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Val Gardena

After Val D’isere I travelled about 10 hours to Pampeago in Italy for two FIS GS races. It was very grippy snow and I struggled badly with my timing having not skied much GS for some time. I fell over on the first run the first day and missed a gate the second day. I spent a lot of time free skiing and trying to work on my basic position before travelling over to Val Gardena.

I arrived in Val Gardena pretty low on confidence, having managed to rack up six races in a row without a finish. I had never been to Val Gardena before but had watched it on tv several times and was excited and a bit nervous to see the famous ‘Camel Bumps’ (where you take off on one roll and hopefully land on the back side of the next one) and ‘Chaslatt’ (a section of turns with big rolls some of which you have to jump to clear, others you absorb).

Most of the piste is quite flat but there is a lot of terrain and lots of jumps making it one of the most popular courses on the circuit. Inspection was very difficult as it was hard to remember where all the rolls and jumps were and the line through them.

The first training run I skied quite well but made a few small line errors and was a bit cautious in places, particularly coming into the camel bumps. With about 200m of straight skiing into them you have a long time to think about them which is a bit of a mixed blessing as it gives you plenty of time to prepare but also a lot of time to get nervous! I flew ok in the air and had no major troubles which helped my confidence for the following day.

The second training run I corrected a lot of the line errors I made and with growing confidence attacked the piste a lot more, especially ‘Chaslatt’. Unfortunately, having skied the toughest section of the course well I scrubbed a very easy turn right afterwards losing me a lot of time on the last split. I was getting closer to the top guys though and if I could just get rid of the mistakes I felt I could be very competitive.

The Friday was the Super-G race. The super-g looked great fun from inspection, lots of terrain but not very intimidating. However, we watched the first guys on tv in the café and there were some nasty crashes, particularly on one gate near the bottom. I skied pretty well, I had a few turns which could have been cleaner and would have helped me carry some more speed onto the flats but generally it was good. Apart from the gate where lots of people crashed, I overturned there, meaning I travelled further than I needed to and costing me speed into the final section. I finished 3.17 seconds behind in 47th position.

Saturday was downhill day and my last day skiing before my Christmas break.
It was set to be a long day with the race not staring until 12 and 2 minute intervals for the top 30 followed by 1 min 15 for the rest as well as tv breaks, meaning I wouldn’t be racing until around 1.45. With such a long time between the first guys and the late numbers the light on the course changes hugely. In Val Gardena the early numbers get sun on the top section but dark conditions on the bottom section and the later numbers the opposite.

From the moment I pushed out the gate things were a little shaky. I kept catching edges on the top flats making me feel very unstable. Despite this I skied quite well doing the camel bumps and Chaslatt really well. I had however lost too much time on the top flat sections, one poor turn costing me a lot of time. I was knackered by the bottom, a long time on the road racing had caught up with me and it showed in my final jump and falling in the finish area. I was ready for home but my confidence was back up after a really fun week in Val Gardena and some good skiing.

Posted in Racing.


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