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.
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!
Bringing in the New Year in the warmth of a New Zealand summer was a pleasant change to the blustery years previous! For my first proper summer in a while, it wasn't overly summery. In with all the heat, wind, sunshine and rain we managed to squeeze a large dump of snow on the southern alps! What was more bizarre was that there was more than enough to actually ski on... so much for a summer break! Upon returning to Austria, Ambition ran their first 'Ambition Champs' which is a children's race. I, along with a couple FIS team mates, fore-ran some of the races. It was good fun and a great opportunity to see how the younger kids were progressing on the slopes. The podium haul from the Ambition athletes was impressive.
I've done several races peppered with training this month. The most successful of which would be my 2nd place at the FIS races in Champery, also known as the Welsh! The variation of the races was easily noticed in the range of slope pitches. Despite the promising week of low temperatures and vast amounts of snow in the beginning of January, all the races were pretty soft as the temperature in Europe has unfortunately risen again. There are still many places that scarcely look as though winter has laid a finger on them. Hopefully it drops again but with the rate of this bizarre winter, it is a hope that is diminishing.
These last few days of January were a designated break. I was delighted to be invited to the north of England by one of my team mates, Bethany! I always love trips to England and yet, this is the furthest north I've ever been. I've thoroughly enjoyed learning about the place and seeing things I've heard Bethany talk so much about. There is something quite enthralling about the countryside riddled with stone walls and quaint cottages lain over the rolling hills of the north. Even though I had only a few weeks back surrounded by snow, it has been absolutely amazing to enjoy a complete change of scenery for a couple days, instead of lounging in Haus Tirol. Today we flew back to mainland Europe to crack on with the next 3 months of the season. I am excited that the new FIS list has come out and my GS points are now 33.79! Bring on the rest of the northern season!
Homeward-bound and I am absolutely buzzing! The last four days have been an absolute whirlwind. The new Ambition kit arrived four days ago, looking very white and pristine! We decided it had a very St Moritz-y look about it so armed with this new look we headed over there for a GS and a Slalom race, to find the summer plague has engulfed a huge amount of Europe. The lack of snow further emphasised by the abundance of the stuff in photos we saw from the same day last year... Anyway, we kicked off this trip with the GS race down a long, turny, roll-filled piste. The amount of terrain changes made for an exciting race and the snow held up well for the girls but became rather choppy part way through the boys race. Apart from a few small mistakes in the rhythm-less course I had a pretty good day, charging down the pitch into 8th place, scoring a 42.61 . Because of the snow conditions they decided to put on a second GS rather than run the slalom. I was more than happy with this decision. I knew I could improve on my skiing from the day before and was glad of an opportunity to prove it. More of the rolls hid gates but I managed to charge down into 3rd only 0.44 behind the lead after the first run. The second course was deceptively straight in several sections. Even with Tom's warning ringing in my ears, I came into one seriously straight section, thinking I had pinned the line, but was actually quite far off the gate... following this mistake I hammered the bottom of the course in an attempt to make up for the time I thought I'd lost. Turns out I actually won the run by enough to pull me up into 2nd place and secure my best ever GS result of 32.70! Needless to say I was beyond ecstatic! Instead of medals, we were awarded with gifts. I laughed when I was given a bottle of wine and an icebreaker jersey, all the way from little old New Zealand! After this we drove the 4 and 1/2 hours back to Leogang, ready for two CIT GS races starting the next day. I had a pretty decent first run at Leogang, only 0.6 off the pace on yet another really long GS course! Second run I nailed the pitch and carried heat onto the flats but lost it all to silly mistakes at the bottom of the course. Yesterday's race was sung from the same song book. I placed 7th and 6th respectably.
This first half of the Northern season has been absolutely jam-packed with training and races. I'm incredibly happy with how everything is going at the moment. Surrounded by a great team, I'm making improvements in both Slalom and GS. I leave Europe today on a great note, ready for a wee summer break at home to refresh and recharge so I can come back and smash some more races next year! I'm sad to stop skiing for a couple weeks but I am so excited to head home for Christmas and I know a couple weeks off will do me a world of good! It has been a great year and I want to say a huge thanks to everyone who has helped make it this good! Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Almost a month later and the weather is still at odds with all winter sports... Thankfully, it has been cold enough for the resorts to have all snow guns going in an attempt to make up for the lack of natural snow. The scenery across Europe is still incredibly colourful, delicately lined with strips of snow where ski runs pepper the countryside. Races have been few and far between. Not long after my last post, we raced again in Solda. Unfortunately, my team mate, Floor van Ameyde, crashed on the first day of GS and did her ACL again. It was incredibly sad but she has already had surgery and is on the mend. I hope she has a speedy recovery but in saying that I know she will for Floor is a fighter and is very determined to get through recovery and be back on skis in 6 months time. Since then we have been to a few more races in Pfelders for both SL and GS and Passo Monte Croce for a couple Slaloms.
