After a very enjoyable, although brief taste of summer in Queenstown it was time for the very long set of flights back to Europe where we hit the ground running. Off to the HEAD factory for some new gear before making our way to Adelboden for the first World Cup race of our season.
Adelboden is said to be the toughest hill in the world cup circuit with steep (60° pitch) and terrain – it was certainly very testing. Fresh snow overnight with fog and snowing on the day of the giant slalom made for even more difficult conditions. Many athletes had riming on goggles which makes it even more testing. Started bib 65, unfortunately I didn’t make it to the finish line.
Slalom finish fog
The slalom day was similar conditions, again bib 65 but I fell inside so was a DNF. It was great to catch up with some coaches from over the years; Tanja and Pascal who live and work in Adelboden and Yannick Bellon from Morgin, Switzerland, also Kyboi Wyssen – all from around ten years and more ago!
with Tanja & Pascal
From Adelboden we headed on to Davos, Switzerland for a couple of Europa Cup giant slalom races, feeling pretty exhausted. While I had some good skiing, I made too many mistakes so wasn’t happy. Plenty of fresh snow. On the move again from Davos straight after the race with part of the journey including driving onto a train, on our way to home base near Saalfelden, Austria ready for a Europa Cup slalom at Zell am See the following day .
Drive onto train
I felt I had some pretty good skiing and was really pleased to be able to take advantage of the yellow bib for a 32 start instead of 76. Unfortunately missed the top 30 flip by 0.6 sec.
Zell am See
Zell am See
Zell am See
Back to base where we are now busy packing ready to head to the airport on our way to Korea which is going to be a new experience in many ways.
The Panorama NorAm series are over and now it’s time for a quick break. For the most part, the weather stayed clear for the week however it was incredibly cold with a couple of days approaching -30°C. The snow-making clouds were more of a problem creating some poor visibility at times. My toes suffered a little with the extreme cold but hopefully the numbness will disappear over the break.
Alpine Combined, Panorama
It has been an exciting week of racing for me with some great results and PB’s. Starting with Super G and bib 47, I moved into 22nd spot and made a good points result. Day two, still bib 47 I had an amazing run and finished on the podium in 3rd position and made a points result of 19.36 (currently on 53.48) surprising quite a few people as well as myself! Day 3 was super combined and I had bib start 61 as I haven’t raced a combined for a while to get any results. In the super g portion I came 12th, also a points result 21.95 and skied the slalom portion a little conservatively finishing 17th, scoring 39.73 (currently 155)
Moving on to the giant slalom, I made a mistake on day one and came out on a fall-away turn. Day two I started 21 and skied into 9th, couple of mistakes but pretty happy with the way my skiing is improving. In the slalom from bib 18 I moved into 4th place, a frustrating 0.19 sec off the podium. Final day, also slalom I moved into 4th spot missing the podium again by a small margin.
Race start for Super G and GS
On the morning we packed up to head out of Panorama, the temperature warmed up by almost 20 degrees to a balmy -7°C and snowing. After a successful NorAm series and the long trip home, I’m looking forward to a few days of warmth and leisure before the next section of training and races in Europe.
Many thanks to all the volunteers and workers who braved those cold temperatures for us, putting on an excellent series. Wishing everyone a wonderful Christmas and all the best in the new year.
We have arrived in Panorama after some great training on man made snow in Colorado and wrapping up the Copper Mountain race series. It finally snowed the day before the first race so the first super g of the season had some soft snow to contend with along with some still falling. The two super g days were good, more of a training tool for me but team mate Willis did well, picking up 3rd. I was happy with my skiing in the gs, just needed to cut out a couple mistakes from day one, then in the second race I got caught in some soft snow and didn’t make it unfortunately. We had cold mornings around -15° C (5° F) but warming for second run. Just one day of training at Vail, however conditions were too lean so took a day off and tried out the Oxygen Bar at the hotel we were staying in before heading north to Panorama, Canada.
Sunset at Dillon
Testing new skis, Copper
Heading to the Oxy Bar
Oxygen bar, Vail
We are currently in Panorama having arrived a few days ago and have had some good training days. Super cold after Colorado though, we were greeted with -20º C at Calgary airport when we arrived late evening.
