I have returned back to Europe after a semi-successful opening World Cup in Nakiska, Canada.
The first World Cup of the season is always terrifying. It is the first time you can put of all of your hard work and preparation to the test. You never really know how you are going compared to your competition until this day.
I had a bumpy start, with my first big crash of the season (and hopefully last!) in training prior to the race. Nothing like some snow burn to wake you up! I had a tough first heat of the season with Marielle Thompson (Can) Marielle Berger (Fra) and Sanna Lüdi (SUI) to kick things off. I had a great start and managed to tuck in behind Thompson and defend my position… until I was caught by the French and tangled up with her, slowing down so much that I crossed the line in fourth, settling for 16th place in the event. My compadre Anton was really fast in his qualifying, coming 2nd! However also was unable to proceed through his first round, ending up 25th.
Overall, I am happy with my result of 16th in Nakiska. This year I am facing many changes in my athletic life, such as completely new equipment and new team environment. The shift in our approach to racing is exciting and also nerve racking. For me to have a top 16 at the first event is encouraging and I look forward to improving on it…..
Unfortunately, I have to wait until 2015 to race again. The remaining December World Cups (4!!) in Val Thorens, France and Innichen, Italy have been rescheduled or cancelled. Europe is strangely warm for December with skiing limited to the glaciers only. So with that, I will take what I have learnt from Nakiska and head home to Sydney and mull things over at the beach/gym and enjoy my first Australian Christmas in what feels like a million years.
You may or may not have seen the #KeepFightingMaria campaign that we (the Ski Cross Athletes) have begun. Maria Komissarova is a Russian Ski Cross athlete who has a crash in training at the Olympics and is now paralysed. She is making groundbreaking progress and there is a good chance she will walk again. The aim of #KeepFightingMaria is to spread Maria's story and help raise her profile and hopefully soe funds to help her extensive rehablitation. Please head to www.maria-komissarova.com to find out how you can help.
Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
Photos thanks to www.gepa-pictures.com