The GS races in Pfelders were a good challenge for me. The slope is tough, with the start rolling onto a very steep pitch that lasted 6 gates before rocketing you onto the flats that subsequently began rolling into the finish. The first day I was far too cautious first run, stepped up my game for second run and ended up losing a ski down the pitch. However, the second day I was determined to make the most of my bib 1. I let the skis run and carried a lot of heat off the pitch, kept a clean ski on the flats, making for a good performance. Second run I also carried heat off the pitch but took a gate too straight on the flats and lost a lot of time trying to get back on track. Following this we headed to Passo Monte Croce for a couple Slaloms. While we were there, the Krampus tradition was in full swing. I must say, the Italians are far more tame in their parade than the Austrian's but it was still good to see.
Since those races, we have been training at our home base in Leogang, Austria. We've had great training on some solid snow. Unfortunately it rained a lot and as of today, we've now lost a great portion of that. Hopefully while we are racing in St. Moritz this weekend, they can make enough snow to keep the CIT races going for the 21st and 22nd of December. It's been a solid start to my Northern season campaign. We've even managed to squeeze in a trip to the Zell am See Christmas markets and throw a Christmas dinner for all of Ambition in Haus Tirol! Lets just say the Christmas jumpers were out in force! The rest of the girls have headed back to Passo Monte Croce for a couple FIS slaloms while the boys and I head off to St. Moritz tomorrow for a GS and a Slalom. After four more days of what will be epic racing, I'll be heading home for Christmas! It's the first time I will have been home for it in the last 6 years! I get a full two weeks on the ground in New Zealand. Plenty of time to enjoy a rare glimpse of summer as well as cracking on with fitness in the gym. I am beyond excited about it, not that I am any less focused on the challenges that lay before me in the coming days. I feel even more determined to perform my best so I can leave off this first half of the northern season on a good note.
A wee while ago Marc made a trailer-like video called Racing time. It's pretty awesome and I highly recommend having a peak! Feel free to follow Ambition Racing on Facebook for regular updates on the teams progress this season as well!
I hope everyone has a very merry Christmas and of course a happy New Year!
Usually when you head to Europe in the last few days of October, you think the temperature would start to drop and you'd witness a rapid transition from Autumn into Winter. All the stories I've heard of undeniably cold Novembers, up on glaciers in the midst of a windy snow shower have been so incredibly far away from what I've actually experienced for my first early season extravaganza. It has been ridiculously warm since I arrived three weeks ago. Today (it's drizzling) is the first spot of bad weather I've seen so far, although thankfully, it is supposed to get colder this weekend. With all this warmth circulating Europe, decent snow is few and far between, yet we've still managed to squeeze a set of races in already. We were planning on heading to Sweden but with the lack of snow up there my first week or so was spent up Kitzstienhorn, a glacier near our base in Leogang, training GS. We headed over to Solda in Italy for a couple NJR GS races to kick off the season. Despite it being quite flat for a lot of the course, I skied well the first day, placing 10th and scoring my best European result of 40.94 points! The next day I made some mistakes which cost me time I was unable to make up on the flats. Having seen that glacier of Solda was in pretty decent condition we managed to snag some training after the races. We stayed on for another three days, smashing in some decent Slalom training. We headed back to base for the weekend, only to return to Solda on Sunday night to continue training as the variety of pitches and flats combined with the solid snow provided for some epic GS and SL training. Next week we're likely to head back to Italy again for a couple days training and another set of NJR GS races scheduled in Solda (this time on the steeper slope!). So far we are managing well, finding the training we need despite the lack of snow.
It's good to be back with the Ambition crew with a few new faces joining the team! Us internationals are beginning to rival the brits in numbers of our full time team. Joining Marc on the coaching side is Tom White, and the new athletes are Floor van Ameyde from Holland, Rudy Dickson-Sommers from Mexico and Fraser Middleton from Scotland. Also good to catch up with Sabina Majerczyk and her coach who've also been training in Solda. Sabina was skiing with us in the New Zealand season so it was awesome to train with her again. The never ending sun has been great but we really need a snowstorm to set us up for the rest of the winter. Fingers crossed that the temperature sticks to the forecast and it snows in Austria this weekend!!
