I spent my lockdown in London. My home is usually back in northern Italy but I was coincidentally in London at the Intensive Rehab Unit in Bisham Abbey when Italy went into lockdown and so decided that there wasn’t much point going home. Naively I thought I would only be in London for a few weeks... we’ll 3 months later and I’m still here!
When we were in full lockdown I focused on doing online courses, online translation work and rehab for my knee. However, like most people, I was desperate to find something to do. I knew I couldn’t ski again until September so I started to apply for jobs anywhere and everywhere. My choice was limited given that I couldn’t stand for more than an hour at a time with my knee which meant supermarket and fruit picking jobs were out the window. Then as lockdown slowly lifted, a young ski racer got in touch to ask about some fitness training. I took on the job and we started doing a 3 socially distanced sessions a week. I know I’ve always enjoyed coaching and working with teenagers and younger athletes; I like giving them the opportunities (and more!) which I had when I was younger.
The fitness training was going well and as weeks passed a few family friends started asking me for training and I decided to expand. I advertised my services and was overwhelmed with the response. I now have over 15 clients, ranging from teenagers to people in their 60s. A lot of the people I train are keen skiers and others are just looking to improve their general fitness. Every program I write is different and tailored to the client. The client also receives all their programs complete with links to videos of me doing every exercise.
One area which has gathered a lot of interest and which I really enjoy is training teenagers. Most kids have really missed out on sports over the last few months. All the running around and games they played at school have ground to a halt. Kids can go out on a bike ride or a run but that quickly loses excitement so my aim is to get them interested in fitness and make it fun for them. It should be something to look forward to and not a burden. All of my sessions are bodyweight or use resistance bands which means I can really focus on getting people’s technique right. I think this is essential for young people; if they do decide to go into lifting weights in the future then their form will be great and in the long run they will avoid common injuries from bad technique like back and hip problems. We can also work on motor skills which will help them when they get back to playing school sports like field hockey, lacrosse, netball, football etc.
At the moment my plan is to remain in London until the end of September and then it’ll be time to head back to the snow. My own fitness is doing really well, I join in with all the sessions I write and I’m cycling about 100km around London every week! To everyone who is already back on snow, I hope you are enjoying every second of it.
It’s been a while since my last update… It felt like my season came to an end before it even has a chance to begin and there just wasn’t time to write a blog. Then suddenly the world was in lockdown and my mind felt like it was a million miles away from the mountains.
I’ll begin where I last left off, after a great camp down in New Zealand last summer. In September I took some time away from skiing to do my sailing exams, and I passed my Day Skipper and moved on to study for my Yachtmaster Offshore. My next time back on snow was in November in Colorado. The temperatures were much kinder this year and the conditions were awesome. There’s a new tech training venue with a cool GS hill and I had a few really good days of SG training. The camp wrapped up after Thanksgiving with 2 SG races at Copper Mountain. Unfortunately, I let my head get to me and didn’t ski as well as I had been in training. However, I still came away with a best ever SG result, a podium and motivation to do well at my first Europa Cup races of the season.
I had a short break at home in Italy before I headed to St Moritz for two Europa Cup Super G races. The race hill was really cool, there wasn’t much flat terrain which suited me and the hill was constantly turning and twisting making it pretty technical. The one thing that didn’t suit me so well though was the jump. I thought it looked pretty big despite everyone reassuring me that it was only a small 10m jump. I was starting in the 40s so I stayed at the bottom to watch the first girls going off the jump. Number 1 landed at the next gate, about 50m away. It took until bib 10, who jumped over the next gate before they decided to make the jump a little smaller! I was very relieved. I skied well in the first race, albeit a bit cautious. I didn’t finish very well but I had promising split times, with the 8th fastest time at the last interval. I was determined to make the next day better. The following day was perfect for me. The weather was cloudy and overcast and the light was really flat, just how I like it. I skied really well and moved up over 20 places finishing in 23rd. I was very proud of my result and ready for more!
The rest of December I did a lot of GS. I had a few podiums and good results in some races in Austria but nothing close to the results I was aiming for. I spent the Christmas break at home with my family in Italy. I went to La Thuile for New Year coaching for ATC (Alpine Training Centre). I had a really fun week and had great group of U16 and FIS athletes who made some big improvements.
