Ok maybe snow was on overstatement. On day one, our we arrived to temperatures around 10C / 50F and bright sun. A perfect day to be in the mountains, but a less than ideal day for glacier travel. We dodged rocks, small rivers, and precarious crevasses. All the same it was a terrific to get skis under my feet and slide around on some snow.
Day two could not have been different. Temperatures fell to around -10C / 14F overnight, and some light precipitation dusted the upper elevations with a fresh coat of snow! Unfortunately, this small snow squall also brought in some serious cloud cover. This made the skiing feel like being inside a ping pong ball, skiing on crazy refrozen glacier slush. Not necessarily ideal training conditions, but definitely a nice challenge!
Days three through seven were downright spectacular. Temperatures stayed near zero throughout the morning, giving us hard firm conditions with with to really dial in our technique. For me, this opportunity to spend some long hours deconstructing my form, identifying weaknesses or inconsistencies, and taking the time to really work on them was incredible. That goes for the skiing and the skating. We spent each morning working on skiing form, while the conditions were solid, and each afternoon working on skate technique. Sometimes up on the glacier, garnering some funny looks for the alpiners on the lift, and sometimes in the valley on roller skis if it was too sloppy on the glacier.
As it stands today, the skier that arrived a week ago, and the skier that is leaving today are barely recognizable. I've got a long way to go until I'm ready to race, but I cannot wait to see this process through. I think the final product could be really special!
I could definitely get used to the Austrian lifestyle. I've settled into a pretty nice groove here at the University. Although I haven't learned that much German, I have seen some spectacular mountains, enjoyed some delicious fermented beverages, and also put in some terrific hours in the gym. I guess I've done a little bit of studying too, but that's for another day.
The fun starts for real next week. I'll be on the glacier for the first on-snow autumn camp next weekend, and the plan is to be there just about every other week from now until the beginning of the World Cup schedule. I am more than thrilled to make a return to full-time World Cup racing.
Although I've had plenty of national level success recently, the last few years have been frustrating from an overall performance point of view. To sum it up, I've felt like a formula 1 driver, behind the wheels of a pimped out minivan. No matter how hard to try to pump it full of fancy fuel, and maximize it's performance, it's still a minivan....
Maybe that's an exaggeration, but the root of most of my issues is that I just wasn't getting very many miles on race skis. This season I'll have a teammate on the full world cup season for the first time since 2011-2012 ( Tanner Visnick), and a productive training partnership with the talented team from Great Britain. We'll see if I am able to translate the extra preparation into a World Cup podium or two!
However, there is one more challenge to racing a full World Cup season, and that is the small issue of financing it all. Rather than bore you all with the details here, I'll leave it at this: I am actively seeking a new lead sponsor!! It won't take much to make this season possible, and my potential for success is as high as it has ever been. If you or someone you know might be interested in joining me on this journey, slide over to my contact form , or send me an email , I promise you won't regret it!