I'm amazed we made it out of that place... what a crazy weekend! Before heading to Val d'Isere, we heard that it had been non-stop snowing there since December 1st. After watching the men's GS and SL race, it was clear that there was a ridiculous amount of snow and that the world cup races were difficult to host. It's tough to turn 3 meters of fluffy powder into compact, raceable snow, but the crew in Val d'Isere did an incredible job to make it happen.
On the day that we arrived in Val d'Isere (Monday), it was still dumping snow. We had Tuesday off, and woke up to even more snow falling from the sky, with hopes that it would clear for our training runs and races. Incredibly, when we woke up on Wednesday morning, the skies were bluer than my eyes and completely cloudless. So our first training run was a bit soft and slow, but fun nonetheless. After training I couldn't help but head out to powder ski... two years ago when our Super G race got canceled (due to 1 meter of new snow over night!), we went exploring on our powder skis. I think about that day of free skiing a lot--the snow was so fun and the runs were so steep and challenging. So I had to go out again....
Alice, Julia, and Anna (Julia's physio) joined me for some shredding Wednesday afternoon. The snow was perfect--it was such a cold day, and there were so many areas left untracked, it was hard to call it a day. But with another training run on Thursday and two races on the following days, I knew I had to save a bit of energy. The powder skiing was so refreshing. It's pretty rare that we head out for free skiing off of the runs that we train and race on, but it feels good to get away from all of the intensity that we endure within the ski racing world. It is restoring and allows me to gain a balanced perspective, which I sometimes forget about. It's easy to get caught up in pressure and expectations, and by free skiing I somehow can relieve myself of those negative feelings.
The second training day was very different from the first. The lights were out and it was impossible to see the ground. The snow hardened up a bit, but was definitely bumpier and it felt a bit faster. Come race day and the weather seemed to be cooperating (despite previous reports), it was somewhat sunny and, although the start was moved down due to wind, the wind was relatively calm up top. I had bib 28, and I felt pretty good about the day. When I went I noticed that the light was pretty flat and it was a bit windy up top, though none of that mattered since I lost control and went out on the 5th gate anyhow.... It was a tough race, the course was pretty bumpy and conditions changed throughout the day, but that is part of our sport. I was pretty bummed to have gotten tossed out of the course, but when I got to the bottom I saw that Leanne was in 2nd. NUTS!
I am so psyched for Leanne to have gotten her first podium. I would have guessed that she was going to do it in Super G, but she had a great run and put it together to do it in Downhill. It is so crazy to see all of my teammates skiing so fast. It is inspiring and also comforting, because I know I can be right there with them. I know luck will come my way one of these days and my hard work will pay off. I am just going to enjoy the ride, and trust that I'll ski well as long as I am having fun.
After an excruciatingly long drive yesterday to Sölden (10 hours!), I am enjoying a day off: watching some ski racing (women's and men's world cup GS), doing some laundry, and catching up on emails, blog posts, etc. I am staying here in Sölden for a few days of training before heading back home for x-mas. I am happy to have a few days to train and figure out some equipment issues I have been having, but I am already missing the race scene and can't wait for St. Anton. Until then, I'll post some pictures, videos, etc. of my travels and adventures. I am in the perfect place....
a funny angle of beautiful snow
scoping it out
walking through town (later we got to ski through town...!)
yewww enjoying some pow
adventures to and from, here and there, home and away, around the world--through my eyes, lens, and mind