With my coach, we decided that January would be focused on GS and the February was going to be all about SG, which I was really looking forward to. I started doing a little bit of ski touring in January around Val di Fassa, which I really enjoyed and I look forward to doing more of when next possible. It was good endurance training and nice to get away from everything for a few hours each week. I also had some really great GS training days where I make some real leaps forward in my skiing.
At the end of January, we went to Seefeld in Austria for two GS races. The hill was interesting, due to a lack of snow it weaved between two slopes and even featured a triple delay, something I had never seen in 10 years of racing! My first run didn’t go as planned, I struggled to generate any kind of speed on the flat hill and I was not fast! The race was delayed due to timing issues and then suddenly it was cancelled after run 1. We went back up to the start to get our gear before the organisers announced the race was back on. It was tough going to switch my brain out of race mode and then back into it. Nevertheless, I decided that even if today wasn’t going to be the result of my career, I was still going to make the most of my second run and enjoy it. I remember looking up when I was in the start gate and thinking how lucky I was to be racing in such an amazing place; then I pushed out the start. I took a direct line which made me pick up more speed than I expected and at the first roll I flew further than I expected. When I was in the air, I worked out that I was going to land on the flat at the bottom of the roll and be compressed. I tensed up my left leg (the knee with my ACL replacement) to protect it which unfortunately, left my right leg free to catch and twist in a rut. I felt a snap and knew something was wrong. However, I didn’t fall over so I just skied down to my coach. You can imagine she was pretty surprised when I told her I thought I’d snapped my ACL! I took my ski off, did a couple of squats, decided I was fine and skied down. I’m so glad I skied down because it was to be my last ski for a long time. The verdict was a fully ruptured ACL and just a week later I was having surgery (wide awake under epidural!?) in Lugano, Switzerland. I knew the drill, it had been 4 years since I tore my left ACL, an injury which completely changed my career.
I didn’t feel ready to tell the world that I had done it again. I didn’t want to receive all the well wishes from people and messages telling me I would come back stronger because in reality, nobody is better off with an injury. Yes, you can come back and do great things in your career, many a world champion is proof of that but it’s never something an athlete would choose. Having said that, when I did announce my injury, the support I received was overwhelming and really made me smile so thank you to everyone who commented, texted and called me.
Of course, everyone knows what happened next… the world started to shut down due to COVID19 and suddenly every athlete in the world knew what being injured felt like – one day you’re doing your sport and the next day you’re stuck at home, unable to do any of the things you want to. I’ve been working hard on my rehab from my now “home” in London and my knee is doing really well (I think, who knows without access to doctors and physios). The earliest my knee would allow me back on snow is in Autumn but of course my return to snow may be delayed due to COVID19.
I’m making the most of lockdown by passing my Yachtmaster Theory, just need to do the practical now. I have also set myself up to be able to work remotely as a French/Italian to English translator, a transcriber and a guest blog writer. I’m still selling bikinis from my company Corallina Swim, even though our wholesale chain has taken a huge hit due to COVID19. If you would like a fun way to support a British Athlete, please check out my bikini website, I ship worldwide for free and offer gift wrapping so it’s an easy way to let someone know you’re thinking of them, or treat yourself!
Who knows what’s next in store for the world? While we may all be sailing this stormy sea, we are definitely not in the same boat so I hope you can hold your loved ones close (6feet close) during these times and whether you’re dreaming of the slopes, the beach or the local pub, that you can find your way back there soon.
No Chile this year… I was heading to the other side of the world, literally as far as you can get from home, New Zealand! It took a 7 hour flight to Dubai, a 15 hour flight to Auckland and then a 2 hour flight to Queenstown before I touched down in my home for 6 weeks.
You may have heard that there was a bit of a lack of snow in the world this summer. Most of the European glaciers had to shut early and teams cancelled their training in Chile and diverted to Ushaia, Argentina. New Zealand also experienced a lack of snow but my coaches had a great training schedule which meant we could make the most of where the good snow was! I spent the first few weeks at Roundhill, set by the stunning Lake Tekapo. This would be my first training camp with Volkl skis and Dalbello boots so most of the first few weeks were spent testing skis, fine tuning boots and getting used to the new setup. It felt good and I was happy with my equipment. We ended up staying at Roundhill a little longer than planned due to a lack of snow at Coronet Peak but this meant we trained a few days of Super G and then GS on a watered hill.
