Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Five perfect days at Hutt

The past five days at Mt. Hutt, New Zealand, have been pretty unbeatable. Blue skies, hard snow and a great training course. We have been training speed alongside the Canadian and Austrian women's World Cup Alpine Teams. Not really our forte any more being Ski Cross athletes, but it's always fun to go back to our roots and pull the speed suit back on! We've been training full length super G at 7:15am until midday, followed by another session of GS training until 2pm. Long days, but conditions like this are pretty hard to come by!

After four full days on snow (almost 7 hours a day come to think of it!), yesterday we headed to the Rakaia Gorge for some much needed recovery. With water flowing off the mountains, the river must be no warmer than 8 degrees; perfect for removing some of the lactic acid in your legs and making you feel energetic again.

Tomorrow is our last day training at Mt Hutt. We then drive south to Wanaka for a two-week training camp on a ski cross track in Cardona. We will be sharing it with the Australian border cross team, as well as a few international World Cup teams. It will be fun to use what I've learnt in the past week, and apply it to a ski cross track.

 Recovery at Rakaia Gorge

 Crisp corduroy at Mt Hutt, 7:30am

Morning Mt. Hutt! 

Afternoon tea! Just what you need after a massive day of training...

Wes, the dog at our accommodation in Methven

Monday, August 20, 2012

From 65cm of fresh to blue skies and sunshine...

What a weekend it has been! I've really had the best of both worlds at Mt Hotham this weekend. 65cm of fresh light powder on Friday and Saturday, then blue skis, firm snow and a great day of ski cross racing on Sunday. I honestly couldn't ask for anything more from a weekend of skiing.

Saturday's race was pushed back to Sunday due to excessive snow (damn... another day of powder skiing!) On Saturday night, the clouds finally cleared and the stars came out, freezing the snow for a great race. Considering the difficult conditions, Hotham managed to build a fast and fun ski cross course overnight. The aim was to hold both races on the Sunday, however we only managed to get one complete race off, and another qualification run (counting for race number two.)

Being the first ski cross race of the season, I was quite nervous to see where I was sitting against the competition (my teammates on the National Team). Back came the good nerves and race butterflies, and I switched my competitive edge back on. I won both qualification runs by over a second, so I was extremely happy with the result. In finals I couldn't quite grab the lead out of the start gate, and finished in second place behind Jenny Owens.

So all in all, I finished the National Championships with a 1st and a 2nd place. Not a bad start to the World Cup racing season to come!

(Not a bad view from the race course!)

(Loving the support from fans!)

(First place, race 2, Australian Ski Cross Championships)

 (Mum and I enjoying the sun at Hotham)

Friday, August 17, 2012

Best Aussie pow day of my 24 years....

It's a massive call, but I honestly think that today was the best powder skiing I've ever had in Australia.

I'm in Mt. Hotham for the Ski Cross National Championships, which will hopefully get off this on Saturday and Sunday (although I wouldn't mind a little more powder skiing in between....) 
Last night it snowed well over 40cm up top, and continued to dump throughout the day, filling in tracks. Official training on the ski cross course was canned due to the conditions, so I made the most of the opportunity and went skiing with teammate Scotty Kneller. And what a day it was! I don't think I've ever skied Hotham with such incredible conditions. The mountain has some seriously steep terrain, with great tree skiing. Run of the day would have to be first tracks off Orchard chair (they opened it mid-morning due to lift maintenance). Scotty and I were first up the lift, and first down One Tree Hill, a steep and deep run through the trees, all the way down to Heavenly Valley.

I couldn't wipe the smile off my face all morning. I'm actually still smiling as I write this blog!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Already half way through the season

The past 6 weeks have gone by so fast I don't even know where to start. I've been training mostly in Perisher, with a few events and trips along the way. Seeing as though photo says a thousand words, I'm going to let my photos do all the explaining....

 I managed to score an awesome powder day in Thredbo earlier in the season. Skied some fresh tracks with a Thredbo local.

The Australian Ski Cross Team training at our start gate in Perisher.

Dryland training in Jindabyne in the afternoons includes riding up Airport Hill, an intimidating site and an absolute killer.

Making friends out the front of our house in Jindabyne.

Same house, a little colder! The first time I've seen it snow in Jindy.

Up at 5am most mornings, on snow by 6:45am. Early morning training at Perisher definitely has some perks....

A week off back in Melbourne town. A beautiful building at night.

Second place in my first-ever Top2Bottom at Thredbo. Basically a 30m sprint into a Chinese Downhill. First to the bottom wins. What a morning! 

Following Top2Bottom, a successful Chicks with Stix weekend in Thredbo, with over 45 participants. And not to mention perfect bluebird weather!

Brushing off the mogul cobwebs and mixing up the training. Taking a few runs down Toppa's Dream mogul course in Perisher. Quite a challenge!

Road trip to Hotham, the "back-back way."

I am now in Mt. Hotham for the Ski Cross National Championships to be held this weekend. I'm looking forward to defending my 2-year running title!