Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Crepes, baguettes and Ski Cross racing

After our epic 13-hour journey from Austria, right through Italy and then into France, we finally arrived in Alpes D’Huez on Sunday night. I really enjoyed the race here last year. The course was a lot of fun; fast with big jumps, and the off piste skiing is phenomenal. Plus the hotel we stay at is great… there are not many times I can say that whilst travelling in Europe on the Freestyle ski circuit.

After our training day on Monday, I was feeling confident and excited to race. Like last year, the course is lots of fun. Definitely more of a real ski cross track compared with the last two races. It’s fast with some big jumps, as opposed to GS turns with a few small step-downs. Scary at first but once I skied it once, all I wanted to do was go around for another!

Yesterday in qualifications I finished 18th, just 0.2 of a second from qualifying for finals in the top 16. Frustratingly close! I was disappointed that I didn’t qualify, however 18th is still a great result; a big improvement from than the past 3 races. It’s a step in the right direction, and hopefully it will give me a boost of confidence going into the next World Cup.

Fortunately it decided to snow pretty hard after the race yesterday afternoon and into the night, so today I made the most of the blue skies, sunshine and fresh snow and went powder skiing. The amount of accessible terrain here is unbelievable. Unfortunately the very top gondola was closed due to avalanche control, however that didn’t stop us from finding some untouched deep powder. I dragged myself back to the race to watch finals, and support my teammate Scott Kneller. Unfortunately he didn’t make it through the first round.

Tomorrow we pack our bags again and head to Les Contamines, France, for the next World Cup. I’m feeling fit and strong and excited for another race ahead!

(Spectacular morning sunrise at Alpes D'Huez)

(Ski cross race start)

(The morning of Qualifications on Tuesday)

(Course inspection - step down)

(Exhausted at the bottom of the course after the training day) 

(Excited to use my fatty's for today's powder day)

(Windy at the top!)

(Anton's destroyed ski after he hit a rock)

(The track)

(Men's finals)