I’m writing this en route back from Hamburg where I’ve spent 6 days training with the British ParaSnowsport Development Squad. We drove from Hamburg to a small town called Wittenberg, which was home to a huge metal structure, which housed a large artificial ski slope. The hotel was on site so we didn’t strictly have any need to venture outdoors for the entire duration of the trip. During activation and recovery sessions I would take a couple of laps of the car park to get some oxygen in me!
We had a schedule for each day, mostly starting with activation before breakfast – the idea being that we work ourselves up to eating a decent breakfast. A good breakfast buffet was followed by getting on snow; a few warm up runs to start with and then either drills or taking turns to ski the slalom course. After a two-hour session we’d go to the gym for spinning and stretching. Lunch followed by a bit of free time to rest up which I definitely needed each day! Sometimes we’d have a video review before heading back out on snow for another two hours. After this we’d do spinning and stretching before a quick shower, team meeting, dinner and bed! We had a physio with us, which was really helpful to get some advice about how best to activate and stretch, particularly as it varies from person to person.
Because we were training indoors slalom training was on the cards. Slalom is a challenging discipline, particularly for monoskiers, because it means you need to make very quick turns, and this can be tough, especially for me, given my level of injury with absence of much core to speak of. One thing I had been told about the Alpincentre at Wittenburg was that it was a very icy run. The race lane is sprayed with water which makes it pretty icy – not easy to contend with!
It was great to do some really focused drills and I found that I made some good improvements during the week. At the start I was struggling to even get down the slalom course, never mind make all the gates, and by the end I was getting down with more ease. That’s not to say it was a transformation – but a noticeable improvement! I still can’t wait to get in a Giant Slalom course again!
I spent the week with members of the GB development squad and team and felt very welcomed – they’re a lovely bunch and I came away feeling like part of the team.
It was a brilliant but intense week (with a lot of german sausage – no pun intended), and despite it sometimes feeling surreal to essentially spend the week in a large freezer, I had a great time and made some good progress. I was pleased to get some good feedback and to be invited on some more training camps – I’ll be heading to Hintertux in Austria in two and a half weeks, and then back again two weeks later. I can’t wait to get some extended time training on snow with the team and the brilliant coaches.
Tomorrow I’m heading to Heron Lake to get my wakeboarding fill and then on Wednesday I’m up to Milton Keynes for a Pathways training day with some of the team. The BBC will be there filming a documentary of Sean Rose coaching us – should be fun! It’ll be interesting to see what difference the training camp has made when I’m back on a less icy course!