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A New Year



First of all I need to apologize for not having written an article yet this season. But, it’s a new year and I am back. I am happy to be writing again and back into the rhythm of things. So far this season I have raced three speed events and the bulk of the season is just around the corner.

I am going to take you back to before Christmas, to the first races of the season, so that you have a better idea as to where things have been going.

Just prior to the holidays we were racing in St. Moritz, Switzerland. I was actually there for two weeks, along with the rest of the speed crew. We arrived right after the World Cup events in Lake Louise.

The plan was to catch the Europa Cup events the weekend before the World Cup to get on the race hill, but things didn’t start off as planned. We arrived in a complete snowstorm and right away the first training run of the Europa Cup was cancelled. Oh well, we thought, lets go powder skiing at least. Now, I have mostly been in St. Moritz when it’s sunny and blue bird and never quite realized how difficult it can be in cloudy, snowy conditions.

We arrived at the base of the hill keen for a fun powder morning but this was soon to change. All of the St. Moritz ski area is above the treeline so visibility is instantly brought to zero! We had no idea where the good spots were to ski the powder and just tried to stay close to the groomed runs. Unfortunately the snow that fell was not the lightest, which I should be used to coming from Whistler! However, I also had a very bad pair of rental powder skis, which were more like a pair of water skis. After one run my feet were about to burst out of my race boots and my legs were killing me from sitting back so far and trying to get my skis to run! We lasted a few runs, had a few laughs then found our way into the restaurant for a cappuccino. And that was just the start of our stay in St. Moritz.

The Europa Cup races did go off but in very marginal weather. In the Super G race I walked away with a second place finish. I had skied well in difficult conditions.

The following week, during the World Cup week, we decided to take a stab at a little hockey, or rather skating with sticks! We laced up and headed for the ice with our trainer leading the way (who is a former hockey player). I am pretty sure that skating is the cheapest activity in St. Moritz; five Euros each for ice time. There were a few tumbles and most of them intentional. I think we are definitely going to stick with ski racing.

The World Cup week started and we were ready to attack the hill. The two training runs were in great conditions and the soft snow was getting harder and harder. Come race time the weather came back in and the wind picked up. Before we knew it, it was snowing like crazy again and conditions were definitely not ideal for a World Cup. Unfortunately it can’t always be a beautiful sunny race day and you need to deal with what you get.

The toughest day by far was the Sunday when we were supposed to race downhill. We woke up and finally there was sunshine! But there was a catch, as the wind had come back to town. While we inspected the gates were being blown to the ground from the gusts of wind. On one of the chair rides I didn’t think we were going to make it down! The race was postponed and it now became a waiting game. After eight hours, they finally cancelled the race, at 2 p.m. The wind hadn’t died down one bit, and the chair was closed. The girls and I did one last ride up the train to get some fresh air and said goodbye to St. Moritz.

It’s now 2009 and so far we have had one downhill race, in marginal race conditions and two super G races, also in marginal conditions. And we have already had two downhill races cancelled. In less than two weeks we have our next races and from there we hope to have races every weekend until March. That’s what I am looking forward to!