Farewell NZ – Hello NH!

Final round-up to the season came with the Snow Sports Awards at Wanaka where I picked up the Alpine Athlete of the Year award and my coach Nils Coberger picked up the Coach of the Year. (below with Corey Peters Adaptive Athlete of the year)

The last couple of weeks of my brief taste of summer at home went far too quickly but managed to get in some quality strength and conditioning sessions with Ben Griffin and the team.   Also had time for the odd bike ride and a few Pilates sessions.  One Studio  organized a really interesting session for us at the Auckland University wind tunnel where we worked on finding our best tuck positions.

We headed over to Europe a little earlier this year as we get ready to start training on the World Cup piste at Sölden, Austria and arrived into Munich on the 16th October to a pleasant 20º C  blue skies and looking very green!  It will take a few days to get used to the time zone but after that long series of flights we were pretty exhausted.  We then made our way south of Innsbruck, Austria towards our base for the next couple of weeks where we will be training before the first World Cup at the famous Sölden!

Many thanks again to all my sponsors, supporters, friends and family.  It is going to be a big season and I’ll do my best to keep you up to date.

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NZ Season

Southern hemisphere racing has come to an end with some great results for me this season but we still have a little more training to do (conditions permitting!)

It was pretty exciting to score my lowest points result to date with 6 points from my win at the ANC GS race in Thredbo, Australia.  I also picked up the ANC yellow bib for Overall as well as for Slalom.  Unfortunately the speed races at Mt Hutt were cancelled after one great day of training prior to the races as wind conditions were just too extreme.

A few images from racing at Coronet Peak this season.

This season we started on the new dimension GS skis with the radius reduced from 35m down to 30m.  I’m really enjoying the skis and have been skiing consistently with good times.  Still making some frustrating mistakes during races however I am noticing my improvements.  Training at Rocky Gully has been excellent with very few weather affected days.  Variable snow conditions are always good to train on as it’s not often we get to race in perfect conditions.

NZ Mens Snowvision poster final

Thanks to all our amazing sponsors and supporters, this season seems to have flown by.  Plans and organizing for the coming northern hemisphere are well underway and with lots of travel, World Cup races and potentially 2018 Winter Olympics, it is going to be one of our biggest and toughest seasons.

Different form of training

Racing Underway

Racing is now well under way with the Cardrona FIS Series and Coronet Peak National Champs completed.  Bit of a mixed bag with weather and snow conditions making for some tough and long days.  One and a half giant slalom races before blizzard conditions cancelled the second day of racing at Cardrona. Bit frustrating as day one with errors of the flats in soft snow cost too much time for me, but day two produced a good run before gale force winds closed lifts.  Had a 45 minute wait at the bottom of Valley View waiting for bus ride back to base buildings and more waiting before race called off some time later from continued winds and fresh snow. Racing at Coronet Peak was also a mixed bag of results and snow conditions.  Too much warm and wet weather saw one of the slalom race days cancelled and tricky conditions for the remainder.  I was a bit frustrated with my giant slalom being a bit slow in the National Champs – congratulations to team mate Willis Feasey for taking out the title again.  Day two with a good clean fast run but a mistake at the bottom second to last gate cost me a DQ which was disappointing.   First day of slalom was cancelled after a night of heavy rain but we were lucky the following night with conditions freezing allowing the National Champs slalom race to go ahead.  I was frustrated after the first run with mistakes and no timing board but put a strong second run down.  I retained the National Slalom title and managed to score my best result in a slalom race (14.08).  Placed 5th overall with just 0.28 sec off the winner .

A little time now for some more training before we head over to Australia for the first of the ANC series which run 21st – 25th August.

Early morning start at Rocky Gully, Coronet Peak.

Many thanks again to all the volunteers, Coronet Peak and Race Department, coaches, athletes, parents and all the amazing sponsors and supporters for all your time and contributions to my sport!

A New Season as the Snow Arrives!

Many thanks to the Bruce Grant Youth Trust and Altitude Brewing for your generous support towards my sporting career.   I am honored to be a recipient this year, which is an important one as we head in to the next winter Olympics.

