Season kickoff

Season kickoff

 Training in Mammoth

Training in Mammoth

It's been a whirl-wind few months but things are starting to settle down as we kick off the NZ season. In May I trialed a new ski team, International Ski Racing Academy (ISRA) at their very first camp in Mammoth, California. I had an absolute blast working with world class coaches and some amazing girls for those two weeks. Although I will still be racing/training in NZ with my normal southern hemisphere team, I am pleased to say that I shall be joining ISRA full time as of October. I'm ecstatic with this decision and cannot wait to see where this takes me next!  

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As for the here and now, a month ago we had the Coberger Academy back to snow ski camp at the Remarkables. A week stuffed full of fundamentals and drills on some remarkably good early-season snow. Following this we had another couple weeks to smash our gym programs and we have now spent our first four days in gates! Stubbies mind you, but gates nonetheless. This first patch is all about bringing the fundamentals we worked on in our freeskiing, into the course. And with races just around the corner, the progression is an important step to harnessing the extra speed.


It is always fantastic to come back to Coronet and fill my phone with pictures of all the amazing sunrises. Huge thanks to NZSki and especially Coronet Peak for their support of the NZ National Ski Team (I've been renamed to the team btw so whoop!)! I'm really looking forward to getting into what is sure to be an epic season.

 Coberger Academy 2018. L-R: Adam Barwood, Alex Hull, Alice Robinson, Ben Griffin (coach), Will Cashmore, Willis Feasey, Eliza Grigg and Tim Cafe (Coach). Absent: Nils Coberger (Coach)

Coberger Academy 2018. L-R: Adam Barwood, Alex Hull, Alice Robinson, Ben Griffin (coach), Will Cashmore, Willis Feasey, Eliza Grigg and Tim Cafe (Coach). Absent: Nils Coberger (Coach)

Rehab and return to snow

Rehab and return to snow

Crutching through Christchurch

It has now been a little over four months since I broke my ankle while in the gym. Where the break sat at the base my fibula was a bit in the grey zone I guess you could say. Lower and it would heal fine on its own. Higher, and it would definitely need surgery. Having never been keen on doctors, the idea of choosing to put metal into my ankle was not a favourable one for me, so the decision was simple. I was fortunate enough to have an incredibly perceptive doctor on duty at the after hours, who insisted on setting the bone and doing the casting himself. Thanks to his diligence I have had a good reset and was able to avoid surgery. I was then under strict instructions not to weight-bear at all until the last 10 or so days. Most of the time spent in a cast is a complete blur as the variety in my days was rather minimal. I've always been an active person and having spent years in a high-paced sport, always on the move, the change of pace was rather a shock. So much so, that I found my attention span for things I'd normally enjoy to be quite limited.

 2 months, 3 days later and I could finally jump again

2 months, 3 days later and I could finally jump again

Needless to say, I was ecstatic to finally be out of the cast and rid of the crutches by the end of July! It wasn't long before I was back in Queenstown, diving into rehab and gym. I progressed quite well but inevitably, being surrounded by mountains and my teammates skiing, it still felt pretty slow. It was at the moments just before frustration would set in, that I would become aware that I was able do things then, that caused pain only a few days beforehand. All the little things like walking down stairs or sitting cross-legged, and immediately I'd start grinning like a Cheshire cat! Such trivial milestones easily became the highlight of my day. So when my Physio, Pete, told me I was allowed to jump (albeit a tiny stationary jump) I was over the moon. I sounded like a hippo trying (with no avail) to be stealthy but it felt like I was finally getting close to getting back to normal. I was also starting to regain some muscle mass in my right leg which was exciting despite the obvious disparity between my two calves.
I was thoroughly excited when Nationals kicked off at Coronet peak. Even though I was unable to be on skis myself, watching all my teammates go out and crush the races was good fun. And by the following week I was cleared to start pottering around on skis! I joined Pete and Alex (my team mate who broke her ACL in Feburary) freeskiing at either the Remarkables or Coronet Peak three times a week. Being back on skis also meant I could find a more advantageous viewing point for the next lot of races to hit Coronet.

