It was a pretty full on schedule following my last post with travel and races in Zagreb-Sljeme, Croatia and Meribel, France. Weather and snow conditions made for some interesting times for the first series of races in Zagreb – thick fog and tricky courses made for some tough races. We did get to check out some of the amazing old architecture in Croatia which was a bonus.
After the GS races we headed back to Leogang for a bit of training before going back to Zagreb for a couple of slalom races with a super tough field including World Cup winner Ivica Kostelic and Europa Cup winner Dave Ryding on a really rough course. This is what coach Chris McKnight had to say about the course – “So today’s race in Zagreb was a Papa Kostelic special 73 gates, 70 direction changes – in the first 20 turns of the course there was 4 hairpins, 1 delay and 1 flush! Further down the course and something I have never seen in SL was a delay into delay followed by a flush – the course was a Picasso!”
As soon as those races were finished it was back on the road to Leogang arriving late in the evening to have to re-pack to head out 5.30am for the ten hour drive to Meribel France.
Once again terrible weather with lots of snow, postponed and cancelled races but finally finished the British National Champs races on soft crumbly snow. Not particularly happy with my skiing, however picked up 3rd in the under 21 slalom and 4th in the GS. It was a long trip back to Leogang followed by the mammoth task of packing up ready to head home to New Zealand. The trip home was one of the longest ever with a diversion to Winnipeg, Canada meaning we missed the connecting flight LAX to Auckland and a slight hiccup meant an extra few days in Santa Monica before finally making it back to Queenstown. At least I got a couple of days of summer on the beach before arriving to a cool colourful Autumn.
After a couple of weeks off it is now time to get back into some serious physical training to get ready for the New Zealand winter which feels like just around the corner. Overall it has been an amazing season in Europe where I have achieved goals and had some great results. It was a very good set-up by the SSA (Snowsports Australia) in Austria and I would like to thank everyone involved, no easy task! I had a great time with team mates from Australia and New Zealand and many thanks to my coaches Nils Coberger and Chris McKnight for their hard work and dedication – definitely not a 9 to 5 job!