On snow training kicked off a few weeks ago, six days at The Remarkables with back to basics drills where conditions held up well considering the early season snow levels.  This was followed up by a strength and conditioning camp and some more testing where I was pleased to produce some personal best results going into the start of our New Zealand season. Our strength and conditioning coach, Ben Griffin, has been keeping us on track with great support. On snow training is now underway at Coronet Peak and it’s great to see some much needed snow falling.  Rocky Gully is up and running and the snow and cold temperatures this week will make for some excellent training conditions.

Thanks heaps Phil & Julie – The Roof Box Company – loving the roof box.  It fits a great number of skis in as we head up the hill for training each day – six pairs of slaloms this morning which would have been an issue in the vehicle along with bags, boots, poles and all the assorted equipment not to mention athletes and coach!  The coming weeks will be busy with training as we gear up for the first races of the season, starting at the end of July.

Coronet Peak at dusk

one studio

one – if you are after any form of alpine ski clothing gear, whether it be for training or performing in a race, one of the best places to go is one studio!!  Dave, Jen and team make the best gear I have ever had the privilege to wear.Clothing is custom made to be a perfect fit for me with lots of body measurements, and then in any colour or design that my imagination allows or I can use one of their layouts. They also make the best gear out there for coaches so my coaches are always comfortable up on the hill no matter what the conditions!  Get in touch and update your race gear!

Team Support

Strength and conditioning training is well underway with a great programme from Ben Griffin.  Working hard on improving all areas and while the weather is cooling, it’s been great to be able to get the outdoor activities done with all the autumn colours and clear days.  Temperatures are definitely cooling.

Many thanks to the Skeggs Foundation for your continued support for this New Zealand season.  On snow training will get underway mid June (let the snow fall!) and in the meantime S & C continues.

Some excellent news for our campaign for the 2018 Winter Olympics is that we will get a boost from the Snowvision Foundation with substantial grants.  The men’s ski team will be known during this campaign as the “Snowvision New Zealand Men’s Ski Team.”

Snowvision’s CEO and co-founder trustee, Fiona Stevens, in the announcement said: 
“Supporting Kiwis that perform at international levels, like the Winter Olympics, creates heroes to inspire young Kiwis and families to participate in snow sports for a variety of beneficial outcomes. Since 2005, Snowvision has supported alpine skiing, including the New Zealand National and Development Ski Teams, top alpine athletes and other initiatives, aiming to help talented Kiwis to get to the top of the world. The Ski Racing NZ’s Charitable Trust Hamish Edwards and coach Nils Coberger are working hard to support athletes who need resources – we are proud to support this worthy campaign for talented role models like Adam Barwood and Willis Feasey to be competing successfully on the world stage.”

The Snowvision Foundation support is in addition to the generous support from our valued team sponsors. For others who may want to contribute, an easy way is to make donations to The Snowvision Foundation (which is a registered charitable trust for deductible donations).

We appreciate this recognition of the importance of increased support as we enter the pre Olympic period of training and racing. Both Willis and I are performing the best we have seen so far and we are confident we can continue to improve.

Many thanks Fiona Stevens for working in such a positive way with the team!

End of Season Review

It’s been a long season but I am now back home after a couple of weeks getting away from the winter life, enjoying company of friends, warmth and  a change of scenery in Utah and also exploring a very small part of my home country.  Thanks Tucker Marshall for the Utah images!

And a quick road trip visiting some pretty cool spots around the South Island, NZ

To cap off this Season, I have posted the review by my coach, Nils Coberger and his take on our season!

TO ALL OUR FRIENDS, SPONSORS AND SUPPORTERS,

Warm in Aspen!

What a season 2016/17 has been for the New Zealand Men’s Ski Team, arguably our most successful in 25 years! Adam Barwood and Willis Feasey went from strength to strength during the northern hemisphere campaign. The season started early November in Colorado at our base in Dillon where we had four weeks of excellent training at Copper Mountain. When the racing season started in December we moved to Panorama, Canada to focus on the Nor-Am tour. Kicking off in Panorama the boys achieved some great results. At the 2nd Panorama Nor-Am Super G, Adam skied from bib 47 into 3rd place and followed that up with two 4th places in the Slaloms. Willis finished 4th in the next day’s Super-g and then 7th in the GS. After eight weeks on the road in North America it was time for a well-earned break so we headed home to spend time with our families over Christmas and New Year’s.

