What an amazing experience it has been to race at my first Olympics. From my arrival in Sochi through to the closing ceremony, I have enjoyed the full experience. Many thanks to all those on the team who supported me – Ginny Rutledge for the physio, Chris Mosaed for ski prep and support, and all the staff involved behind the scenes making life run smoothly for all of the athletes.
The slalom was my final event and consisted of a night race on the 22nd February. First run started 4.45pm but it took a bit of time to my start with bib 63 out of a field of 117. Moved up a few spots to 50 for the second run which was quite late with my run around 9.00pm. The 2nd course set was by Croatian Ante Kostelic and had a very high attrition rate from many of the top guys through to the last. I had a plan but ended up just surviving and was very pleased to place 25th at the end of the night.
The giant slalom race was on the 19th with 109 competitors from all over the world and I finished in 44th position. By the time my run started the conditions were quite rough and the course was very long. I was happy with my second run and in general with the course – stoked to have finished where I did in this Olympics. My body felt pretty sore by evening from the bumpy ride and the long day.
Another new experience was the volume of interviews that had to be done.
Now back in Austria and will be getting back into a busy race schedule over this next week.
It was a pretty full on schedule following my last post with travel and races in Zagreb-Sljeme, Croatia and Meribel, France. Weather and snow conditions made for some interesting times for the first series of races in Zagreb – thick fog and tricky courses made for some tough races. We did get to check out some of the amazing old architecture in Croatia which was a bonus.
After the GS races we headed back to Leogang for a bit of training before going back to Zagreb for a couple of slalom races with a super tough field including World Cup winner Ivica Kostelic and Europa Cup winner Dave Ryding on a really rough course. This is what coach Chris McKnight had to say about the course – “So today’s race in Zagreb was a Papa Kostelic special 73 gates, 70 direction changes – in the first 20 turns of the course there was 4 hairpins, 1 delay and 1 flush! Further down the course and something I have never seen in SL was a delay into delay followed by a flush – the course was a Picasso!”
As soon as those races were finished it was back on the road to Leogang arriving late in the evening to have to re-pack to head out 5.30am for the ten hour drive to Meribel France.
Once again terrible weather with lots of snow, postponed and cancelled races but finally finished the British National Champs races on soft crumbly snow. Not particularly happy with my skiing, however picked up 3rd in the under 21 slalom and 4th in the GS. It was a long trip back to Leogang followed by the mammoth task of packing up ready to head home to New Zealand. The trip home was one of the longest ever with a diversion to Winnipeg, Canada meaning we missed the connecting flight LAX to Auckland and a slight hiccup meant an extra few days in Santa Monica before finally making it back to Queenstown. At least I got a couple of days of summer on the beach before arriving to a cool colourful Autumn.
After a couple of weeks off it is now time to get back into some serious physical training to get ready for the New Zealand winter which feels like just around the corner. Overall it has been an amazing season in Europe where I have achieved goals and had some great results. It was a very good set-up by the SSA (Snowsports Australia) in Austria and I would like to thank everyone involved, no easy task! I had a great time with team mates from Australia and New Zealand and many thanks to my coaches Nils Coberger and Chris McKnight for their hard work and dedication – definitely not a 9 to 5 job!
Arthurs Point rainbow
The World Ski Championships in Schladming have been an amazing experience and I was lucky enough to represent my country in the giant slalom and slalom races after performing well at qualifications where the top 25 get into the final race. Particularly in the Slalom where I raced from position 48 into 9th on icy conditions and was very pleased with my performance. In the GS race I fell not far from the bottom and although that’s a little disappointing I was happy with my intermediates. In the Slalom I straddled just before the first intermediate. Not what I was hoping for but that’s ski racing sometimes and I was giving it my all. There was an incredible 55,000 strong crowd for the Slalom to see Hirscher take the gold for Austria. At the time I came down many of the fans were out in search of their next drink, however the bulk remained. Being a part of that environment, seeing the fans and to race in such a race had to be one of the best experiences in my life, not to mention motivating. Thank you to all the New Zealand and Australian team coaches involved, for making it possible for all of us. Also big thanks to Mike Rishworth of the AUS team for the use of his edge machine. Sharp skis were definitely a necessity over the past couple of weeks. It has been a both mentally and physically exhausting week. We’re not done yet though. Tomorrow we leave for a couple of slalom races in Annaberg, Austria on the 20th and 21st.
Schladming finish area
Team mate Willis and myself during qualification
Inspecting with my coach Nils Coberger
Today we travel to Schladming where I will be starting with qualification races for giant slalom on the 14th February. The opening ceremony was pretty amazing, unfortunately I had to watch from afar/TV as I had races the following two days at Piesendorf. Schladming program and race info
Preparing the finish area, Schladming 2013
Finish area at opening ceremony, 4th February 2013
Since my last update I’ve competed in four slalom races – two in Jenner, Germany where what Iv’e been skiing in training didn’t really transfer into racing until the final run which didn’t help all that much. My slalom is coming together really well in training and am feeling more and more confident with my changing tactics. The next two races at Piesendorf, Austria 5th & 6th February went much better and was very happy to make a personal best result on day one and day two! Over the past couple of days we have been concentrating on some GS training on the new radius skis. They are a bit of a battle as many have said however we’ve had some fantastic training and I’m slowly getting there!
Piesendorf from race area
Piesendorf slalom, 6th February
Training area at Hinterreit, not far from Leogang
It has been a busy few weeks since leaving Panorama, Canada with races in Switzerland, Germany, Austria, and Slovenia. Most of the time the weather has been heavy fog with tough race conditions however I have managed a personal best result in a slalom race in Stari vrh, Slovenia, 23rd January, scoring 32.78 points. From here we moved on to Hinterstoder, Austria for a couple of races where I made a podium result in slalom, 24th January coming in second. Good snow and weather conditions made for a fast course, after the first run I was in first place. I didn’t ski quite as well in the second run but I managed to place second overall, just 0.16 behind the winner. After arriving back at home base in Leogang and a day off it was back into super G training for a couple of days before heading off to Switzerland for some super g races at Brigels. Slowly lowering my points with a result on the first day.
For now I’m back in Leogang preparing for two Slalom races in Jenner, Germany on the 2nd and 3rd Feb.
Interesting room set up in Hinterstoder..
The tuning room
The past couple of day’s here in Leogang have mostly consisted of gym and tuning some new skis – so fairly quiet really, mostly because there’s been a steady downpour which has not been too ideal for the mountains. Before that however, I took a trip to the HEAD factory with a couple of the other guys in our team. Bit of a lengthy drive – about 8 hours in the car, but well worth it. Picked up 5 new pairs of skis and had a little work done on my boots as well. Many thanks to the team at HEAD!
So training slalom the couple of days after with the new boot set up proved interesting.The main change having lifters put on. It doesn’t sound like a huge change, but I certainly noticed a big difference and luckily for the better! Amazing how small things such as this can effect your skiing.
Back into some GS training at Hinterreit today. Very excited to be leaving for our first European races tomorrow. 2xGS in Obersaxen, Switzerland on the 10th and 11th, then straight to Garmisch, Germany for 2 SG and 1 GS on the 12th and 13th.
The Leogang mountain cafe
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