Hintertux – Pitztal – Solden World Cup
Hey guys, Sorry for the long update…I sat down this morning in the airport lounge and started writing and realized I had a lot to talk about then all of a sudden my page looked like this. Hopefully I can update this thing more frequently so I can keep it shorter. But hopefully you enjoy the read!
The last couple weeks have been pretty hectic over here in Europe. Crazy weather, tough conditions for training and quite a bit of driving around to different ski areas.
Myself, JP and Dustin ended up leaving Hintertux pretty randomly one morning because we found out that we had the opportunity to have 2 days of training on the race hill in Solden. As some of you may know, the track at Solden is fairly extreme and probably one of the toughest on the men’s GS circuit. At 2500m and over a minute long (3/4 of it is on an extremely steep pitch) it is physically and mentally demanding. So the more runs you can get on the hill before race day, the better! We also found out that on our 2nd day, Dustin and I would be racing in a qualifier to see who would have Canadas final spot in the World Cup the following weekend! We were all pretty rusty the first day (except JP who is a wily Vet. on that hill) but learned a lot and were ready to go for the quail the next day. Unfortunately, Dustin skied better then me that day and earned the spot for the race the next weekend. It is always a bit of a bummer when you lose a quail but it definitely puts fuel in the fire for when the next opportunity arises to qualify for a big race!!
From there we moved over to the Pitztal Glacier for some training to prep the guys for Solden. I was lucky enough to come along even though I wasn’t racing but it was a wicked opportunity for me to feel like a part of the team and try to learn as much as possible so I can be fast moving forward. The coaches were able to work with the Norwegians and Swiss teams to inject the hill and with clear skies and hard snow it made for the best training of the year so far. JP, Dustin and Trevor Philp (aka Junior, aka College) were getting everything dialled in so they would be ready for race day and I was doing the same even though I wasn’t racing. We had a lot of staff during this training block for the small amount of athletes so it was a great way to make some changes in my skiing and try to get the next skis figured out.
By the end of the week, the hay was in the barn and we were ready to move back over to Solden for the World Cup Opener. I have been to Solden to watch the race a couple time but being there with the team and being more involved in the race was definitely a different feeling. The atmosphere at this race is incredible, with all the Austrian fans piling into the town for a weekend of partying and ski racing!
The Girls (Mitch, MP and Erin) raced on saturday. Winter weather rolled in and it made for some pretty interesting race day conditions but luckily they were able to get the race off. Mitch and MP both qualified for 2nd run which was incredible!! They ended up 6th and 19th respectively and you could tell that this provided our guys with some extra energy and incentive to have a great day on Sunday.
We woke up Sunday morning to complete winter…Tons of snow had fallen and it continued to dump as we went up for inspection. I was able to sneak in a few powder runs while the boys were inspecting and getting ready for the race. All the snow, combined with the new skis, made for a rather interesting race. But, the race still went on and there was still going to be a winner at the end of the day. Dustin had an amazing first run and was able to move from bib 54 to 27th place and qualify for the second run for the first time in his career. He ended up 22nd scoring his first ever World Cup points, a major accomplishment so congrats to Cookie!! JP also skied well and finished 19th! The story of the day was Ted Ligety though. He was absolutely lights out in tough conditions winning the race by 2.75!!! An absolutely ridiculous margin proving to the world that regardless of the conditions and new ski equipment, the best skier will still win the race! Overall, it was an exciting day for our entire team and being there to witness all the success over the weekend definitely made me hungry and gave me some belief that I can do it too, just need to be patient and work my ass off.
I am in Munich now, about to board a flight to head back to Canada!!! Its been a long trip and my body definitely has some aches and pains from a 3 and a half week camp. Looking forward to resting so I can be in tip top shape when I travel out west next week to prep for the season.
Thats all for now // Phil
PS. Check out this video from JP Roy’s second run in Solden. Commentary by American racer, Warner Nickerson…He should have done the whole race…I think Warner will make a great MC some day!!