I wrote this on the plane overseas again after a short week at home. After Ramsau, I was fortunate enough to fly into Minneapolis, spend the week with the family, and then get a flight out of MSP back over to Munich. Before I go on, a quick recap of Ramsau:
Ramsau, Austria is one of the highest elevation ski jumping venues in Europe. Set in the Alps below the Dachstein glacier, it's usually a winter wonderland surrounded by connecting alpine resorts and endless cross country ski trails. That was hardly the case this year. Their best snow so-far fell in mid October, since then, the area has had little snow and warm temperatures. On a few cold nights they were able to make enough snow to prepare the HS100 and a bare-bones 1.25km cross country loop.
The highlight from Ramsau was definitely the 4-man team event. I competed with Bill, Taylor and Bryan in the first event of this format that I’ve done since World Juniors in 2012. We battled tough conditions on the hill and jumped to 8th. In the relay (5km each) Bryan led us off strong and we moved up to finish in 5th. Considering that 3 out of the 4 of us didn’t qualify to compete in the individual event and Bill’s not yet in his top racing form, it was a solid team performance.
Here's some photos from the team event, all credit Sandra Volk.
On Sunday’s individual event, the weather forced the jury to cancel and use Friday’s provisional jump – for the second time so far this season. Usually, this would mean that everyone – not just the top-50 – would get to race. Unfortunately for us, the jury decided that 70 racers would be too many on the shortened racecourse. This was especially frustrating for Bryan, usually a strong jumper, who jumped to 51st. But there was nothing we could do about it but cheer on Bill and be ready for the next opportunity.
After Ramsau, it was great to have a week at home with the family. Highlights included home-cooked meals, a fondue dinner, ice-skating on Christmas, spending time at the cabin and game nights. No jumping yet in the Midwest, but otherwise I was able to keep up with my training. Over the weekend, I put some K’s on the beautiful Birkie trail.
On Saturday I skied with Brian Gregg – a 2014 Olympian and 2015 World Championships hopeful for cross-country skiing. We skied about 40km in 3 or 4 inches of fresh snow, which was plenty for us. Some of the other skiers out there were completing the annual informal “Double Birkie.” I’m not sure if anyone did the full 50 + km trail both ways, but most of the guys were aiming for over 80km that day. I’ll have to add the Double Birkie to my list – and hopefully do it on an easier day than this year’s!
Stay tuned! If you want more info on how to follow along, these links are for you:
Be sure to follow USA Nordic Combined on Facebook here or our new Twitter here for updates.
The FIS Nordic Combined website, for schedules and results:
To watch the jumping and races later on YouTube, follow this guy or search Nordic Combined World Cup and limit your search query to most recent results.
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