My first trip to Austria, training with team GB and krampus.

Hi and thanks for reading my page!

I’ve just returned from Kuhtai, Austria after a great 12days training with the GB Development Ski Team and then 4 days free skiing in Kuhtai with Charlotte to watch the IPC Para Alpine World Cup races! I was invited along to their training camp as an invitational athlete after meeting the coaches at the end of November in Landgraaf (click here to read my previous post) where they saw me ski for the first time.

The training camp was based in Pitztal, Austria which is a glacier and one of the few places you can find good snow at this time of year. It was a hectic few days before I left for the camp as I finally had to say goodbye to all my work friends and left my job after 6years the day before heading to the camp.

I got a coach the same night as I finished work at 12:40am to London, Gatwick airport which was a challenge. Travelling on your own in a wheelchair with a sit ski, LARGE ski bag with 3 pairs of skis, suitcase, back pack and crutches is not easy! Thankfully Ash (my housemate) and the staff at the airport were really helpful although the coach driver was not.

My flight was at 6:20am (bargain at £39.00 without luggage) to Munich and after waiting a couple of hours in the airport for some of the team to arrive we got a 4hour transfer to Pitztal.

We stayed at Hotel Christophe for the duration of the camp which was the perfect base for the team. Christophe (the owner) has a long history in ski racing so has catered the hotel especially with ski racers. There were multiple equipped ski tuning rooms, a full size gym and both the Australian and Canadian teams were staying there at the same time as us.

We arrived quite late on the Wednesday and got straight at it with unpacking all our gear ready for training the next morning. It was early starts for the whole camp as each moning we would start with activation (stretching and warm up) at 6.30am before breakfast, heading up to the hill for our training session and then doing recovery in the gym and tuning our skis each night. Their were three invitational athletes in sit ski’s on the camp and we were all new to racing. For the first few days we focused on drills and getting some mileage on our skis.

Having mainly always skied on a slalom race ski I was really comfortable free skiing that ski. However jumping onto my GS (giant slalom) ski was much more difficult and took longer to get used to! Each night we sat down with coach Dougie and reviewed the days skiing on video which really helped me understand what I needed to work on for the next day.

So finally after doing drills and free skiing for the majority of the week I felt ready (and was allowed) to tackle some gates ahead of the races in the upcoming days. We had one session of Slalom and GS each before the races which I felt I had much more control through the course and went well.

Krampus

Then after training that night these masked creatures with horns called Krampus turned up at our hotel trying to take away any naughty children! Turns out that In Austro-BavarianAlpinefolklore, Krampus is a horned, anthropomorphic figure described as “half-goat, half-demon”, who, during the Christmas season, punishes children who have misbehaved, in contrast with Saint Nicholas, who rewards the well-behaved with gifts!

Of course once they made us all jump out of our skin we had to try on the head masks for our self’s.

   Yes they are as heavy and smell as bad as you think!

The Races!

As we were already there I entered the IPCAS slalom and GS races the two days following the camp. Going into the races I felt more prepared than Landgraaf having skied for over a week and getting a couple of more training sessions through gates. Although I was more comfortable skiing my slalom ski I felt more confident in GS rather than slalom. Slalom courses are so tight that I really find it hard work to get through the whole course!

Anyway, the GS race was first. As with Landgraaf I drew bib no.136 as I am a new skier which meant the course was icy and challenging by the time I got to run the course. I made it down both runs and finished the race but was annoyed with myself as I felt I could have done much better. Slalom on the other hand was really hard! There was a really icy section at the beginning of the course and I fell a few gates in 😦

 Overall it was a great camp and really gave me a better idea as to what it will take to succeed at racing. It definitely left me wanting more and can’t wait to go to Colorado to get a solid 5 weeks of gate training before entering my next races in Park City, Utah!

Thanks for taking the time to read this.

Scott

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