World Cup and a Prang!

It has been an eventful couple of days for me!

My first World Cup was an amazing and overwhelming experience.
The Beaver Creek Super G is a challenging hill. As I pushed out of the start gate all thoughts went on trying to go as fast as possible, and not enough on technique. The snow was grippier than a lot of iced courses and needed to be treated less aggressively. About a 1/4 of the way down I  fell inside and ended up going though the gate. This was disappointing as two weeks ago we had been training with the days winner, Patrick Kueng, and others and I had done a couple of runs around 2 seconds behind him.

I would love to do it again and tidy it all up.

Today I had a GS race at Loveland. The first run was reasonable with a few mistakes, but I was in a good position and had plenty to work on for the second run.
As the video shows, second run was alright until I failed to adjust enough to the grippy snow, which ultimately lead to a dislocated shoulder.
I lost the outside ski in the soft snow and got twisted. I tried to get it back but the aggressive snow made both skis edges hook up on different paths. Doing the splits and heading for the panel, I tried to get it back but ended up going into the nets. One of the net poles caught my shoulder, pushed my arm up and popped  my shoulder out of place.

https://vimeo.com/81360074

So its going to be a week off snow for me.  This is  frustrating as good results in the  NAC speed series over the next 7 days were a major goal for me. Instead I will have plenty of time to kill mucking around the house and trying to find new ways to keep in shape.

1st Block Done

I have completed the first training block of the season, and now heading into the first race period of the season. Coming into the Loveland North American Cup races I was skiing really fast in training and it was going very well, I picked up where I left off in New Zealand. A real highlight was training Super G with the Austrian, Swiss and Slovakian WC team members on the Copper Mountain speed course. I was able to ski within 2-3 seconds of the fastest of them – for the first couple of runs at least.  The course starts at over 10,000 feet we just had to suck it up the thin air. Whereas they sucked on oxygen and changed between multiple pairs of skis between runs.

Inspecting the Austrians course
Inspecting the Austrians course

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I was ready to crush it in the Nor-Ams, but unfortunately I didn’t ski anywhere near as well as I hoped. I fell over both days in the GS but carried on in one. I wasn’t very fast. I was told If I skied well I would be able to start the Beaver Creek World Cup, All I can do now is talk with the coaches and selectors and hope that my skiing fast in training will help.

Here are a couple of videos of me training and racing.

Downhill training Copper
Copper Super combined slalom video

-Willis

Five sleeps to go!

With the New Zealand winter season behind me, I’ve had a bit of time to reflect on how it went. I had achieved most of my goals and I was skiing well towards the end of the season. The highlights were definitely winning the Australia New Zealand Continental Cup Yellow bib in GS and Super G. These will give me a 31st position start in Europa Cup and North America Cup, and a World Cup spot in their respective disciplines.SG podium Yellow Bib Holders

It is almost the beginning of my Northern Hemisphere adventure. I am really looking forward to leaving my home town of Twizel and onto my next project. I had a good week with the National Team at Mt Hutt earlier this month. It is good to keep the feeling of skiing right through to Colorado where my first race will be on the 8th of November.

-Willis

Wanaka Tech Series

Finally a result I have been working for. I had been skiing well in training before the races but It was back in my old hunting ground in Cardrona where I put two clean runs together and scored a 22 pointer, career best result!  Now it will be good to carry that positive momentum into the Coronet Peak races ( the slope where i have been training this season). Right Now i am in my hometown of Twizel relaxing for two days. I am fixing the hot box that Bob Giles kindly build for me. I have sorted it out, and just put my Downhill and GS skis in, hopefully that will make them fast!! A few pictures of the box. _IGP5115 _IGP5118 _IGP5119

Back To Blogging

The season has started so it’s time to start my blogging again. I had spent the last 2 months staying with the Giles family in Christchurch. Thanks Bob, Helen and Dale! I worked worked long hours digging ditches in Christchurch with gym, running and biking after work hours.  Not really interesting enough to blog about.

I am currently training at Coronet Peak. The hardest part of my training (apart from my boots) so far was finding some accommodation. But  that’s all good now that some Queenstown people have kindly agreed to have me as a boarder. During the first week of training Nils realised that my boots have been too stiff for the last wee while and that was giving me trouble driving forward at the first 1/3 of the turn. We have just started doing gates after some technical free-skiing. It is all going well, picking up where I left off from Austria and going forward!

