Friday, February 19, 2010

Out of the village and into the competition house

Training at Mt. Washington on Vancouver Island was fantastic. We had two really great days up on the ski cross track, working on starts and strategy. The Swedes were also preparing for the big race ahead, so it was great to have some good girls to train with out of the start.

(The Swedes. A sneaky peak at their Olympic uniform)

Yesterday Scott and I took the 8:30am ferry back to Vancouver mainland. The ferry was packed with spectators heading into Vancouver to see Olympic events. Some were even excited to meet two Aussie Olympians!

We spent the night in the Village, and enjoyed the men’s spectacular snowboard halfpipe event, which we watched with a group of athletes from all around the world on a big screen in the ‘Vitamin Bar.’ My photo with Shawn White just last week is now a prized possession! He is now a two-time Olympic Gold medallist.

(Two-time Olympic gold medalist Shawn White and I)

Today we packed our stuff yet again (for about the 30th time this season) and moved into the sub-site, which is located in West Vancouver, closer to Cypress mountain where the ski cross will take place. These houses are used by the Cypress athletes leading up to their event. Things just get so crazy in the village; there’s so much going on, particularly now with athletes finishing their events (as you can imagine, they are in party mode…), so it’s nice to stay in a calmer environment in order to relax, rest up and prepare for the upcoming event.

We ventured up to Cypress Mountain at around midday to do some ski testing. Basically this involves skiing in a straight line using timing to determine which is the fastest pair of skis. All of my skis are the same, however tiny miniscule differences in the base and structure could mean that one pair is slightly faster than the other. We don’t leave anything to chance! I want the fastest possible pair of skis for race day, even if it is only a difference of a tenth of a second. Every millisecond counts in this sport.

(Marcos, the ski technician, and myself at the top of the testing track)

Today was my first day up on the mountain. I knew Cypress was struggling for snow, but I didn’t realise how bare it really was! It was hot enough today to wear a t-shirt around. It kind of reminded me of home… skiing in Australia in a bad season! Thankfully they’ve got plenty of snow on the track, and my god it looks big! I’m so excited to ski it. Some of the jumps look enourmous, particularly the final jump into the finish. It has to be over 70-80 feet. The grand stand is huge. I have a mixture of nerves and excitement thinking about what it will be like to ski in front of over 5,000 people (plus millions more on TV) in only a few days time!

(Looking a bit dry at Cypress Mountain - on the opposite side of the SX track)

(A view of the ski cross track and the stadium)

On the way down the mountain, we took the opportunity to take a few snaps of the city. The weather is incredible. Sunny and warm. Just how the Aussies like it!

(A view of Vancouver city from Cypress Mountain)

(The Lion Gate bridge and the harbour, connecting the city with West Van)

Training on the track starts tomorrow. Let the fun begin!

(My Olympic Uniform. And this isn't even all of it!)