Exclusive blog sees Austrian continue to try and find his feet on new equipment.
First of all, I want to wish my friend Felix Neureuther a speedy recovery. After his furious debut in Levi, he had to forfeit the season with a cruciate ligament rupture before even entering the second race, which is bitter and a shame. It is extremely sad for him, the sport and for me. I hope that he will recover quickly from this setback. He will be missed by all of us, especially by me this season.
Since my injury I have also had to deal with some issues and I still have major questions to answer a week before the first giant slalom race (in Beaver Creek). The questions are not because of my ankle, which has been doing fine all things considered after the test at the slalom in Levi, but from giant slalom tests. The training deficit of three months is hurting me.
Since the first slap in the face on the Reiteralm twelve days ago, I have learned that skiing on the new giant slalom material is something completely new. I have to get used to the arc momentum of the giant slalom, which is close to what it was five years ago after the last material change. In order to get the perfect feeling for the track – it will take more practice and time on the slope, which I simply don‘t have.
Thanks to the good training during the last couple of weeks with the Austrian as well as the Swiss Team, I managed to receive good feedback and at least make up a little bit for lost training time. It is clear, however, that it will take a while before we can reach our goals in the giant slalom in terms of set-up, ride feeling and momentum. The six ski days I had to gain experience on the new material are not enough.
Currently, the giant slalom training for me is a wild rollercoaster ride. At one moment I‘m thinking while skiing: “Wow, this was great!” Then I see how my colleagues race down the slope and I‘m thinking: “Ok, that looks quite different.” I need to reevaluate and improve my awareness on the new skis in order to find that ominous second, which I‘m currently simply missing.
My previous experience and my team give me hope. Both have shown me that if you work meticulously and with the necessary devotion under new set-up circumstances, one will sooner or later make that jump. When and if it will be possible in this season remains to be seen. All we can do now, is do our best and leave no stone unturned. That‘s exactly my team is doing right now, where they can finally receive feedback to the new material.
All in all, our trip to the USA, which starts on Monday, will be one of many necessary experiments in order to gain a foothold in this season. We pray for good on-site conditions this coming Sunday, so we can absolve possibly three training rounds and a couple of material tests. Until the we hope we can find something, which will allow us to fight on a top level already in the first giant slalom race.
Until next time in Beaver Creek!
Read the original blog in German HERE.