Right off the bat the focus was on fast and intense skiing with a lot of volume. We needed to shake things up after last season and we certainly did just that.
But I have to admit, I was caught off guard by how the camp began. After missing two summers of training I expected to start off slowly with some drills and basics. Instead we went right into full-length courses with timing. Throw in the weight lifting on our "day off" and I was pretty wrecked after the first five-day block.
But like everything, we just kept trucking along. I raced in three giant slaloms this camp, which is more GS racing than I've done in years. I had some solid runs and was in the mix among many of the world's best GS skiers. This is promising, especially on a steep hill with the late bib numbers I drew. Plus, the weather conditions were often less than ideal with our final race being in fog, snow, sleet, and a whole lot of rain.
I'm sure the race wouldn't have gone off if it wasn't for the Canadian volunteers who'd flown down to help. It really felt like a hometown race with many familiar faces and a whole lot of Canadian downhill suits.
Ski with ego
Since this was such a long camp — just shy of five weeks — we moved around more than usual. This kept things interesting and our minds fresh — not an easy task with that kind of volume and duration.
We started in Roundhill, then made our way to two resorts around Queenstown — Coronet Peak and Cardrona — before finishing off the camp in Mount Hutt, which lived up to its reputation as Mount Shut. Four days of scheduled speed training turned into two days of killing time (since the hill didn't open), one day of free-skiing powder and one day of GS training late in the afternoon when the hill finally opened.
But after that, the weather turned around and we got started with downhill racing. On our first day we got 10 runs in with our German training partners, who included Maria Riesch.
Unfortunately, that afternoon I tweaked my knee playing soccer. It was minor, but the meniscus and coronary ligaments were sufficiently irritated that the doctor and physiotherapist decided it was best I sit out the rest of the camp. Although I held out hope I would ski again this camp, it wasn't meant to be. Luckily I only missed five days of training and still got in 20 days of on-snow time.
Although I wasn't the fastest this summer, I was strong and fairly consistent. Our coaches were big on getting us to ski with confidence and "ski with an ego." I agree with their approach: this isn't a time to be timid, humble or uncertain. This is a time to grab hold of what we've got and to run with it.
Win or lose, this is the only path to greatness, and we're certainly off to a shotgun start!
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