 NZ National team 2017. Photo by Stash Media Worx. (L-R Eliza Grigg, Georgia Willinger, Willis Feasey, Adam Barwood, Piera Hudson and Alice Robinson. Absent: Colbey Derwin and Ben Richards.)

NZ National team 2017. Photo by Stash Media Worx. (L-R Eliza Grigg, Georgia Willinger, Willis Feasey, Adam Barwood, Piera Hudson and Alice Robinson. Absent: Colbey Derwin and Ben Richards.)

After a little over 3 weeks of freeskiing drills and conveniently at the end of the major block of racing, I was able to start back in gates. A couple days of split course runs had me itching to be allowed to do a full length GS course. Confident persuasion saw me able to do so on day 3 and by the following day I was feeling relatively back to normal. I still didn't have the strength or endurance I would usually have and so wasn't near being back to full speed but I was loving every minute of training.
Lucky for me there happened to be two end of season races at Cardrona only a couple weeks after I returned to gate training. Surprisingly my coaches were all for me competing, if only to break the ice of getting back into racing. So with 6 days of GS and 3 of SL under my belt we headed to the Cardies for a pretty chilled couple races. Knowing I wasn't up to full speed yet, I surprised myself in the GS by only being a second or under off of my team mate in each run, placing 2nd! I wasn't expecting much heading into the slalom race seeing as, of my three days of slalom, half of that was through stubbie gates and I hadn't yet done a full length course. So to make it through the whole thing and end up second again, was a bit of a shock!
I would've loved to have more time on snow charging through gates but a few weeks is far better than none at all!

Back in gates

I'm thrilled to be heading to the States this year to join the Steamboat team in Colorado. I leave New Zealand on the 31st of October so only a couple more weeks till the Northern season starts for me!

I can't thank Pete and Remarkable Physios enough for everything they've done to get me back on snow. Every time I walked out of a physio session I was on cloud nine, feeling like I could do anything! (Obviously within reason Pete... wasn't going to go do anything too ridiculous!) Also a huge thanks to my surrogate family, the Jackson's, for the daily support and best 2nd home I could ever ask for! As always, thanks to my sponsors and supporters for everything and lastly my coaches and parents for all the support in getting back to where I need to be.

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Northern season 2016/17 edit

Having some skiing withdrawals so I made an end of season edit. Huge thanks to those who made it an epic few months! Shout-out to Daniel Dejori for stepping in last minute to help me out at World Champs and as always thanks to all my sponsors and supporters. Counting down the days till the start of the NZ season!Music again by the amazing BAYNK with his song 'Could you'

One, two, skip a few, and suddenly it's May!

I've been incredibly slack on the blog updates this season... Everything flew by much quicker than I expected, especially with so many new experiences lined up. So here's just a quick glimpse at the highlights of my northern season: I had a great start to the northern season, arriving in Europe in early November. The main focus had been on training and consolidating the changes I've been making to my skiing. This meant that the majority of November was spent at Pass Thurn, hammering through courses, while December held more of the races we were attending. Most races I brought improvements onto the slope, some in more sections than others. On the first day of GS at Dienten I skied enough good sections to secure 3rd place. A good way to round off the first half of the season as I headed back to New Zealand for a fleeting two weeks of summer. The time at home flew by between family, friends, hiking, swimming and some beloved water skiing.

