We had a decent year with JJC this year despite mother nature throwing some challenges our way. Another eight passed through our Euro test program successfully last year with the least amount of time we have ever had in gates. This highlights a few important points;
- Time spent focusing on the fundamentals of racing can be equal to if not more important than time in gates
- Types of sets are extremely important. Due to softer snow we spent more time running direct courses which we feel gave more opportunity to work on letting skis run
- Fatigue levels prior to testing. We found that most our passes came from shorter stints on snow before tests. This highlights some further points I will save for our next blog but as a break down our passes came as follows.
- Four after just two weeks on snow in Autumn
- One mid season after recovery time from main training block
- Three at the end of the season off the back of 1 week training.
“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain.”
The first three weeks in Saas Fee we were hit by storm after storm. Usually the dream for skiers but not so much when preparing for a Euro Test. It meant we had limited time on the glacier and when we made it up there it was impossible to set. For both coaches and athletes it is incredibly frustrating when you cant follow ‘the plan’ and the structure of the camp is purely determined by the next storm.
We had to make the most of our free-skiing sometimes even having an early start to ski on our neighbour glacier in Zermatt. Trainees worked extremely hard during these sessions, when the pressure was on to utilise each and every training run there was a much greater work ethic and the work load on these days was huge with some massive days on the Glacier. There was no early finishes or wasted runs!
The first test was scheduled early on in the camp with four of the team heading across. Their main preparation had been working heavily on their fundamentals in challenging conditions. There was very little time spent going between the sticks and for some with none at all!
We got the boost we needed and the boys put in a 100% pass rate for us early doors. It was great to have them back in town after and it certainly raised moral after what had been a tough start to our 2014/2015 campaign.
Going into the second part of the camp we were blessed with some better weather, the opportunity to set a lot more and some big double sessions on the glacier to make up on training time. We still faced some challenges with there being so much snow our usual training venues on top where shut for the winter and we had to make a move further down the mountain. Although we didn’t have as much terrain to play with as usual we had much warmer temperatures to train longer in, firmer pistes and a sweet varied slope with a pitch, various cambers and gliding sections. We were also the only ones using the hill meaning we could set to our trainees needs on a daily basis with a big mixture of course sets.
As the camp wrapped up we were able to get some mock tests in and some dual slalom to ramp up the competitive atmosphere. Things were looking up heading into the season and it was a really great feeling to finish on some positive training after what had certainly been or most challenging Autumn to date.
We are pleased to say four more trainees went on to achieve their goals during the season. It is always awesome to be opening at the test they pass at and gives us the opportunity to really finish the job properly. The days can feel intense with a detailed course inspection, some pre race chat and then performing alongside the team. Nothing beats crossing the line to then go and share in the pure brilliance and elation of someone achieving something they have worked so hard for. Every single time I still get the same buzz as when our first trainee passed in 2007.
Seeing the work that goes in and sharing the experience with each candidate through the tough days when things arent working, to the light bulb moments where everything falls in to place really makes each day unique and brings home to me why we have the best job in the world. Bring on 2015/16!!