What I have been doing.

Hello Everybody.
It is my first post in quite a while! I apologise for that but I have been busy skiing really fast (in training anyway).

With 3 weeks left my season is starting to wind down with just a few more opportunities left, I really need to make the most of the races available.  My training has been going better than ever, I’m feeling very fast and starting to get some real power out of the turns. My racing hasn’t been going so well though. Since the World Champs I have competed in 6 races, crashing in four of them and falling over and carrying on in the other two. In Stari Vrh (SLO) I came 22nd and in Innerkrems Super G I came 28th. Nowhere near where I hoped to be after training so well. That’s all part of ski racing. Right now I am in Zagreb, (CRO) competing in some GS races. After that I plan to do only a few races (not sure where yet) and get some more training before I head to the British Championships in Meribel, (FRA) which will be my final races of the season.

Top of Hinterstoder SL race
Top of Hinterstoder SL race
Innerkrems super g take 2
Innerkrems super g take 2
GS Training at Hintereit
GS Training at Hintereit

-Willis

World Champs done.

The World Champs have sadly drawn to a close. It was a fantastic event, it has given me extra motivation to succeed in the future. Firstly I would like to thank my sponsors, Stoeckli and Alpina for providing me with equipment it was greatly appreciated. I shall get some more videos and pictures from the World Champs shortly.

The Downhill was definitely my highlight. A few facts about the downhill, the course was 3,334 meters long, the max incline was 72%, the longest jump was 60 meters and you go from 0-100ks in 5 seconds. The race day was very exciting 40,000 people came to watch (only about 10,000 people were left by the time I came down.) The top of the course was a bit misty, which made the rolls pretty hard to see. There was lots of bumps from the people in front of me. This made it a bit hard to arc a clean turn, but its all motivation of getting better so I start nearer the front. Coming over the final pitch was very tough. It was the most technical part of the course, my legs were burning and I really needed every bit of strength to be fast. I came 38th in the race my goal was top 40 so i was reasonably happy  with that!

The Super G was a bit disappointing I started off slow, then when i was just starting to ski well my ski pre-released on a very bumpy turn and I went for a bit of a slide.

The atmosphere for the Tech Events were hectic as expected, where crowds of about 55,000 people came to watch the Slalom. They were a little disappointing for me. I fell sick during the GS and didn’t qualify and the slalom was going well but I tried to take too much direction out of a flush and straddled which put me out of the big race.

Now I Have a day off then travel to Annaberg (AUT) and Bohinj (SLO) for some more slalom races.
I shall keep you posted on how they go!

-Willis

World Championships!

New skis! Thanks Stockli!! I am very appreciative of their support and World Ski Connect for connecting me with them.  I know it has been a while since my last post. but I have a good excuse; I have been to preparing for the World Championships in Schladming, Austria. The last few weeks have been a blur of travelling, skiing and training, today we leave for Schladming. Competitions begin on the 6th for the men with Super G. After discussion with Coach Nils we have agreed I will be competing in the Super G, Downhill, GS and Slalom. I am incredibly excited for these races, it is definitely the biggest event of my career so far. Some quotes about the World Championships.

“In the 14 days of the FIS Alpine Ski World Championships, some 400,000 visitors are expected. In eleven disciplines, 650 athletes from 70 nations will fight it out for 33 medals, with over 3,000 media representatives from around the globe reporting on events as they happen. For 14 days in February 2013, Schladming will be in the world spotlight as it celebrates a Ski Festival with Heart.

From a TV perspective, more than 600 million spectators are expected to follow the Championships.  Host Broadcaster ORF has spared no efforts to deliver top quality, unbiased international coverage to the audience in close cooperation with the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), the Local Organising Committee and FIS. Using around 100 cameras featuring the most advanced technologies, ORF will broadcast more than 65 hours live coverage from Schladming.”

As you can see it is not a small event.

Here is the Link to the programme: http://www.schladming2013.at/en/sport/program/

On another note I have been spending as much time as possible training on the new skis in all kinds of weather.  Snow has been a bit soft at times but I am faster than I was 4 days ago. I was meant to be training Super G today but due to excess snow it has been cancelled.

the cars are covered!
everything is covered!

So we shall see how it goes for the WSC. No doubt i will keep you posted.

 

-Xoxo Willis