Sunday, February 19, 2012

Chamonix; February 10th – 16th

I went to Chamonix for the open French national championships. We were there with a small team of 3 athletes, a trainer and a coach. The first two days we trained GS mostly, did one run of slalom free skiing. Since Abtenau I took a step in my GS, things are starting to click.

Kim Monsieu, me, Tim Kant (trainer), Thomas Mulder
The team missing Stephanie (coach for this trip)

After two days we had to move to the ‘hotel’ of the organization, which wasn’t a hotel but just a building with beds, dirty old blankets, food and NO towels….. just a club house, probably.
Good thing was that it was impossible to break anything. Other then the fact that we had no towels (I mean seriously how can I deal with that) this didn’t bother me too much, I slept ok and the food was ok (except for the fact that I could just eat from the salad bar for 2 days because I am allergic for an ingredient in these meals and there was nothing else).

this is my 'towel' wouldn't call it that didnt even work properly

On Monday we started with a night slalom and this wasn’t my race I DNFed and broke a new DNF record (for me) made it only to gate 5 in the first run. But to be honest I haven’t skied one single gate, my race was bad even before the start. I have been mad, I have cried about my DNF’s in slalom but I guess I am over that, I tried and there always is a next race….
Can’t do anything about it now except for trying to learn from my mistakes.
The positive of this was that it was extremely cold and I could stay inside and dressed for the second run, or is it bad to say, even think that?

 race slope

The other positive thing is, the pressure and the focus is completely on my slalom, which is my strongest event but isn’t working out so far this season. So I ski GS more freely and my GS is getting better it benefits from the fact that there is less stress about GS. Have to say the stress and pressure is mostly from myself, but hey I just want to get the best out of myself. But I try to learn and be more relax so I can ski like I do in training.
So we skied the first GS race on Tuesday, I got a 6th place and lowered my points pretty drastic, which is good. There is still a lot I could do better but I’m improving and growing in my season.

On Wednesday we skied another GS, my first run wasn’t good so with nothing to lose I gave it all in my second run and laid down a pretty good run, I was happy about this run and I skied better points again.

On Thursday we drove home again after a good trip. I’m home for about 10 days before I leave for Sestriere, the open Italian nationals. Racing the same slope for the second time this seasons feels like a good idea, I have raced it before and watched the video’s, learned about my mistakes, well we will see.
Link for the entire photo album
Credits to Stephanie Monsieu who made most of these pictures, big thanks.

Thursday, February 9, 2012


As a kid I always had the crazy idea that one day I would go to the airport buy a ticket and fly to my destination, well that’s what has happened with this Vancouver trip.
On Saturday January 28 I had dinner with my dad and he told me about the business trip he was going to take to Vancouver and that he had only one day of work over there so he was planning to go skiing during the weekend. And I instantly said I want to go with you, he said ok if you arrange for a ticket yourself. So the next couple of days I was checking all the different ticket sites like a little maniac. When I was 13 years old I was watching a travel show about Vancouver and I said to my mom, one day I will live there, she was like yeah right…. Ten years later in the summer of 2009 I finally took my first trip to Canada and also visited Vancouver. We spent 4 days in Vancouver and I had a very good feeling about this city, sort of like I was home, I said to my mom I want to come back here and stay for a longer period to study or do an internship and she said yeah you should do that. So when this opportunity came a long I felt like I had to grab it, that it would be a good thing to do and just go, also to cross skiing in Canada from my bucket list. I packed my ski’s and clothes and went to the airport bought a ticket e-mailed the university of British Columbia to set up an appointment for the next day to talk about my possibility’s for summer school, but well it was the middle of the night in Canada.

We had a connection in London and this turned out to be my lucky day because I got an upgrade to business class for the flight from London to Vancouver, this was extremely comfortable.

We arrived in Vancouver at 6.30pm to an hotel room with the best view ever.

