Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas and SEMMERING!

My Dad arrived on the 23rd and Christmas in Europe began!! Vesna, the manager, bought us a tree and we decorated it with JP's son, Jake!
"ChEEeeeSSSSE!" (I didn't change the setting on my camera fast enough to make it sharper).

We found out fairly quickly that the Christmas ornaments were plastic! Thank goddness!

Mike put his ornament on the tree... and VOILA, our baby Christmas tree.

We woke up on Christmas morning and heard that training was canceled due to bad snow conditions, so we decided to go rodeling! Rodeling is like very extreme tobogganing on a luge like track!
Our team with Anna's boyfriend, Marco (our token American!). Even my Dad came!

Do something crazy... aka everyone throw their hands up in the air?

My dad and I decided to take a walk around Kitzbuhel to try to find some good photo opportunities, so that I can practice. We didn't find much and the light was bad... but I'm trying!
Even at night with a very high F-stop!

After Christmas, we left for Semmering, Austria.

For our first night race of the season! (Thanks for these pictures, Dad!)

FINALLY I felt ready. Ready to give it my all and see where that put me! I started 50th first run and the course and conditions were perfect! Some spectators told me to "drive" fast (drive=ski -German to English translation) and asked what number I was starting. When I said 50, they gave a little laugh and said they wouldn't be there to watch me.

This is a picture from first run... what looks funny?

Here's a closer view...
No, I am not an alien (even though Jenna told me I was adopted at a young age...). One of the first gates hit my bar and moved my helmet up, therefore my goggles down. I was trying to wiggle my nose for the next section trying to move my goggles back up. Maybe it was better to have a distraction though.... I ended up 28th on the run and got a second run!

I started second for the 2nd run and had a perfect course. I had a solid run, but I feel like I have more gas in the tank. I came 11th on the second run and 20th overall!! Hopefully next race I can put everything together; focus, skiing, etc and give it my all again!
The Canadian girls fought hard and had good things happening in both the slalom and gs. Eve finished up 23rd in the slalom, her second best result yet!

Have a Happy New Year everyone, wherever you are!

Friday, December 24, 2010

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

I'm in Kirchberg now, celebrating Christmas with some of the team and my Dad! To get into the Christmas spirit, Mitch, Eve, Anna and I made a little Christmas card!

Our chef, Marcel, makes it feel like the Christmas season with his homey foods. The manager, Vesna, arranged for a little Christmas tree decorating this afternoon. The stores are busy with pushy people doing last minute shopping and the lights are bright!! It's Christmas!! I wish I was home with my entire family, but I've been joining into the Christmas celebrations via Skype and watching my favourite Christmas movies, that are usually on tv.



Tonight we have a "dress party"... I'm debating wearing this exact outfit...
Merry Christmas everyone! For those of you I won't see, I'll be thinking of you and sending my love for Christmas your way! Enjoy the amazing food, the excited faces, your families and the love that arises around this time of year!
xo- Erin

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Courchevel, France

We raced in Italy on Saturday as a practice for the World Cup on Tuesday. I fell at the bottom of the first run, but I was able to forerun second run! The next day we drove about 7hours to Courchevel, France.

On Monday we trained and free skied on the race hill. Today we raced! I started 47th. The hill is fairly easy. It has a side-hill on the flats at the top, a moderate pitch and more flats at the bottom. However, the course was crazy! It was pretty tight in places, but then straight into the combinations and turny out of them... my kind of course! I felt ready to go, more ready than I've been all year. I felt good the first gates, but then I fell inside on the side-hill. I was able to just squeak by the next gate and finish my run. After my mistake I had nothing to lose and tried to make up as much time as possible. I was 68th from the start to the first interval (where I fell), 11th between the next two intervals and 25th from the last interval to the finish. I ended up 32nd overall, just missing top 30 to get a second run.... CLOSE CALL!
We are racing here tomorrow as well, in a FIS race, so all the Canadians have a chance to redeem ourselves!
After the race we decided to walk around Courchevel and found ourselves smack in the middle of Christmas in France! And I thought I would miss all of the Christmas spirit... but...
There was a Christmas market!

With Christmas candies...

Chestnuts roasting...
Anna let me try my first roasted chestnut ever! They are amazing!!
Lights...

Bright snowflakes!
The girls getting into the Christmas spirit!
Anna peaking through the frosted branches.
We decided to get chocolate covered apples for dessert!

MMM....

These men ran out to pose for me.... only in Europe would you see all this...

More uncomfortable than ski boots... ski boots with heels?