We headed over to Coronet Peak for the first races of the season, the NZ national championships. The first day it was really foggy and the snow conditions were soft and humid which meant it was too dangerous to run the GS race and it was postponed to the following day. The weather the next day still wasn’t great but the snow conditions were much better and the race could run. I put down two consistent runs and finished in 2nd place behind Alice Robinson. I was a little further off than I would have liked but I was up against the best in the world! I decided not to compete in the slalom races as they aren’t my focus going into next season and instead had some great days training.
The following week Coronet Peak got some much needed snow and they also started making snow which made training quite difficult. We had to miss a few days training because only the top layer of snow would freeze and therefore it would crack leaving soft snow exposed underneath. However, amongst the more difficult days were also had some really good days of training and I was feeling positive going into the ANZ races. First up was the SG which again had to be postponed due to the foggy weather. We still managed to have two Super G races. I really felt like I underperformed in both races compared to how I had been skiing in training. I made silly mistakes and just didn’t ski as well as I know I can on the steep section. The GS races also didn’t go as well as I had hoped. They were a mixture of good solid runs but with not enough charge to bring home a result and then scrappy mistakes meaning I couldn’t carry my speed well along the flat sections. The positive is that it was only August and I know what to change for the races that really count in the winter months.
Despite the races not going completely to plan I still feel like the camp was very positive and I’m looking forward to putting everything I’ve been working on into place when I get back on snow in November. In the meantime I’m still working on Corallina Swim, I have some exciting new products coming out in the next few months! I’m also currently studying for my sailing qualifications. I have just passed my Day Skipper theory and practical exam and this winter I will be studying for the Yachtmaster theory and then sitting the practical in the Spring. If anyone has done their Yachtmaster Offshore, I’d love to hear about it!
There comes a time in everyone's career when you have to make a change, whether it be team, training program, race program or equipment. One of the main reasons I went to Mammoth in California in May was for ski testing. I have always skied with Atomic and my coaches and I decided that it would be good for me to try some different brands to see if it changed anything in my skiing. After testing various brands the one that really stood out for me was Voelkl skis and Dalbello boots. The skis were very different to Atomic, they were softer and felt much easier to turn which meant I could take a straighter line and most importantly, I was faster with Voelkl on my feet.
I want to say a massive thank you to Atomic in Austria and in the UK for all their support over my whole career. Without the support of Atomic I am sure I would no longer be skiing and I will always be grateful that they allowed me to reach my current level in skiing.
I am now really excited to be moving forward with Voelkl and Dalbello for the next season!
2 weeks until I'm back on snow in New Zealand!
My new winter season has definitely begun. Throughout my whole skiing career I had always managed to save May as the one month of the year without skiing… until this year!
After enjoying a great break from the snow sailing around the Caribbean for a few weeks, it was time to get back to the white stuff. I had never been to California before so I was pretty excited to arrive in Mammoth. I expected Mammoth to look like a European glacier when actually it turned out to be bigger than your average European ski resort! There was so much snow I couldn’t believe that it was May.
The temperatures were warm so the day started earlier so we could get a few hours on hard snow before it started to soften. We were done most days by 11am. Rather than spend a huge amount of time focusing on freeskiing and slow drills, we were back into gates on the first day! Usually, when I start skiing again in June, after almost two months off snow, it takes me a few days to get back into the swing of things. Having taken just a month off since the end of the season actually made the transition back into training much easier than usual.
The best part about mammoth was that after just a few days of GS we had a chance to do 4 days of Super G training! The conditions were brilliant for Super G and the hill there was perfect for training. I feel like I made a lot of improvements in my super g skiing in just four days in Mammoth, probably more than I managed to do all winter in Europe. It made the trip all the way over the Mammoth very worthwhile.
At the end of the two-week camp unfortunately the weather was really bad and we had to miss two days of skiing. Therefore, we decided to go down to LA a day early. I had never been to LA so it was good fun to rent a convertible and drive up to Malibu and around the city.
I flew home to Italy from Mammoth. I’ve now been home for almost 3 weeks which I think is probably the longest period of time I’ve spent at home since I left school 7 years ago…! I’m enjoying the warmer weather, going to the gym and going out on the bike. I’ve also been doing a huge amount of preparation for my swimwear company’s first trade show: Kitesurfing Armada Festival, on Hayling Island, June 21-23rd. Entry to the festival is free (you just need to register on their website) so if you’re in that part of the UK and looking for a good day out it has food, live music and the British Kitesurfing Championships.
