I’ve belated realised that I’ve neglected to write my usual end of season blog. Currently I’m in Mammoth preparing for the 2019/20 season so I suppose this is as good a time as any to reflect on what was one of my favourite seasons to date. Training with the International Ski Racing Academy (ISRA) was by far the best decision I’ve made. The quality of coaching and training really made an impact on my skiing as a whole. Not to mention being surrounded by a stellar group of girls!
Just when I’d started to get a handle on the German language, I go and join ISRA where our base is in the Dolomites of Italy… New language, here we go again! Luckily for me, one of our teammates is fluent in Italian so we were never really caught out. The Dolomites are absolutely stunning and allowed us a vast range of training venues all on our doorstep. I have to say, I’ve never been in such a micro-climate as we found ourselves in at our base. While the rest of Europe was getting pummeled with weeks of snow fall, we found our selves in constant sunshine. The tiny blip of Europe with decent training conditions, so naturally, ski racers flocked to our valley. Of the 4 months we spent in Italy I think we had 3 maybe 4 bad weather days. And by bad weather I mean a light snowfall… The worst weather I experienced all season was the one week I spent in Are, Sweden for World Champs.
I was lucky enough to be in Are for World juniors in 2017 so I know how gorgeous that part of the world is. Picture perfect stained skies for dusk and dawn, crisp snow covered lake almost meeting the mountain edge. However, the week of the Audi World Ski Championships for 2019 were as far removed from this image as you could possibly get. I arrived in time to be able to compete in the Qualification race for the GS as I did at St Moritz, although it turned out to be unnecessary as they had only 100 females wanting to compete the GS (compared with St Moritz’s over 200) so they were able to veto the Qualification race. The day of the main event GS rolled around and we woke to a more mild scene of overcast clouds. Unfortunately as it was a afternoon/night race that didn’t start until 2pm, that left plenty of time for the clouds to darken and rain to pour yet again. I started bib 56 and fought my way down in flat light, rain and ruts. I was pleased with portions of my skiing and as always found much room for improvement. I did get into the top 60 first run which qualified me for a second run, in which I ended up placing 46th of 82 finishers! An improvement on my 2017 result.
As always the season seemed to fly by amid training, tv shows, adventures and races. This year was a good one for me as far as podiums go. Before World Champs I skied into 3rd at the CIT WC race at Passo san Pelligrino and the following week I had my season best result, winning the Civetta Uni race and scoring a 28.99! Which brought my points back down to 29 for the first time since my broken ankle and the coaching struggles that followed. Fast forward to the beginning of March where I had 3 GS races in one week, an NJC, a CIT race and a FIS race. I ended up placing 3rd in all three races! Not too shabby!
All season I felt on the cusp of piecing it all together. I finally managed it in what would turn out to be my last run of the season. French National GS in Auron. First run was maybe the worst I’d skied all season but after a resounding pep talk from both my coaches I flipped it around for second run. Finally really taking it deep and consistently generating the speed I’d seen in patches throughout the season. Unfortunately coming into the last quarter of the course I caught an edge, smashing myself into the ground, shoulder first, before flipping into the nets. Convinced my shoulder was just bruised, as it would hurt much more if it was broken, the precautionary x-ray surprised me when it showed a clearly broken collarbone. Elated by the skiing and disappointed by the break, my season ended a few weeks earlier than planned. Nevertheless, six weeks later, I’m in much better form, working on crucial fundamentals here in Mammoth. I can’t wait for this next season to properly begin for me come the NZ winter. Lucky for me, winter doesn’t look too far off!
Huge thanks to my parents, sponsors and all those who support me in my ski racing endeavors. Special thanks to ISRA for being the best team out there! First year was good, here’s to more team success!
Below is my edit of the past 5 ish months :)