Soon enough we were back in Europe and racing again. Our first World Cup was in Adelbolden, Switzerland and the boys got valuable World Cup experience after having Beaver Creek cancelled in November. Having had just ten days in Europe we were off to South Korea and the Olympic test event in Yongpyong, the venue for next year’s Winter Olympic GS and Slalom events. Willis finished every race of the Yongpyong Far East Cup tech series in the top 10, and Adam was only slightly behind finishing inside the top 20. After our Asian excursion, it was back to Europe to prepare for the 2017 World Ski Championships in St. Moritz, Switzerland. The Swiss put on an amazing World Champs, the slopes were prepared perfectly and the location was breathtaking. Willis started the World Champs well, finishing the Super-g in 34th. That afternoon we returned to our base in Maishofen, Austria to train and test skis at Hinterreit for five day before heading back to St. Moritz. Because the boys were both top 50 on the start list they go into the main event and didn’t have to do the qualifying race so this gave us a day of GS training two days before the main GS race. We were paired with the French and Austrian GS teams for training, the two strongest GS teams in the world. Hirscher, Leitinger (Gold and Silver 2 days later) and Pinturault, Faivre and Muffat-Jeandet (Adam’s doppelganger) were all training. After the training session was finished, Adam had the 1st and 3rd fastest times of the day and Willis was only a couple of tenths out. ‘Belief’ is a powerful thing, once earned! But training is just that – training! In the GS race Adam finished 31st overall, but in the second run, starting 42nd he had the 28th fastest run and was top 15 in the middle split (very steep), finishing only 1.9 behind winner and World Champion Marcel Hirscher. Two days later in Slalom Willis started bib 65.and at the first split he was 37th and at the 2nd split he was 38th. Unfortunately he crashed at the last roll over, but he could have qualified top 30 and made the flip – in Slalom! And if Adam had skied the first run like his second, he could have qualified top 30 and made the flip in GS!

This event was the real turning point in the season, or light bulb moment, for both Adam and Willis, although surprisingly not in their preferred events. So even though they didn’t qualify, these series of events over the six days at St. Moritz proved to be highly valuable. Both saw their own potential and what they were both truly capable of achieving! The process of believing in oneself is not easy. Confidence needs to be earned through hard work, tenacity and experience. Embracing the environment and living in the moment, today, now! Competing without fear of failure and only thinking about how to succeed. In this regard, this World Championships was huge, and in my opinion, will be remembered as a key moment in the boy’s careers. Having the All Blacks manager Darren Shand there with us was a real treat. His mental skills knowledge about ‘belief, winning, process and culture’ is inspirational.

After the World Champs our focus was back on the Continental Cup tour. We originally planned on more Far East Cup races in Japan and eastern Russia at the end of March, but we made the call to go back to North America for the Nor-Am finals and the U.S. Nationals. We knew the Canadian and US World Cup men’s teams would be racing and this would give us minimum penalty races and a better bench mark of where we were at. Willis started the Nor-Am finals with a 4th, 5th and 7th in the speed events and a couple of solid top 20’s in the tech races. Adam started with a 6th, 7th and 11th in the tech races and then 6th and 12th in the Super G.

Time out before Aspen and Vail races

On the 29th March the programme was over but we felt the boys were skiing fantastically well and should seek more opportunities to lower their points. We decided to send them to the FIS Spring Series in Aspen and Vail, Colorado with the help from locals Tim Cafe and the Derwin family, while Oli and I made our way back home. The Aspen series turned out to be the most successful race series ever for the NZ Men’s Teaml! Adam won 3 of the 4 races and Willis was 2nd twice, 4th, 7th and 8th. The end of season internal base points list has now been published – Adam 82 and Willis 88 in the world in Super-g, and in GS, Adam on 9.40 points is #44 in the world and Willis 10.12 is #60. This puts the boys in the same league as the greats of NZ ski-racing, like Simon Wi Rutene.

I feel the success of the season is only the beginning. Both the boys now have goals well beyond what was achieved this winter, which shows me that a vital step has been taken and the belief and path way is there.