Wednesday, January 18, 2012

January

January is the big month for men's world cup slalom. We have five races in under three weeks and not much more for the rest of the season. It's very important to be skiing well and have the confidence to ski to your potential when it matters most. Last year, I wasn't able to ski how I wanted to in any world cup before Kitzbuhel. From Kitz to the end of the season I was no worse than fifteenth, including world champs and finals. So far this year has gone decently in my eyes. I have been top ten in two out of the 6 world cups that I've done with two more scoring results in the twenties. It's been a much better start than last year but I am hoping to really get rolling when Kitzbuhel comes around this weekend. Both Kitzbuhel and Schladming are two of my favorite races the entire season. On the tail end of one of the most iconic downhill races ever, Kitzbuhel slalom attracts a lot fans and brings a challenging hill that never lets you get a rhythm. When the snow is good, this is a wild race that brings the best skiers and best athletes to the top of the podium! It is supposed to start raining tomorrow so let's all hope for cold weather this weekend. Schladming is an individual race two days after Kitzbuhel finishes. It's the site of this year's world cup finals and next year's world championships so having this be my favorite race give me a mental advantage racing it more often. Being comfortable is huge in ski racing and since we race primarily in Europe, comfort is not so easy to come by. Schladming has a false flat out of the start then swings left onto a steep consistent pitch with only a slight sidehill when you get towards the bottom. This hill really shows which skiers are willing to push the line to go faster when even when the hill doesn't let up. To make this race even better, it is put on at night. Night racing is really the best way to run any slalom race for a few reasons.
the first reason is that the race is more fair because the light is much more consistent, even in adverse weather conditions. The second is that it draws many more fans because most people aren't working and can go watch the race and treat it more like a party. If the fans are enjoying themselves, the sport grows. Lastly, having a night race in Europe gives the fans back in the states a chance to watch during a normal hour instead of a 2-4am time slot depending where you live. If you don't get universal sports, you can always watch the races at www.fromsport.com.

I hope I can ski my best when it comes to these two races Sunday and Tuesday night. We are having a great training block in Soelden, even skied a little bit of gs (scary, I know). The tech team will be heading over towards Kitzbuhel tomorrow to compete in the Westendorf FIS night slalom that night. This is another race that is fun to compete in are great for fans to watch. It's sort of a warm up race for the next two world cups so a lot of the top fifteen are there. Everybody shows up and really charges because there are no repercussions for DNFing and there is a 5,000 Euro prize for first place.

I want to give a shout out to USANA for providing me with vitamins and meal shakes to take when the food in Europe is unbearable. Being healthy and feeling fueled is huge in skiing whether you are racing, on hill training or in the gym. USANA products help me stay energetic so I can train hard and ski my best!

Europe food is brutal, except wiener schnitzel... and leberkase. Nom nom nom.

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