On the road to Panorama
Training at Panorama has also been particularly cold, around -20º C which takes a few more layers to get used to and the feet start to suffer. Still not the best snow cover here in Panorama either so it is a bit of a mission some training days to get many runs in with the turn-around time being close to half an hour – catching lifts and traversing back around to the training course. Only managed three slalom runs before the course was pulled yesterday. We have today off so it’s time to do a grocery shop which is approx half hour drive down the road to Invermere, so it’s good idea not to forget anything! The whole team has been a bit crook with a bad cough which coach picked up a month ago and generously gave out, so hopefully it’s not so bad when races start again in a couple of days. The NorAm series starts on the 11th Dec with super g followed by a couple of GS and slalom.
Training is now well under way in Colorado and we have had some excellent conditions in spite of the lack of snow and training space. We arrived 4th November into Dillon, CO and did out best getting into the new time zone and altitude by starting on snow the following day. With so many teams going for the limited spots, we have had many early morning starts with the 6.00am – 9.00am time slot being a regular. The snow conditions have been first class and the weather perfect – no good for fresh snow and a little warm, but great for training. Luckily it has been cold enough for snow making.
Picked up some new skis for the season so have been getting used to the stiffer model and so far pretty happy with their performance.
It is quite different seeing the mountain on the chairlift ride up than the usual winter scenery but on the upper slopes conditions are producing plenty of good runs for working on improving technique.
Thanks Blowie and Just Dig It for your support – awesome!
The end of my Summer approaches rapidly with a final week of strength and conditioning while at home, before flying to Colorado to start on-snow training early November.
Many thanks to the Skeggs Foundation for their continued support as I head away to the northern hemisphere for the next five months, jam-packed with travel and races. After our first block of training in Colorado we will head to Panorama, Canada for racing.
Racing got underway 1st August with a GS at Cardrona which came around quickly after just one day of gate training due to the lack of snow conditions. I picked up a podium in 2nd place and then it was straight back to Coronet Peak where we were finally able to get some gate training in. The National Championships came around quickly, 9th August, with the GS first. Managed to pick up the gastro bug going around so felt pretty bad for most of the week but was able to place 2nd behind Willis in the GS and pick up the National Title again for the slalom. One more week of training on some pretty good conditions at Coronet Peak and then headed over to Australia for the start of the ANC races at Mt Hotham.
Coberger Academy, NZ Ski Team . Pic Michael Thomas
First men’s races at Hotham were postponed due to the weather but managed to complete all races using up the weather day. I had some good runs but had trouble finding a good head space which didn’t go well overall. Flew back to Queenstown and it was straight into racing again with the final of the ANC GS and slalom races at Coronet Peak. Again I had sections of good racing and managed to take out the AUS/NZ yellow bib for the slalom but found it quite a struggle.
Hotham start gate
SL course inspection Mt Hotham
ANC GS Coronet Peak
Finish area Rocky Gully
We had a couple of days in Queenstown then headed up to Methven for the final speed races for Nationals and ANC’s. The weather wasn’t the best with our day of training super g cancelled and the following day we squeezed in three super g races. After the super g races, the weather pretty much fell apart so we decided not to race the super combined but headed back to Queenstown which was a good call as the rest of the races were then cancelled.
Overall I found it to be a very challenging season with virtually no training to speak of before racing started. Fortunately we have had some excellent training since the races finished with some great conditions both at Rocky Gully and up at the Remarkables.
Remarkables slalom training
One day during the last week of training, we had an early GS session at Remarkables which was followed by an enjoyable session with the Gold Members and children on a paneled slalom course. It was great to catch up with them again to see how they have progressed and watch their enjoyment on snow.
After a week of taking time out it is now full swing back into the next strength and conditioning phase before heading on to the northern hemisphere season. Once again it has been amazing to have the support of so many, thank you one and all!
It has been a little while since my last post, however it has taken some time for the snow to be sufficient for some training to begin. Much of my time has been spent on strength and conditioning as well as a short back to snow camp at Mt Hutt in June. We have had a couple of S & C Camps with Ben Griffin in Queenstown and Methven with some testing to see our progress from last year, as well as where we are on a National level. Pleased to say progress on last year has been good with some personal bests achieved.
Coronet Peak View
The last couple of months have been much warmer than usual and much less snowfall. The training at Mt Hutt went well although the snow cover was a bit lean in places. Back in Queenstown our on-snow start was delayed due to lack of snow but we have since managed some free skiing drills on the main runs at Coronet Peak which was a bit of a challenge with the school holidays in full swing. The last few days we have been doing more drills and started on stubbie training at the Remarkables ski field. Little bit further to travel but conditions have been OK – snow is a little soft and dry but it is good to be back on skis.
We had about a foot of snow last night so hopefully it will be enough to get Rocky Gully up and running for some serious training!