Tagged ‘FIS World Cup’

What a Season!

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A lot has happened since my previous blog, too much to report every detail… The World Cup season is now complete and I am proud to say I have a new world ranking of 2nd place. All British athletes competing recorded personal best results this season. As a team we finished 5th in the Nation’s Cup, behind France, Switzerland, Norway and Germany. If you had asked me how I was feeling after the World Cup races in Norway, I doubt I would have believed such an end to the season could be possible…

I travelled along with teammate; Timoté (Tim) Gough and coach; Sebastien (Seb) Mansart to Norway mid-February to compete in the FIS Cup in Asker and World Cup in Al.

Tim has improved no end this season and his spirit has been a constant source of strength for me.

I placed 1st and 3rd in the FIS Cup races in Asker, which only added to my frustration when I finished 4th, 4th and 5th at the World Cup races in Al. This was proving to be a head scratching moment, and although my results were not bad, they were equally not quite the positions I was chasing.

Following Norway, I felt I needed an intervention. Competitor, and friend; Beatrice Zimmermann had asked me “when was the last time you did something for yourself Jaz” and I was saddened to realise I couldn’t recall a single moment since the beginning of winter.

Once I was home in France, I got in my car and drove to Marseille and spent 24 hours discovering a new place. It was a breath of fresh air. Later that week I returned to training with a new sense of self. Until then, every choice I had made was based on whether or not it would be good for my performance, and I still wasn’t performing to my best – so I decided I might as well do what I like, and then something shifted…

The next World Cup was held on my home hill in Les Houches, France. My Dad turned up to support and that day, I won – a victory at home, it doesn’t get much better than that with all my team-mates, training buddies and locals present.

I followed this up with a 2nd place the following day, winning the second run. Magnus McIntosh scored two top 15 finishes, Ben Emsley was unfortunately ill and didn’t race. Tim, despite suffering a nasty crash on the first day and being unable to compete, somehow managed a top 15 finish on the second day – of which was also the strongest day for Colin Dixon who finished 15th and Sissi Compton who scored a personal best with an 11th place.

We packed up straight after the race in Les Houches to travel on to Murren, Switzerland for the next World Cup and combined World Junior Championship (WJC) events. In the WJC Sissi Compton finished 13th in the Classic, 11th in the Sprint and 12th in the Parallel Sprint (PS). Magnus finished 13th, 12th and 9th, Tim finished 8th, 5th and 17th, some phemonenal results from our junior racers.

In the World Cup Colin placed 12th, 11th and 11th; his career best finishes, and Ben didn’t race in the Classic as he was still suffering the affects of being unwell, though managed 9th and 16th, again a career best with the 9th place.

I finished 2nd in both the Classic and Sprint and then won the PS against Beatrice Zimmermann (SUI) in the final. I just remember feeling so calm throughout the race and despite being behind entering the loom, my skate carried me to my most emotional victory to date.

We then travelled on to Krvavec, Slovenia for World Cup Finals, I think by this point we were all starting to feel the physical effects of fatigue and prolonged stress but we held tight as a team. Here Colin achieved a further two top 15 finishes, Ben one top 10 and one top 15, while Tim managed three top 15 finishes.

I finished in 3rd in the Classic and 2nd in the Sprint, taking my podium tally to 8 this winter, 7 of which were consecutive. I finished 4th in the PS which was enough to retain 2nd place in the Overall World Cup standings, my best world ranking to date.

The results in the overall standings and discipline standings for the team are as follows;

  • Jasmin Taylor – Overall 2nd; Sprint (SP) 2nd, Classic (CL) 4th, Parallel Sprint (PS) 4th
  • Bonnie Price – Overall 25th; SP 21st, CL 18th
  • Sissi Compton – Overall 30th; SP 20th
  • Timoté Gough – Overall 17th; SP 15th, CL 17th, PS 15th
  • Colin Dixon – Overall 18th; SP 14th, CL 18th, PS 17th
  • Ben Emsley – Overall 20th; SP 19th, CL 18th, PS 16th
  • Magnus McIntosh – Overall 22nd; SP 24th, CL 26th, PS 23rd
  • Max Screawn – Overall 21st; SP 16th, CL 22nd, PS 29th (Max skis for Ireland although he is like a teammate and part of the British program)

I would just like to take this opportunity to thank my family, friends, coaches, teammates, sponsors, organisers, committees, federations and fellow athletes, all of who make this adventure possible.

