First season in the books |

First season in the books

Christopher Kamrani, Of the Record staff

Now that her first season on the World Cup skeleton circuit is in the books, Park City resident and Summit County planner Kimber Gabryszak is ready to take a few days off.

After that, it’ll quickly be back to training for the 2011-2012 season.

"Focus, then lifting and sprinting pretty much the rest of the day," she said.

Being a rookie on the World Cup circuit isn’t easy, according to Gabryszak, and after a few years as a regular on the lower-level skeleton circuits, the change to World Cup was a new direction. It was no longer just enjoying the ride.

"A lot of it is that the atmosphere is different," she said. "Over there (on the World Cup side), you’re there to do a job, to learn how the racing system works. It’s definitely more of a job, much more serious. Pretty much working on runs, sleds and debriefing with coaches."

She finished 20th overall in the World Cup standings, including a 14th-place finish during the tour’s stop in her hometown of Park City in December her highest placing of the six stops.

But no moment was more significant to the 30-year-old slider than her bronze medal at the 2011 National Championships.

"It was a really important moment for me," she said. "I kind of stumbled into (the) position on the World Cup. It validated everything for me."

A perfect storm of events last year allowed Gabryszak to take her spot on the circuit. The two athletes in front of her in qualifiers dropped out of contention (one to injury, the other to retirement).

Now that she has her first World Cup season under her belt, it has only fueled the fire for what’s ahead.

When asked what her ultimate goals are as a professional skeleton athlete, Gabryszak said, "It used to be to just be as good as I could, and if I stopped having fun, I’d be done. I have the whole world open to me now."

She added that her job as a county planner is as important to her as her racing saying she wants to be very successful in her position in Summit County.

She gives credit for her ascension up the skeleton ladder to her years in the lower levels of the international skeleton circuits, which she said helped lay the groundwork and helped prepare her for what she’d see at the World Cup level.

"It’s good to spend time there," she said. "In that environment, you learn and have that ability to focus."

She said she thought she did pretty well in her first season on the World Cup circuit, but is ready to get back to her other obligation on a full-time basis.

"I love being back," she said.

Almost as much as she loves flying down the track.