I know it is long overdue so here is my season blog!
January was a rough month, I knew what I wanted to do on skis and I could visualise myself doing it but when it came to actually doing it on race day I was lost. It was so frustrating having a good run here and there but never being able to stick two good runs together. It was also a constant frustration watching good race opportunities pass me by and beating myself up definitely didn’t help. However, slowly but surely a few more races started to come together until I scored a result in GS. It wasn’t the career changing result I was looking for but it was an important day for me because I managed to put two good runs together.
I actually did a couple of slalom races in my season too. My aim was to get my points down for the British Championships where my goal was to reclaim my overall title. Funnily enough, going into a race with no expectations and actually not really caring about the result meant that I scored my second best ever slalom result… not too bad considering it was my first slalom race in a few years! It was interesting to see what a few encouraging words from a coach did to my confidence in slalom too.
My favourite part of the season was probably the last 6 weeks. Mainly because I got back on my Super G skis! My first races were in Pila, not my ideal slope as most of it is as flat as a pancake but it felt so good to be doing speed again! Next up was the Europa Cup Super G Finals in Sella Nevea, Italy. I had never been and I had no idea what to expect of the hill and I was pleasantly surprised when I saw how technical it was. I was also surprised to see that the slope was the iciest I had ever seen a speed track. Despite perfect weather, the race was pushed back a day due to the snow not having frozen enough and the race organisers were worried that the icy surface could crack to reveal slush underneath. The good part was that this gave me another day to memorise the technical course. On race day I was nervous but confident. I knew the course perfectly and I was determined to prove my place in the Europa Cup standings. My confidence paid off as I crossed the finish line in 19th place from bib 45 making my best ever Europa Cup result, my first top 20 and my first Europa Cup points in Super G. It was a really cool race. My teammate, Alice, came second and the best part was that the night before, in the ski room, all the other teams were looking at us like we were a joke because we were brushing our own skis and then when it came down to it, we beat a lot of those girls in the race!
After the Europa Cup there was just time for a few more Super G races in Italy where I took a win and 2nd place and then it was time to head over to France for the French and British Championships. On the way to France I stopped in at my bikini factory to pick up my newest product, sports bras. There are only a limited number of sports bras left, which you can buy here, but they were such a hit that I will be producing more!
First up were the French Championships. I didn’t ski well in the first run pf the GS which is why I’m proud that I got my butt into gear to have a really good second run, just over a second off Tessa Worley! Knowing I could do better in the Super G I was ready to go. The super G didn’t look difficult, it was a nice mixture of steep and flat and the snow was perfect. It was a lot faster than I expected. I think it was probably the fastest super g I have ever done and I’m not afraid to admit that I felt like I was going too fast on a few turns to actually turn my skis! However, I stuck with it and actually did ok, finishing in the top 10 amongst the best French racers in the world. Luckily, we had a second super g race and I knew I had to really go for it. The snow had melted a little so the speeds were lower and I’m really proud of the way I skied, finishing 9th and scoring a 37, which takes my points to the lowest they have ever been! This season I really trusted my coaches and I know they know what they’re talking about when it comes to speed so despite doing less speed training than ever before during the winter, I’m better than I’ve ever been before.
In between the French Champs and the British I raced in Val Thorens. I took a win in the GS which was a great feeling, especially because I got to share the podium with one old Orsatus team mate and one new ISRA teammate! Unfortunately, I then became very ill, just a good old dose of the flu but I had it bad. In the second GS I had to go to the van to nap between inspection and the race runs and despite winning the first run by over a second, I couldn’t keep it together and I skied out just 5 gates into the second run. I needed some serious rest and medicine to make it through the last week of the season!
It was time for the British Championships that this year, were held again in Tignes, France. It was nice to be back to racing in such a familiar resort. Due to the weather the downhill was up first. It was my first and last one of the season! The last time I had skied a downhill had been in Tignes the previous year… when I had broken my leg. It didn’t inspire me with confidence so thank goodness for the training runs. I have to admit that I threw my skis sideways before the jump in the first training run though! It was a big jump and I wasn’t ready for it. I had two good training runs and I knew what to do for the race run. The downhill race was really good. I skied well, I got my line right and I took the win! It was a nice feeling to be able to get my name back on that trophy. I was over the moon when I took the win in the Super G too meaning that for the first time I was British “speed” champion, taking the win in both disciplines in the same year.