There was even rock climbing in the mall. This tiny little boy made it all the way to the top!!
We will head back to Kirchberg tomorrow night for a couple of days off. My Dad gets in the 23rd!! (So he can teach me how to use my camera... more effectively!) Merry Christmas everyone. I'll have a Christmas blog coming soon!!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Eagle has Landed

I arrived in Kirchberg, Austria, our home in Europe, a few days ago. I met the other girls coming from Montreal at the airport. They missed their flight in Frankfurt and didn't get their bags for over 24hours, so the first day of training it was only me with 4 coaches... That was a first. And the girls tried to decorate our European home... (Jenny (our physio), Anna, Eve and Britt)

For the first two days of training we drove over an hour to a small training area called Hinterreit because our training hill wasn't ready yet.
The road to the hill taken through the window of the car... (Can you see why we got stuck after stopping on a hill to wait for an Austrian coach to put chains on his tires?... in the middle of the road with no passing lane)

The "lodge" (definition: a meeting place consisting of a small restaurant and large barns/garages)

Hinterreit consists of one running t-bar (one inactive t-bar) and a training hill that is a farmers backyard. He developed a way to put an injection bar, to make the hill icy, on the back of a snow cat and produced the best and most consistent training area in Europe.
And it's beautiful...

Tim and Jay spent 4 hours up on our hill watering the training run to make it icy and hard! Basically they open up the snow with the groomer, spray liter upon liter of water on the snow and close the snow back up again. Thanks to their hard work (on Tim's birthday nonetheless) we have had two amazing days of training.
Happy Birthday Tim!

Yesterday, after training, we had yoga and core with our physio Jenny and then met with our chef, Marcel, to bake some spelt bread!!
I made morning bread (fig bread), while Anna made lunch bread (olive bread)!
These are the ingredients we used...

It is all about working the bread... And getting messy!

Ladies and gentlemen it is a good sign if your arm is burning (...I hope, or all that training for nothing)

We videoed the cooking lesson, so we can start an online "Cooking for Athletes" book by our amazing chef!

Anna and I couldn't wait to try our bread for dessert, even though we were supposed to wait until it cooled.... at least somewhat.

Doesn't it look good!! MMM I love bread!


While the bread finished baking, Tim decided to brush up on his racing skills. I guess this is how coaches keep working even off the hill... Look at the concentration.

Except that athlete looks severely injured. Maybe Tim has a violent streak?

My bag is packed for Italy tomorrow. We race in Italy on Saturday, travel to France on Sunday for a race on Tuesday and then head back to Kirchberg for an Austrian Christmas. And yes, we are extreme and train on Christmas Eve and Christmas day!

Monday, December 13, 2010

A Long Time Coming

Sorry it has taken me so long to blog! I had a tough month last month and took a little time "away from it all". I don't have too many pictures of all the experiences I had, but this is what I do have!
After we froze ourselves in Nakiska, we headed to Loveland for two days of training before the World Cups in Aspen. I didn't end up racing the gs because 6 races in a row, ie 8 difficult days on snow, would have been a lot. I needed to focus on the important 3 days of slalom, and improving my points in gs, which is easier at the Nor Am level.

My Dad, Mom and her boyfriend, Clay, came to watch me at this series of races and I couldn't have asked for anything better. My dad stayed on course to take pictures, and I never knew where my Mom and Clay would end up.

My Mom and I at the finish in Aspen!!

Trying to carry everything without looking really awkward... or falling. I'll leave modeling and looking good while walking to my friends!

I saw friends from the Peaks, Bryony and Bruce, at the bottom of the race. Thanks for all the pictures!!
Contemplating the day... while very focused on my mitt or Leki strap...
I don't think they know what they are getting themselves into... At least it's not a helmet, or jacket.... or tattoo. I didn't come top 30 in the WC in Aspen and therefore didn't make a second run. But my teammates Mitch, Eve and Anna did very well!! Eve came 19th which is the best result of her career to date!

The next races that followed were two slaloms in Loveland and two giant slaloms in Aspen (so back we went two days later). I didn't perform as well as I wanted to, but at least my Dad was there to catch a good shot!
To recap, my 5 days of racing didn't go very well in regards to my results. I won't get into all of the specifics, but I will say that once I took a step away from everything for a while, I learned some positive lessons in the end! (And I came away with a nice little collage)
Now I am in Europe for the next month and a half... And now you are doing the Math and wondering if that includes Christmas too. Yes it does. BUT, I already had to Christmas dinners, one with Kevin in Burlington and one with my Mom and Clay at home in Collingwood! I have a few new things to bring on the road with me, like my new Canon camera and winter boots- The later I needed desperatly my last day in Collingwood walking home from the gym. There are no longer sidewalks and you can't see past the snow banks. I was waiting to cross the street in the left hand turning lane... And my mom didn't want me to go sky diving... The Hazards of Walking!
Here are a few pictures taken with my BB:

Sorry for the graininess of the pictures (Aka in photography terms- There is a lot of noise!)

Also, THIS JUST IN (not really but it's still really exciting), my Dad is coming to visit me for two weeks at Christmas!! Maybe it will be the most wonderful time of the year after all!!