Spring camp is over and I'm all packed and ready to head to Europe tomorrow to join the Ambition crew. The New Zealand season is well and truly finished but it has been a good one! I've dropped 346 places in my GS World Ranking with my new points at 35.64 placed 436th in the world. It's been nice to have a few warm days here enjoying some Frisbee golf. However, I am glad I'll be skiing again soon. A huge thanks to everyone who helped make this season as good as it was! Especially Nils, Hamish, Robbie and the team.
Here is a compilation of some training and races from this southern season. Enjoy!
Aussie, aussie, aussie! Oi, oi, oi! I was beyond excited about heading to Australia for the ANC races. Not only was I finally getting to ski across the ditch, I was also going to my best friend's home town with the promise that I would definitely see kangaroos just about everywhere. Despite living through it, I still can't quite believe that our 2hr 30min flight was so short in comparison to the 5hr drive we embarked on to get from Sydney to Jindabyne. A distance that looks so minuscule on the map. As usual by the time our entertaining car ride brought us to Jindy, it was already dark so the anticipation of finally seeing the place I'd heard so much about was unfulfilled till the following morning. We had a day before the races began so we headed up to Perisher to bomb around and see what the race pistes looked like. The famous Australian Flat White certainly held its title for a reason. I've been at big resorts before but Perisher felt a little ridiculous. It was so wide but with its tangle of lifts and lack of ridges it felt as though you spent most of your time traversing from one route to another! Nevertheless I was still super excited that I was there! So much so, that despite being on the hunt to see a live kangaroo, I wandered past 4 kangaroos on my way to the tuning room and didn't even notice them till Adam pointed them out... I knew they were pretty big but I didn't realise that most of them were as tall, if not taller than me (Not that that is actually all that hard but still!!)! On another occasion, not far from where we were staying, I was running and saw an entire field full of kangaroos just hanging out. They weren't too impressed with seeing me and scattered which was quite incredible to witness.
Anyway, enough about kangaroos, we were met with a terrible weather report for our weeks races. Armed with our new storm jackets from ONE studio we ventured out into the wind and rain to race some slalom. Lucky for us the wind was so strong that the imposing clouds just rolled overhead all day. I was in 6th after the first run with some tactical changes needed. After the second run I moved up to 3rd also placing as the 2nd U21 scoring a result that exactly tied with my previous best SL result of 53.42. The following day the weather also held out pretty well and again I was round about 6th after the first run with similar mistakes. Second run I improved hugely, coming in second on that run which pulled me up to 4th overall and the 3rd U21 scoring a PB of 48.47! Having cheated the weather the past two days we ran out of luck heading into the GS races. The fog was so bad they lowered the start by about 8 gates and kept pushing the start time back. After a couple hours of set backs the fog lifted from all bar the first couple gates and the race was underway. After the first run I was only 0.20 seconds behind fellow kiwi Piera Hudson and despite a mistake second run, managed to keep relatively hot on her heels, locking in 2nd place in both the open and U21 as well as scoring my best ever GS result with a 34.88! Unfortunately it rained pretty heavily in Jindy overnight and snowed quite a bit up the hill which made for some trying conditions for the next day, considering we didn't have a solid snow pack to start with. The weather repeated itself form the day before and again we lowered the start and were delayed. It was still lightly snowing when we began racing but you could see what you were getting into which was a huge help. Regardless of the rough conditions I was keen to race.
I skied into first with a 0.24 second lead on American, Madison Lord. Because the snow conditions weren't ideal and would have catastrophically crumbled under the weight of the boys, the decision was made to postpone the men's race until the following day and run the girls back to back. This caused some controversy among coaches but it was easy to see that yes, we were already making some holes with our lighter mass but we could still compete in the conditions where as the men would have quickly destroyed the course and potentially themselves as they are heavier and stronger than us girls. I was able to keep the lead in my grasp and earnt my first FIS win in a continental cup race which in itself was pretty awesome. Not only did I win the open and U21 I also scored a 36.39! My new points will be 35.64! Which also halves my world ranking to 415, just outside national C team criteria! Needless to say I was ecstatic! Sadly, with the weather the boys race was cancelled the following day. Instead we packed up and started the long trek back to Sydney. This did mean we were able to spend the afternoon in town being tourists, visiting the Opera house and the Harbor Bridge etc.
