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!

Canada Races. Happy New Year!

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Before climbing the peak on the left. So hot! 30 degrees C and humid.

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The beach was quite a different location than usual for some dryland training and the temperature change from -20 to +30 a minor shock to the system! Two weeks of heat, rest and re-energizing has been the perfect way to finish 2015 and start the new year.   Also time to reflect on the racing in Canada over the past month.

panorama drive

We arrived into Canada with the snow so the first series of NorAm races at Lake Louise (downhill for Willis) were disrupted along with the Super G being cancelled.  We headed on down to Panorama to continue the NorAms starting with Super G, GS then slalom.  This series was one of those learning curves for me with expectations, pressure and goals focus instead of taking it each run at a time.  While I had some good runs (3rd fastest time in the second run GS) and the second slalom run, I did not perform as well as I would have liked.

panorama raceAfter the NorAm races we had a Tech series, also at Panorama.  Unfortunately in the first GS run I was DNF (fastest time at the first interval so skiing better) but day two I put together two good runs to take out top podium spot.  First day of the slalom I made a few errors both runs but managed to come in at second place. They were all long days with a large field of athletes (140 each day) and quite a few delays. We missed day two of the slalom as had a flight to catch in Calgary.  I was happy to get points results for both slalom and giant slalom over the past two months with a 15 point result in each.  I start the new year in Europe with 16.45 for giant slalom and 18.36 in slalom.

Panorama gs start

Adam Barwood podium Panorama

Panorama Podium for giant slalom (15.47 points)

Racing In The States

adam dillon             dillon

Since arriving in Dillon we’ve had good snow, cold temperatures and a lot of excellent training, joining in with a number of international athletes.  Our first races for the season were at Echo Mountain, CO (see results on link) with two slalom races and a large field of 120 international athletes. I managed to put in a really good first run coming in .42 seconds ahead of the field.  The snow was a bit soft on top but a good layer underneath and I was really pleased to finish the second run well keeping me in first place ahead of Robbie Kelley in second and Ola Buer Johansen, Norway in third . It’s an awesome way to start the season – with a podium and my best points result in slalom of 15.08!  Day two was a similar field but I wasn’t quite as fast, coming in 3rd after Robbie Kelly 1st and Marco Reymond, Switzerland 2nd.

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Echo Mt with Robbie Kelley 2nd, Ola Buer Johansen 3rd

From Echo Mountain the races moved on to Snow King, Jackson WY for the NorAM slalom races, ten athletes under 10 points!  The course was incredibly slick on the bottom half where the watering crew got a bit carried away.  On day one, I put in a good first run moving from start 26 down to 11, unfortunately I broke a gate which fell down in front of me in the second run which wrecked my rhythm, coming out lower down.  Day two I moved a bit too laterally, hip checked and came out – less than one third of the field managed to stay in on day two.

slalom race course snowking (2)

Slalom Course inspection – SnowKing

Back to Dillon for two giant slalom NorAM’s at Copper Mountain, CO 30 Nov and 1 Dec with another large field of top athletes including number 5 in the world, Fritz Dopher plus 24 athletes under 10 points. The race course was quite aggressive man made snow. Day one starting bib 55 I had a good first run putting me into 22, unfortunately with a few tough turns in the 2nd run I dropped back to 30.  Day two I made a few errors in the first run, where I drifted in to the top of the turn on some turns so missed making the flip but had a cleaner second run coming 18th putting me in 28th position.  USA athlete Tommy Ford took out the win on both days.

Couple of images below from Jackson, Wyoming with the Main Street and antler arches!

antler arch      main street jackson (2)

Next up was a Super G at Copper Mountain where I managed to move up a little from start 21 finishing 12th and making a few points, 44.28 but we skipped the second day of SG racing to get in some giant slalom training at Vail before the World Cup.  Had a really good session doing timed runs with some of the German team including Fritz Dopfer and Felix Neureuther, and managed some very respectable times. Beaver Creek WC GS I finished off the racing in the States with my first World Cup Giant Slalom race on Birds of Prey, Beaver Creek.  (photo inspection time looking up from the finish) It was a pretty tough long course with a number of the top athletes not finishing, including Ted Ligety.  I started bib 63 and managed to finish in 49th place, 1.21.34 unfortunately I made a mistake near the top just before the flats so lost speed!  Only top 30 get to do the second run so it was time to finish packing and head to Denver to catch the evening flight to Calgary.  Arrived into Lake Louise after midnight where we will be based for five days for the NorAM speed events before heading to Panorama.  It is currently snowing and team mate Willis is battling the elements as they attempt to get the men’s training run for the Downhill done .

