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.

copper-mountain-7-nov-2016

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.

copper-mt-early-start-9-sept-16

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

 

2016 NZ Season Complete!

Racing got underway 1st August with a GS at Cardrona which came around quickly after just one day of gate training due to the lack of snow conditions.  I picked up a podium in 2nd place and then it was straight back to Coronet Peak where we were finally able to get some gate training in.  The National Championships came around quickly, 9th August, with the GS first.  Managed to pick up the gastro bug going around so felt pretty bad for most of the week but was able to place 2nd behind Willis in the GS and pick up the National Title again for the slalom.  One more week of training on some pretty good conditions at Coronet Peak and then headed over to Australia for the start of the ANC races at Mt Hotham.

Coberger Academy, NZ Ski Team . Pic Michael Thomas

Coberger Academy, NZ Ski Team . Pic Michael Thomas

First men’s races at Hotham were postponed due to the weather but managed to complete all races using up the weather day.  I had some good runs but had trouble finding a good head space which didn’t go well overall.  Flew back to Queenstown and it was straight into racing again with the final of the ANC GS and slalom races at Coronet Peak.  Again I had sections of good racing and managed to take out the AUS/NZ yellow bib for the slalom but found it quite a struggle.

We had a couple of days in Queenstown then headed up to Methven for the final speed races for Nationals and ANC’s.  The weather wasn’t the best with our day of training super g cancelled and the following day we squeezed in three super g races.  After the super g races, the weather pretty much fell apart so we decided not to race the super combined but headed back to Queenstown which was a good call as the rest of the races were then cancelled.

a-barwoodOverall I found it to be a very challenging season with virtually no training to speak of before racing started. Fortunately we have had some excellent training since the races finished with some great conditions both at Rocky Gully and up at the Remarkables.

One day during the last week of training, we had an early GS session at Remarkables which was followed by an enjoyable session with the Gold Members and children on a paneled slalom course.  It was great to catch up with them again to see how they have progressed and watch their enjoyment on snow.

After a week of taking time out it is now full swing back into the next strength and conditioning phase before heading on to the northern hemisphere season.  Once again it has been amazing to have the support of so many, thank you one and all!

early season

It has been a little while since my last post, however it has taken some time for the snow to be sufficient for some training to begin. Much of my time has been spent on strength and conditioning as well as a short back to snow camp at Mt Hutt in June.  We have had a couple of S & C Camps with Ben Griffin in Queenstown and Methven with some testing to see our progress from last year, as well as where we are on a National level.  Pleased to say progress on last year has been good with some personal bests achieved.

Coronet Peak View

Coronet Peak View

The last couple of months have been much warmer than usual and much less snowfall.  The training at Mt Hutt went well although the snow cover was a bit lean in places.  Back in Queenstown our on-snow start was delayed due to lack of snow but we have since managed some free skiing drills on the main runs at Coronet Peak which was a bit of a challenge with the school holidays in full swing.  The last few days we have been doing more drills and started on stubbie training at the Remarkables ski field.  Little bit further to travel but conditions have been OK – snow is a little soft and dry but it is good to be back on skis.

Remarks

Remarkables

Remarkables View

We had about a foot of snow last night so hopefully it will be enough to get Rocky Gully up and running for some serious training!

Skeggs Foundation

The start of a new season is underway and the physical training has begun again in readiness for the coming New Zealand season.  Many thanks to the Skeggs Foundation for their continued support with funding in the latest round.  Their support has been incredible over the years and so greatly appreciated.  To cap off the latest Northern Hemisphere season,below are a couple of slalom runs from the end of March in Croatia.

Season End

It’s good to be back home to the start of Autumn after a mixed European leg to finish this season.  March continued with varied snow conditions and weather for some tough race conditions.  We also got some excellent training and the odd bit of sightseeing thrown in as we made the most of our time.

Singapore stopover

Singapore

March started with three World Cup races in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia (2 x GS, 1 x SL) with a large field of the world’s best and some tough conditions out there:   fog-snow-rain-mist, and the announcers were saying the course was “brutal, rough, rugged, rutted, potholes” – and that was all after just the first 7 racers.  It was by far the toughest gs race I have skied, the announcers had it right! They moved the start down again for the second run due to poor conditions.  It was also pretty tough conditions in the slalom starting 74 in a field of 80 athletes.  I think I gained a huge amount from the WC races, definitely a worthwhile experience.

From the WC races, we moved on to Bad Hofgastein, Austria for a couple of GS races with the first being cancelled due to snow conditions and warm weather. The cable train we had to catch to get to the race start was crowded with over 50 athletes and all their gear.  Managed to get day 2 of the GS completed, unfortunately I made a few mistakes which cost time.  Again a large field of 134 athletes with a real international mix of top athletes.

After a couple of days training, we moved on to Hinterstoder for four days of races.  While it was pretty frustrating with my results, I had some good skiing and feel I am improving, getting stronger and faster but needing to put it all together into two runs.

It was good to get a couple of days off before travelling to races in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia again. In the GS I was frustrated with a mix of good skiing and too many mistakes.  I felt I was skiing really well in the slalom, unfortunately, came out near the finish in the 2nd run.  It was good to be able to take some time out in the afternoon to do a bit of sightseeing around Lake Bled and the castle before heading on to races the following day at Zagreb-Sljeme, Croatia.

Snow conditions in Zagreb were very lean to say the least, as you can see from the photos below.  Day one of the slalom races was delayed for a couple of hours to see if the salting and watering of the course could firm it up enough to race on. First run was set by Kostelic and a pretty classic set of his – with a delay into hairpin, gate, into royal flush into delay into hairpin.  Again had some fast sections of skiing, but disappointed to not finish the second run both days.  It cooled down a bit for day two and the small amount of snow held up surprisingly well.

From Croatia is was a bit of a long drive through to Tarvioso, Italy for a super g race at Sella Nevea.  After only having super g skis on once before for the season and the race course being one of the toughest super g’s I’ve been on, I was happy to finish, although not very fast!  Started bib 32 and ten athletes either side of me didn’t finish.  The attrition rate was quite high with just 43 of 75 athletes finishing.

From Italy, as soon as the race was completed it was a rush back to our home base in Saalfelden, Austria to pack and catch the plane from Munich, Germany the following day (26th March) then the long trip home.  The northern hemisphere 2015/2016 season has had it’s ups and downs with some goals met and some not quite reached.  Overall it has been a successful time for me with my world ranking lowered which always helps, but also I know my skiing is improving all the time.

I would like to acknowledge the many people from all over the world who make ski racing possible – from the mountains and their race crews to the many volunteers, parents and athletes who all put so much time and effort into making so many awesome races.  Also to the international coaches and teams who helped us out with training space.  Many thanks to my coach Nils Coberger for his huge input and our Team Manager, Hamish Edwards for his continued support.  Thanks too, to Guenther Raedler for your ongoing assistance.  A big thank you to my family, all my sponsors and supporters who, without your help, I would be unable to continue.  A short break now to debrief and then it is back into my dryland training programme – many thanks Ben Griffin for working on our programmes, continually tweaking them to get the best out of us.

February 2016 Europe.

Hinterstoder

Hinterstoder, February 2016

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.

World Cup GS, Hinterstoder

World Cup GS, Hinterstoder

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.

WC GS Hinterstoder

Course inspection, Hinterstoder

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

Alec Scott and Adam, SchwendeRace Schwende 2016       salting the course, Schwende

Night slalom, Schwende

Night slalom, Schwende Horne

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.

Maribor

Maribor, Slovenia

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!