Week one of six or seven is in the bag. We’ve all got a lot ahead of us. But here’s a quick update of the happenings so far.
The team – consisting of Coach Greg, Michael Ward, Nick Hendrickson and I – flew over last Monday to meet up with Brett Denney in Munich. We drove straight to Seefeld, Austria for a little pre-camp. Seefeld – just outside of Innsbruck – is your typical Austrian nordic and alpine ski town consisting of endless trail networks, abundant snow and happy, outdoorsy tourists. We had two solid jump sessions, a couple sweet afternoon skis, and then it was off to Eisenerz.
Eisenerz is a quiet old mining town that shows a different side of Austria. The only tourism around seemed to be backcountry skiing. I have to say, jogging to the hill in the mornings I was a bit jealous of the 50 some alpiners gearing up to shred some limitless pow. In Eisenerz there seems to be two types of weather – cloudy and snowy or sunny and still snowy. Anyways, we’re here to compete, not just to hike around and enjoy the vistas.
The biggest news from the weekend is, unfortunately, bad news. Brett Denney fell on the landing hill on his first competition jump. He’s a bit banged up and was out for the weekend. Our team has had pretty decent luck avoiding injuries, but when it happens it’s really sad to see someone sit out. It makes me appreciate my good health. We’ll find out soon whether or not he’s able to compete this next weekend.
In terms of results, I had a 24th and 19th place finish, Nick skied into points the first day to finish 29th, and Michael was just a bit out of points in the 30’s. Eisenerz’s hill is pretty hit or miss, too put it one way. Most people don’t love it, but it’d be boring if the hills were all the same. I had some a couple real good jumps in training and fell a short of my high expectations in the comps, but it was still a solid way to start the trip.
Today we left Eisenerz and drove to Planica, Slovenia, where we’ll compete this weekend. Along the way we took advantage of the US Ski Team doctors in Schladming, Austria, where Alpine World Champs are currently going on. (Congrats to Ligety and Mancuso for bringing in some medals – we just got into Planica in time to see Ligety take the gold in the combined).
It sucks to have to go to see doctors anytime, but considering the need, it was pretty lucky that we could see these guys. Brett took a concussion test and as soon as they compare it to his baseline we’ll find out his return status – cross your fingers. Nick also got a little work done on a sore knee.
Now for a couple days of great training in Planica and we’ll be ready to rock this weekend.
Last but not least, a big thanks to everyone supporting us, especially through the NNF, which is picking up a big part of the tab for this trip. We really couldn’t do it without the support and are extremely grateful to the opportunities that we have.
Where am I?