February has been a challenging month with the warmer conditions and lack of snow being a bit of a problem. After finishing a couple of World Cup giant slalom events at Hinterstoder, Austria we have just returned to our base for a bit of training before our next races. The first day at Hinterstoder stayed cold and the weeks of hill preparation meant the course held out really well until the end of the field, although a little bumpy even for the top 15. By the final day of giant slalom the temperature had warmed considerably and while some of the salting had worked there were quite a few sections that didn’t so were rough and difficult to ski. The GS hill in Hinterstoder is a tough one. The top, right out of the start, breaks over a huge, rounded knoll into a very steep, rough pitch. The first fifteen gates on the steep were particularly icy. As the hill flattens, there is a road crossing and more terrain, both large and small. While it never gets steep again, it keeps coming at the skier with varying terrain features. Then a small pitch into the finish as widens to reveal the crowd.
I had a loaded ski going off the jump as well and landed closer to the outside gate than the inside, so was pleased to make it (a number of athletes didn’t). Gained a lot of confidence from an extremely icy, challenging World Cup at Hinterstoder. Unfortunately some mistakes to eliminate but looking forward to the next world cup races.
Prior to the WC GS races, I took the train to Imst-Pitztal where I stayed with aussie athlete Alec Scott and travelled to a couple of night slaloms in Schwende Horne, Switzerland. Team mate Willis and coach Nils stayed behind in Austria for some races in Saalbach. I was pretty gutted after straddling in the first run day one as the course looked pretty sweet and all the work done, including salting/watering had it pretty solid. Day two saw too many mistakes in the first run but I was happy with my final run at Schwende. Also got in some good training runs at Pitztal
Also went to some races in Lenzerheide and Hochficht for giant slalom but struggled with the soft flat conditions. We travelled a few times to other races only to have them cancel due to poor snow conditions – check out the race course surrounds of Maribor, Slovenia looking more like Spring – our slalom race here was cancelled. Our World Cup gs race at Garmisch, Germany was also cancelled.
Bit of a breather for a couple of days with a little time off and some more training before we start March out with our last World Cup races in Kranjska Gora!