Firstly, check out the new photos from 2011!
Gruss Gott from Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. The NZ team has finally reached the World Champs. The last few weeks have been a good build up to the race, despite my clumsiness resulting in a few stitches in my chin and some nice skiers’ back pain. During the championships we will be racing 3 events; Super-G, Giant Slalom and Slalom. This is a bit of a ridiculous update. I intended to write it before the races started, and sat down to do so 2 days ago, but was all hyped up and unable to string a sentence together. So, spoiler alert, I finished a career best 31st in the World Champs Super-G yesterday. Read on for the story!
The last 2 weeks have been a bumpy ride, literally and metaphorically. We raced our second European Cup race of the season, which was challenging, and once again saw neither Ben nor I posting results. We switched to Super-G in order to get ready for the World Cup race last weekend and the World Champs. Super-G is my preferred discipline, the one I finished 38th in the Olympics last January and 36th at the 2009 World Championships. So to start the block we raced 2 FIS Super-G races in Austria, which went relatively well. I finished around my rankings.
We decided that prior to the World Champs we needed some training and some high level experience. So naturally a week of training on very icy snow with members of the US and Swiss ski teams, followed by a World Cup race was in order. The training was fantastic, except I managed to split my chin open and get a few stitches, irritate a disc in my back, sprain a thumb ligament and contract a nice cold. Bugger. Nevertheless I bit the bullet and decided to race the World Cup Super-G in Hinterstoder, Austria. In our sport the World Cup is a season long series, and the highest level of racing. It is one of my ultimate goals, to become competitive on World Cup. Hinterstoder was steep, turny, icy and bumpy. It was tough. And honestly, I failed to rise to the occasion. I had numerous mistakes and finished 52nd (or, put more simply, last). To be fair, though, I was the second last ranked athlete at the start, so it was not unexpected. Unfortunately Ben failed to finish.
Needless to say this did not fill me with confidence for the World Championships! However I am proud to say that I stepped it up yesterday in the Super-G. Once again the course was very icy and bumpy, and competition was tough. I finished 31st, just one hundredth of a second off 30th position. A top-30 finish was my ultimate goal, so I have to be happy with the finish! Ben was just on my tail in 32nd with a bit of a rough ride and a few mistakes too.
We have a few days of training, some warm up races and then the GS and Slalom World Champs next week. Ben will be an automatic starter in the GS as he is in the top-50 at start. I will have to finish top-25 in a qualifying event the previous day, and we will both have to qualify in the Slalom.