The first on-snow training camp of the season is complete. We spent almost three weeks on two glaciers in Europe. The first stop was in Hintertux, Austria which I have written about in detail in a previous post. This session focused on getting a feel for the snow again as well training a bit of giant slalom and slalom . I haven’t skied since June and the body can quickly forget how to perform all the necessary movements. I would characterize the entire first week as painful and awkward as my body became used to my seat and the energy involved in skiing. Despite my best efforts in the gym, I can never seem to trigger the core muscles I use to make a turn. Those muscles made their presence known in a fantastically painful way.
I was recently sponsored by Fischer, which provided me with a completely new arsenal of skis for every event. The skis are amazing and the support provided by Fischer is beyond anything I ever thought I would have. They are new skis, however, and they are very different than what I am used to. I’ve had a few moments where I managed to put full power into the skis and they perform breathtakingly well. Each day I use them I start liking them more. Hopefully I can unleash their full potential when the racing starts in December.
The second half of the trip was spent in Saas-Fee, Switzerland where we trained a few days of giant slalom and a few days of super-g. Saas-Fee is an unusual town in that you are not allowed to drive a car into any part of it. The town is situated at the very end of a valley, surrounded on three sides by towering mountains with patches and fingers of the Fee Glacier clawing their way over the horizon. You park on the edge of town and try to find your hotel on foot, as it is one of many that make up the majority of structures in this town. There are still a few dairy farmers here but most of the economy, as with a lot of the old ski world, has been taken over by tourism. This time of year sees mostly ski racing teams from around the world, many of them elite national teams. Wandering the streets you will hear a myriad of languages that seem to drown out the local German dialect.
You must take two tram rides in the dark and one funicular train diagonally through the mountain to reach the top of the glacier every morning. It takes almost an hour to complete and you are rewarded with an amazing sunrise over the jagged, glacier covered peaks of the Swiss Alps. Saas-Fee is the kind of place that changes the most bitter mood into the sublime with its natural beauty. Training takes place on designated lanes groomed over the glacier. Off-piste skiing isn’t really a thing here as most routes will take you into a crevasse. Some sections of the glacier have at least 20 lanes right next to each other, making it seem like a sea of gates when you ski down. As we finished the camp the weather turned from sunny and warm to cold, windy, and snowy. Hopefully a sign of a good winter.
In addition to Fischer, I want to thank Dynaccess the manufacturer of my monoski. After a very thorough tune-up this summer my monoski is functioning flawlessly. My additional equipment from Ride Designs and Enabling Technologies continues to perform perfectly. Lastly, a big thank you to Cisco Systems for enabling me to make it all come together. I’m super stoked to have you all on my team as Korea gets closer and closer.