On Oct. 8 the womens World Cup technical team left Canada for Austria and our final camp of the training season.
Our first stop took us to Soelden, Austria where we would also be racing in the first World Cup giant slalom race of the season at the end of the month (last weekend).
By going to Soelden right away we were able to take advantage of training on the race hill. Several other teams were also there to take advantage of the opportunity and the excitement was building as the first race approached.
Our camp took us to two other glaciers before once again returning to Soelden for the race. For the last couple of years we have approached this camp in the same way in order to try and stay fresh and get ready for the race. It is really easy to become flat and tired when you spend two to three weeks at one ski area. We also took two days off in the middle of the camp to go to Innsbruck. Innsbruck was great its fun to be able to have some time to explore the European cities, although one thing I will not miss is the cigarette smoke that is pretty much everywhere. Thank goodness for the clean air in Whistler!
The training conditions were great throughout the camp. We only missed two days on the glacier in Val Senales, Italy, because of wind and bad weather conditions. Other than that it was sunny and the snow was hard.
And just before arriving back in Soelden we received our new Spyder race suits. They are very sharp looking I may be a bit biased but I can honestly say that we have the best looking suits on the circuit. Its all about the look!
We arrived back in Soelden three days prior to the race to settle into our hotel. The hotel we stay at is great! Its called the Windau. Markus is the owner, and when we arrive he shuts down the hotel for the Canadian team. It is just a small family-owned hotel and for those couple of days that we are there it feels like home.
He feeds us well, and we have even convinced him to serve us sandwich style lunches instead of the large traditional European-style midday meals. We also serve up our own coffee behind the bar! For the past three years the Canadians have been staying in his hotel and every year we return Markus is even more excited to see us. So if you are looking for a place in Austria that will welcome a Canadian, the Hotel Windau is the place to go. You could also come for the race and experience the crazy Austrian ski fans. Oh yes, and also cheer us on of course.
The night before the race the weather turned bad. The rain started to fall in town and it was snowing up on the hill. It didnt look good for the next day. When I woke up to go for my morning warm-up, to my amazement the stars were out and the sky was clear. It looked as though the day would be clear and great after all.
But when we arrived at the hill, we were blown away. Literally. The clouds had moved out because a strong wind blew them away and now it was gusting all over the hill.
The race was continually delayed and the first run finally got out of the gates at 11:30 a.m. But the start had been moved down twice and instead of the run time being somewhere between one minute and 10 seconds and 1:15, the fastest first run time was 54 seconds.
As Allison Forsyth and I were riding up the t-bar to the start and the inspections, we were actually blown straight up the hill by a gust! I was told that the winds were up to 130 km/h at the start.
The race went on and in the end there was a three-way tie for first; something I have never seen before.
As a team we skied well but would have liked to have placed better. Geneviéve Simard had a solid race, finishing 20 th .
It is good to get the first race out of the way and look ahead to the ones coming up. We are a team of six girls and we are strong and ready. And looking good in our sharp new Spyder race suits!
Britt Janyk is a Whistler native and a member of the Canadian Alpine Ski Team. Her World Cup diary will run every second week in Pique NewsMagazine through the winter.