Ambre: I get to do things I never do: clean up, cook, spend more time with my parents.
  • Thomas: I get to rest a bit.
  • Dane: For me, I am very lucky to be able to continue to work from home without being affected. I am certainly able to ski more without having to commute to the office every day and living in a warm climate. I am very lucky, to say the least.

What are you doing to stay busy? 

  • Jamie: Lots of cooking, exercise to balance the cooking, reading, a few good movies lots of planning, virtual apero, painting the house …
  • Daniel: Cook, ski, wakesurf, and exercise, even though I bake more cakes than I do reps in the gym, unfortunately. But I’m starting tomorrow, you know? Ha ha.
  • Thomas: Work on my lake property and my house.
  • Adam: With the new born, things are still very hectic!
  • Ali: The main thing I’m doing at the moment is school, trying to use this time to get a jump on my work. But I’ve also been taking online dance classes, baking a lot and have also taken up some yoga. Which really just means I’ve been trying to learn how to do headstands.
  • Karen: For everything that has dropped off our to do/project list, two more things have filled its place. I am not having trouble “staying busy,” it’s just a different busy. We are trying to get a few things done around our house, like everyone else right? And be ready for rest of 2020 and 2021.
  • Alice: Mostly school work, gym sessions and I am trying to cook some new recipes.
  • Dane: Skiing and working.
  • Ambre: I work out a lot. Actually I feel like I’m working out like crazy. It keeps me sane and in shape for the waterski season! I’m also working a lot more on my yoga.
  • Brian: I have been working a lot more to keep busy; roughly 65-75 hours a week. I have been doing more body weight exercises and stretching at home to stay fit and give myself a break from work. I have also been able to catch up with friends and family.

What has been the most challenging thing through all this? 

  • Daniel: Not being able to tell my grama in Czech republic when we are coming to visit. Not being able to help my parents back home. Everyone is doing good so far, just the distance from them would be hard to overcome right now if something goes wrong. So that keeps me up at night.
  • Thomas: So many cancellations at my lake but mostly seeing the number of deaths skyrocket around the world.
  • Dane: Not being able to see loved ones, keeping a routine, and staying positive.
  • Alice: As I said before, mostly my general routine, being free of doing things and not worrying if we’ll get sick or not.
  • Brian: I am fortunate not to have personal challenges during a time like this but it has been hard seeing how this has affected so many people around the world, not just health wise but financially as well.
  • Ambre: Not being able to go out and not being able to see my loved ones.
  • Adam: Staying committed not knowing how the rest of the year will go.
  • Karen: Not knowing what to expect during all the changes and also not knowing how far all of this will go. I understand that we all have to do what it takes to protect our society, I just never imagined that our country would have ever needed to take these types of precautions to do so.
  • Ali: I think the most challenging thing through all of this has been having everything for the spring and summer being postponed or cancelled. So many events were scheduled and the organizers had already put in so much work to make them happen.
  • Jamie: Being so restricted in the exercise I can do.

What are you looking forward to most when this is all over? 

  • Brian: I am looking forward to more personal human interaction again, gearing up for the ski season if there is one and if there isn’t, I look forward to having an entire summer to work on my skiing, testing and dialing in skis without having to worry about being dialed and ready for tournaments.
  • Jamie: Escaping to the lake and the mountains, hopefully both on the first weekend. I just can’t wait to hike up a mountain with a tent and spend the night in the middle of nowhere!
  • Daniel: Again, we will see what that looks like, but taking my wife out for a dinner, or going to spent some time at the beach.
  • Dane: Going out to dinner with friends and getting back on the starting dock!
  • Karen: Seeing friends and family, shopping, watching what advances have been possible due to this situation.
  • Alice: Enjoying time with friends, skiing more and for sure doing many tournaments.
  • Ambre: Ski of course and get back to work!
  • Thomas: Spend time with my family and friends.
  • Adam: Traveling. But who knows if that aspect of our lives will ever be back to normal.
  • Ali: I am most looking forward to tournaments starting and seeing everyone out ripping in person. I am also looking forward to getting to start my first ever collegiate ski season at Alabama this August.

Is there anything this experience has taught you? Or maybe reinforced?

  • Karen: It’s taught me that I need to slow down and enjoy my family and friends more. It feels good to have “permission” to slow down sometimes and for others to be not the same page.
  • Jamie: Yes, it reinforces just how much I love the freedom, pressure, motivation, sweat and fun of sport, especially when experiencing it together with my friends.
  • Thomas: Everyday is a gift.
  • Ali: This experience has definitely taught me to appreciate and enjoy all the little things. Skiing with your friends, long tournament weekends, and just the ability to go out and do something you love with other people.
  • Daniel: It’s important not to dwell on the past and adapt as quickly as possible to the new situation.
  • Alice: One thing for sure I have noticed with something that happened to friends or people that I know, is that life is extremely sensitive. Now is a particular situation but you never know what is about to come. We need to enjoy the most out of it and when something like this happens we need to stop thinking just about ourselves but also think about any other person out there that may be struggling and help them in any way possible, even by just staying home.
  • Brian: Seeing this virus have more of an affect on those that are obese, it is another example of the importance of taking care of your health, eating right, exercising and staying fit no matter your age. It has reinforced the importance of being in control of your finances and having three-to-six months of your expenses saved to survive if you lose your job or are unable to work due to a pandemic like we are in.
  • Dane: Find your balance. Don’t put everything into just one thing. Continue to work hard on a few different paths or goals.

Anything else to add?

  • Thomas: Stay home, it’ll all be over quicker.
  • Daniel: Please everyone stay safe. Wash your hands, stay positive and we will get through this.
  • Karen: I am very much looking forward to getting back into tournaments and hearing how my ski family was affected during all of this. We all will have too much to talk about as we get back to enjoying the sport we all love!
  • Dane: Feel free to reach out with any ski-related questions you may have. IG: @danemechler
  • Brian: I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy. Take this time to focus on you and your family. Focus on your goals; career, nutrition, exercise, skiing, mental, etc. See you on the water again soon.
  • Ali: I really hope everyone is staying inside and staying safe, and getting pumped to get back on the water!
  • Ambre: Stay home people. This virus is killing people and we can save lives by staying home.
  • Jamie: Take care everyone and I can’t wait to see you all at the lake soon!

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