After a much interrupted by jetlag first night I woke up early, I had this day by myself and it felt good to spend a day alone in Vancouver. I went to the UBC campus to talk about summer school, this wasn’t very helpful but it was good to feel the atmosphere of the campus.

That afternoon I went to Cypress Mountain to ski, while I walked downtown Vancouver, with my ski’s on my way to the sea bus, I saw 2 little boys walking in their ski boots, completely dressed and ready to ski. I took the sea bus to Vancouver north and the shuttle to Cypress. At cypress mountain you have an amazing view over the city and the sea, words and pictures don’t do justice to what it’s like.

At cypress you can ski till 10 pm because they light up almost every run. The view you get at twilight is the one of the most special things I have ever seen, you can see the city light up, you can see Vancouver Island, the sea and even the white peaks in the USA.

One of the other things I noticed is that everybody is so friendly and nice, I talked to everyone I shared a chair lift with, a lot of people turned out to be originally Dutch.
The next day (Saturday February 4) my dad and I went to Whistler, we had to get up really early to catch the 6.30 am bus, which wasn’t a problem because of the jetlag. The bus driver was another Dutchie from origin and he was funny, he told us about the trip he was planning to take, kayaking from Vancouver to Hawaii, crazy right, well you have to love kayaking…
We skied in Whistler the full day until we both where too tired to even stand up, it was great and another amazing beautiful day.

On Sunday we stayed in the city because our flight home was that night. We took a long walk in Stanley parc and I took a lot of pictures (see this link for the entire album ).

That afternoon we went shopping, but my credit card wasn’t working, which probably was a good thing…

The flight home was an adventure to say. I sat next to a Canadian girl my age who is going to study in the Netherlands for a year. Well it turned out she had all the information I need for an internship in Vancouver, she told me where to live, which visa to get, where to go out, she had friends who do research in the Children hospital and they can inform me about the research opportunity’s over there, this is great since I’m planning to do my research internship in Vancouver. And I told her about the Netherlands. This was just the thing I need to get me started, well some things are mend to be, maybe that’s why I had the feeling I had to take this trip….. Well anyway she is such a nice girl and we had a good time.

The flight from Vancouver to London was delayed and we touched down in London 30 minutes before our flight to Amsterdam left, we tried but missed the connection. The line at custom services where we had to change our boarding pass was long, really long and slow we wouldn’t have made the next flight in that line. Another Dutch passenger came with the idea to go through the UK boarder and switch the boarding passes at departures, we didn’t know anything about the lines there but we had to do something. So the four of us; me, my dad, the Dutch guy and the Canadian girl walked to the boarder, there was no line at EU passports but a long line at the international passports my dad convinced the guy to take the Canadian girl at the EU passports. Then we came in the departure hall and there were a lot of people there, long lines again. We asked someone what was going on, well it turned out that London got 3 centimeters of snow the other day (which was all gone by now) but Heathrow had cancelled almost all flights the day before and all those people where still there…
At this rage we weren’t going to make the flight and my leg was swollen really bad (because of the long flight), I was limping worse than ever and my leg hurted a lot. I normally don’t do this but I went to the airport personal told I was disabled and in pain and we got to cut one line, still waited for another 30 minutes but that was doable. We got in the next flight to Amsterdam (3 hours after the original flight) which was delayed….again. At 10 pm Monday night I was home, I left the hotel room in Vancouver at 5.30 pm Sunday night. After 19 hours in planes and at airports I was glad to be home, off course I set off every alarm at the security checks so I had body scans (which was funny actually, they saw my leg brace and the metal plate in my leg) but didn’t have to take off my pants like a couple of weeks ago in Austria. My luggage hadn’t made the connection in London and got delivered the next day.

Well I spend 3 days at home still have a bad case of jetlag, fall asleep all the time in the morning but wake up in the afternoon and at night. Today I got fitted for my new orthosis and I had to pack my bags again because I leave for Chamonix, France tomorrow, time for another couple of races.