I arrived in Steamboat Springs, Colorado well in advance for the USA World Cup races, on the 1st February. I began by training with the US National Telemark Team and their coach, Ty. Demonstrating the friendly rivalry between competitors Madi McKinstry (US National Team member) kindly put me up at her house.
The World Cup opening ceremony saw some 5,000 people gathered at the bottom of the mountain to celebrate with fireworks, synchronized skiing displays and a flag parade in front of the crowd on the stage.
Day 1 The Classic. This was probably the toughest Classic I have skied. The course was set at 2,670m altitude, covering a 440m vertical drop with 60 GS gates, two looms, two uphill skating sections and one jump. It tested all competitors fitness and stamina. I felt pushed to the limit physically and mentally, and needed to employ different tactics to my usual European racing. I finished in 5th position which is my best result in World Cup Classic.
Day 2 Annoyingly I suffered an asthmatic reaction following the first race day. I have suffered from asthma from a young age. I haven’t mentioned it much before but it’s important to let others know that it doesn’t have to hold you back from sport. Although, on this occasion I put my health first and didn’t start the race to avoid prolonged symptoms.
Day 3 The Sprint – I finished in 5th place after gathering too many penalties for silly mistakes. What makes it worse was that I posted the second fastest time before the addition of the penalties were added.
Day 4 Duel Sprint – I qualified in 4th place and met Laura Grenier-Soliget (FRA) in the first round. I won the first race by 1.85 seconds and Laura (who is a friend and training partner) won the second run by 1.55. As with the Sprint I had made too many errors and clocked up too many penalties, which this time resulted in disqualification from that round. As a result, again, I finished in 5th position.
My US racing experience has taught me what I need to focus on and I have already worked out revisions to my training plan with my coach, Seb Mansart.
I would like to thank the McKinstry family for their kindness and hospitality and also my sponsors, without whose generosity and commitment I wouldn’t have been able to race in the United States. I am truly grateful.