What a start to the World Cup season! The races were held in Hintertux, Austria from Friday 1st until Sunday 3rd December. Proceedings began with the official training day, where competitors test the racing features, and opening ceremony where bibs are drawn publicly for the first race.
The GB Telemark Ski Team had the pleasure of training alongside CDC Performance this autumn. This ski academy is owned and run by Chemmy Alcott (now Crawford) and Dougie Crawford, former alpine British Champions and many-time Olympians. Chemmy arrived in time for the opening ceremony and was there to support the team on our first race day. Amazing to think that when I was 12 years old at the British Ski Academy, she was my hero – now here I am, racing World Cup myself with her watching me!
The World Cup start wasn’t perfect – Louis Hatchwell had a crash in training and injured his ankle. He was unable to compete but joined former GB team-mate, Jack Harvard Taylor, in the commentary box. They had a lot of good feedback – you can watch all the action from the races on Tele-Ho or Tux Finkenberg. There are also many photos and videos on Facebook with Tux Finkenberg resort page and FreeHeeler magazine.
The first race back, the Sprint, was a good day for me! I finished on the podium in 3rd position behind Beatrice Zimmermann (SUI) and Johanna Holzmann (GER). Team-mate, Alec Dixon, also had a great day finishing within the top 30 in 27th position.
The second day of racing, also a Sprint, I finished in 5th place. Naila Cardwell had a great first run placing her in 15th position but had some issues on the second run and unfortunately did not finish. Again, Alec made the top 30 finishing in 28th place. Colin Dixon was 34th and Ben Emsley, despite crashing, finished in 37th position.
The final day, the Parallel Sprint (also known as the Dual Sprint) was intense! Both myself and Alec qualified from the British team. Alec skied well but was paired against a formidable Jonas Schmid (GER), who went on to take 3rd place. I qualified in 4th position, drawing Theresa Fichtl (GER) in the first round. Theresa skied fast beating me to the loom where she crashed – fortunately she was not hurt. I therefore progressed to the next round where I met Beatrice Zimmermann (SUI), a closely fought race where I took the win, moving on to race Simone Oehrli (SUI) in the semi-finals. I then progressed to race Johanna Holzmann (GER) in the final, again another close call but Johanna took the win and I finished in 2nd place.
Thank you to Dare 2b and Aquatronic Group Management (AGM) for supplying this seasons kit – girls are in red and boys are in blue! There is a lot of work going on behind the scenes; from organising kit, to travel and training arrangements, committee and sponsorship meetings all in the hope of moving forwards for ourselves and the sport.
Thank you to all the race organisers, live-streaming production team, tourist board, coaches and athletes for making it happen! The next races will be in Pralognan La Vanoise, France – the British hosted World Cup event. Now it’s time for a short rest and then more training!