We traveled to Park City last Wednesday for another set of Continental Cup races. It was another tough weekend for me; I didn't do as well as I would have liked with a 42nd and 41st place finish. The first day I had a little bit better jump, and probably better conditions, which put me in 40th to start the race, whereas the next day, I jumped into 48th. Both days I had trouble finding a group to ski in, and did not have the kind of times that I know I can have. It was a good experience though, especially with the tough conditions that we raced in.
While we were competing in Steamboat last week, it was warm and raining in Park City. Fortunately the jumps are in the shade and had plenty of man-made snow on them, but things were a little interesting 2000 ft lower at the Soldier Hollow ski trails. They were able to make a ton of snow a couple of weeks ago and stockpile it up for when it was needed. On Friday, the day before the race, the groomers spread the snow out on the race course. Basically the only snow to be seen was on the course itself - the ground around it was oddly bare.
Considering the temperatures soared into the 40's both days, the groomers did the best good they could. Still, the snow was chewed, rutted, and mashed up beyond anything that I had ever skied on before, except for maybe spring alpine skiing. Stepping through ankle deep ruts on the uphills and pushing into "mash potato" snow on the flats made the racing pretty tricky. As a result, race times were 4 or 5 minutes slower than the more typical 22-25 minute times of last weekend.
This kind of conditions, however rare in Utah, are pretty common throughout Europe. It's safe to say most of the Euros were happy to see the soft snow, and in general they did better against the North Americans than the week before. I'm sure I'll encounter more tough snow like this in my racing career.
That's it for international competition until, if all goes well, World Junior Championships at the end of January in Estonia. Hopefully I will also get to go back to Europe in March to compete in more Continental Cups in Scandinavia. World Juniors is really my main focus for this year, but it would be great to get another chance to try to score some Continental Cup points.
Where am I?