I am at the airport waiting for my flight to Europe, and I am happy to have everything packed up and ready to go for the season. Last week was a long one, a week that felt like a month. Don't get me wrong, I had a lot of fun and the sights were amazing, as was the track at Lake Louise, but performance-wise it really wasn't anywhere near what I wanted. Finding the speed in my skiing was proving to be a challenge.
So, what can I learn from a tough week in the start gate? In downhill and super G there can be so many factors that play into your outcome. There is a lot that I am in control of, like my skiing, my line choice, my tactics, my inspection and my head. But then you have your equipment, mainly your boots and skis. Wind and the weather can also play a factor, as well as snow conditions.
This past week in Lake Louise the snow conditions and the weather could not have been better. We had cold temperatures early in the week but not the usual minus-30 - so if you ask me, it was warm! The sun was shining every day but one and the light on the track was perfect. The snow conditions were also great. They had injected parts of the hill so it iced up but it still had good grip to it. When you're flying down to the hill at 100 kilometres per hour a little grip is nice.
Coming in to the week I felt confident. My training in the previous weeks in Nakiska had been great and I was going fast. My first training run in Lake Louise was pretty respectable and I was happy with my tactics. I knew I had over-skied some sections but I was clean on my skis and I felt comfortable on the hill. After the second training run I was scratching my head a bit, wondering why I was so slow.
But, with my coaches and my technician we took a plan into the following day. I looked at video and saw some areas where I could improve and took that into day three. But, once again, there I was, well off the pace of the leaders.
Next up was race day. I thought to myself, okay, let the training runs go, now it's time to race. But the races did NOT go well. So, once again, more scratching of the head. I had a plan going into every day, I knew the areas that I needed to improve on and I know that once I get in that gate the excitement of racing takes over.