The last couple weeks in America were pretty hectic but great fun. Because I arrived about a month after the rest of the crew my training has been all over the show. We spent the majority of the time I was there at Loveland and journeyed to Vail for the Norams (which I hoped to fore run but couldn't). It wasn't until the Steamboat Slalom's that I was able to race, the first of which was a National Junior Race (NJR). Even with only a couple proper SL training days under my belt I gave it a shot. Each day my skiing improved which is all I can ask for at such an early stage. Sadly on the second run of the last day I was gunning it on the top flats out of the start and ended up taking those stacked first few gates a little too straight, couldn't hold it together and blew out above the hairpin. It was a bit of a bummer as that was the first run the girls got on the injected side as the boys had claimed it the past few days and I didn't make it far enough to actually ski the injected stuff. I'm not too fused though, I'd prefer to blow out because I'm doing something new or going hard rather than because I'm not trying to improve my skiing. It was a pretty sweet race series as the second day was a night race! My first one which was pretty exciting! I also was able to catch up with some American friends I haven't seen in almost two years! I used to ski with them on the Park City ski team a few years ago.
We've now left the land of plenty and after an... Interesting plane ride we have now arrived in Austria. Everything seems to have shrunk slightly as cars, roads and houses are not as large as in America but it's good to be back in Europe. We arrived on the 24th, which reminds me, Merry Christmas! Christmas is always slightly strange away from home but we joined the younger SSA alpine kids for a big Christmas lunch in Leogang (the place we stayed in last year).
At the moment the team is housed in a couple places in Zell am See (several towns away from Leogang) but in a few days we all move into two neighbouring houses in Saalfelden (next town over from Leogang). We have had several days off a are now getting back in the swing of things, so far so good : ) Learning German is on my to do list but for now the few phrases I know are holding up alright. The only problem is the lack of snow. Luckily it snowed a couple days ago higher up on the mountains but it's still looking a little dreary and not at all like winter yet. With a couple more days of solid slalom training under my belt I can't wait to start racing in Europe. These last few slalom days I've been pushing my boundaries and making some good improvements, especially with keeping my skis in the fore line on the pitch. Well here's hoping there is a good amount of snow for our Slalom race in Jenner, only a couple days away now!
Also, happy New Year! The amount of fireworks here on New Years is insane! Such a good show : ) Here's to a great new year. Bring on 2014!