Following the races in Germany and Slovenia, the tour moved to Rjukan, Norway. The racing began with 2 days of Sprint races, followed by a team Dual Sprint and an individual Dual Sprint. The weather was superb throughout and the views were spectacular as always.
On the first day of racing I finished in 6th place. The second day of racing was very interesting for me – after a tricky first run (9th position) and a good second run (2nd position) I jumped up of 5 positions to get a 4th place. That evening we raced the Team Dual Sprint event under the floodlights looking out across at the Norwegian sunset. In the first round, the British Team (myself, Louis Hatchwell and Alistair Cruz) raced a strong Team Germany. Unfortunately, we didn’t go through to the next round but we certainly put up a good fight with a particularly close match from Louis Hatchwell and one very explosive crash from Alistair Cruz!
Jonas Schmid (GER) vs Louis Hatchwell (GBR) (Photo credits and thanks to Morten V Eriksen)
Alistair Cruz (GBR) vs Thomas Orlovius (GER) (Photo credits and thanks to Morten V Eriksen)
The final day in Rjukan ended with (the ‘normal’ individual) Dual Sprint. After a poor qualification run littered with jump penalties (a short course that cannot afford any penalties), I qualified 13th meeting training buddy and fellow competitor Argeline Tan-Bouquet (FRA). I skied fast but Argeline pipped me to the loom and with one less penalty than me, she was too difficult to catch. This resulted in a 9th place finish for me.
The Sprint in Rjukan, Norw ay (Photo credits and thanks to Morten V Eriksen)
After Norway, I returned to Les Houches to empty my suitcase for a final re-packing. At this point I realised that the process of emptying my bag and refilling it hadn’t stopped since before heading to Murren, Switzerland for the first time in early January for the British Championships. I was now returning to Murren for the second time this winter for the World Cup Finals feeling tired but ready to give my best for 3 more days.
The racing kicked off with the Classic, a discipline I don’t consider my strongest yet my World Cup ranking was the best it had ever been. I was lying in 5th place following a 5th place finish in France and a 4th in Spain earlier in the season. The course was set by my coach Sebastien Mansart, it was dynamic with a very intimidating skate at the end. I finished in 7th, stung by penalties but a position good enough to hang onto my new personal best world ranking.
And then comes the Sprint, the best day of my season and probably the best race of my career to date. The run was not perfect (there’s no such thing in fact) and it wasn’t anything way beyond the norm. Everything came together; the speed, just 1 penalty, a clean jump, a strong skate and clear mind – it was good enough for 3rd place after the first run. Knowing my second run is usually always better, I kept it simple and did my best once more and this time it was good enough to finish in 2nd place. That feeling was immense, I felt proud, satisfied, happy and relieved.
(L to R) Jasmin Taylor #2 (GBR), Amelie Reymond #1 (SUI), Beatrice Zimmerman #3 (SUI)
The very final day of racing; the Dual Sprint. I qualified against Theresa Fichtl (GER) and won, then met the eventual winner, Beatrice Zimmerman (SUI) and lost out finishing in 5th place.
My goal for the season was to be more consistent and I finished between 4th and 6th position 11 times, with 1 World Cup podium. My overall World Cup ranking is 5th place and that has been a goal since the beginning of my telemark career and finally achieving it feels awesome.
(L to R) M.C. (Kandahar member and team fan), James French, Sion Bingham, Louis Hatchwell, Jasmin Taylor, Alistair Cruz
It’s been a fantastic season and I would like to thank everyone that makes it possible: my sponsors, coaches, supporters, parents, family, friends, boyfriend, university, telemark World Cup organisers and committee, GB team-mates and fellow athletes.