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)