Onward to the next World Cup with my race skis in a plastic bag

Date: 8th March 2010

After spending much of my time at the Olympics filled with disappointment, suddenly it was the closing ceremony and Team GB was off on a BA flight back to London. The next event was in Sweden in Branas, and whilst I felt like I wasn't really there mentally or emotionally, I made my self press on as usual. I flew to Stockholm Arlanda and got a lift with Tuomas from Finland to Branas (About 5 hours) rocking out to his favourite death metal tracks along the way...I was stoked when he pulled out his Roxette cd for a change... I can assure you!! The course in Branas last year was amazing, fast paced, lots of features, big jumps down the last flat, and big double/triple along the last run into the last jump. I had always planned to atleast finish the season with Branas as the course was great. This year it was flat, no features, tiny rollers you could absorb and a total gliding race. In training I managed to get off balance in the air off the last jump, landing on my inside edge and I think hitting my femur straight onto the top of my tib/fib joint. Nothing painkillers couldn't get rid of. So other than starfishing off the first jump, I just wasn't fast which just added to my mental/emotional burden. Chio had an equally disappointing time there in Branas and we both decided maybe the Europa Cups in Spain were looking more appealing than the following world cups in Swizterland. Unfortunately due to bad weather the races in Spain looked like they weren't going to go ahead, so it was a 5 hour death metal filled ride back to Stockholm with Tuomas (greatly appreciated) and onwards to Geneva. I did find it a little strange at Arlanda Stockholm airport (The supporting airport of the Swedish Olympic Team) that when I tried to check in my 20kg ski bag with two pairs of race skis in it, that they refused and said we can not have two pairs off skis in one bag, it is against the airport rules. Now I gotta be honest, I am not convinced that Anja Paerson travelled to the Olympic Games with 20 ski bags for her 20 pairs of skis. But even better, they handed me a plastic bag to put the other pair in. (Not convinced Anja Paerson travelled with her race skis in plastic bags either!!!!) With tears dwelling in my eyes, I asked to speak to a manager and tried to explain to them that I simply could not travel with my world cup race stock competition skis in a plastic bag. After 45 minutes of arguing, a long queue accumulating behind me, and my boarding time approaching, I gave in and yes my world cup skis travelled to Geneva in a Scandinavian airlines plastic bag. What was better was upon arrival in Geneva, bumping into Jeff Sadis the tech for a few girls on the circuit, who had lost all his luggage and was fuming, however, managed to crack a big smile and have a good laugh as I cruised up to him with my skis in a SAS plastic bag over my shoulder. It was then that Jeff came out with one of the finest comments I have ever heard, and it was so accurate that it almost made me cry "It shits me how much of this sport is not to do with what you actually do on the race course" and that is it right there, the story of my skiing career.

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