I got excited last week when I realized that I only had three weeks left in Europe. That thought right there tells you that maybe I have been in Europe for a little too long! It’s been over two months now and to be quite honest it hasn’t felt that long until recently.
It has been a great race season here, but I missed Whistler and missed out on such a good winter season. Today as I was driving in my car the temperature outside was 18 degrees Celsius. Spring has already come to this part of the world and I thought to myself, where did the winter go?
The World Cup season is coming to an end with only one more weekend of regular races before the World Cup finals. The race season is almost over, but it’s not over yet.
The Canadian Alpine team has had a near-record number of podiums this season, two of them from my brother and Kelly Vanderbeek, who had never been on the podium prior to this season. Eric Guay had his first downhill win two weeks ago and Jan Hudec won a World Championship medal in the men’s downhill. I don’t want to even count how many fourth places there were, but I own three of them! This has been a great season, not only for myself but for the whole Canadian team.
This weekend the women will be racing giant slalom and slalom in Germany while the men will be in Norway racing downhill, super G and super combined. Right afterwards we will be traveling to Switzerland for the World Cup finals, where nine Canadians, men and women, have qualified in the different disciplines. To make it to the World Cup finals you must finish the World Cup season ranked in the top 25. I have qualified in both the downhill and super G, along with Emily Brydon, Kelly Vanderbeek and Genevieve Simard. It was close for me in the downhill; with my 10 th place finish last weekend in Tarvisio I qualified in 25 th — only four points ahead of 26 th !
In preparation for this weekend’s final technical events, my teammates and I raced a local FIS race in Germany, not far from Munich. It was a great opportunity to get back into some giant slalom racing after doing a week of speed races. I mention this race because there is a bit of a story that goes along with it that I think you might enjoy.
The race was held at a small hill, but one that holds many races. In Europe most hills have turnstiles to go through in order to get up the lift, which means that you always need your ticket or pass to get through and up the lift. We had been warned the previous night about this — if you didn’t have your ticket, the lifty would not let you up.
Everything was running smoothly the morning of the race; we had inspected and I was in the start for my first run with bib number five. The intervals they were running for each racer were 30 seconds. This is pretty fast, but they were efficient and things were running smoothly — that is, until the number in front of me crashed when I was already on course and I was flagged only eight gates into the race course. Just great, I thought to myself. I was told to quickly circle around the lift to make it back for my re-run.
I got to the bottom in my full race suit, bib and all and I jump the turnstiles because I obviously don’t have my ticket attached to my race suit. Next thing I know the lift attendant is waving his finger at me and is refusing to let me up. Absolutely refusing to let me go up the lift! I couldn’t believe it.
I was calm at first, explaining to him my situation, but he would not budge. I was pulling out all the German I knew, but nothing swayed him.
My calmness soon passed and now I was just furious he was being so unreasonable. He told me I should have had my ticket in my suit. Right, because I should have known I was going to be flagged! I eventually made it up the lift by just going past him when he was talking with someone else about my situation. But, by this time, five minutes had passed (or 10 racers). I made it back to the top, still furious, and number 30 was in the gate. I gave my skis to my tech to touch up, grabbed my ticket out of my jacket and got ready to go again!
I think from now on when I race in Germany, I will definitely be putting my ticket inside my suit so that I have it with me at all times! This was the first time I have ever been flagged in a GS race and definitely an experience that I will never forget. And hopefully won’t repeat.