Time has flown with November gone and December well and truly started. The training at Copper Mountain and Vail continued with some excellent progression in my giant slalom with speed increasing. In no time at all the NorAm races were done and dusted, unfortunately with not the results I was aiming for. Fresh snow the night before the first races didn’t help and I had 2 x DNF for the GS races. With just two days of slalom training before the NorAm SL race, I was quite pleased with how I went in the second run but not so much overall. Had a day trip to Denver and Boulder for a bit of much needed down time and then concentrated on more training getting ready for the Birds of Prey World Cup giant slalom at Beaver Creek on the 3rd December.
Day off, Boulder
Day off, Boulder
The atmosphere at Beaver Creek was amazing, perfect weather and good slope conditions, started bib 51. Felt a bit slow out of the gate but had some good times lower down, unfortunately missing top 30 qualifying by 0.64 second. A little time to hang out and watch second run before the mad rush to pack and head to the airport for our flight to Europe. Thank you to all the volunteers, athletes, race officials, parents, mountains – all involved in these amazing races.
WC GS Beaver Creek
World Cup GS course
Fans – not much snow
We are now in France heading for our first taste of training at Val d’Isere where the next world cup giant slalom race will be.
We arrived to a very spring looking Europe with a lot of green! First race of the season on our programme listed as World Cup GS, Sölden Austria. Training got under way and we got time on the race piste which was invaluable. Starts with a bit of a flatter section then most of the course goes to a pitch around 65 degrees then flattens out again at the finish. As described on the official Sölden website: – the superb slope features a different shape every year. It’s easy to explain: the race track is built on glacier ice which moves permanently. Especially in its lower part, the slope has become steeper and steeper over the last years – as if a 65% gradient wasn’t enough!
We also trained on the piste beside the race area (called The Icebox – with good reason!) and got some more great training. The World Cup race was cancelled due to blizzard conditions so we packed up and got ready to head on to Colorado for the next training block. Was great to pick up some new skis from HEAD as well.
Soelden with Willis
Blizzard conditions race day at Soelden
After a few delays with flights (mechanical problems, re-routing) we finally arrived into Denver start of November on to home base for the next month in Dillon. Training has started at Copper Mountain and it’s incredibly tiring at the moment getting into the new time zone as well as coping with the high altitude (approx 12,300ft – 3,750m)
Big thank you to Skeggs Foundation for their funding support, always appreciated! Now we will concentrate on the next training block before the NorAm races at Copper Mountain and Vail followed by the World Cup at Beaver Creek.
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)
Coach of the year
Alpine 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.
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!)
ANC GS, Thredbo AUS
ANC Overall & Slalom
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.
ANC Coronet Peak
Fog on the lower course
A few images from racing at Coronet Peak this season.
Out Wide, Rocky Gully
Looking down on Rocky Gully
Perfect weather for race day
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!