Racing Underway

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!

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February 2017, Europe

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!

South Korea

A quick overview of South Korea in some pictures.  Racing started in Yongpyong on the Olympic hill with some Far East Cup races – very icy injected course.  It has been a long time since we’ve been on anything as icy as this so while I had some good skiing, I did struggle a little.

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We enjoyed sampling the wide variety of food.

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From Yongpyong, we moved five minutes down the road to Alpensia for a couple more Far East Cup races.  For most of our stay in Korea, the temperatures were around the -12°C

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I will update a little more when the schedule is not so busy.  We are now back in Austria racing and training before the World Ski Champs in St Moritz.

Farewell Canada!

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Toby Creek, Panorama

The Panorama NorAm series are over and now it’s time for a quick break. For the most part, the weather stayed clear for the week however it was incredibly cold with a couple of days approaching -30°C.  The snow-making clouds were more of a problem creating some poor visibility at times.  My toes suffered a little with the extreme cold but hopefully the numbness will disappear over the break.

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Alpine Combined, Panorama

sg-panorama-13dec16It has been an exciting week of racing for me with some great results and PB’s.  Starting with Super G and bib 47, I moved into 22nd spot and made a good points result.  Day two, still bib 47 I had an amazing run and finished on the podium in 3rd position and made a points result of 19.36 (currently on 53.48) surprising quite a few people as well as myself!  Day 3 was super combined and I had bib start 61 as I haven’t raced a combined for a while to get any results.  In the super g portion I came 12th, also a points result 21.95 and skied the slalom portion a little conservatively finishing 17th, scoring 39.73 (currently 155)

Moving on to the giant slalom, I made a mistake on day one and came out on a fall-away turn.  Day two I started 21 and skied into 9th, couple of mistakes but pretty happy with the way my skiing is improving.  In the slalom from bib 18 I moved into 4th place, a frustrating 0.19 sec off the podium.  Final day, also slalom I moved into 4th spot missing the podium again by a small margin.

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Race start for Super G and GS

On the morning we packed up to head out of Panorama, the temperature warmed up by almost 20 degrees to a balmy -7°C and snowing.  After a successful NorAm series and the long trip home, I’m looking forward to a few days of warmth and leisure before the next  section of training and races in Europe.

Many thanks to all the volunteers and workers who braved those cold temperatures for us, putting on an excellent series. Wishing everyone a wonderful Christmas and all the best in the new year.

Panorama, Canada

We have arrived in Panorama after some great training on man made snow in Colorado and wrapping up the Copper Mountain race series.  It finally snowed the day before the first race so the first super g of the season had some soft snow to contend with along with some still falling.  The two super g days were good, more of a training tool for me but team mate Willis did well, picking up 3rd. I was happy with my skiing in the gs, just needed to cut out a couple mistakes from day one, then in the second race I got caught in some soft snow and didn’t make it unfortunately. We had cold mornings around -15° C (5° F) but warming for second run. Just one day of training at Vail, however conditions were too lean so took a day off and tried out the Oxygen Bar at the hotel we were staying in before heading north to Panorama, Canada.

We are currently in Panorama having arrived a few days ago and have had some good training days.  Super cold after Colorado though, we were greeted with -20º C at Calgary airport when we arrived late evening.

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On the road to Panorama

Training at Panorama has also been particularly cold, around -20º C which takes a few more layers to get used to and the feet start to suffer.  Still not the best snow cover here in Panorama either so it is a bit of a mission some training days to get many runs in with the turn-around time being close to half an hour – catching lifts and traversing back around to the training course. Only managed three slalom runs before the course was pulled yesterday.  We have today off so it’s time to do a grocery shop which is approx half hour drive down the road to Invermere, so it’s good idea not to forget anything!  The whole team has been a bit crook with a bad cough which coach picked up a month ago and generously gave out, so hopefully it’s not so bad when races start again in a couple of days.  The NorAm series starts on the 11th Dec with super g followed by a couple of GS and slalom.

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Panorama

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.

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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.

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Thanks Blowie and Just Dig It for your support – awesome!

 

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.