The World Cup, COVID and a Podium

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We began training on the slopes back in October with our first camp in Hintertux, Austria. This season, Slovenian athlete; Masa Strakl, has been a regular training buddy of mine, along with the French Telemark Ski Team who have always been close by.

I spent time with the Swiss Telemark Ski Team, training up on the Saas Fee glacier. The conditions were often ideal and I learnt a lot throughout my stay – thank you to the Swiss for having me.  

I was even lucky enough to spend time with the German Telemark Ski Team in Kaunertal, Austria. We were always vigilant to stay within the rules, and as the season has progressed the restrictions have become, well more restrictive.

The pre-season training was very interesting for me, there were many positive points to not-being-able to return home between camps, and spending time with other teams opened my mind to new ideas. I do of course miss my family and friends very much; I can’t imagine this time has been easy for anyone.

As December arrived, so did my boyfriend Will who, during winter, works at Praz Sports just beyond Chamonix. Coach; Sebastien Mansart, managed to organise training in Flaine and then Plaine Joux within France, although much time was spent cross country skiing as the resorts have remained closed here in Les Houches.

The COVID situation within the UK became more serious recently and further restrictions were placed on Brits leaving and entering the country. This made traveling very complicated for the majority of my teammates.

The GB Telemark Ski Team has a new clothing sponsor; Maier Sports. The clothing provides a high-quality, bespoke fit along with a five-year warranty against defects in materials and workmanship on all products. We are very grateful to Maier Sports for their support; it will now be very easy to spot us on the slopes.

The racing kicked off in Oberjoch, Germany with two races within each discipline; the minimum requirement for a “full” season. The tour has suffered with cancellations of the Slovenian and French part of the circuit, although much work is happening behind the scenes to replace these lost events. We also had competitions in Thyon, Switzerland in the form of two FIS races, which served as the perfect warm up event for the World Cup races in Germany.

The first two days of racing were both Sprint events, I finished 4th and 7th and GB new-comer, Timote (Tim) Gough finished 24th and did not finish (DNF) on day two. Max Screawn, Irish athlete, finished 21st and a career best of 16th place. As you can see below, it was a good day for Switzerland.

The following two days were Parallel Sprint (PS) events; the PS is always so exciting. I managed a 5th and then 9th place after a crash in the first round of racing. Tim and Max unfortunately didn’t qualify within the top 16 men.

A good friend of mine, Matti Lopez (FRA) crashed in the final, finished 2nd but injuring his knee, a small word to wish him well for the future.

The final day was one to remember! Two Classic events after all those races previously, proved to be grueling both physically and mentally. I finished 2nd behind Amelie Wenger-Reymond (SUI) and ahead of Johanna Holzmann (GER) in the first race which felt a real achievement after a tough week. The second race I collected more penalties and finished 6th but was pleased with the day none the less. Tim finished 21st and 20th after skiing very well; Max was 18th and 21st respectably.

It is great to be back in the start gate after such a crazy year. Thank you to all organizers, sponsors and supporters for making this possible. I feel very lucky to be able to do what I am doing.

Fingers crossed for more races very soon!

End of Season

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The remaining races of the FIS Telemark World Cup season have been cancelled due to the corona-virus (COVID-19). The ski resorts and pretty much everything else, have shut down entirely to reduce the spread of this outbreak. That gives time to conclude another year of work, to reflect and look ahead to the next steps.

A few seasons ago an athlete-movement took place, all athletes met to discuss the viewpoint they have, and what they foresee in the future of our sport. This formed an Athlete Working Group comprising of three athletes; myself, Beatrice Zimmermann (SUI) and Matti Lopez (FRA). Since then we have attended FIS Congress events in Greece, Croatia and Switzerland doing our best to represent the athlete viewpoint.

