During a long three weeks in Europe I did two races in Switzerland, one in Sweden, and World Cup Finals in Norway.
Grindelwald: The top of Europe! Picturesque mountains surround Grindelwald. The ski cross course was lower on the mountain winding it’s way around farmhouses and snow covered pastures. The course was a speedway with a couple big swooping turns, several long straight-aways, and lots of jumps. The course officials decided to have inspection the first day and 2 runs of training before qualifying the next day since there were spring-like conditions in Switzerland while we were there. In my qualifying run I didn’t give one of the jumps enough direction going into it so upon landing I went super wide and lost lots of speed. Any mistakes on the Grindelwald track were unforgiveable as there was nowhere to make up time for mistakes made. I finished pretty close to qualifying, finishing 18th.
Meiringen: Around an hour drive from Grindelwald, the town of Meiringen is much lower in elevation. To get up the mountain you have to take a big tram where you are crammed in like sardines. From the tram you then you have to fight your way to the gondola to head to the top. Upon arrival at the top you are faced with a wall of glacier and the ski cross track below you. This course had an interesting first feature, the course builders made a wutang that had to be snow-plowed up to make the landing on the backside. The rest of the course was really fun, with lots of jumps and turns you had to be looking ahead the whole time! In qualifying I was 12th which made me pretty happy since I didn’t qualify at the last race. In the race I was lined up with teammate Kelsey, Anna Holmlund (SWE), and Andrea Limbacher (AUT). Off the landing of the wutang Limbacher’s ski took me out causing me to crash beside her and from there there was no way I was catching the others unless there was a crash ahead. I ended up 12th, the same number I qualified.
After the two races in Switzerland we had a couple days off to get to Scandinavia. During one of these days off prior to getting on the plane to Oslo we went into the city of Zurich to the zoo. At the zoo the monkeys and the lions were the highlight for me, overall it was a fun day!
Scandinavia: The first race in Scandinavia was in Branas, Sweden. Prior to the first day of training in Branas, Willy Raine (one of our fabulous coaches), my teammate Danie, and I ripped around Branas straight-lining and tucking down the entire mountain (we were working on passing and staying close to each other). The Branas track had lots of air, a couple double sets of rollers, and a speedway at the bottom straight to the finish. I qualified 12th after making a few little mistakes. In the race I was lined up next to fellow 18 year old Fanny Smith (SUI), Heidi Zacher (GER), and Julie Brendengen Jensen (NOR). I knew coming into the racing that the start would be integral to success. Out of the start Fanny, Heidi, and I were pretty close together coming into the first turn and my ski got caught on Heidi’s ski and I did a bit of a hip-slider and Fanny got caught up with me. I was able to get up pretty quickly so I made a pass on the Norwegian and held it to move on to the semi-finals. In semi-finals I was close to moving on, but in end I just couldn’t make a pass on the bottom so I went on to the small finals. In the small finals I made a few mistakes off a couple of the jumps and I ended up 3rd. I was happy with this result as it was the best result of my season (7th).
The last World Cup race of the season was World Cup Finals in Myrkdalen Voss, Norway. Since it was WC Finals we didn’t have to have qualifications because for women only the top 16 on the World Cup Standings qualify to come to the race. Not having qualifications gave us two days of training which helped to get the course dialled. On the second day of training there was fresh snowfall the night before so we just trained the start. The start was a wutang, so the practice was helpful so I could work on my technique. ”Myrkdalen” which apparently translates to “Dark Valley” is not known for getting too much sunshine throughout the day, but on race day it was luckily sunny all day. On the race day in quarter-finals I was lined up with Katrin Ofner (AUT), Katrin Mueller (SUI), and my teammate Kelsey. Out of the start I was in forth, but I made a pass on Ofner coming out of the first turn. From third I went to pass Mueller, but she ended up passing me again soon after. From there I got caught in some fresh snow and couldn’t make up the ground on Mueller so I ended up in 3rd which left me in 14th. This was an exciting race to end up the World Cup season.
The next stop for racing is Canadian Championships in Lake Louise April second and third.