Europe October 2017

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.

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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.

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Farewell NZ – Hello NH!

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)

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.

End of Season Review

It’s been a long season but I am now back home after a couple of weeks getting away from the winter life, enjoying company of friends, warmth and  a change of scenery in Utah and also exploring a very small part of my home country.  Thanks Tucker Marshall for the Utah images!

And a quick road trip visiting some pretty cool spots around the South Island, NZ

To cap off this Season, I have posted the review by my coach, Nils Coberger and his take on our season!

TO ALL OUR FRIENDS, SPONSORS AND SUPPORTERS,

Warm in Aspen!

What a season 2016/17 has been for the New Zealand Men’s Ski Team, arguably our most successful in 25 years! Adam Barwood and Willis Feasey went from strength to strength during the northern hemisphere campaign. The season started early November in Colorado at our base in Dillon where we had four weeks of excellent training at Copper Mountain. When the racing season started in December we moved to Panorama, Canada to focus on the Nor-Am tour. Kicking off in Panorama the boys achieved some great results. At the 2nd Panorama Nor-Am Super G, Adam skied from bib 47 into 3rd place and followed that up with two 4th places in the Slaloms. Willis finished 4th in the next day’s Super-g and then 7th in the GS. After eight weeks on the road in North America it was time for a well-earned break so we headed home to spend time with our families over Christmas and New Year’s.

Soon enough we were back in Europe and racing again. Our first World Cup was in Adelbolden, Switzerland and the boys got valuable World Cup experience after having Beaver Creek cancelled in November. Having had just ten days in Europe we were off to South Korea and the Olympic test event in Yongpyong, the venue for next year’s Winter Olympic GS and Slalom events. Willis finished every race of the Yongpyong Far East Cup tech series in the top 10, and Adam was only slightly behind finishing inside the top 20. After our Asian excursion, it was back to Europe to prepare for the 2017 World Ski Championships in St. Moritz, Switzerland. The Swiss put on an amazing World Champs, the slopes were prepared perfectly and the location was breathtaking. Willis started the World Champs well, finishing the Super-g in 34th. That afternoon we returned to our base in Maishofen, Austria to train and test skis at Hinterreit for five day before heading back to St. Moritz. Because the boys were both top 50 on the start list they go into the main event and didn’t have to do the qualifying race so this gave us a day of GS training two days before the main GS race. We were paired with the French and Austrian GS teams for training, the two strongest GS teams in the world. Hirscher, Leitinger (Gold and Silver 2 days later) and Pinturault, Faivre and Muffat-Jeandet (Adam’s doppelganger) were all training. After the training session was finished, Adam had the 1st and 3rd fastest times of the day and Willis was only a couple of tenths out. ‘Belief’ is a powerful thing, once earned! But training is just that – training! In the GS race Adam finished 31st overall, but in the second run, starting 42nd he had the 28th fastest run and was top 15 in the middle split (very steep), finishing only 1.9 behind winner and World Champion Marcel Hirscher. Two days later in Slalom Willis started bib 65.and at the first split he was 37th and at the 2nd split he was 38th. Unfortunately he crashed at the last roll over, but he could have qualified top 30 and made the flip – in Slalom! And if Adam had skied the first run like his second, he could have qualified top 30 and made the flip in GS!

This event was the real turning point in the season, or light bulb moment, for both Adam and Willis, although surprisingly not in their preferred events. So even though they didn’t qualify, these series of events over the six days at St. Moritz proved to be highly valuable. Both saw their own potential and what they were both truly capable of achieving! The process of believing in oneself is not easy. Confidence needs to be earned through hard work, tenacity and experience. Embracing the environment and living in the moment, today, now! Competing without fear of failure and only thinking about how to succeed. In this regard, this World Championships was huge, and in my opinion, will be remembered as a key moment in the boy’s careers. Having the All Blacks manager Darren Shand there with us was a real treat. His mental skills knowledge about ‘belief, winning, process and culture’ is inspirational.

After the World Champs our focus was back on the Continental Cup tour. We originally planned on more Far East Cup races in Japan and eastern Russia at the end of March, but we made the call to go back to North America for the Nor-Am finals and the U.S. Nationals. We knew the Canadian and US World Cup men’s teams would be racing and this would give us minimum penalty races and a better bench mark of where we were at. Willis started the Nor-Am finals with a 4th, 5th and 7th in the speed events and a couple of solid top 20’s in the tech races. Adam started with a 6th, 7th and 11th in the tech races and then 6th and 12th in the Super G.

Time out before Aspen and Vail races

On the 29th March the programme was over but we felt the boys were skiing fantastically well and should seek more opportunities to lower their points. We decided to send them to the FIS Spring Series in Aspen and Vail, Colorado with the help from locals Tim Cafe and the Derwin family, while Oli and I made our way back home. The Aspen series turned out to be the most successful race series ever for the NZ Men’s Teaml! Adam won 3 of the 4 races and Willis was 2nd twice, 4th, 7th and 8th. The end of season internal base points list has now been published – Adam 82 and Willis 88 in the world in Super-g, and in GS, Adam on 9.40 points is #44 in the world and Willis 10.12 is #60. This puts the boys in the same league as the greats of NZ ski-racing, like Simon Wi Rutene.

I feel the success of the season is only the beginning. Both the boys now have goals well beyond what was achieved this winter, which shows me that a vital step has been taken and the belief and path way is there.

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

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.

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)