Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Ski Cross tragedy

The past two days here in Switzerland have been an absolute emotional rollercoaster. On Saturday 10th March, the skiing community lost an amazing athlete and friend. Nik Zoricic of Canada passed away after a fatal crash in the ski cross World Cup in Grindelwald. He was 29 years old. In what was shaping up to be a beautiful sunny day in the Swiss Alps, ended tragically when Nik crashed into the finish area safety nets off the last jump in finals. In a statement from the International Ski Federation, Nik died of “severe neurotrauma” soon after he was flown by helicopter to Interlaken hospital. 

Unsurprisingly, the final two World Cups of the season were cancelled.

Nik was an incredibly talented athlete, achieving two World Cup podiums in his career, one being less than two months ago in Les Contamines, France.

Yesterday the entire ski cross community, including over 200 athletes, coaches and officials, came together at the top of the race course to remember Nik Zoricic. We all wore blue jeans in memory of Nik’s first ever ski cross World Cup in Cyprus Mountain, Canada, where he sported blue jeans in the race. It was an extremely emotional day as we all skied down the course together one final time as a group. We then placed roses at the accident site in the finish area, beside a burning fire and a photo of Nik. In the afternoon we all got together for a curling match. In was nice to have a few laughs together, and to remember Nik for all the good times we had with him.

My heart goes out to Nik’s family and friends back home, as well as the Canadian Ski Cross Team and the entire skiing community. It is a devastating loss and one that I will never forget.

The World Cup season is now officially over and I am on my way home via America. I am spending one week in Aspen, Colorado where I am planning on taking it easy and enjoying the mountains. I am looking forward to freeskiing without a schedule to attend to. After such an upsetting experience like this, I think it’s important to remind myself how much I love skiing, and not to take any second of it for granted.

(Nik Zoricic of the Canadian Ski Cross Team) 


(The Australian Ski Cross Team wearing our blue jeans in memory of Nik)

(Chris Del Bosco and Davey Barr of the Canadian Ski Cross Team)

(The Memorial)
(The afternoon curling match)
(Grindelwald World Cup)

Saturday, March 10, 2012

A sad day for ski cross. RIP Nik.

Today the entire skiing community lost an incredible athlete and friend. Nik Zoricic from Canada passed away after a crash in the Ski Cross World Cup in Grindelwald, Switzerland. He was an amazing athlete who died doing what he loved, and my heart goes out to his friends and family.
Rest in piece Nick.
You will be missed.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Short-lived finals in Branäs

My result here in Branäs, Sweden, wasn’t quite what I was hoping for.
I posted the 10th fastest time in qualifications, which was a solid result; my third top-10 World Cup qualification for the season. Finals today were very shortly lived unfortunately. It felt like it was over before it had even begun. I pulled out of the start gate aggressively, wanting more than anything to progress through to the semi finals. Then before I knew it, I hit the ground and was on my side sliding down the hill right after the first turn. I got caught up with the Swiss girl, our skis tangled and my skis unfortunately slipped out from underneath me. One of those things in this sport that is just a bit of bad luck, and something you can’t always control. I hammered into the first turn, and I guess this is Ski Cross and this stuff happens. Extremely frustrating though!

I got up and finished the course well behind the other three racers, just in case I might be lucky enough to do a Bradbury and come from behind… Never happens to me, but I thought it was worth a shot! I finished my heat in fourth place, and was therefore pushed all the way back to 15th place overall. A bit of a disappointing result given that I qualified in 10th. On the bright side, I have now jumped up two spots into 16th place in the overall World Cup rankings, my best ever world ranking.

I am now on my way to Zurich, where we will spend the next couple of days resting, re-fuelling and preparing for the next World Cup in Grindelwald, Switzerland.

(Anton and I soaking up the Swedish skyline)

(Discussing tactics with the coach on finals day)