Next up was the slalom… I was starting bib 45 with 147 points. Not ideal! But it was a fun day and I fought my way to the finish in 10th place and 5th Brit. The last event of the championships was the GS. I was so nervous, I don’t think I’ve ever been so nervous for a race. This resulted in me skiing the most cautious GS run of my life which left me 4th Brit and not where I wanted to be! I knew I needed to fight my way back up the rankings for second run and with nothing to lose I did, finishing 2nd Brit behind Tilley. This result also secured me the British Overall title for the 5th time; what a relief! I also won the Victor Ludorum, always a good one to win because it meant I beat the boys too!
Looking back at my season I’m pleased with my super g skiing although I don’t think my results yet reflect the level I can be skiing at. My relationship with GS was very up and down. The frustration of not being able to race the way I train was huge and I’m determined not to make the same mistake in this coming season. After the winter it was time for a break and I was so excited to head to the Caribbean for 3 weeks of sailing. Being away from skiing does great things for my head and although I do struggle to leave behind sailing to go back to the snow, I know it’s where I’m meant to be for now. The next time I’m on snow will be in Mammoth in California for a two-week training camp. It’s exciting to be skiing somewhere new and I’m looking forward to starting the 2019/2020 season.
As the New Year approaches its time to look back on the year left behind. 2018 was a year for growth in which I accomplished a number of things outside of the skiing world, you could even say that it was the first year where I discovered a world outside of skiing!
Last season ended on a low with a crash in the DH at the British where I broke my leg. The most painful part was knowing it would be impossible for me to defend my title again, which I was well on my way to do before my crash. It’s one of those things that I can’t change though and it’s a part of skiing. The only thing to do is to look forward and insure that I coming back fighting fit and healthy. Ending the season on an injury is so frustrating because you’re so ready for a break after the winter but your body needs you to push through rehab. I spent as much time as possible in the gym and out on the bike trying to get fit and strong again.
At the beginning of May I flew to the British Virgin Islands for a much-needed holiday. It was also the launch of my swimwear line which I had worked so hard for throughout the previous year. I’m very proud of my one-woman company and what it has become in 18 months. Pouring my energy into something that wasn’t about racing down a mountain was really eye opening. When my time in the Caribbean came to an end, my mind struggled to comprehend that I had to leave behind bikinis and beaches and head back to the mountains. It was the first time in many years that I was completely detached from ski racing and I could see what else the world had to offer.
However, after a few days back on the snow I knew I was back doing something I loved and could excel in. Training was difficult as I was still experiencing pain from my bone break and my frustration grew knowing that what I really needed was more rest when all I wanted to do was ski faster. Changing from Orsatus to ISRA was a good step for me. Different coaches, different teammates and a change of environment gave me a new mind space to evolve in.
After a few weeks back on snow in Europe I was off to the UK to give back to the British skiing world by coaching with ATC. Always a rewarding experience! I had also signed myself up for two weeks of water sports on the Isle of Wight with UKSA. Once again, my eyes were opened through meeting people my age that hadn’t dedicated their life to sport. I also fell in love with dinghy sailing, the best part was that so many skills from skiing like balance, strength and coordination really helped me! I learnt that you can make a career for yourself on the seas, sailing around the world. Becoming a charter skipper on yachts in the BVI has now become a long term goal of mine. Although it’s going to be very difficult to do while skiing is still a part of my life, its nice to have a future plan I’m really excited about.
Back to the snow in Chile and once again I was surrounded by the world I knew so well and loved. I was skiing fast, my knee wasn’t painful and I was happy. One of the biggest changes to skiing with ISRA was the amount of time I spent on snow compared to previous years. It meant I was never exhausted on skis like I had been in the past and I could always train to my full potential. It felt brilliant.
After Chile, I headed back to the sea. I learnt a huge amount about the yachting industry in Annapolis, Maryland for a week helping Horizon Yacht Charters at the boat show. My journey onwards from Annapolis was on a new catamaran which needed delivering to the Caribbean: 1500 miles, 2 weeks at sea. If you ever need time to think, the middle of the Atlantic Ocean surrounded only by blue skies and water is a pretty quiet place to go. My mind skittered between the sea and the snow as I tried to work out which life I loved more. A difficult decision to make when you’re watching dolphins play in your wake at 2am, lit up only by the moon and stars.
