Saturday, October 16, 2010
To end what has already been an incredible two weeks of skiing, I can now tick off the list Europe’s highest bungy jump….192m! Renowned as one of the most breathtaking and challenging bungy jumping sites (the third largest in the world in fact), the bungy site is right off the spectacular Europa Bridge in Innsbruck, Austria. With a free fall time of over 5 seconds and a maximum speed of up to 120km/hour, it was pretty damn scary but also an incredible adrenaline rush!
(Once you past this sign, there's no turning back!)
I’ve been fantasising about the jump…even dreaming about it at night… for the past three days since a Swedish friend mentioned it to me. Since then it’s been my mission to convince the rest team to join me! At first they thought it was a crazy idea, but I finally succeeded in getting Anton and Scotty to also jump.
I arrived at the bungy site excited but also super nervous! I have bungy jumped twice before, but neither of them compared to the mammoth size of this one! Once we were harnessed up, we walked about halfway across the bridge along the pedestrian path until we finally reached these little old rickety ladders. We hooked ourselves on with our carabineers and climbed down to a platform beneath the bridge where the launch site was. By this stage I was so nervous, frightened and excited I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry!
(Scotty and I excited for the jump)
(Anton and I on our way to the bungy site)
(View off the Europa Bridge. Long way down!)
(Dodgy ladder leading to bungy site beneath)
Anton was first to take the plunge, then Scotty. I was last up from the opposite platform. After the famous countdown from 5 in German (by request of course as opposed to English…. When in Rome!) I attempted a swan dive off the platform, however because of fear, nerves and the shear weight of the rope, it turned into more of a collapse and tumble off the platform! Either way, I was off and falling…
The decent was so long and fast… I was just waiting for the rope to tighten! Then came the rebound where it felt like I was flung almost all the way back up to the take-off! The scariest part was probably hanging upside down about 40m from the ground waiting for them to pull me back up again.
(The launch pad)
(Anton on his way up)
(Taking the plunge)
(Still free falling after 5 seconds...)
(I couldn't wipe the grin off my face for hours after the jump....)
All in all, I’m very glad I did it! Worth every penny, and something I’ll remember forever.
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Today we trained at Hintertux, about a 1 and a ½ hour drive from Stubai. It is a massive glacier where a large number of ski teams train early on in the season.
Once again we were greeted by hectic gondola lines where Europeans seem to have no concept of what a line actually is. There’s pushing and shoving from everyone, even kids from about the age of 5 (they’re obviously trained young by their parents!) Absolute mayhem to get onto the gondola!
Once we reached the peak at 3250m, the long journey was well worth it. Hintertux has some incredible skiing terrain, with plenty of long steep runs. They are also one of the only resorts in Austria to build a terrain park this early in the season, so we made the most of it and practised our jumping.
We also joined the Norwegian, German and Swedish world cup ski cross teams in some ski cross training. They had a start gate and small course set up with a few turns, rollers and jumps. It was fun to catch up with everyone again, and also to get back into the head-to-head competition. I am now really excited to start racing world cups again in December!
Over the next few days we will be training at Stubai glacier, again working on technical skiing, GS and super g. This camp has been absolutely incredible for my skiing. Long consistent runs with great hard snow, perfect blue bird weather and training all day… I couldn’t have asked for anything more.
Sunday, October 10, 2010
Yesterday after a morning of training super G with the Swedish Development Ski Team, we headed to Innsbruck, a half hour drive, for a gym session and dinner in the old town. If you're ever in Innsbruck and feel like Mexican, you must try Flo Jo's... best fajita's!
Today was a scheduled day off. After five full days of training on snow at high altitude as well as physical training in the afternoons, we were all pretty exhausted! We decided to make the most of the beautiful weather and check out the Grawa Wasserfall (waterfall), just a 10 minute drive up the valley towards Stubai Glacier.
We hiked to the top and managed to get pretty close to the fast flowing waterfall. Here are the best shots from the day...
(Vibrant greenery in the forest)
(View of the valley)
(Sami and I beneath the waterfall)
(Anton getting up close and personal)
(You've got to have at least one cliche tourist shot....)
(Team Shot. Thanks to whoever invented the self-timer.... genius!)
(Bloody Australians harassing the local Austrian police officer)
Tomorrow we're back on snow training super G with the Swedish development ski team again. Weather's looking good, so it should be another great week of training!
Friday, October 8, 2010
Training is going incredibly well here in Stubai Glacier, Austria. I honestly couldn't ask for anything more... the snow is firm, the sun in shining and there's no need for hand warmers! One week training here is equivalent to one month training back at home (I love Mt Buller and always will but it just can't match the long runs here...)
(Excited for the perfect bluebird day ahead)
(Absolutely buggered after a long day's training)
Yesterday after a long day of GS and Super G training, we headed back down to the valley where it's basically like summer again. We enjoyed a coffee by the river in a t-shirt, shorts and thongs (true to the Aussie style) and then once again used the cold glacier river for recovery.
(Soaking up the sun at a cafe by the river)
(Our interpretation of a recovery session... very high-tech!)
Today we made the most of the sunny weather and decided to once again visit the look-out point at 3200m. The stair hike was tough but completely worth it! Check out the views...
(Climb to the look-out point)
(A view of the glacier from the peak)
(Australian Ski Cross Team, Anton Grimus, Sami Kennedy, Katya Crema and Scott Kneller)
(Anton showing off his mullet)
(The glacier from the gondola)
(Panoramic shot of the surrounding mountains)
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
For those of you who have missed them, the regular blogs are back!
We started the northern winter early this year with a two-week training camp in Stubai Glacier, Austria. The enormous glacier with a peak at 3200m is open year-round for skiing.
The Australian National Ski Cross Team, consisting of myself and three others, as well as the coach and ski technician, all arrived here in Austria on Monday.
We didn’t get off to a great start on day 1. It was foggy and pouring with rain (it actually reminded me a little of skiing back at home in Australia!). We also managed to get a little lost at the very beginning of the day. In search of the restaurant that was supposedly at the top of the mountain, we ended up hiking up around 200 steps to nothing but a lookout point. For our first day at high altitude, it was hard work! The view definitely would have been worth it on a clear day.
Today we had an amazing day skiing. There are a number of teams training at Stubai, including some world cup alpine teams. The conditions were great, and the training is ideal.
(Heading up to Stubai Glacier)
(Emerging from the fog...)
After four hours training at such high altitude, we were pretty exhausted and happy to come back down to Neustift, the town we are staying in. The weather down in the valley was beautiful, around 25 degrees this afternoon…probably hotter than Melbourne at the moment! The four of us went exploring and managed to find a hiking trail in the mountains. Then we finished off the session by deciding to sit in the river with fast flowing glacial water… frickin’ cold but good recovery!
(Stubai Glacier in the background)
(Bush walking in the woods)
We’ll be training here for the next two weeks before we head back home to Australia. Will keep you posted!