New Zealand: Kiwis, Keas and killer views

Here’s a blog I wrote for my ski team’s website: https://www.israskiracing.com

New Zealand: home to hobbits, bungy jumping and insta-worthy views. This wee slice of paradise is about as far away from anywhere as you can get while, for the most part, still having a distinctly average internet connection. Kiwis are an extremely laid-back bunch (unless you challenge the reign of the All Blacks) so don’t be surprised if you see people wandering into a supermarket barefoot or blokes walking down the street in stubbies, a swanndri and jandals midwinter. Unlike Europe, there’s no need to carry wads of cash with you because even if you’re just buying a can of L&P (a drink that's World Famous in NZ) payWave is the go-to.

Although both the North and South Islands have their perks, I may only be a tad bias in saying the South Island is where it’s at. With 77% of our meagre 4.8 million population living on the North Island, the South is certainly a chilled place to be. It’s where being stuck in traffic can mean anything from a four-car queue behind a camper van to encountering a flock of sheep on the move. Roads are patchy, barriers are an affront to one’s driving ability and you definitely won’t get a phone signal in the wop-wops but that gives you all the more time to appreciate the landscape NZ is famous for.

The South Island is home to the Southern Alps which run the length of the Island. As ski racers, you’ll be walking straight into the adventure capital of New Zealand. Queenstown is home to everything from hiking and mountain biking, to skydiving and jetboating, as well as being the birthplace of the bungy jump. There is always a new adventure to be found, especially in this valley. Queenstown houses two great ski fields on its doorstep: The Remarkables and Coronet Peak. The latter of the two being the prime location for most ski racers in training. Unfortunately, the snow Gods have been a little slow on the uptake this season. Our wee 3-5 lift ski fields are feeling the heat this winter which obviously isn’t ideal. Despite the lack of snow, the fields are still chocka with people out for a rip and racers hunting for training. For those of you who would rather avoid massive amounts of ski racers, there are plenty of club fields scattering the Southern Alps. What might be the decider between a proper ski field and these little club fields though is that the majority of them only use nutcracker lifts... (google can explain)

New Zealand is also home to an impressive range of beautiful birds. You might question the need for me to talk to you about birds when you’re on a website dedicated to skiing but you also deserve to be forewarned. My favourite native bird would have to be the kea. They are a species of large mountain parrot, olive-green in colouring with a brilliant orange colour under their wings. Kea are an innately curious bunch with a love of new things. While you might be enjoying the snow and the sunshine, a kea might be having just as much fun stealing food or dismantling the rubber off your car. These cheeky critters have been known not only steal things from half open backpacks but leave the owner questioning the usability of what is left behind. They’ve also learned that if caught, feigning innocent intrigue tends to subdue the person enough that they can return to finish whatever mischief they had started. Though you may deem them a pest, these gorgeous birds are among NZ’s protected natives.

Back to ski racing. Nationals were on last week, although off to a bit of a slow start with the first day of GS being postponed due to poor visibility and interesting conditions. The following day the women competed in the GS amid snow and fog with ISRA’s Alice Robinson and Cara Brown snagging the top two spots overall and myself (Eliza Grigg) joining Alice in 2nd for the NZ podium. Slalom Nationals took place a couple of days later in much nicer weather conditions. ISRA’s Barbara Kantorova skied into 2nd overall with Alice and myself replicating the NZ GS podium. With just two weeks left of this camp, here’s hoping we get a bit more snow in Queenstown to make training even better. I swear it’s usually money by this time of year!

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Although the wait isn’t too bad when you’ve got scenes like these on the daily. New Zealand might be quite a trek to get to but I can vouch for it being well worth the effort!

Glossary:

Chocka – Full
Jandals – Flipflops
Stubbies – Shorts
Swanndri – a woollen jersey (or pullover for the American’s amongst us
Wop-wops - Middle of nowhere

 

Other words you may encounter:

Carked it – crashed or died
Chur – Cheers/thanks
Gutted - dissapointed
Gummies - Gumboots
Knackered - tired
Munted – wrecked
She'll be right - that will be alright/don't worry
Squiz – to take a quick look
Tiki tour – taking the longer or more scenic route
Yeahnah – no

view from Coronet Peak across Wakatipu basin

view from Coronet Peak across Wakatipu basin

Northern Season 2018/19

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Northern Season 2018/19

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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.

World Champs starting bib 56

World Champs starting bib 56

Winning Civetta GS race

Winning Civetta GS race


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 :)

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Copper fields

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Whoever said Copper isn’t as good as gold has never skied at Copper Mountain in Colorado. This month long camp absolutely flew by amid days upon days of perfectly grippy snow. Aside from losing a slalom pole to the american highway sweepers, it was a smooth and productive camp. The altitude took a while to get used to as it made the hours spent in the gym feel completely redundant when you could barely walk up a flight of stairs without an inhaler. Living at 9,000ft and skiing up at 12,000ft, to quote my teammate, “makes your lungs feel like an asthmatic chain smoker”. A few more girls joined the ranks, completing the ISRA team for the 2018/19 season bringing it up to 12 FIS girls. All being in one house you’d think it’d be a bit cramped but as per the American stereotype of bigger is better, the house we were in was of a size where some of the girls I barely saw aside from meals.

I was able to harness some more speed and just in time for the races that rounded off our time in America. The races at Copper were a mixed bag of good runs and mistakes but I came out of the 4 day race series with a score in both Super g (68 points) and GS (30 points)! A solid start to the season with plenty more opportunities to come once we reach Europe.

Colorado edit below

Changing it up in Chile

I started this southern season in NZ, jumping into a few weeks of training as Nationals were quickly upon us. Unfortunately I did not ski to my capabilities in GS but I did manage to sneak into 3rd Overall in the National champs Slalom! However, I wasn’t happy with where I was at in my preparation for the Northern Hemisphere season. There was far too much I wanted to change about my skiing and not enough time amongst the allotted races to do it in. My Northern Hemisphere team was heading to Chile for a training camp and after talking it over with my new coaches, I decided that this was my best option for overall growth.

I flew over to Chile 3 weeks ago to meet up with my teammates in La Parva. As each day passed by I was more and more thankful for my decision to focus back on the fundamentals of my skiing. I started making changes to both my GS and SL that was sticking with more ease than I have experienced in a while. It certainly took a couple days to adjust to living at 2670 m (8760 ft) above sea level and training even higher! Despite some of the warmest and sunniest weather I’ve been in for some time, the snow was pristine. Some days we would train for hours and barely leave a dent in the track. It was the prime opportunity to make some solid changes and I am determined to pick up exactly where I left off when we touch back down on snow in Colorado 7 weeks from now. Having just returned home I shall soon be back into the gym to make as many gains as possible before November.

ISRA Chile crew

Huge thanks to my incredible coaches, Chris Knight and Jeff Fergus. Your expertise is as extensive as your patience! Also thanks to my ever loving and supportive family, especially with all my last minute changes.
Here’s a short wee taste of my time in Chile:

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'

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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!

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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)

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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

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