A lot has happened since the end of the winter, for me, and the sport of Nordic Combined. I came into last winter not really sure what to expect. I knew I had made some huge improvements, but I did not know to what extent. My biggest goal was to get onto the US Ski Team. To do this I new I needed to score Continental Cup points (Top 30 in a Continental Cup). Before the winter started my best result ever was 37th place. The season started in Park City, Utah with three straight days of competing. To say I was a little surprised with my results would be an understatement. The first day I finished in 14th place. This gave me a lot of confidence and I followed it up with a 23rd place the next day. By the end of the weekend I had 26 Continental Cup Points. I was stoked! To see my hard work pay off was so rewarding and I was having a ton of fun doing it. After that weekend however, my performance dropped. I came down with a nasty cold and it took five weeks to get rid of it fully. This affected my training and performance. I learned the hard way that sickness can really derail a season. I got to compete in the Olympic Trials, which was an amazing experience. However, I left the trials with a sour taste in my mouth because I know I could have performed better. I spent the rest of my winter in Europe first competing in the World Junior Championships then finishing the season on the Continental Cup Circuit. I went from January to March with no solid evidence of the skier I was in Park City. I had lost a lot of my confidence and was extremely frustrated. With the help of my coaches and other athletes, I eventually got things on track. The final three Continental Cups of the season took place in Kuusamo, Finland. I finished in 26th, 23rd, and 19th. To end the season like that was huge! I finished the season with 50 Continental Cup points, which is 50 more than I had last winter. I scored 26 points the first weekend and 24 points the last weekend. In between I went about three months without a single point. Two very important words for me as a skier, Confidence and Consistency. When I have a lot of Confidence I become Consistent. When I have a lot of Consistency I become Confident. They work together in either way and with them I can ski to my full potential. After the season ended I was sure I would be named to the US Ski Team. I became Comfortable. I learned that in this sport I can’t ever become Comfortable. I’ll never forget the day I was told that the US Ski Team cut Nordic Combined. I’ve always dreamed of someday representing the US Ski Team. When I was young I decided that I wanted to be a professional skier and I haven’t looked back since. Instead of pouting or feeling like I got screwed, I am more motivated than ever before. In a few days I am moving to Park City, Utah. This gives me the opportunity to be a part of very talented team: Michael Ward, Adam Loomis, Brett Denney, Nick Hendrickson, Bryan Fletcher, Taylor Fletcher, and Bill Demong. I will be living with the fastest Nordic Combined Skier in the world, Taylor Fletcher. This is an amazing opportunity to learn from someone I’ve always looked up to. Everything happens for a reason. I can honestly say this could be the best thing that has ever happened to us. Everyday that I train or compete, I do it to prove all the doubters wrong. Anybody who thinks US Nordic Combined has no future medal contenders at the Olympics or World Championships, my motivation comes from you. My name is Ben Berend and I’m part of the future.