What a day.
After a very civilised car journey down, a kip in a nearby hotel and an all you can eat buffet breakfast, morning came and with that the prospect of putting my race kit back on again. It’s not often I get to ski gates, as my university don’t hold training sessions. So when race day comes around I’m always eager to get back in there! Bibs are a definite nuisance; making sure to put arms through the right holes, squeezing your helmet and chin guard through the regular sized head gap (which is usually only just big enough) and then trying to sort out layers and hoods on top of all that! If you’ve ever had to wear one you’ll know what I mean, but with that many Uni students its a must!
So inspection came and went, the course was looking good, fairly easy and straight forward, though the snow was on the soft/sugary side. Our forerunners went down, one of which was a spectacular guy who although has both legs can only use one and so skied the course on one ski with outriggers. Incredible. Before long I was standing in the start gate and I remembered the boys talking in the car on the way down about how in the snowdome it’s all about the start. With that in mind I gave my mightiest push out the start gate and then through the next few turns, an aggression apparent in my skiing which as a child I always lacked. Before I knew it I was through the finish line in what felt like a fairly good time. Afterwards, I stood at the bottom with one of the other girls who has always beaten me watching the boys hammer down the course. As we watched she confessed she was worried that she hadn’t qualified for the second run. As an ex-British team member I thought that was nonsense and she would be through no problem. The level of competition this year was the highest I’ve seen it in the past 5 years but still, of course she’d be through! This did however have me worrying about my ranking. The boys finished with some well worth watching runs; what with sliding full speed under safety nets, skis in the air, bums on the ground and some wicked fast times.
Not long after, qualifying results were posted. I had just made it at 14 out of 15 to qualify!! I looked at the names above me, and then at those below. What? I had somehow managed to out-ski my friend and some of the other names who I recognised as being ex-British team. Over the last three years now I’ve noticed my results getting steadily better at each of the Uni races. Slowly creeping up the ranks my ski racing is improving year on year. A trend that I hope continues! But I believe that I can contribute that to becoming an instructor. It has given me a much deeper understanding into the mechanics of both skiing and racing allowing me to comprehend all the things that had washed over my head as a kid.