Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year to all!
I am writing to you from Sydney airport. I am en-route to Munich after 10 days of summer! My apologies for not writing sooner- but I needed some serious down time after the busy December Cross Alps Tour. Racing resumes next week with two races in Watles, Italy. Below is a quick wrap up of the Cross Alps Tour.
The Cross Alps Tour was a very interesting period. We had 6 World Cup competitions in 14 days, in 4 countries. Needless to say that by the time the mini tour wrapped up, I was exhausted.
Stage One: Val Thorens, France - 2 WC Events
Result Race One: 15
Result Race Two: 16
I was really looking forward to this event as it is one of the longest tracks of the season. We have raced in VT for a few years now so I was looking forward to resuming competition with something familiar.. But WOW was I wrong! The track had been redesigned but was really cool. It reminded me of Sochi a bit! I had some hard landings in training (see ya toenails!) and some mistakes out of the start gate for both races , however was happy with the kick off to the season.
Stage Two: Arosa, Switzerland - 1 WC Sprint
Being (generally) a strong 'starter' in Ski Cross, this Sprint format (that was introduced in Arosa last season) is favourable to me. The track is only 500m long and is over very quickly. Don't let that fool you though- Precision is key here.. Your skis must make landings and terrain perfectly, other wise you have no time to make up for mistakes. I was feeling so strong at this race and a tactical error cost me my first podium so I had to settle for my second 4th place result.
Stage Three: Montafon, Austria - 1 WC Event
I was feeling confident after Arosa and quite revved up to continue to punch in some more top 8 results. Perhaps I was too revved up, and with Bib number 1 in qualifications, I caught an edge in the first turn and crashed. What a disaster!
Stage Four: Innichen/San Candido, Italy - 2 WC Events
Result Race One: 17
Result Race Two: 13
Welcome to the 'Kitzbuhel' of Ski Cross. For some reason, the race organisers decided that injecting the slope with tonnes of water was a great idea... Thsi makes the snow turn to pure ice.
Enter Sami/Bambi on Ice. Skiing on injected slopes has never been my strength (and is almost impossible to train!) so I knew I had to execute the 'feature/ski cross' parts of the track very well as my turns would let me down. And wow did they- I think I lost about 3 seconds in the last 150m of the track - The GS section! So I had to watch the first day of racing from the bottom.
Luckily, because I had done OK in the races early on, I was still inside the top 16 and was able to compete on the second day.
Injuries are always a risk in Ski Racing of any discipline. Sadly, Anna Holmlund from Sweden had an accident in Innichen and is still hospitalised with serious brain injuries. I haven't heard any updates in the New Year on Anna- But I ask that everyone please keep her in your prayers. #StayStrongAnna
Wishing everyone who is following my journey a safe, happy and healthy new year,