Sunday, November 28, 2010

Out of the sun and into the freezer

On Wednesday I left Melbourne at a beautiful 35˚C and arrived in Austria at minus 25˚C. A 60˚ temperature drop in 24 hours. Definitely a shock to the body!

I am now back at Stubai Glacier in Austria, where we spent two weeks training in October. Things are looking a little different now compared to when I was here 5 weeks ago. The valley is white and the sun makes an appearance for only a limited number of hours each day. Lets just say it’s no longer ‘Sound of Music’ green like it was in spring. This is Europe in November!

It is still beautiful however. The rugged mountains are snow capped, and fresh snow blankets all the trees.

(Trees covered in fresh snow)

(Heading up to Stubai Glacier at 3200m)

(Windy at the peak. Photo courtesy of Anton)

(The snow cat prepares the skier cross track)

After we arrived on Thursday morning, I spent about 5 hours at a special race boot-fitting shop to get my new Nordica boots sorted. Unlike any normal ski boot, race boots need to be extremely tight. My ski boots are in fact 2 sizes smaller than my normal shoes.
I had foam-liners made, which is a custom-fitting boot liner. Foam is injected into the liner through tubes in order to mould perfectly to your feet. The boots now fit like a glove. They’re tight and a bit painful, but extremely responsive. Any tiny move with your foot is transferred straight to your skis and onto snow.

(Foam injected liners)

We have now had two days training on snow. It is great to be back on skis again. I always love the feeling of that first run when you haven’t skied in a while (not that 5 weeks is a very long time… although for me it feels like ages!)

(Windy, eery and cold on the glacier)

(Covered head-to-toe in -25 degrees)

(Anton Grimus and I)

We are training on a skier cross track up in the glacier, working on features and some head-to-head skiing. After a week of training here, we will head to Hintertux glacier for some training with the German team. They have a start gate set up there as well as a small course. Then our first competition of the season kicks off with a Europa Cup in Pitztal, Austria. This will be a great chance to practice before the first World Cup of the season one week later in San Candido, Italy.

Until then, Auf Wiedersehen!