After a much needed and enjoyable break from the ski slopes, time has flown by and it’s back to the Northern Hemisphere! Big shout out to Skeggs Foundation for their amazing support over the years – to all you Otago athletes out there, go and have a look at the funding support on their website!
And for all those Dirty Jobs – go ask the dirty Boys at Just Dig It Thanks Blowie! Appreciate the support, always great to catch up with you and Todd.
Before leaving New Zealand I had a quick trip to Snow Planet in Auckland for a Ski Racing Clinic. Thanks John Harman for organizing the morning and to all the athletes who came along. Great to have Ben Griffin, Alpine Performance Queenstown passing on important skills and information.
Many thanks to the Wanaka Ski & Snowsports Club for your funding support and all the wonderful volunteers and parents who work so hard to make such successful race events happen!
Perfect conditions at Copper Mountain, Colorado
Looking forward to the coming months and without the support of so many people it would be incredibly difficult – thank you one and all! Tineke and Hamish Edwards, Ski Racing NZ Charitable Trust, your support and passion for our team has been amazing; thanks to everyone who is a part of the journey! The Team has just arrived in Colorado for the start of the Northern Hemisphere after a last minute change of plan. Not a lot of snow in Europe for good training conditions where we were to be based so we have just started our first training block at Copper Mountain. Excellent conditions, even if somewhat cold at -22°C and some very early morning starts to fit in with all the athletes out on the slopes.
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.
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!
February has been a busy month with racing World Ski Championships in St Moritz and World Cup in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia. It has been a mixed bag of results, highs and lows and some very challenging conditions with snow and weather. A number of races have been cancelled with the lack of snow and the weather has been particularly warm. The World Ski Champs in St Moritz were a great experience with a large field of high calibre athletes. The team was based just outside of St Moritz at Hotel Edelweiss, Sils Maria. Our first race was the Super G and the lighting really made things tough! Very fun course though with 5 built up jumps. I was skiing well on the top half but came into a turn offline and lost all my speed.
St Moritz race hill
In the Start
Adam & Willis
We headed back to our base in Austria for a couple of days training before the GS race on the 17th where I started bib 48 having qualified in top 50. I was really happy with the second run of GS which put me into 31st.(28th on the run) just need to do that first run now! Lighting got really flat for the second run with snow falling heavily.
Course Inspection, St Moritz
2nd run Inspection
1st run GS
Storm coming 2nd run
We had to qualify for the slalom with a race at Zuoz on the day before the WSC race where I finished 4th, then had to attend prize giving at Kulm Plaza that evening for the top 6 finishers. A massive crowd who were also gathering for the prize giving of the Women’s slalom followed by bib drawer for the men’s slalom created an amazing atmosphere. The sun came out for the last couple of days in St Moritz and the track was perfect for slalom. Unfortunately I went inside on the steep which wasn’t great, but think the skiing was going well. It’s nice to see how much closer I am than at Beaver Creek World Champs!
Slalom at Zuoz
After St Moritz we had some races at Leogang, Austria and Golte, Slovenia with races cancelled at both due to poor snow conditions. Super warm some days and raining others meant the snow conditions were difficult so I struggled putting those two runs together again.
Kranjska Gora race hill
Not so well
Thanks Oli – Work Room
Green light after heavy rain
From Golte, we headed to Kranjska Gora, Slovenia for World Cup races in a stacked field. Bib 65 for GS and 71 slalom with soft wet snow meant the conditions were pretty rough with it raining heavily the night before the slalom race.
Fans in all shapes…
Thanks Cool Hard Hats
with Tanja Frei-Pieren
Time now for a day off before we continue on with some FIS races in the region, weather and snow permitting!
After a very enjoyable, although brief taste of summer in Queenstown it was time for the very long set of flights back to Europe where we hit the ground running. Off to the HEAD factory for some new gear before making our way to Adelboden for the first World Cup race of our season.
Adelboden is said to be the toughest hill in the world cup circuit with steep (60° pitch) and terrain – it was certainly very testing. Fresh snow overnight with fog and snowing on the day of the giant slalom made for even more difficult conditions. Many athletes had riming on goggles which makes it even more testing. Started bib 65, unfortunately I didn’t make it to the finish line.
Slalom finish fog
The slalom day was similar conditions, again bib 65 but I fell inside so was a DNF. It was great to catch up with some coaches from over the years; Tanja and Pascal who live and work in Adelboden and Yannick Bellon from Morgin, Switzerland, also Kyboi Wyssen – all from around ten years and more ago!
with Tanja & Pascal
From Adelboden we headed on to Davos, Switzerland for a couple of Europa Cup giant slalom races, feeling pretty exhausted. While I had some good skiing, I made too many mistakes so wasn’t happy. Plenty of fresh snow. On the move again from Davos straight after the race with part of the journey including driving onto a train, on our way to home base near Saalfelden, Austria ready for a Europa Cup slalom at Zell am See the following day .
Drive onto train
I felt I had some pretty good skiing and was really pleased to be able to take advantage of the yellow bib for a 32 start instead of 76. Unfortunately missed the top 30 flip by 0.6 sec.
Zell am See
Zell am See
Zell am See
Back to base where we are now busy packing ready to head to the airport on our way to Korea which is going to be a new experience in many ways.