ASXT Coach Journal: Kya Fairley
I am writing to you from Munich on the last day of our 2 month trip away from home.
We got back to our regular scheduled programming with a Noram in Calabogie, Ontario and in the two days of racing we left with two bronze’s and a gold.
After a strong start to the trip, we made our way to hit our first of many European races starting in Grasgehren, Germany, where some of our athletes were starting their first ever Europa Cup! Unfortunately, heats only went off one of the race days due to weather, but it was still a great start to the trip.
After Grasgehren, we continued on to Reiteralm, Austria for a FIS race, a Europa Cup and some training. This track is one of the best SX training venues I have ever seen, with multiple lines/set options. We were fortunate enough to get lots of laps in as well as work the schedule so that our days off matched up to the Olympic ski cross races and watched it together at our temporary home in Ramsau at Sport Pension Ischi.
After a long stint in Austria, we made our way to Italy starting off in Alleghe for a FIS race. This was Alleghe’s first ever ski cross track and we were incredibly impressed with the quality they provided as well as how receptive the builders were with any and all adjustments needed to be made to improve the course. The team did really well on this active and tighter than typical track, walking away with two bronze medals!
Our next races were up in the air for a bit, but eventually were made official that we would have a FIS race, followed by a Europa Cup race, on back to back weekends at the beautiful Passo San Pellegrino, Italy (only 30 minutes from Alleghe). This track required quick feet in the start and strong gliding skills as it was a little flatter and more open than our two previous stops. We had athletes put down some strong quali times as well as strong finishes (including a 3rd and 4th one of the days of the FIS race). A few of us also managed to get away on one of the days off between the two races and were able to visit the Dalbello factory thanks to Sandy Webster’s arrangements. It was incredible to see how the boots are made from start to finish and even more incredible that every piece is made right there in the factory!
After completing the EC in Passo San Pellegrino, we had some time before our final event and by popular demand, we returned to Reiteralm! The best part of this time around was that this was right after the World Cup event there and the track hadn’t been changed at all since the World Cup athletes had their go at it. The extra time on a track of that size got the juices flowing and excitement up to make our way to our final destination of the trip, Les Contamines, France.
Lastly, we had French Nationals and Europa Cup finals to complete. The Les Contamines track was very similar to previous World Cup tracks they had ran there in the past. It was sharp turns and high speed, which was cause for excitement for our final event ofour Europe trip. We had extremely warm spring skiing weather to work with which made for some challenging conditions but still managed to achieve a few athlete’s personal bests at a Europa Cup.
On the last day of the race, we got all packed up, travel prepped skis and fit in some time to watch the Red Bull race happening at Andermatt. It was the perfect way to round out the trip.
All in all, after two months on the road, and more importantly a full season back in the gate, these athletes were able to take a lot away from this experience. From being in more competitive heats with a lot more unfamiliar faces, to getting to experience the different track styles each country has to offer. Their comfort of skiing in a pack again has returned as well as an increase in race IQ after experiencing more challenging situations and less predictable heats.
The team is excited to link back up with our return to snow athletes that have been preparing back home and with all of this, we are ready for the final event of the season – Canadian Nationals at Nakiska!
ASXT Assistant Coach