We certainly hit the ground running upon arrival back in Queenstown. A days training then straight into the NZ ANC races held at Coronet Peak, the first of these two also being Winter Games events. The first day of this series was slalom. In the second run I somehow managed to catch my pole on the snow and punch myself in the neck. There was a split second where I said to myself "you've got this, you can still make the next gate." I tried to make that happen but I was unable to garner a breath. I had successfully winded myself and shoved my handle 2.5cm lower on my pole... Needless to say I was unable to finish the run. We had some awesome and tough competition in these races and I was incredibly glad I went into them with some ANC points under my belt which guaranteed me a top 15 start despite the amazing points of the first 30 girls. I skied pretty well both days of the GS races but made some silly mistakes which cost me time. I still scored in the 40's for both of them which I'm happy with considering the caliber of the competition. There were sections of my slalom which were good, yet riddled with aspects that need work. The Treble Cone races rounded up the end of the season. I was hit with a stroke of bad luck, especially in the GS where the visibility was great until two people before me (I was bib 18) when the fog crept up, encompassing the course in blinding, never ending sea of mist. The fog was so dense the moisture clung to your goggles making it entirely impossible to see even if you tried to clear it off it would only return within 3 meters. I made up a huge amount of time on my second run but no where near enough to get a result. I'm not too fussed though. I know what I need to do to further improve in both disciplines it's just a matter of consistency at the moment.
I must say a huge thanks to Nils Coberger, my amazing coach, without you hammering my technique and your insistence that I was capable, I wouldn't have achieved what I did this season. Also thanks to Hamish and Robbie, you guys are hilariously brilliant in the start and a motivational presence in training, same goes for my awesome team mates. It's been a wicked season so far and I'm excited to continue to stretch my abilities in training on and off the snow here in NZ for a couple more months before heading over to Europe.
Snow sports NZ has put together an awesome compilation of last weeks Slalom national champs. Check it out below:
Well it has been a busy couple weeks but first of all there are a few people I'd like to thank. Firstly, XTM Performance who supply the team with really good gloves and ski socks. They arrived just in time as the day before I cracked up the knuckles of my old pair! One Square Meal for the box of OSM bars. And I want to say a huge thanks to Dave Stewart for kitting me out with a new ONE Studio race suit! I absolutely love it and am proud to wear a kiwi-made suit! Lucky for me the suit arrived in time for my first race at Cardrona. This GS was quite different to what we train as it was flat and soft but I skied pretty well and managed to secure 2nd place which was a good way to kick off racing this season!
Between the Cardy race and the series at Coronet Peak, my team mate, Nick Prebble, and I visited Queenstown Primary school as part of the Winter Games schools engagement program. We got to talk to them a bit about the Winter Games, what its like to be a ski racer etc. The Year 2's were a fantastic bunch of kids. They had some good questions and were all up for a game Nick and I threw together that involved a bit of slalom. It was awesome to see such enthusiasm. Check out more pics of it in Gallery under 'the wonderful world of people'.
We were met with an encompassing fog for the National GS champs at Coronet Peak on Sunday. It looked as though it would clear and it did... only after the first half of the girls had battled down the course. The fog is manageable, it is the ice in it that causes problems. It attaches onto your goggles making it neigh on impossible to see. Despite the visibility I skied into 3rd after the first run. Lo and behold the cloud drifted off as the boys raced their first run, then reinstalled as a snowy cloud for our second run. On the bright side the snowflakes were far easier to see through. I was determined to make the most of this opportunity and skied really well until the second to last gate which I took too straight, giving myself an interesting line which ended up in me crashing through the last gate... An unfortunate and gut-wrenching end but nevertheless there was another GS the following day. The weather picked itself up and was stunning for this, the Coronet Cup GS. First run I had some solid skiing, again placing 3rd after the first run. Second run was technically sound but lacked charge and I dropped back to 4th. This brought us into the Slalom section of the race series. Despite making several mistakes I managed to sneak in as the 3rd New Zealander for the SL National champs race. The last day of racing showed some improvements from the previous day which is good and amongst a tough field I placed a solid 9th. I've got some really positive things to take out of this series. Especially that what I'm doing in training is, for the most part, also being brought into races.
Although my National Champs experience was a bit of a roller coaster my team mates absolutely nailed it. Nick and Willis battling it out for the title in the GS with Adam not far behind. Willis smashed in an amazing second run to beat Nick to the National GS title and scoring PB points. He also won the second day of GS scoring another PB which takes his World ranking from 190 to 105 which is the best NZ male world ranking in 20 years! He also managed to pip Adam in the Slalom after another tight battle to take the National Slalom title as well! All three placing on the podium for both SL and GS national champ races. For more info on all that and to keep up with the team check out Ski Racing NZ's Facebook page.
A huge thanks to Coronet Peak for setting up a sweet race series. We now have a weeks training before heading over to Australia for the Perisher ANC's. I'm super excited for these as the last time I was in Aussie I was 2 so I haven't skied there before! Here's to a sweet rest of the season.