The Audi FIS Freestyle World Cup Ski Cross Tour has come to an end for 2015/16.
I made my return to competition after injury in Idre, Sweden on the 13th of February. The track in Sweden was really fun (in the end) but I was incredibly nervous when it came to training and race time. I felt a little like I had been thrown in the deep end with such a fast, technical track with easily the biggest jumps of the season-And it had been 6 weeks since I had raced. I used the first race day as a ‘training’ race and then felt I was able to give the second race day 100%. The results in Sweden were nothing to boast about, but I was excited to have managed a big track with minimal flare-ups to my injured leg.
Next we flew back to Munich and headed to Watles, Italy for a small training stint with the German, Kiwi, Swiss and USA teams. I had a ball skiing with the girls and was feeling very fast in most sections- Yes! This was just the feeling I need before heading to the Olympic Test event in South Korea!
So on another plane we jumped, across the ditch to Seoul, South Korea. Danny and I arrived a day earlier than the rest of our team, so we headed up to Pheonix Park/Bokwang Resort to get on snow and ‘suss’ out the area that will host the 2018 Olympic Winter Games.
I had some great training runs in Korea, where I would chase Anton and Jamie (the lone Kiwi!) down the technical track. The track is nothing like the track we had in Sochi. It is full of technical features and on flatter terrain. We had some issues with weather, wind and visibility whilst we were there- It is quite an unpredictable place! On the weekend of the race there were many spectators donning flags from across the globe, and so many people skiing and snowboarding.
I had great split times in my qualification run in Korea, however I caught a little wind on a big jump and failed to adjust my tactics enough to have minimal disruption. I was 4th in the splits at the top, and then played ‘the waiting game’ where you sit in the finish and cross your fingers that people who are coming down the track don’t bump you out of the top 16. I was lucky to stay in the 16, placing 13th in the qualification.
When it came to race day, I was so fired up for a good day. My skis felt fast, my body felt good and I couldn’t wait to race. In my first round I had some contact with another competitor and had to go off course a little and essentially jump into an up-hill mound of snow. And boy oh boy did it hurt. I quickly regained composure and knew that the race isn’t over until the finish and caught back up to the girls, however failed to pass into 2nd or 3rd, having to leave Korea with a 14th place.
I had one more chance to race this season and that was in Arosa, Switzerland. It would be the first Sprint World Cup for Ski Cross. The track was small, short yet really fun. That is the beautiful thing about Ski Cross- no matter what the terrain is like, you are always racing against other people- So it is always exciting!
I had fast times in training leading into the race on Friday. My start is my biggest asset in my ski cross racing, so the shorter format suited me. I was fast in every heat but couldn’t pull it together in the semi final to advance through to the big final for a chance to get on that podium. I skied better and better in each round and walked away with another 7th place.
I am disappointed by the result in Arosa- Only because I know I am capable of far more, however when I look back at this season- I returned from a back injury sustained in the previous WC year, having a great start to the season in Montafon with a 6th, then to Val Thorens and Innichen with more 7th places; Having the crash of a lifetime and not competing in three World Cups or in my first X-Games, And then my return to competition in Sweden in Mid February…. I realize that this has been a great season. I am getting better and better all the time.
I wish to thank the Olympic Winter Institute of Australia for providing Ski Cross a fantastic program and two amazing Coaches; Shawn and Danny thank you for being there every step of the way for me. Thank you to my awesome teammate Anton Grimus for becoming like a brother to me- Supporting me, pushing me and there to hug it out if need be. To my husband, family and friends for only being a phone call away; And to my ever so supportive Sponsors- Perisher, Head, XTM, Komperdell, Karbon, NSWIS, Southern Alps Ski Club, Musashi, Le Bent and many more individuals for continuing to be on Team Sami.
I am now on my way home! And I will be taking some time to relax and unwind….
It is Team Sami training time so Sydney based Mums and Dads, head to www.teamsami.com.au and fill out the expressions of interest form so you can stay in the loop when things kick off soon!
Looking forward to some sun, beach and getting back in the gym!