Soon the sand once again became snow as I headed to Colorado for the next month. Training was getting better and better and I ended the month with some great results in GS and SG. I was ready for winter.
The last month in Europe has been a real struggle, I felt tired, slow and a bit “all over the place”. The Christmas break couldn’t come soon enough. I’m now enjoying the last few days of the break before I go back to the mountains for the rest of the winter. As I sit here reading back over this blog, I realise it might reflect someone who is 100% committed to their sport. It might sound like someone a little unsure of their future and the next path they want to commit too. I rather look at it as an amazing year of opportunity and growth. The point is that I’m still skiing, I still want to win races and be the best in the world. Maybe I am reaching one of those crossroads in life where you have to make a choice. But until the day I’m stood at the top of a mountain and I can say I’m proud of what I’ve achieved and I’m happy to leave behind the world of ski racing, you can bet I’ll still be fighting for the top spot.
I’m finally back in Europe! I’ve been away for two months and I was so ready to come back home. Even though I’m not quite headed home just yet… I’m off to Val Gardena for two super gs and then I’m going to come home for a few days to relax before another block of racing and training before Christmas.
I rounded off the camp in Copper Mountain with two GS and two Super G races. I was nervous for the races, it felt like a lifetime ago that I had last pushed out a start gate with a bib on! This was fairly obvious from my results in the first GS. My first run wasn’t terrible but I wasn’t in race mode and I had skied too cautiously. Second run the course had chopped quite a bit but I was determined to up the intensity, unfortunately I also pinched the line and ended up going straight through a panel, both feet between the gate!
I knew I could do so much better and luckily I had a second GS. After first run I was sat in 5th position, just under a second off the winner. Before second run I was a bit worried about blowing out the course again but I was more worried about crossing the finish line and being slow because I hadn’t given it my best shot. I really went for it and moved up 3 places to finish 2nd overall. I was second on the run. The girl who ended up winning the race also won the run and smashed it so I was further off than I would have liked but I scored 22 points which is a PB result for me!
After the GS it was time for the SG. Originally the SG was going to run across two days with one run per day but due to the weather they put both runs on the same day. I wasn’t too nervous for the super g because the piste was easy and the set of the course was very easy too. I just knew I had to be as clean and smooth as possible because every tiny mistake would be costly. When I crossed the finish line I was happy with my run, I thought I had skied the course well and hadn’t made any mistakes. I was surprised when I saw I was winning though because I knew there were a few other really good speed skiers there. I was really happy to take my first win of the season and score a PB of 33points! The score was extra special to me because it’s the first time I’ve scored something lower than before I tore my ACL.
I just needed to do the same in the second race, which was the same course. Annoyingly I pushed out the gate a bit too focussed on keeping my skis smooth and caught an edge on the last roll at the top of the course before the long flat. I knew it would have lost me the win but I was very happy with my skiing on the rest of the run. I ended up in 4th but I knew my skiing was fast without the mistake and I couldn’t be disappointed with my day!
The races were the end of skiing in America and we had a day to pack up our stuff before it was time to fly back to Europe. I really enjoyed the camp in Copper and I thought it was a great pre-European winter base. The conditions were brilliant and now I feel ready to start the European race season! If you haven’t read my ISRA blog about the differences between skiing in Europe and the US you can read it here. Make sure you’re following my Instagram and Facebook to keep up to date with my news!
My journey since Chile has been a little all over the place, really all over the world. I spent a few weeks at home in Italy before flying to Annapolis in Maryland for the annual boat show. I was helping out Horizon Yacht Charters, a yacht charter company based in the Caribbean, at the show. It was great to be able to learn more about the sailing industry and get my mind off skiing for a while. At the boat show we had a brand new catamaran that needed to be delievered down to the British Virgin Islands from Annapolis and I was lucky enough to be part of the crew. This was my first long offshore trip. We sailed a total of 1600 miles. It took us 5 days to reach Bermuda from Annapolis and then another 5 days down to the BVI. We were lucky with the weather and had fair winds and relatively calm seas. I also had a few days to explore Bermuda in the middle of the trip which was great fun. We arrived safely into the BVI and I had another week there before my flight was booked to fly back to the snow in Colorado. I made the most of the end of my summer before it was time to get back into skiing mode.