Action shot at St Moritz main event
Action shot at St Moritz main event
Main event finish area in St Mortiz
Main event finish area in St Mortiz

Upon returning to Europe I aimed to hit the ground running and did just that, squeezing a day of super g training in before competing in two FIS GS races in Maria Alm, both on the same day! January was a mix of racing and training leading up to my first ever major event. I competed in the GS at this years World Ski Championships held in St. Moritz, Switzerland. Being ranked 75th overall on the start list, I needed to qualify for the main event (only the top 50 automatically qualify). To do this, I needed to finish in the top 25 of the qualifying race, held down the road at Zuos. I started the race on the cusp, with bib 25 and skied some of my best GS, ending up with the 3rd best time second run and placing 7th overall! This well and truly qualified me for the main event and to top it all off I scored a PB of 29.84 points! Main event was a world unto itself. The atmosphere was incredible and I knew I had my work cut out for me as I would need to ski well in order to qualify for second run (only top 60 get a second run) yet, I felt no nerves... Not until I'd watched the top 20 girls race and it suddenly dawned on me that I too would be skiing the same course I'd just seen on TV. Nevertheless I was ecstatic to make it into the second run and finish up in the top 50 from bib 73! It was an exhilarating experience I won't soon forget.

The weekend following World Champs I competed in the Dutch National Champs GS, claiming 2nd and my new favorite medal, the clog! More training and racing saw me heading into the beginning of March, where I raced in Andalo, Italy. I was pleased with how I skied in both GS' there, despite making some tactical errors the first day that cost me time. I managed two solid runs the second day, placing 4th and scoring a new PB of 28.51! And two days later I was in Åre, Sweden, getting ready for the Junior World Ski Championships! This will be the same location for the 2019 World Ski Champs so it was nice to get a feel for the place. Unfortunately the skiing didn't go to plan but it was another wonderful experience.

Andalo
Andalo
1st U21 in the British NJC Super G
1st U21 in the British NJC Super G

A couple weeks later you could find us in Tignes, France for the British National Champs. This week of racing kicked of with two Super G's, a National Champs (NC) and a National Junior Champs (NJC). I knew it had been a while since I'd raced super g but it wasn't until after the race I realised it had been over 6 1/2 months between my last super g race and this one! I was pleased with how I skied, finishing 6th overall in the NC race and 3rd overall in the NJC which also placed me 1st U21! Not too shabby for a part-time speed skier. Later on in the week I also managed to claim 3rd U21 in the NJC GS race.

It's been a whirlwind of a season, with amply opportunity to gain knowledge and experience. A huge thanks to Daniel Dejori, for stepping in last minute to help me out at St. Moritz, I truly couldn't have done it without you. As always thank you to my sponsors and parents for all the support. There's already some snow accumulating on the mountains here in NZ so it shan't be long till the southern season is underway!

Save

Save

Another season done and dusted

Kicking out of the start at training at Remarks. Photo from Neil Lande
Kicking out of the start at training at Remarks. Photo from Neil Lande

This season has certainly tested my fall-back skiing, with so little training heading into the races it was interesting to see what I could pull out of the bag. With a couple days training of each discipline under the belt we headed into Nationals on August 8th. I skied hard but made some irritating errors keeping me in 2nd for NZ by 0.35 of a second. Slalom was far more of a challenge for me and I managed to place 3rd.

National GS podium 2016
National GS podium 2016
Slapping plastic photo by Anne Barwood
Slapping plastic photo by Anne Barwood

With the quality of training improving we were able to get a solid week in before heading over to Australia for the first lot of ANC races. Unfortunately, the weather didn't want to play ball over there. We arrived to soft, wet, snow conditions, with a grim weeks forecast at Mt Hotham. With GS kicking off the series the cloud kept dense, retaining the damp snow without much hope for salt working. The officials decided to postpone the boys race and attempt to run the girls, considering there were only 25 of us. The cloud thinned slightly and we were underway. I was skiing relatively well until hip-checking (the act of falling inside onto one's hip thus sliding away from the gate and direction of travel) coming into the last gully. Having lost so much speed I was baffled that I was still tied for fourth. I tried to make up for lost time on my second run but couldn't gain enough to make the podium. It was decided that, in light of the impending weather, we would run the second girls GS that day as well. But for the vexatious conditions, this would have been alright. It had begun to snow, making for an even softer track, riddled with ruts and holes. The first run of the second race was probably my best of the day, even with a few tactical mistakes but the last run was quite something else. The sizeable ruts ranged anywhere from at the gate to five meters above it, coupled with the thickening snow storm and dwindling energy levels, no one was able to properly race the run. I did manage to hold onto 3rd place. The following day we had off as they ran the first of the boys GS's. As luck would have it, the weather only became better as the week went on. On the third day of racing they had the men's second GS followed by the woman's first SL, the day after compiling of both Men and Women's slalom with the Men's second slalom race being pushed into the weather day. My slalom skiing contained some good sections but for the most part, it pointed out a lot that I needed to work on.

