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» Ottawa, ON

The almost three weeks I spent in Stubai, Austria for the second on-snow camp of the year were eye opening to say the least. Our first ski day was on October 10th. We had heard about how little snow they had, but nothing could have prepared me for what I saw when I got to the top of the glacier:

Fantastic first day conditions!<br />
Fantastic first day conditions!

22 runs in a slalom course later and one wrecked pair of skis and we left the mountain in disbelief. It snowed a little that night and the rocks got covered over for the most part, but a new challenge arose. We switched to another side of the glacier the next day and though it had much better snow coverage, the snow was coverring up glacial ice. If you’ve never skied on glacier ice it is the slickest, hardest ice you will ever find. Razor sharp edges are rounded and dull in two runs on the stuff!

So after an interesting first two days the storm started. It snowed for eight days straight after that. Eight! The mountain went from zero snow, to waaaay to much snow in a matter of days. All the accumulation, plus a seemingly never ending stream of hazards made training extremely tough, but we hamered on through and skied every day. Iced over goggles, giant ski-wrecking rocks, 80km/h winds, and freezing temperatures kept things from getting too dull!

Finally some nice weather!

With about five days left the sun finally poked through and brought us a few good days, which we took full advantage of. The snow wasn’t perfect but it got better and better over those last five days and we got some decent GS and Super-G training in. On the penultimate day of training we skied Super-G to start off then moved to slalom. I did the first run of slalom gates then went to do the second run and couldn’t put any pressure on my skis. Turns out I likely have a bulged disc in my back. The pain was so intense the first day it happened we thought that it might be serious, but the pain has lessened considerably since then so the doctors think I should be good to go in a week or so.

With all the soft snow we only did 3 days of slalom which brings my slalom training total for the year up to about 4 days. Even though I’ve done so little slalom I’ve been skiing well when I do get the chance to ski it, which is encouraging because I had such a tough time in the event last year.

Overall it was an extremely tough camp mentally. I’ve never been on a camp where we faced such challenging conditions, and it seemed like some new, even more difficult challenge arose each day. Every day can’t be perfect as my coach constantly reminded us! The way I see it, I made it through all the bad weather so the rest of the season should be blue skies! Not likely, but I can dream.