European season underway!

After a very enjoyable, although brief taste of summer in Queenstown it was time for the very long set of flights back to Europe where we hit the ground running.  Off to the HEAD factory for some new gear before making our way to Adelboden for the first World Cup race of our season.

Adelboden is said to be the toughest hill in the world cup circuit with steep (60° pitch) and terrain – it was certainly very testing.  Fresh snow overnight with fog and snowing on the day of the giant slalom made for even more difficult conditions. Many athletes had riming on goggles which makes it even more testing. Started bib 65, unfortunately I didn’t make it to the finish line.

The slalom day was similar conditions, again bib 65 but I fell  inside so was a DNF.  It was great to catch up with some coaches from over the years; Tanja and Pascal who live and work in Adelboden and Yannick Bellon from Morgin, Switzerland, also Kyboi Wyssen – all from around ten years and more ago!

From Adelboden we headed on to Davos, Switzerland for a couple of Europa Cup giant slalom races, feeling pretty exhausted.  While I had some good skiing, I made too many mistakes so wasn’t happy.  Plenty of fresh snow. On the move again from Davos straight after the race with part of the journey including driving onto a train, on our way to home base near Saalfelden, Austria ready for a Europa Cup slalom at Zell am See the following day .

I felt I had some pretty good skiing and was really pleased to be able to take advantage of the yellow bib for a 32 start instead of 76.  Unfortunately missed the top 30 flip by 0.6 sec.

Back to base where we are now busy packing ready to head to the airport on our way to Korea which is going to be a new experience in many ways.

 

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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!