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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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

Racing In The States

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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.

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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!

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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

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.

Pre race

So I have had two weeks here in Pano, overall the training has gone really well. We got three and a bit solid days of Super G in which is something I haven’t really done much work with in the past. It was a good change to be on the long boards. I have gained a little more confidence on them and it may just have helped my GS skiing a little as well.

Other NZ team members Willis Feasey and Ben Griffin arrived yesterday from some racing in Colorado for what will be my first races of the season here at Panorama. 2xSlalom, 2xGS and 2xSuper G Nor-Am’s starting tomorrow! Right after that, we will have 2xGS and 2xSl FIS races, again at Panorama before flying out to Austria on the 23rd. So a busy couple of weeks ahead.

Just got my bib number for tomorrow, I’ll be starting 78 eh!

A little post training spa to relax

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