After a gruelling 8 week conditioning period with the Scottish Institute of Sport, I made my way down under with my team mates and coach Stef to kick start the 14/15 season. As always, my goals for the summer were to just get used to being back on my skis, find the rhythm and concentrate on getting my equipment set up just perfectly.
Not to let me down, HEAD (once again) have been amazing with supplying me with some great skis for the coming season, and going straight back into training was absolutely no problem. By the time that we had been in New Zealand for a week it was already time for the first races of the season (unfortunately narrowed down to one slalom race due to the weather) but after the field somehow battered down 2 runs through crazy snow conditions I ended up taking the win by 4 seconds. It was a great feeling to find out after the race that I had managed to put down two solid runs with relatively short preparation, and it really gave me a little confidence boost going into the next training period.
We spent a lot of the next 2 weeks fighting with the weather and persevering with the wind and soft snow conditions making training very inconsistent but as Stefan would say “Those are the days that you really learn to ski!” And before we knew it, it was time for the New Zealand National Championships over at Coronet Peak. I felt that the 4 races there were full of missed opportunities as I would have one good run followed by a bad one and vice versa. It was extremely frustrating as I knew deep down that I was capable of making the top of the podium and collecting results there, but importantly I had to remember that this was still pre-season training and consistency is something that comes with time – and writing this now, it is already significantly better. I think I might be being slightly negative here, the skiing was far from bad, and I picked up one podium with a 3rd in the National Champs GS with a good first run, but a mistake riddled second.
With 3 and a half weeks left of the camp, the weather made a complete ‘u turn’ so to speak and I could probably count on one hand the number of clouds that I saw from then on. We had a very productive second half of the camp and smashed through the training and even fitted in a couple of Super-G days with the Austrian Europa Cup and World Cup ladies teams, which was as always an incredible opportunity –Thank you so much to them for letting us join in.
As if time had fast forwarded itself, the end of the camp was suddenly upon us and we had 3 races at Treble cone followed by 4 Australia New Zealand Cup races before home time – It really was unbelievable at how quickly everything went by. Treble cone was definitely a positive series of races. I again brought two solid runs together in the slalom and was happy that I managed to produce a performance equal to those from training. The giant slaloms there were probably the highlight of my camp and I picked up a 3rd place in the first of the 2 races just half a second behind Austrian World Cup star Michi Kirchgasser. The rest of the races were also solid, Slalom was again a little slower than I would have liked, but they have really given me a focus of the work that I still physically have to put in over the next month, as well as allowing me to pinpoint exactly where I am losing time on some of the best girls in the world.
All in all, I have returned home feeling very confident about what is in store for the rest of the season. I know that I have made small improvements every training session, and that I am working as hard as I possibly can, enjoying skiing and therefore the results will come with time.
Love Charlie xx