Last week was a brilliant week. I did my first ever World Cup race in Val D’Isere, scored a second best result in Giant Slalom along with a 2nd place podium finish!
I had entered the World Cup Super G and Downhill in Val D’Isere! I was excited and nervous as this would be my first World Cup. I headed up to Val D’Isere on Tuesday night alongside my Romanian team mate, Ania Caill, and Orsatus Coach, Pierre Gaidet. We free skied on Wednesday which meant I got some time to try out my speed skis and check out the piste. The Downhill training was due to take place the next day and I was a bundle of nerves but by the evening I had calmed down and really got myself into a good mindset for the race. However, after dinner I got a phone call from my coach telling me that I wouldn’t be allowed to race in the Downhill because my points weren’t low enough to qualify me… I was completely gutted to find out I wasn’t allowed to race however it means the Val D’Isere Downhill is definitely a big goal for next season and I can work as hard as possible to get my points low enough before then! I have just recently scored some good Super G results, taking my points down to 58 so I would be able to compete in the Super G on Sunday. I decided to stay in Val D’Isere for the next few days to get the full World Cup experience and to be able to inspect the Downhill to get to know the piste for the Super G. Whilst I was inspecting the Downhill I really wished I could have been in the start gate for the race but I tried to take in as much of the piste as possible so I would be ready for the Super G.
My coach then called me to let me know that there happened to be a Giant Slalom race in Val Thorens on Saturday so I decided to take the opportunity to try and lower my points and get myself in a racing frame of mind for Sunday. I felt quite nervous for the Giant Slalom race as I had some of the best points so I knew I could do well. The first run was set quite turny which isn’t really my style but I really wanted to go for it. I didn’t ski as well as I had hoped on the steep section but on the flat I skied better than expected and I posted the fastest first run time when I crossed the finish line. However there was still second run and I held my lead by just one hundredth of a second. Second run was set slightly straighter so I tried to give it my all but unfortunately held back a little too much on the steep and I finished in second place overall, 2 tenths of a second behind the winner. I was really happy with my skiing on the flat sections though as my coaches said I was very fast and had missed out on the top spot of the podium due to my skiing on the steep. It is still my first podium of the season though and I scored a second best result which will take my points down to 30.
After the GS race I headed straight back up to Val D’Isere to get my skis ready for the World Cup Super G! I was starting bib 60, the very last racer. I wanted to go to the World Cup to gain invaluable experience and hoped I would ski well but I wasn’t looking for any results as I knew I was up against the best in the World. After inspection I felt confident as the course didn’t seem any trickier than previous Super Gs I had done. I watched the first top 20 racers and was surprised to see that so many of them were falling or coming out of the course. I am usually a very consistent finisher but seeing the best in the world struggling to make turns worried me slightly! I warmed up for the race as I would for any other and tried to tell myself that this was just another race. I wanted to cross the finish line knowing that I had given it my best shot and with a big smile on my face. When it was finally my turn to go I took my place in the start gate, took a deep breath and smiled to myself as I realized that all my hard work had got me to this point. I took a big push out the gate and got straight into my tuck position looking to go as fast as possible. I got a little low on the line over the first jump but soon got myself back into it and throughout the course I felt confident on my skis. I passed through the turns where I had seen most people coming out and I didn’t make any major mistakes the whole way thoughout the run. I made it all the way to the finish and when I crossed the line I looked up to see my face on the big screen and all the people cheering at the bottom of the race. I had posted the 36th fastest time, 7.08seconds off the leader. However I wasn’t interested in the time, I was just so happy to have done my first World Cup! I didn’t expect one race to motivate me so much, now I just want to go faster and faster to have another chance to compete against the best in the world.
Now I’m having some time off to spend Christmas with my family in Meribel before training starts again of the 26th. Three months ago I never expected to be at this point in my skiing career and I can’t wait to see where it leads to next!