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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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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 .
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.
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.
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.
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.
Thanks Blowie and Just Dig It for your support – awesome!
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.
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.
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!
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!
The Team arrived into Austria from sunny Queenstown well after midnight 10th January and straight back into full swing, based about ten minutes drive out of Zell am See. Started with a short training day but the conditions weren’t the best with still a lack of snow. Fresh snow started that night and the following day, still snowing heavily, we went straight into our first race for the european season with a couple of slalom races at Hinterreit.
Really happy with my skiing, especially day two winning the second run and making points. Latest points list out and I am now 16.71 slalom and 16.45 giant slalom. The athlete area at Hinterreit is quite unique, sharing space with the hay bales and strong cow odour! Can see my second run on this link (videos on Team facebook page)
After Hinterreit we had a day off then trained the following morning before it was straight on to a couple of Europa Cup slalom races at Zell am See, the first being a night slalom. Picked up some new skis on our day off and started using them straight away. Unfortunately they were a bit stiffer than my previous ones and the first run was a very tight set! Really happy with the new HEAD skis, just need more time on them!
Following the races, we trained three days gs at Hinterreit and then I had a day training slalom with Henrik Kristoffersen and others on the Norwegian team – very tough icy course which I struggled on for a bit. It has been awhile since we’ve had ice to train on.
World Cup Slalom night race at Schladming, Austria! 26th January. Always a huge event. We were supposed to get a free run on the race hill the night before however this got cancelled. Rained heavily most of the night but cleared up for the race. Inspection was at 4.00pm bib start 80 for me and Willis with 81. Huge crowd of enthuastic fans around 45,000 all keen for their athletes to win with Marcel Hirscher, Felix Nuereuther and Henrik Kristoffersen the favourites. The course got pretty badly chopped up by the time I started, especially the top section. I was happy with the way I skied the top section however really over skied the bottom section. Marcel had goggle issues, coming 22nd and Felix was in top spot after first run. Marcel Hirscher put in the fastest 2nd run time coming 2nd overall unfortunately Felix DNF’d just before the finish so Henrik took out the win.
Many thanks to Juro Kristof for the video!
Back to training giant slalom at Hinterreit before travelling to Garmisch, Germany for the next race – World Cup Giant Slalom!