I just got back from one of the best camps ever. I travelled with the team from Challenge Aspen to Hintertux, Austria where we had two weeks of slalom and GS training on the Hintertuxer glacier. The conditions were great meaning solid glacial ice with tons of pre-made ruts. The glacier, it turns out, is rapidly melting. I was here about 4 years ago and we could ski much further down then we can now. There are many little streams running over and under the glacier, carrying away ice that probably has been building up for at least hundreds of years. Hintertux is still an epic place, but I think that it might have to advertise mountain biking a few summers from now instead of skiing.
I learned some very valuable lessons this camp, mainly that everything I have learned about ski racing is wrong. Allow me to explain. Usually there is a fine line between turning high and early enough to make sure you make the gate and are still able to make the next one and going direct enough so that you don’t travel an unnessesary distance from gate to gate. In reality, the more direct you go at the next gate, the faster your time will be, high and early be damned. I found that if I went super direct at the gates of a course and ripped a turn just barely before the gate, and put as much pressure as I possibly could into the turn, the faster my time was. Absolutely rediculous. If you have no idea of the fundamentals of ski racing, what I just described is usually what your coaches spend hours demanding that you not do.
We also spent lots of time going on very long pushes and doing workouts. The pushes were usually tons of fun, except the day we had to go on a road that went through a cow pasture (there are lots of cows in Hintertux), and our wheels and subsequently us got covered in bovine excrement. Delicious.
This is the view from my hotel towards the Hintertuxer Gletscherbahn.
The town of Tux. Everything is very green because it is sprayed every fall with liberal amounts of liquified bovine excrement.
Me at the Walfischmaul, or Whale’s jaws. This was along one of our long pushes up the mountain side.
My teammate performing surgery on his skis after he stripped the screw heads in an attempt to take the bindings off.