Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas the Sicilian way

Unfortunately the opening World Cup’s of the season in San Candido didn’t quite go to plan. I skied well in training, however didn’t manage to lay down extremely fast runs in qualifications. The level and depth of competition in the women’s has really stepped up this year, which is great to see. There were 42 girls in the start, and only the top 16 qualified for finals. I finished 28th on the first day, and 22nd on the second day.

(Jen, Sami and I on race day) 

(The Germans and the Aussies watching training from the side)

(What's not more Aussie than a kick of the footy in the backstreets of San Candido)

I have just spent five days in Palermo, Sicily, with my sister and Italian relatives. I have had a great time; a true to Italian-style Christmas. It was quite a “family” event, with plenty of great food and wine.

(La famiglia!)

(View of Palermo from a rooftop)

(My sister Giulia and I happy to be spending Christmas together)

(La Pandorra.... Italian Christmas cake. So good!)

Yesterday I met the team back in Austria, where we will spend the next week training for the St. Johann World Cup event, which is on the 6th and 7th of January. I’m looking forward to this event. It’s the biggest and most renowned on the circuit, and usually attracts thousands of fans to the ‘night’ race under lights. Will keep you updated with results!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Back to San Can for the season opener

After 3 weather days in Saas Fee, where the risk of avalanche meant the top lifts were closed, we finally managed to get a great day of training on the ski cross track with the Swedish and Swiss National Ski Cross Teams. Although the track was short, it was great to hit some jumps, and get back into some head-to-head competition.

(Anton and I at the base of the gondi in Saas Fee)

(The sun is finally shining after 3 days of snow and fog)

 (High winds at the peak)

On Saturday we had an early start (4am), and drove for 10 hours back to Stubai, and then to Leogang, Austria. A long day! We has a quick pit-stop at the Innsbruck Christmas markets, which is one of my all-time favourites in Europe. We spent the next two days training with the Aussie Development Ski Cross Team, pulling starts out of a brand new start gate.

 (The Australian Ski Cross Team in Zettersfeld, Austria)

(Showing off our new race uniform... yes, we look like zee Germans)
 (The ultimate afternoon training snack... peanut butter and banana on toast, and a Milo. Reminds me of home!)

 (A beautiful old building in Innsbruck old town)

(Anton rocking a pretty sweet mo)

Yesterday we arrived in San Candido, Italy, where the first Ski Cross World Cup of the season is held every season. After months and months of training, I'm excited to get back into racing again. Today we maximized our day off by checking out some prospective Sochi 2014 uniforms for Australia. I think we found a winner...

(How convenient! The All-In-One... jacket, hood, face mask AND goggles)

We also dropped by my all-time favourite pizzeria, Il Teatro, for a 'Buon Gustaio'. I've been hanging out for that delicious pizza since we were here last year!

Tomorrow we have qualifications, and then finals on Saturday. There's a big field of athletes here, with 42 girls and 75 boys. Should be a great race! Until next time...

Monday, December 5, 2011

Back in Europe and praying for snow

After loading up my ski bag with boxes and boxes of Carmen’s muesli bars, Milo, and some Cadbury hazelnut chocolate (the good stuff…), I am all set for the four-month winter season ahead.

Last Tuesday I left Melbourne at a sunny 35 degrees, and arrived in Munich where it was just below zero. A bit of a shock to the body at first, but it’s not particularly cold for Europe at this time of year. In fact there’s not much snow at all. It doesn’t look like it’s snowed once since we left Europe back in October.

(Something cute I saw in Austria during my travels...)

(Marcos and the van)

(It's times like these when I wish I did beach volleyball. All I'd need is a couple pairs of bathers instead of all of this!)

Luckily, there’s still snow sitting up on the glaciers above 3,200m. We went back to Stubai glacier for a few days of training, and now we’re in Saas Fee, Switzerland. I’ve skied a few glaciers over the past few years… Stubai, Hintertux, Molltaller, Blackcomb, just to name a few, but I’ve never experienced anything like Saas Fee. The sheer size of this glacier is spectacular. Blue ice walls that extend for hundreds of metres above sheer rock cliffs looks like something out of an Everest movie. It’s almost like a surreal lunar experience, being up on the glacier with hardly anyone around and an endless expanse of snow, rock shelves and ice.

(Sass Fee, Switzerland)

 (Check out the ice wall behind the t-bar station)

(Not a bad view when you're in the start gate)

(The clouds creeping up)

(Sami, Nick and Anton crammed into the electric car 'commuter' in Saas Fee)

We’re here training on a ski cross track with the Swiss and Swedish National Teams, in preparation for the first world cup of the season which is in just under two weeks away now.

Fingers crossed Europe gets some more snow before then, otherwise it could be an interesting race!