The 2013 season is coming to a close with only a couple of races left. I had a great month of January, which was big and very important for establishing myself among the top 30 in world rank and in the season standings. Three weeks after the Kitzbuhel slalom, the World Championships in Schladming, Austria were an amazing spectacle to be a part of, but they didn’t quite work out the way I had hoped. I had a great few days of training and felt at the top of my game going into the race, but ended up getting a bit out of balance on the pitch and straddled a gate on the long steep pitch dropping into the finish stadium. It’s just the way it goes sometimes. Oh well.
After that, it was another three weeks before the World Cup tour resumed in Kranjska Gora last week. During the break, we made a trip over to Sochi, Russia to preview the
Powder Day in Russia!
Olympic venue. It was very different there with so much construction everywhere to get themselves ready for the big show. And lots of security too. We were required to go through airport type screenings to ride up the gondola to training. It was a good experience to get a feeling of the place as I push towards that Olympic spot for next year. We got a bonus powder day in as well when we arrived, one of the best I’ve ever had. The lift accessed terrain is amazing and you can really go ski anywhere you choose and as extreme as you’d like.
For the Kranjska Gora World Cup last week some brutal weather accompanied the warm front that came through. It poured rain all night before the slalom and into the day as well, which made for some really tough conditions. It was tough to be close at all to the skiers running first, but I was skiing pretty well and solid. Towards the end of my first run, I turned into a gate a bit early and my skis hooked up on the shelf rut and hooked the gate.
Another DNF in Kranjska, but I skied well enough throughout the season to qualify for World Cup finals this weekend in Lenzerheide, Switzerland. Only the top 25 skiers in the season standings qualify; I was 21st. That is very exciting for me and definitely a goal for the year. I am also guaranteed to stay in the top 30 in the world rankings (a little different that season standings) going into next year. Only the top 15 score World Cup points at World Cup finals so no use holding back here!
Then it’s back to the States for US Nationals! Finally coming back for the first time since Christmas. I’m going to have myself a burrito.
Just a quick update from Schladming, Austria. We’ve been training here for the last week. The snow is great and I’m all ready to go! Ted Ligety has had an amazing World Championship run with three gold medals. Very inspiring and time for me to step up! Bib 25 tomorrow (Sunday 10 am CET start) so be sure to tune in and cheer me on if you can.
The second slalom in January went super well in Adelboden, Switzerland! The hill is tough and it’s got a lot of terrain on the top and then you drop onto the steepest pitch that we see on tour. Very cool but tough!
Anyway, I haven’t exactly had the best track record on the hill so I skied a bit conservatively, but solid, and came down into 20th place, just what I wanted. I set myself up well and had the confidence to rip a second run in great snow conditions. I came into the lead and held it for almost ten more racers. I ended up with the 2nd fastest run and 10th overall! Best career result yet.
That result put me 31st in the World Cup start list standings, but with a couple injured racers ahead of me in the standings, I’m starting 29 tomorrow here in Wengen, Switzerland. My first start in the top 30. I hope to keep it rolling!
January is here, which means slalom month is here! Beginning with the Zagreb slalom last Sunday, we have four slaloms this month, one every weekend, which means opportunities every week.
Zagreb was a tough one. The conditions were really rough, skiing through a thick fog layer and rain. It was difficult to see anything the first run, but I battled through a few bobbles and made it to the finish with a solid 26th place, just enough. The visibility improved for the second run. I was charging and had a really good one going, then made a pretty costly mistake on the long flats of the hill where I lost quite a bit of time. I kept focus to the finish luckily and ended up with a pretty fast run despite almost going out. Sixth on the run and 18th overall. Definitely happy to add some more World Cup points to my name. I checked my split times afterwards and saw that I was second on the top, 27th (near last) on the middle with the mistake, and I won the bottom split by 0.2 seconds. The video above will show you the recap. With those times, I have to believe that if I keep skiing the way I am, a good result will come soon!
We are now in Adelboden, Switzerland for the next slalom race tomorrow. Wengen next weekend and Kitzbuhel the following Sunday to wrap up slalom month. Thanks to everyone for rooting for me and the continued support! I’m having a lot of fun.
We just finished our free ski session on the Madonna di Campiglio slalom hill. The hill is injected and the snow is hard. It looks like it could get a little bumpy, but we are ready to go for tomorrow’s night race. 5:45 pm (CET) start time, I am running bib #33.
In other exciting news, I’ve partnered up with Tirol Top Hotelsfor this week, a hotel booking site for the tirol region of Austria. Check out the headgear sponsor!
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