World Championships Diary

Sunday February 17th 2013

With my races over and my body telling me I need a rest, I headed with some of my friends to watch the men's slalom along with thousands of excited fans!

The turn-out for the race was incredible and the atmosphere was mind blowing!  Having access to the team area, I got a great view of the course without enduring the cramped conditions of the spectators.  

After the first run, I took the opportunity to get one of my race bibs signed by some of the top athletes. Most were extremely friendly and more than happy to do it with just a few (I won't name names) seeing themselves as maybe a little too important.  After watching the first few racers in the second run, it was time to head back to pack the van to leave.  As sad as I am that this experience is over, the memories I will take away will stay with me and I am leaving with even more drive to continue improving in this sport that I love so much. 

For now, I'm looking forward to going home for some rest.

Saturday February 16th 2013
After a long, tiring week it was an unwelcome 6.20 alarm call this morning but, for my last day of racing, I got up and started to prepare myself for the slalom race - I was now aching as a result of my fall in the GS; my neck is sore as is my right leg.  Anyway, having arrived late for course inspection because our van got stuck, I went straight up and found that the course was challenging, as anticipated, very turney with little room for mistakes so I took my time to take it in. After inspection there was plenty of time for warm up runs which aggravated my right leg even more.  At first I was worried that my slalom start might be compromised but after my dad came to the rescue with some pain killers the pain became a dull ache and I went back to warming up. 

The atmosphere in the start was noticeably different today; whether it was to do with the dull weather or being faced with a challenging course I am not sure.  Either way, it was still an incredibly professional area with television screens set up to allow the athletes to watch current racers on course.  My run with bib 96 started well but I began to get into trouble about 15 gates down. A small mistake which resulted in a late line cost me dearly as the difficult course made it almost impossible to retrieve it. Through a verticale on the flat, I managed to get a better line but I was now suffering from a loss of speed on the steep.  

However, after my short GS experience I was determined to finish by whatever means necessary and so, after a tough fight with the course, I made it through the finish.  Unsurprisingly my time wasn't what I had hoped for, going into the race, but it is a great experience for me to finish in a race of this standard. With a tough qualifying criteria for the girls second run I didn't make the cut and so my World Champs are now over. 

What a fantastic experience it has been and a week that I will remember as being one of the most significant of my racing career.

Friday February 15th 2013
A bit of a lie in this morning as I was able to sleep all the way through until 7am!  Actually, this is something of a luxury these days!

After a couple of slalom gate training runs I headed over to the slalom race hill for a few free ski runs to prepare for tomorrow.  In order to maintain energy and strength for what will, undoubtedly, be a challenging slalom course tomorrow my training was kept short today and, after finishing free skiing, I attempted to find a spot from which to cheer on my team mate, Conor.  After some difficulty finding space in the stands, I finally got settled to watch the last 50 racers.  Conor did a great run and placed 54th after the first run, meaning he qualified for the second!  He finished overall in a deserved 52nd position and so congratulations go to him!! 

Ted Ligety lived up to his GS reputation and comfortably took home the gold with Marcel Hirscher in silver-medal position.  After a very enjoyable and exciting day of racing I headed back to the hotel to prepare my skis for tomorrow and for some light recovery work.  I don't yet know what bib number I will be as the captain's meeting is still taking place but fingers crossed tomorrow will be a good day!

Thursday February 14th 2013

GS race day - Another early morning today to be prepared for an 8.05am inspection. As I arrived at the lift station this morning I was surprised to be presented with a rose on behalf of the Championships to celebrate Valentine's day and then I headed straight to the course for inspection. The course looked challenging but not horrific and was extremely icy to the point that many girls were more focused on standing up than on inspecting the course!

I was interviewed by Orf 1 (Austrian TV) and asked for my views on the course and the event as a whole.  

With course inspection over by 9 and the start not scheduled until 10, I had plenty of time for some warm up runs above the course. We were taken from the bottom of warm up to the top by shuttle buses to avoid a long turn around.


After watching the top athletes' runs on the large screen at the middle station of the Planai lift, I headed down to the start to prepare for my own run. 

I managed to keep my nerves under control and kept composed and focused on the course set and before too long I was ready in the start gate. After being held for a couple of intervals, and almost being distracted by a swooping camera which was getting a very close shot, I pushed out for my Giant Slalom run.  All seemed to be going well and I was handling the bumps and ice quite nicely until ... I crashed out.  

The immediate fear of my crash was quickly replaced by disappointment as it dawned on me that my World Championships GS race was over.  However, video replay of my crash in real time and especially slow motion on the enormous screens in the stadium and all around Schladming looked quite jaw dropping and softened the blow a little.  As I came into the finish area I was cheered by a very supportive crowd and I took advantage of the Milka hot chocolate stand which was supplying the exhausted athletes with a much needed pick me up.


Whilst eating lunch in the team hospitality area, I was very excited to see my crash was replayed in slow motion during a TV analysis of the race and I  enjoyed my '15 minutes of fame'.

All in all it was an amazing day for me despite my disappointment.  As I was reminded, it's all part of ski racing! 

Wednesday February 13th 2013
Another early start for some more GS training, this time on another hill on the opposite side of Schladming. Since today is the day before the GS race, the female athletes are allowed to free ski on the race piste from 10-11 so after a few great training runs I headed straight for the Planai slopes with my coach. 

After skiing on the race piste, I am feeling much more confident as it isn't quite as intimidating as I had expected - although I will certainly need to make sure my edges are razor sharp! 

After lunch I prepped my skis and then took my equipment to be officially checked. Skis and boots are all ready to go after passing without a problem and my bib number is 92 (out of 142).  Wish me luck!! 

Tuesday February 12th 2013
This morning we left the hotel at 7.30 for a training day on the Reiteralm, about 5 minute's drive from Schladming. Since there were no races on at this time the slopes were full of athletes with a number of famous faces among them including Anna Fenniger, Tina Maze, Kathrin Zettle and Julia Mancuso!! 

After a dull start, the sun managed to break through making it a great training day. After training, I headed into Schladming with my dad for lunch to try to absorb some of the incredible atmosphere. The streets were buzzing as people were arriving to watch the team event.   I was really pleased to see my Grandad who has travelled out here to watch me race.  

After heading back to the hotel to prep skis and do some recovery work we went back into Schladming to watch the team event. It was fantastic!! Our accreditation got us into a great viewing spot and the atmosphere in the crowd was incredible. To the crowd's delight (and my own), the Austrian team won in the final against Sweden. After experiencing this race I cannot wait to race on Thursday in Giant Slalom!!
Monday February 11th 2013
After three great days' training in Pitztal, I finally travelled to Schladming for the World Championships. 

I am staying, with my team, about 15 minutes out of the centre of Schladming.  Since I didn't arrive until about 6pm, I have not yet been into the town to see what's going on.

My room has an absolutely amazing view and I can even see the race slopes!

Tomorrow, we will start with some Slalom training followed by a little GS training and then I hope we will be able to watch the team event which involves only a limited number of Countries.

I cannot wait to begin my experience of this exciting event!