There is an official organisation under FIS (International Ski Federation) called the Athletes Commission, and until very recently this only included athletes from Olympic disciplines. I am very pleased to announce that a further two athletes have been added, myself on behalf of Telemark and another British athlete; Jan Farrell from Speed Skiing. This is important as it gives a voice to athletes across a broader range of disciplines. We can share and exchange our experiences to develop further.

Whilst training and competing, I am also working my way through my BASI (British Association of Snowsport Instructors) qualifications, aiming to achieve the highest level. This season, I have been working for the ESF (Ecole du Ski Francais) in Les Houches which has been an amazing experience.

Whilst the competition circuit has functioned far from ideally, I managed to collect three World Cup podiums exceeding the former tally to hold a new British record. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone that supports, from team and personal sponsors, to family, boyfriend, friends, team-mates, coaches, committees, federations, organisers, and many more.

Norway

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Following on from Samoens, France, the tour traveled on to Rjukan, Norway for two Sprint events and one Parallel Sprint.

Day one started well, I was sat in 3rd place after the first run but had a small crash on the second run, ending up in 10th place. Louis Hatchwell skied into 22nd, while Colin Dixon ended up in 23rd position; a personal best for Colin in the Sprint.

Day two was more of a success, I secured my third podium of the season finishing in 3rd place behind my training buddy, Argeline Tan Bouquet (FRA) and Amelie Wenger Reymond (SUI). Louis Hatchwell finished 24th and Colin Dixon finished in 28th place.

The final day of competition was the Parallel Sprint. This year the rules are slightly different in that your qualification time is now taken into account for the final result. If you make it to the quarter finals, rather than four athletes finishing in joint 5th place, their qualification time is used to determine who is 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th place. This means that the Parallel Sprint has taken a great step in the right direction and results are easier to follow for the viewing public.

I qualified 4th and then finished in 4th place behind Amelie Wenger Reymond (SUI), Beatrice Zimmermann (SUI), Kaja Bjørnstad Konow (NOR). Coincidentally, Louis Hatchwell qualified and finished in 21st, as did Colin Dixon in 32nd place.

It’s been cool to be mentioned on BBC Ski Sunday each week, who have been following my progress since last season where we filmed a feature together. The show is extremely popular in the UK averaging 1.22 million viewers weekly and it is awesome to see so much British snow sport success.

Unfortunately, the World Cup event in Oberjoch, Germany has been cancelled due to poor weather conditions. I know FIS Telemark are working hard to find a replacement event, all news will be updated here on the main website.

If you wish to catch up on any live-stream footage, you can find that here.

The Olympic Bid

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Following the FIS Congress earlier this year, the International Ski Federation (FIS) voted to put forth various sports (that sit under the FIS) to the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Telemark was successful in this vote but was unfortunately not successful at the final hurdle; the IOC stage. The decision took place a few days ago and while the answer was not the one we were hoping for, telemark as a sport is the strongest it has ever been.

The official statement from FIS Telemark

The official statement from FIS Telemark

Prior to the IOC decision, the World Cup athletes headed up a social media campaign which not only raised the profile of our sport, but has shown our unity and that we are a strong force. I spoke with BBC reporter, Nick Hope, leading up to the decision. There was an article published on ‘BBC Sport’ here and ‘BBC Get Inspired’ here.

An article with 'BBC Sport' by Nick Hope

An article with ‘BBC Sport’ by Nick Hope

An article with 'BBC Get Inspired' by Nick Hope

An article with ‘BBC Get Inspired’ by Nick Hope

The story also ran on the BBC World News television channel 7 times throughout the day of the decision. BBC World News has over 378 million viewers per week and over 52 million per day. You can see the report below which includes other international World Cup athletes; Amélie Reymond, Phil Lau and Tobi Muller.

The video below is the version included on the ‘BBC Get Inspired’ news article.

You can read about the FIS sports which did make Olympic inclusion here with an article by ‘Planet Ski’ and how it affects British Ski & Snowboard athletes and disciplines here with their official statements. I believe telemark would bring diversity to the Winter Olympic Games and it remains my dream to one day see telemark make Olympic inclusion. Thank you to everyone that has supported the journey along the way, the job is not done yet.

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