My journey to Colorado was interesting. I took a ferry from the BVI to the USVI and then I was due to fly to Fort Lauderdale and then onto Denver but unfortunately my first flight was delayed and I missed my connection. I had to spend the night in Florida and then the next day I flew onto Denver via Dallas. It was cool to be able to see more of America though, even if it was just out of the window of a plane!
My first day on skis was a bit of a shock to the system. Suddenly it was snow not sand under my feet and everything was going much faster than “island time”. However, I settled back into the training routine that I knew so well. We are staying in Frisco and training up at Copper Mountain. I really like the grippy American snow and so far we’ve had great training conditions for GS and SG. My skiing feels very different to the way it did last season and I think that can only be a good thing. It feels like a lot of things that I’ve been working on for the past few years are finally falling into place.
The plan is to be in Colorado until the end of the month so I still have another week of training and then I’ll take a few days break over Thanksgiving, experience my first ever American Thanksgiving, before the races start at the end of the month. On the calendar are two SG’s and two GS races which is ideal for me and I’ve been training on the race hill for the last few days so I’m really looking forward to the races!
I fly back to Europe on December 1st so the season will be in full swing when I land in Italy. I’m looking forward for the season to begin and to be settled into my new mountain base in Pozza di Fassa!
That’s it, summer skiing is over for another year! Having skied less in Europe I was well rested and ready for Chile. This year I was based in La Parva. It was great to be able to train on different slopes and stay in a new resort.
I flew out to Chile on the 23rd of September, 24 hours of travelling and 600euros in excess baggage (thank you Air France) I had landed in Santiago. After a few days of free skiing we were straight back into gates. The focus was on GS, where I had started to make some important changes in my skiing. We trained on super flat slopes, steeps and rolls. The snow was perfect every day. Due to the high temperatures we got perfect melt-freeze conditions meaning that one set of edges was definitely not enough for a training session!
The first set of races seemed to come around very quickly. I decided with my coaches that I would compete in the Giant Slalom in El Colorado, skip the downhills in La Parva and then maybe compete in the Super Gs. I was really excited for the GS as I knew I had been skiing fast in training. However, my run was a good wake up call that I was not ready to race. It was that feeling of suddenly being in a start gate and thinking OMG what am I doing here?! I didn’t ski well and got late on the line coming of the steep and missed a gate on the flat. A silly mistake but one that showed me that I needed to head back to training. I was really keen to compete in the Super Gs in La Parva and was ready to go but we found out at the meeting that the Super G would be going off a jump and since the last jump I had done I had broken my leg, it was best to stick with training until I was really ready.
We had another training block in before the speed series in El Colorado. I skied GS or SG every day: it was great! I got to train GS with the WC French speed guys too which was really fun. I had become so comfortable training GS that almost didn’t want to train SG! But I had so much fun training SG on the race hill and I could feel myself gaining confidence every run. The El Colorado speed races came around and I felt really ready to race in the Super G. I waited for my coaches to return from the meeting but when I went to see them they told me that they’d decided to pull me from the race! I was annoyed but they said that all the top girls had pulled out because of the poor snow conditions so I guessed they made the right call… they even got to say “we told you so” the next day when the race was cancelled! Rather than hesitating to race the next few days we decided to stick to training.
Unfortunately, the next day as I was sliding down with two sets of skis on my shoulders I bashed my knee off a rut which set off my bone bruising. My bone is completely healed around my break but there is still bone bruising so it remains delicate. Rather than inflame it more I took two days off. There were just two days left at the end of the camp and the coaches decided I should finish off in GS rather than push my knee in speed training. The last two days were pretty cool, I had a whole GS hill to myself which meant the resort had to run two extra lifts just for me. They even slowed down the chair when I was skiing and then sped it up just for me when I needed to go back up!
Not racing in Chile this year was a really smart decision. I got an extra 8 days of training in and I now feel really confident in my skiing for my next camp in Colorado in November, where I will hopefully be racing. A huge thank you to Chris and Jeff at ISRA for running an amazing camp and for setting me up with GS and SG training every day. (My slalom skis didn’t even touch snow!)
I am now at home for two weeks before I head off on my next two-month adventure…2 weeks in Annapolis, sailing from Maryland to the BVI, 10 days in the Caribbean and then flying straight to Colorado to ski! Back to the hard life 😉
There’s loads of photos from Chile on my Instagram and you can watch my skiing video on Facebook.
It's me, Cara!