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.
Slalom finish fog
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!
with Tanja & Pascal
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 .
Drive onto train
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.
Zell am See
Zell am See
Zell am See
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.
The Team arrived into Austria from sunny Queenstown well after midnight 10th January and straight back into full swing, based about ten minutes drive out of Zell am See. Started with a short training day but the conditions weren’t the best with still a lack of snow. Fresh snow started that night and the following day, still snowing heavily, we went straight into our first race for the european season with a couple of slalom races at Hinterreit.
Hinterreit race start area
Really happy with my skiing, especially day two winning the second run and making points. Latest points list out and I am now 16.71 slalom and 16.45 giant slalom. The athlete area at Hinterreit is quite unique, sharing space with the hay bales and strong cow odour! Can see my second run on this link (videos on Team facebook page)
Zell am See 17th January
After Hinterreit we had a day off then trained the following morning before it was straight on to a couple of Europa Cup slalom races at Zell am See, the first being a night slalom. Picked up some new skis on our day off and started using them straight away. Unfortunately they were a bit stiffer than my previous ones and the first run was a very tight set! Really happy with the new HEAD skis, just need more time on them!
Following the races, we trained three days gs at Hinterreit and then I had a day training slalom with Henrik Kristoffersen and others on the Norwegian team – very tough icy course which I struggled on for a bit. It has been awhile since we’ve had ice to train on.
Schladming World Cup Slalom course inspection
World Cup Slalom night race at Schladming, Austria! 26th January. Always a huge event. We were supposed to get a free run on the race hill the night before however this got cancelled. Rained heavily most of the night but cleared up for the race. Inspection was at 4.00pm bib start 80 for me and Willis with 81. Huge crowd of enthuastic fans around 45,000 all keen for their athletes to win with Marcel Hirscher, Felix Nuereuther and Henrik Kristoffersen the favourites. The course got pretty badly chopped up by the time I started, especially the top section. I was happy with the way I skied the top section however really over skied the bottom section. Marcel had goggle issues, coming 22nd and Felix was in top spot after first run. Marcel Hirscher put in the fastest 2nd run time coming 2nd overall unfortunately Felix DNF’d just before the finish so Henrik took out the win.
with Chiro Robbie Moore and Willis Feasey
Many thanks to Juro Kristof for the video!
Back to training giant slalom at Hinterreit before travelling to Garmisch, Germany for the next race – World Cup Giant Slalom!