World Cup GS Finish

World Cup GS Finish

Copper Mountain -Training

Copper Mt 10Nov 2015

GS Course at Copper Mountain

Arrived in to Dillon, Colorado 2nd November to fairly mild temperatures and not a lot of snow.  Dillon is a small town approx 110km from Denver and pretty centrally located between Loveland and Copper Mountain, about 20kms/20 minutes drive to each so a good place to be based for training.

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Training at Copper Mountain. Race gear by One Studio

We have had some solid training since arriving with slalom, giant slalom and also super g. With the colder temperatures and high altitude (12,313 ft / 3,753 m), Copper Mountain have been going full speed with snow making.  This has also been topped up with a few falls of fresh snow and colder temperatures since arriving.  Due to the large number of athletes all needing to get training in and limited lane space, we have staggered starts with the earliest being 6.30am on snow. Other time slots are 10.00am and 1.00pm. We usually get a couple of hours, around 7 – 8 runs of quality training.  Andres Zampa from Slovakia has joined us for the start of the season and it’s great to have him on board, along with team mate Willis Feasey and Coach, Nils Coberger.

Skeggs FoundationThank you to the Skeggs Foundation for their continued support in the latest round of grant applications.  The Skeggs Foundation do a fantastic job helping to support the Wanaka Ski & Snowsports Clubathletes throughout Otago working towards their goals – check out their website!  Many thanks also to the Wanaka Ski Club for their continued support.

one studio bags Awesome gear by One Studio – Taking care of our race suit. Stuffing your race suit into your ski bag when you’re travelling the winter world doesn’t do it any favours and shortens its life. One Studio have come up with a plan to help your suit and your planet. They up-cycling all the off-cuts and print/fabric seconds and turn them into handy protection for the clothes that make you fast on the hill.
Every race suit leaving the One Studio workroom now has it’s own custom suit bag.
Always working to keep your race gear safe and fast – check them out for the best race suits on the hill!

World Ski Champs 2015

CTOS LOGOMany thanks to Community Trust of Southland for their continued support of my racing career – CTOS are an amazing team who support a wide range of activities across the community, including Sport.  This year they have helped towards one of my goals of racing at the World Ski Championships held at Beaver Creek, Colorado 2nd to 15th February.

Adam super g

Following on from my previous post, after leaving Eldora we were lucky enough to stay with a kiwi family in Edwards (many thanks to Kathy & Brett Derwin for your hospitality) for a week of training at Vail before moving into our accommodation at Beaver Creek for the World Ski Championships.

Super G postponed due to bad weather

Super G postponed due to bad weather

It was a very intense couple of weeks starting with the men’s super g which was postponed a day due to bad weather.  This was my first experience racing Super G at this level and on the “Birds of Prey” course which is considered one of the toughest race hills in the world but I really enjoyed it. The start was a really steep drop into the course on a slick surface. My skiing was fairly solid for the most part. Over skied it a little bit but my goals for the race were more about technique and experience than anything. Starting bib 57, I was pleased to finish and place 44.

It was quite draining having to race the qualification races with the high intensity of needing to qualify, on top of the high altitude and long courses and then race again the following day in the main event.  Four days in a row starting with the Giant Slalom. For the slalom qualifying race, I had the fastest second time which I was pretty happy about after a slow first run.  In the last race of the WSC I was skiing well but had a DNF in the first run of the slalom – super tough course, 73 gates of steep and icy and the snow started to fall fairly heavily.  Before the snow, the weather had been particularly warm with almost spring like conditions. It was a tough WSC set of races, but I will take away some valuable experiences as we continue with our training and races in Europe.      Enjoy a few images from the races.

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Opening Ceremony with the kiwi flag.      Qualification GS course at Golden Peak

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Course set by Nils Coberger.       Course inspection on Birds of Prey

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Looking down into the stadium at Red Tail, Beaver Creek

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Waiting in the finish area for the top 25 athletes – qualification criteria

Training Vail

Training in Vail

dirty dog sunglasses

Took a little time out from training while we were at Vail to do a bit of a photo shoot for Dirty Dog Sunglasses – had a lot of fun with some great weather and snow conditions.

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And this was our ride while in Colorado