February 2017, Europe

February has been a busy month with racing  World Ski Championships in St Moritz and World Cup in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia.  It has been a mixed bag of results, highs and lows and some very challenging conditions with snow and weather.  A number of races have been cancelled with the lack of snow and the weather has been particularly warm.  The World Ski Champs in St Moritz were a great experience with a large field of high calibre athletes.  The team was based just outside of St Moritz at Hotel Edelweiss, Sils Maria. Our first race was the Super G and the lighting really made things tough! Very fun course though with 5 built up jumps. I was skiing well on the top half but came into a turn offline and lost all my speed.

We headed back to our base in Austria for a couple of days training before the GS race on the 17th where I started bib 48 having qualified in top 50.  I was really happy with the second run of GS which put me into 31st.(28th on the run) just need to do that first run now! Lighting got really flat for the second run with snow falling heavily.

We had to qualify for the slalom with a race at Zuoz on the day before the WSC race where I finished 4th, then had to attend prize giving at Kulm Plaza that evening for the top 6 finishers.  A massive crowd who were also gathering for the prize giving of the Women’s slalom followed by bib drawer for the men’s slalom created an amazing atmosphere. The sun came out for the last couple of days in St Moritz and the track was perfect for slalom. Unfortunately I went inside on the steep which wasn’t great, but think the skiing was going well. It’s nice to see how much closer I am than at Beaver Creek World Champs!

After St Moritz we had some races at Leogang, Austria and Golte, Slovenia with races cancelled at both due to poor snow conditions.  Super warm some days and raining others meant the snow conditions were difficult so I struggled putting those two runs together again.

From Golte, we headed to Kranjska Gora, Slovenia for World Cup races in a stacked field.  Bib 65 for GS and 71 slalom with soft wet snow meant the conditions were pretty rough with it raining heavily the night before the slalom race.

Time now for a day off before we continue on with some FIS races in the region, weather and snow permitting!

South Korea

A quick overview of South Korea in some pictures.  Racing started in Yongpyong on the Olympic hill with some Far East Cup races – very icy injected course.  It has been a long time since we’ve been on anything as icy as this so while I had some good skiing, I did struggle a little.

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We enjoyed sampling the wide variety of food.

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From Yongpyong, we moved five minutes down the road to Alpensia for a couple more Far East Cup races.  For most of our stay in Korea, the temperatures were around the -12°C

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I will update a little more when the schedule is not so busy.  We are now back in Austria racing and training before the World Ski Champs in St Moritz.

European season underway!

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.

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!

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 .

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.

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.

 

Farewell Canada!

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Toby Creek, Panorama

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.

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Alpine Combined, Panorama

sg-panorama-13dec16It 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.

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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.

Panorama, Canada

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.

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.

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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.

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Panorama

Training At Copper Mountain

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.

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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.

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Thanks Blowie and Just Dig It for your support – awesome!

 

Count Down

skeggsThe 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.

Training at Remarkables. Photo Cred: Neil Lande

Training at Remarkables. Photo Cred: Neil Lande