Sunday, January 9, 2011

St Johann, Austria

A long and eventful 12 months later and we’re back in St. Johann, Austria. This is where the ski cross World Cup circuit began to get interesting last season! A bulletproof, ice-injected hill held at night under lights with a crowd of over 5,000 people. Not your normal World Cup!

We arrived on Tuesday night after training in Lienz. Official training was held on Wednesday afternoon, with an official welcome dinner on Wednesday night. The athletes had an opening ceremony march followed by a traditional Austrian dinner. The entertainment provided on the night was quite amusing. Austrian men in short shorts dancing the traditional Austrian “Holtzhacker”.

(Traditional Austrian summer house in Zettersfeld) 

(Team Australia)

(Austrian men dancing in Lederhosen)

Qualifications were on Thursday. I qualified 23rd, so again, not enough for finals which was disappointing. I was just over half a second from 16th position (cut-off for finals), which shows how tight it is! I feel that I am skiing well at the moment, but I just haven’t been able to translate it to racing. I made a mistake on the flat at the bottom which was enough to cost me a spot in the finals. The competition amongst the girls is fierce this year, so you can’t afford to make any mistakes.

(Qualifications at St. Johann World Cup)

To make up for my disappointment, I took a ride with a rally car driver in the new Mercedes. They had a track where they took public for a wild ride on the ice. They drive how I ski!

(Bea and I (Marcos, our Spanish ski technicians' daughter) ready to go for a ride) 

(The final jump into the finish) 

(Anton and I watching finals)

Yesterday, the morning after finals, we made the epic journey from Austria, right through Italy and finally to France. 13 hours in total! The only thing positive from the long journey was a quick pit stop in Oulx, Italy, where I have spent a lot of time living and training over the past 5 years. We stopped for what is, in my opinion, the world’s best crepe!

(Yum! Apple and cinnamon crepe) 

We are now in Alpes D’Huez, France, which is most famous for the Tour de France hill climb. Tomorrow is official training, followed by qualifications on Tuesday and finals on Wednesday. Until then, au revoir!