After a long 4-stage flight yesterday, I made it back home from Europe for a little break to rest up and refuel with a home-cooked meal before the next stage of my season.
The Europe trip ended up being quite productive, beginning with a training block on the Stubai glacier in Austria. With a nice moderate slope and fairly hard snow, it was great place for me to get back on snow and get comfortable on my skis again. I had a few good days of training before a weather front moved in and dropped a foot of snow on top of the alps. Unfortunately, the snow became soft and spoiled the training for the last few days, and there wasn’t quite enough cover to go powder skiing. I was off to go ski indoors though, so any bad weather thereafter was out of the equation.
After the training session, I traveled 6 hours east from the high alps down to the lowlands of France to find a warehouse built on the side of a small hill. Inside, was a shallow slope and with no new snowfall indoors and no snow recycling, it was some of the iciest snow I’ve ever skied on. Hard snow is always what a racer is looking for, but in this case, the snow was littered with small stones and sand which dulled my skis as soon as I put them on edge and the skis barely lasted one run before losing grip with the inclined ice rink. I ended up putting a 5 degree side bevel on my edges to make them as sharp as possible. That made my skis quite a bit more aggressive, which I believe was part of the reason that led to my straddle of a gate and an early end to my day during the first run of the race.
We drove another two hours into Holland to the next indoor race at SnowWorld. The snow conditions here ended up being much better where the snow was still bulletproof minus the scattered rocks, providing infinitely more grip. My performance in the race was not the fastest on the 22-second course when compared to the World Cup skiers in the field. The slope was very flat from start to finish, which is not exactly the type of hill I perform my best on, but I still felt solid on my skis and I’m excited to get back to ski in the mountains.
Overall, it was a great trip to start off the fall, with a quality training block to get me back on my skis. Even though I didn’t have the results in the opening Europa Cups, it is still very early in the year and there is plenty of time to prepare for the full season.
After my short break here at home, I am headed to join up with the U.S. Ski Team tomorrow to begin training at Loveland and Copper Mt., preparing for the Nor-Am series races in the beginning of December. It will be nice to stay at home in Colorado for the next month and gain valuable experience with the U.S. Team. I’m definitely looking forward to it.