USA – Beaver Creek December 2017

Time has flown with November gone and December well and truly started.  The training at Copper Mountain and Vail continued with some excellent progression in my giant slalom with speed increasing.  In no time at all the NorAm races were done and dusted, unfortunately with not the results I was aiming for.  Fresh snow the night before the first races didn’t help and I had 2 x DNF for the GS races.  With just two days of slalom training before the NorAm SL race, I was quite pleased with how I went in the second run but not so much overall.  Had a day trip to Denver and Boulder for a bit of much needed down time and then concentrated on more training getting ready for the Birds of Prey World Cup giant slalom at Beaver Creek on the 3rd December.

The atmosphere at Beaver Creek was amazing, perfect weather and good slope conditions, started bib 51.  Felt a bit slow out of the gate but had some good times lower down, unfortunately missing top 30 qualifying by 0.64 second.  A little time to hang out and watch second run before the mad rush to pack and head to the airport for our flight to Europe.  Thank you to all the volunteers, athletes, race officials, parents, mountains – all involved in these amazing races.

We are now in France heading for our first taste of training at Val d’Isere where the next world cup giant slalom race will be.

Quiet moment at Lake Annecy, France

Advertisements

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.

Solden wind

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.

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.

February 2017, Europe

February has been a busy month with racing  World Ski Championships in St Moritz and World Cup in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia.  It has been a mixed bag of results, highs and lows and some very challenging conditions with snow and weather.  A number of races have been cancelled with the lack of snow and the weather has been particularly warm.  The World Ski Champs in St Moritz were a great experience with a large field of high calibre athletes.  The team was based just outside of St Moritz at Hotel Edelweiss, Sils Maria. Our first race was the Super G and the lighting really made things tough! Very fun course though with 5 built up jumps. I was skiing well on the top half but came into a turn offline and lost all my speed.

We headed back to our base in Austria for a couple of days training before the GS race on the 17th where I started bib 48 having qualified in top 50.  I was really happy with the second run of GS which put me into 31st.(28th on the run) just need to do that first run now! Lighting got really flat for the second run with snow falling heavily.

We had to qualify for the slalom with a race at Zuoz on the day before the WSC race where I finished 4th, then had to attend prize giving at Kulm Plaza that evening for the top 6 finishers.  A massive crowd who were also gathering for the prize giving of the Women’s slalom followed by bib drawer for the men’s slalom created an amazing atmosphere. The sun came out for the last couple of days in St Moritz and the track was perfect for slalom. Unfortunately I went inside on the steep which wasn’t great, but think the skiing was going well. It’s nice to see how much closer I am than at Beaver Creek World Champs!

After St Moritz we had some races at Leogang, Austria and Golte, Slovenia with races cancelled at both due to poor snow conditions.  Super warm some days and raining others meant the snow conditions were difficult so I struggled putting those two runs together again.

From Golte, we headed to Kranjska Gora, Slovenia for World Cup races in a stacked field.  Bib 65 for GS and 71 slalom with soft wet snow meant the conditions were pretty rough with it raining heavily the night before the slalom race.

Time now for a day off before we continue on with some FIS races in the region, weather and snow permitting!

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.

adambarwoodalpinefecpresidentcup2017blvmjipmhxdx

We enjoyed sampling the wide variety of food.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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

alpensia

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.

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.