Tagged ‘Hinterux’

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!

Hintertux: My First World Cup Podium!

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Wow! What a set of races that was in Hintertux…

I arrived last Sunday in Hintertux having traveled from France with the French Team, it was great to have a few days skiing and training before the racing kicked off. Hintertux Glacier is approximately 3250 meters above sea level and living in Ipswich (England) I think I’m around -10 meters so acclimatizing is very important and never easy, even for athletes that live in the mountains!

The World Cups always begin with an opening ceremony – and Hintertux put on a great show.

Hintertux World Cup Opening Ceremony: I took to the stage to collect my bib - lucky number 7!

Hintertux World Cup Opening Ceremony: I took to the stage to collect my bib – lucky number 7

Then it was time to race! On Friday, we had a Sprint and I finished in 7th position and there was also some great racing from the other Brits, Anna Morrissey finished in 10th place, Andrew Clarke in 25th and Andy Salter also skied well – we all qualified for Sunday’s racing.

Hanging on for dear life!

Sprint Race

Day 2 of racing, was again, a Sprint – this time I finished one better in 6th place but was 4th after the first run so felt a bit disappointed to loose my position, but all in all – 6th is not so bad.

Then came the last day of racing (Sunday) which was the Parallel Sprint. I qualified in 7th position (from the first Sprint race) which meant I met teammate, Anna Morrissey in the first round. I knocked her out, to face Laura Grenier-Soliget from France, then met Simone Oehrli (SUI). It was a close race and she had the lead after the first round. It was still all to play for as she wasn’t ahead by much! I kept cool and skied by best, I was ahead over the jump and as I entered the 360, I saw one ski shoot in front of me, at that point I realized she must have crashed. I’m very sorry for Simone and I wish her a speedy recovery but in the same moment I realized that at worst I was in 2nd place on the senior World Cup podium. I felt overwhelmed and elated – the skate to the finish line was very emotional, I think I was laughing and crying simultaneously! (See the video below to see my reaction!)

Racing Simone (SUI) Oehrli in the Semi Final!

Racing Simone Oehrli (SUI) in the Semi Final

Racing the World Chamion, Amélie Reymond from Switzerland!

Racing the World Champion, Amélie Reymond (SUI)

1) Amélie Reymond SUI 2) ME!!! GBR 3) Mathilde Ilebrekke NOR

1) Amélie Reymond SUI 2) Jasmin Taylor GBR 3) Mathilde Ilebrekke NOR

In the final I raced, the almost unbeatable Amélie Reymond, it was a fairly close race but she was still too strong despite my best efforts! An incredible and indescribable feeling when I crossed the finish line, all the hard work was instantly worth it.

Telemark is Magic!

Telemark is Magic! Athletes united!

I’m now back in Les Houches for a few days rest and more training before the next round of World Cups in Les Contamines.

Thank you to everyone for all the kind words, it really means so much. I’ll leave you with this short video.