Pokal Loka – My First International

A month ago, in early February, and on a Saturday and Sunday, I had my first 2 international ski youth alpine ski races for New Zealand. While the race is called Pokal Loka, it is normally held in Stari Vrh – Slovenia, but because of the lack of snow at the time, the race was moved to  Kranjska Gora which is a world cup location in Slovenia too. On Saturday it was due to be a GS and on Sunday, a Slalom, but they changed it to two Slalom races because of the conditions. It snowed the whole weekend!

Day 1 race course
Day 1 race course

On Friday mum and I went to the slope that the race was on and skied it to get a feel of the terrain. At this race I didn’t have a coach so I did everything with my parents.  Saturday arrived and it was race day. On Saturday the weather was great – it was hot, sunny and the new snow was perfect. The race started at 10 and inspection was a 8:30 so we had to get up early, as the hotel that we were staying in was an hour drive away in the old historical town of Škofja Loka. The night before the race mum and dad had to go to a coaches meeting to get my bib, and find out about the race start time and other information. Dad did my skis after warm up, and mum was in the start zone with me.

My bib number was 12 on the first day which is a great number.  I came 16th which is ok because it was my first international race and it was a really hard field with lots of athletes from Eastern Europe as well as all of the big skiing nations like Austria, Norway, Germany and France. The second day was different (but still the same time and everything), just it was snowing and my bib was number 4. The course was on the same slope as the day before but with all the new snow it made it a tiny bit different. Not harder and not easier – just different.  My first run was ok – I skied into the top 20, but I didn’t do very well on the second run as I crashed about 4 gates from the finish. On both of the days it was 2 runs. I had lots of fun there and I want to go back next year.

Day 2 start
Day 2 start

First Race of 2016

On Sunday was my first race in Italy of 2016. It was a Slalom race not a GS. In Italy it is usually a GS race as the first race of their season but this time it was Slalom because of the conditions. The night before the race it rained really hard. It wasn’t cold enough for it to snow on the lower slopes so it rained which was really bad. It meant that the gates would not stay in the snow.

When I woke up in the morning our driveway was covered in sheet ice. It was like an iceskating rink. Dad drove me down to the station where my coach Andrea was waiting for my whole group. After the van was all packed and every one was in the van we left Cortina to go to Auronzo, about a 40 minute drive away where the race was held.

We drove a lot slower than we normally do but we still passed cars at 100km/ph. Because of the time in the morning it was still dark and the ice was all over the road. When we got there we grabbed our gear and walked over to the chair lift where we put our stuff on. After inspection we were given our bibs. My bib number was 107 and Federico’s was 97 so I was only 10 people behind him.

100116-Auronzo-Keir-SL-2

The first part of the course was not rutted, rather it was smooth and straight.  This is how the course went; It started with a few gates that where straight then we went down onto the steep. Then we had our first hairpin, and after that it was rutty for the rest of the course.   We had a few gates that were wide then we had a delay to get us around the corner and onto the flat. Then we would gain some speed on the flat and go into a really turney section, then straight into another hairpin. After that we had 1 flush then another hairpin.  The last few gates where very straight which lead you to the finish.

My time was slow because of a big mistake I made which costed me about 8 seconds. My mistake was on the turney  part at the flat. I hit a bump that popped me out of the course and forced me to hike up to the gate I missed.  With a big time penalty I still bet people in the race so I didn’t come last which was impressive. After the race was finished I went and had lunch in the cafe with Mum, Dad, Pietro and his parents.  When we were eating lunch we watched the woman’s World Cup Super-G race and the mens second run of Slalom. Then after lunch we headed home – the drive wasn’t as icy as on the way to Auronzo.