National Super G podium 2016
National Super G podium 2016
Epic photo by Anne Barwood from Nationals
Epic photo by Anne Barwood from Nationals

Heading back to Queenstown, we were able to squeeze another days GS training before getting underway with the NZ ANC's. The standards were raised at these races with the likes of Ragnhild Mowinckel (Currently ranked 26th in the world for GS!) and the American and Norwegian Europa cup teams! Competition was fierce and I was pleased with my GS performance. My slalom again had some good sections. Following a couple days recuperation, we headed up to Mt Hutt for the speed series. The training day was cancelled due to poor weather. The following day we managed to get up the hill and after a tense hour of drifting fog, it cleared to a sea of clouds sitting just below the carpark. With the weather finally on our side we smashed out 3 super g races; two ANC races followed by one for National Champs. The first race I surprised myself by skiing into fourth, narrowly missing 3rd by 0.04 of a second! The second race I skied better and faster, ending up only 0.5 seconds off of the lead but still sitting in 4th! The third race I made several errors costing me time but I managed to ski into 2nd place for NZ nationals. It was a successful day for me, scoring my three best super g results. My points will drop from 87 to 63.35 when the next list comes out! We still had an Alpine Combined scheduled but the weather only got worse during the week so that was cancelled.

After a lovely wee break at home, it was back to Queenstown for some much deserved training! We've had some absolutely incredible conditions both at Rocky Gully and the Remarkables. Sneaking in some epic early morning training down Curvy Basin at Remarks. I would like to say a huge thanks to all my sponsors and supporters for another great season. We are back into fitness with a camp in Queenstown next week. From then on it won't be long till the northern season kicks off!

At the beginning of August I was a sports finalist for the Farringdon Sensational Selwyn  Awards 2016. I just wanted to say congratulations to Francie Turner and all the other Winners and Finalists involved.

Coberger Academy, NZ Ski Team. Pic by Michael Thomas
Coberger Academy, NZ Ski Team. Pic by Michael Thomas
Coberger Academy, NZ Ski Team. Pic by Michael Thomas (L-R Nils Coberger, Adam Barwood, Me, Willis Feasey, Robbie Moore)
Coberger Academy, NZ Ski Team. Pic by Michael Thomas (L-R Nils Coberger, Adam Barwood, Me, Willis Feasey, Robbie Moore)

Back at it

With Greta Small when the snow hijacked our training
With Greta Small when the snow hijacked our training
Fresh tracks on fascination at Hutt
Fresh tracks on fascination at Hutt

It has been a very slow start to the season with bizarre weather patterns keeping us off snow and out of gates, three weeks longer than usual. Besides the week-long on snow camp at Mt Hutt in June, the beginning of winter was spent in the gym working on strength and conditioning. It was good to have extra time to focus on fitness but I easily became restless to get back on snow. It has been a whole heap warmer than usual these past few months, with very little snowfall, forcing us to push back the start to our season.

We began free skiing at Coronet on July 18th and were able to get into gates in the last few days of the month. With two days of full GS gates under the belt we headed into the Cardrona GS race on August 1st. The super soft snow and flat slope weren't the ideal combination for me but it was a good form of training. Since then we've had a dump of snow that makes Coronet look like a proper ski field again! Along with the snow guns that have been running, we now have a reasonable surface to train on. Amongst waves of fog and snow that have swept the valley this week, we have been able to train both GS and Slalom. Squeezing in some much needed preparation for the up coming races. The team at Coronet Peak have done an amazing job of getting everything ready in time for Nationals which start on Monday. Here's hoping the weather holds so we aren't stuck in a snow cloud like last year!

