It's great to be back in Austria and despite being here for about two weeks, so much has happened already. Unfortunately, there is hardly any snow anywhere in Europe but we are making do. Lucky for us, there is a glacier about half an hour away which has meant we have still been able to train. I arrived before the majority of the Ambition FIS crew had returned from Norway so have been with a few great first year girls. Needless to say, I had to jump back into the swing of things relatively quickly as we headed off to race at Pfelders in Italy the first weekend I was here. I didn't ski as well as I was in NZ but it showed me several technical errors that crop up mainly in races. After a couple more days of training, with everybody back at base, we all headed to St. Moritz in Switzerland for our last races before Christmas break. Still with pretty poor results from me. However, from watching the videos of my race runs, the technique that I am trying to consolidate in racing is actually there, its just obvious that I currently struggle to keep the good technique for the whole run. These are all things that can be adjusted with a bit more time and for the first time I can say I have bucket loads of the stuff. I'm fortunate enough to in Europe till May this year! Far better than having to head home in February for school. St. Moritz was a sight for sore eyes with the amount of snow they had. It was a good opportunity to get in some training the day before the races started. So far Ambition has proved to be a fantastic and beneficial choice for this Northern season. Everyone is great although I sometimes struggle to decipher certain words with the stronger of the British accents... They have a good training atmosphere and I'm looking forward to the rest of the season with these guys.
I also got to experience a terrifying yet exciting Austrian tradition called Krampus. Young men dress up in costumes that would put anything from Halloween to shame and walk through the town square with lit torches, whips, sticks and massive cow bells attached to their backs to scare and attack anyone nearby. I've been told that the Krampus are the Christmas Devil, there to whip out your sins before St. Nicholas comes to spread joy for Christmas. It was a full on show, with smoke bombs, Krampus' in cages and other Krampus' dragging around flaming barrels all the while people being targeted and hit. I've never quite seen anything like it before in my life. It was both thrilling and scary. I came away with only a couple minor bruises which was lucky. Krampus is definitely not something I will quickly forget. Anyway, I now have a few days to rejuvenate and celebrate Christmas with family in Italy before heading back to the Austrian Alps for more skiing. Hopefully Christmas and the New Year bring lots of snow! On a bit of a side note, I gained my Speech and Drama ATCL in November! I'm undecided as to whether I'll continue to LTCL but getting my ATCL is a big enough step at the moment as it is. Well, I guess all there is left to say is Merry Christmas and have a happy New Year!