The season kicked off for me in the best way possible by winning the FIS Cup at home in Les Houches! The field was full of international athletes ahead of the week of World cup races to follow…
My teammates have been training hard and improving fast. Bonnie Price finished in 17th in the women. The first British man was Ben Emsley in 14th, then Magnus McIntosh in 16th (despite suffering a shoulder injury the previous week), Colin Dixon in 22nd, and Tim Gough unfortunately crashed out in the loom and did not finish (DNF). International athletes; Max Screawn (IRL) and Lucas Pages (AND) are also part of the GB Telemark training program, Max finished in 20th and Lucas in 23rd place.
No time to spare after the race, we left first thing the next morning to prepare for racing in Saint Gervais, France. Our team sponsors, Leggett Immobilier were on place to support us at the event, here is a teaser video clip they made.
The first day of World Cup racing, the Sprint, didn’t get off to a perfect start. I hip-slid a gate on the steep, a mistake I also made at the FIS Cup in Les Houches though there it lost me a lot less time. However in the end, I managed a 6th place. Bonnie finished in 16th, Ben in 15th, Colin in 20th, Max in 18th, Tim, Magnus and Lucas DNF.
Day two was the first Classic event of the season, it is always difficult to judge and manage nerves before this discipline. I finished in 5th, Bonnie in 16th, Tim in 19th, Ben in 20th, Magnus in 23rd, Colin in 24th, Max in 21st and Lucas DNF.
This was the first World Cup event for Lenaig Mansart, daughter of the GB Telemark coach and regular training buddy for the British, congratulations to Lenaig on this debut.
We packed up and set off for Switzerland straight after the race, returning to the host of the most recent World Championship; Melchsee-Frutt, although the race piste was totally unique and far more challenging.
The piste was intimidating, it was steep and icy with plenty of blind-spots and rollers. The shear length of the courses were all towards the longer end of range – all in all, it certainly increased the challenge!
The first event was the Sprint, here I finished 2nd, it always feels good to finish on the podium at the end of a race. Bonnie finished in 12th place. Tim recorded the best ever finish for a British man in a Sprint with 10th place! Ben and Max also did a great job, strangely both placing in exactly 12th position, Magnus recorded his first top 15 with a 14th place, Colin in 17th and Lucas in 16th position.
The second race was the Classic, and this one really was a whopper. I placed 5th, Bonnie 15th, Tim again skied brilliantly into 11th, Magnus in 19th, Ben in 20th, Colin in 21st, Max in 18th and Lucas 22nd place.
Then came two days of Parallel Sprint, which kicks off with qualification. On the first day I qualified 1st and eventually ended up 4th, Tim and Ben also qualified in the top 16 men, Tim eventually finishing in 13th and Ben in 14th place.
The second day, I qualified 2nd and eventually ended up in 4th (again), Ben also qualified and eventually finished in 15th place.
That concludes a wild week of racing; 7 races in 9 days! Several ups and downs throughout the week but always lessons learnt and valuable experiences to carry forward. I feel proud of the progress made by my teammates, and feel excited to see what happens next.
A special mention to Maier Sports for our new team wear, I am sure we can be seen from almost anywhere now!
Now it is time for some rest before training and working in the ski school for ESF Les Houches ahead of the next round of races in Norway!