Huge thanks to the team at Mt Hutt for early season training. (left to right: Nils Coberger, James, me, Willis Feasey and Adam Barwood,
Huge thanks to the team at Mt Hutt for early season training. (left to right: Nils Coberger, James, me, Willis Feasey and Adam Barwood,
Suns out, guns out at Coronet Peak
Suns out, guns out at Coronet Peak

Pure Sports Nutrition

I am incredibly excited to announce that I shall be joining the Pure Sports Nutrition team! This New Zealand company makes high quality natural sports nutrition products with no artificial ingredients or colours. From electrolytes to whey protein to their exercise recovery range, they have everything you need to improve and aid they way you exercise.I highly recommend taking a look at their products on this link to their website. Or follow their journey on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

Thank you so much for your sponsorship, I look forward to working with you guys!

Pure Sports Nutrition

Northern hemisphere video

Fitness is the main regime at the moment but I've found time to put together a collection of photos and race videos to round off the northern season. Thanks to Emily Howard for letting me use your original music. If you want to see more of her you can access her website here or follow the links in the description on YouTube:

Alpine Health and Fitness Queenstown

I must say a huge thank you to Alpine health and fitness in Queenstown for sponsoring me this season! I'm proud and honoured to be part of the team. The world class facilities are amazing and make the hours spent in the gym, that much nicer. Everything we need is at our fingertips, and more. From the pools, to the weights they have it all, so I highly recommend popping in if you are in need of a decent gym.Check out their website here or by clicking on the blue mountain icon to your right under sponsors. Or pop in and see them at Joe O'Connell Drive, Frankton, Queenstown.

Better late than never, here's the season wrap up

Thanks Chris Haworth for the close up podium shot!
Thanks Chris Haworth for the close up podium shot!

The season has now well and truly drawn to a close and, as always, feels as though it has passed far too quickly. These past few months have been jam-packed with races and training, all over Europe. Despite the average results in Slalom, I'm pleased with how my technique is improving and slowly appearing in sections at races. Super G on the other hand has seen me drop 21 points, bringing me to 87. This is due largely to the fact that my GS has improved greatly. As well as the 32 pointer I scored in St Moritz, I achieved a 36.48 and a 34.44 at the British in Tignes which lowers my points, all be it small. Despite the weather being against us both GS days of the British, on the second of these which was the NJR, I managed to place as the 2nd U21. Nicely rounding off a positive GS season. With the new base list out, I am now 406th in the world for GS and 57th in my age group as well as 2nd in NZ! Still, there is always more work to do on and off the field. I was very excited to pop over to the Head Factory at the end of the season to pick up some skis and be fitted for my first pair of Head boots! Massive thanks to the Head crew, I know the skis are incredible and I can't wait to use these raptor boots.

Right now, I'm getting into a substantial fitness block. As always, a huge thanks to Ben Griffin for putting these programs together and constantly pushing me to improve in the gym. Notwithstanding my hypothyroidism I feel I am developing my skills physically. Always a crucial factor when aiming to better skills on the slopes.

There are invariably those whose time, effort and talents go unnoticed in this high-paced sport. I would like to acknowledge and thank all those who make all these races possible. From the timing crew to the TD, gate judges to the lovely people that write our times on a board. In all the countries I've raced in, it is plain to see these races would not be run without your planning and adapting to the curve-balls mother nature throws your way. Another huge thank you to my Northern Hemisphere coaches, Marc Telling and Tom White, for all the advice, the videos, the wonderful chauffeur skills and of course the coaching. It will be good to see Ambition heading to my home turf for the NZ winter! Also my home team coach, Nils Coberger, who is always there when needed even though he'd be touring with the NZ Men's National team.  Lastly to my amazing parents and brothers, none of this would be possible without you... so thanks for putting up with me!

Super G race at Val Thorens in France, placing 4th
Super G race at Val Thorens in France, placing 4th