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.

Advertisements

Canada Races. Happy New Year!

DSC_4200

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

DSC_4139      DSC_4600

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.

echo mountain 1st sl 22 Nov 2015

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

Races have begun

aspen gs races dec 2014

Aspen GS Course

After some good training at both Copper Mountain and Vail to kick off the season, and finally some snow, races have begun.  With snow conditions in Europe not the best and World Cup races in the States, there is a large number of Europeans training and racing here, so the first at Echo Mountain (a night slalom) was a stacked field.  These races were quickly followed by the first of the NorAm series, again with an incredible field of top athletes.  Snow conditions were rough and icy for the giant slalom at Aspen. I started bib 57 and couldn’t quite find my rhythm on a very tiring course. Unfortunately, I didn’t complete both runs.  We then travelled back to Dillon for the slalom races at Copper Mountain where the chalky snow conditions created challenging grooves and fell apart quickly.  I was really pleased to have won the yellow bib from the ANC series as it meant a 31 start in a world cup field of athletes including Sweden’s Mattias Hargin on 2.8 points and ranked 4th in the World!  Day one didn’t go quite as hoped with a few mistakes which cost me dearly however I had a better second run.  Day two was a much better day and I had the 3rd fastest time in the second run; I was happy to finish 15th overall.

26 nov 2014 colorado

The Team. Fresh snow at Copper 26 November 2014

Just arrived in Canada for some more races with the first for me being a slalom at Norquay (6th Dec) where I took out first place. Several more races and then the NorAm circuit continues to Panorama, Canada, from Dec. 13 – 20 where there will be one super combined, two slalom, two GS, and two super G races.Norquay 6 Dec 2014

Northern Hemisphere 2014

snow planet 18 oct 2014

Snow Planet – Nick, Willis, Adam

The time from our last race until the start of another Northern Hemisphere season seems to have been very brief this year, with the visit to Auckland’s Snow Planet for some fund-raising and poster signing just weeks ago. Thanks to Snow Planet for hosting our NZ Ski Racing Club Supporters Event – it was an interesting experience racing the indoor slalom.  Great to meet all the young athletes.

Over the past month, my focus has been on gaining fitness and strength – it has been so beneficial having Alpine Health and Fitness supporting the Team, allowing us the use of their gym – thanks!  And the task of sorting gear for the NH season – thanks once again to POC, Australia New Zealand for providing me with helmet, goggles and shin guards.  Also got some excellent Avoca gear which will be great in the colder Colorado altitude; Merrell shoes and clothing also a very welcome addition.  Skeggs Foundation is a tremendous and supportive organisation who have once again helped me out with some funding for the coming season, along with the team at Just Dig It – thanks Blowie!  Many thanks also to Guenther Raedler – appreciate your continued support.  ZoBri Trust – great to have you on board again for another season. Hamish Edwards – truly amazing to have you along for the journey!  A huge thank you to all my sponsors and supporters who continue to help me to continue with the sport I love.

Adam Willis Nils

Adam Barwood, Willis Feasey, Nils Coberger (coach)

1st November and we have arrived in Colorado where we will be based just outside of Denver in a place called Dillon until early December.  Not a lot of snow on the ground yet, but hopefully we will get in some good training before our first lot of races.  This will include a couple of NorAm races before we head north to Panorama, Canada for some more races before Christmas.  The team includes Willis Feasey, Nick Prebble and coach, Nils Coberger and we will be joined by Australian athlete, Luc Chevalier.

First NorAms, Loveland

The first NorAm races of the season have just finished with two giant slalom and two slalom at Loveland with a tough field of top competitors (the first 50 in GS all under 20 points).  I was bib 65 in the GS day one and finished 28th but had a DNF day two.

Slalom starting 54  was pretty rough but finished 27th day one. The course first run was high speed and quick tempo. In the second run, it was tough light, a quick course and a lot of combinations.  The field is so deep and everyone is fighting to get a six point result with Norwegian skier Jonathan Nordbotten, who finished 26th in the Levi World Cup winning both slalom days.  On day two I finished 22nd and picked up some valuable NorAm points from all three days.   Overall I was pleased with my results although I wasn’t quite as fast as I had been in training.

SKI ALPIN - FIS NorAm Cup, Slalom, Herren

Enjoying a much needed day off before we start training again this time at Vail.

Farewell Panorama, and a Merry Christmas Austria

NorAm racing began at Panorama after just two weeks on snow.  During training I have been working to improve my tactics but in the races found myself struggling to put it into practice. I feel success at Panorama comes from having a very direct, tidy line and no mistakes! The slalom races were on a very steep tough hill, especially when starting bib 75. The first day of Slalom was difficult but it was definitely good training to be there. Two thirds of the field departed in the first run and day two was not much better.  I managed to finish 37th position on the second day

Noram start, Panorama

Start gate NorAms Panorama

Super G races were great, I would have liked to have been faster but it wasn’t too bad – picked up a few points both runs, need to spend more time training on SG skis.  Unfortunately with the GS made a few mistakes from start 71 but again managed to finish in 35th spot. Following the NorAm races we had a day off to rest with lots of ski preparation and packing our gear so we were ready to leave for Europe as soon as the last race of the next FIS series was over.  Two days each of slalom and GS which I again found pretty frustrating with too many mistakes.  My final day of slalom was a little better, skied to my points, so close!

NorAm GS day 2, Panorama

NorAm GS day 2, Panorama

We left Panorama and began the long tiring journey to Europe via Calgary, Vancouver, Frankfurt, Munich then driving on to where I am based in Leogang, Austria – arriving just in time for Christmas Eve!

Ski poles from Komperdell for Christmas

Ski poles for Christmas! Thanks Komperdell

I hope everyone is well and had a wonderful Christmas!