I write this on my last day of my British Parasnowsport training camp in Hintertux in Austria. We’ve been skiing on a glacier which can come with it’s own problems, namely poor conditions. Some of the days we’ve either taken a run and come in after one or two due to poor conditions, some we’ve not gone out at all. I find skiing with very poor visability one of the hardest things about skiing. I don’t know whether it comes from being in a monoski and consequently not having direct contact with my body (such as feet for stand up skiers) to the snow. Either way, it totally throws me off and I become pretty scared when I can’t see a thing! Still, it’s great to have those challenges now so that if we’re presented with this in a race, we won’t be totally thrown off guard. That having been said, I always hope for a bluebird day with some good snow.
It's been great to be back with lots more of my teammates, despite being quite a tricky camp. I did have a pretty adventurous journey down the mountain in a piste basher after we found something up with the ski I was on. I was basically in there in my monoski - I suppose it was a pretty efficient way to get down safely! I’ve been very spoiled having spent quite a bit of time in Colorado where the weather is invariably good (albeit very cold in January) and the visibility is rarely a barrier. I’ve managed to find somewhere to stay so I’ll be heading back there after Christmas for a couple of months of intensive skiing. Now I’ve got my new Aspen Seating ski seat which I’m feeling really happy with, I can’t wait to get some serious mileage in it.
I did have a few decent days during the camp, although not as many as I’d wanted due to issues with my skis – life of a sit skier! They’re constantly bending or breaking. My pair of Rossignol slalom skis which I now love, are going to have to be replaced, because one is snapped and the other has a dodgy side edge. With any luck I’m going to get some more of the same type, Rossignol Hero's.
Training camps are always quite full on and intense but they’re a great experience, particularly the skiing, and despite the early starts and ‘activation’ to set our bodies up at 7am. That's athlete life though! Despite some not ideal conditions I’ve had a good time and learnt a great deal thanks to the brilliant British Parasnowsport coaches, especially Dougie who's coaching the sit-skiers - never an easy task! As ever, it's been really nice staying at the Koessler Hotel with the lovely Karina who has looked after us all very well. I’m back here in two and a half weeks for a ten-day training camp and can’t wait!
I’m now updating this having been home for a few days after a very long journey back. The EasyJet plane got struck by lightning meaning that we couldn’t use it to fly back to London from Munich. I managed to get on one about five and a half hours later (probably a perk of being a wheelchair user and making myself visable to the EasyJet staff) but it meant for a good 12 hours of travelling. Unfortunately when I returned home my wheelchair wasn’t functioning as it should and the wheels weren’t turning properly. It turns out the pins that go into the axel tube were actually bent – the guys at GBL wheelchairs were pretty dumbfounded at how bent they were. Apparently it’s a result of the tons of luggage putting pressure on the wheelchair and that’s the thing that will go first. Plane travel in my experience can wreak havoc on wheelchairs. Complaint issued to EasyJet!
I’ve already been down to the lake a couple of times since I got back and things are going really well there. I’ve just moved up to an 18 metre rope line which is the length you need to be able to use to ski the outer course and to compete. Bring it on! This weekend is looking to be not too chilly so I’m going to have a good go to finish the year off in style with any luck. On Monday I’m heading up to Snozone in Milton Keynes for some slalom training with the Gravity Academy. I’m counting down until the first international race of the season which takes place in Landgraaf at the start of November so this should be some useful training.