After the off day, we began our four day GS training block. A lot of the athletes at the camp are in their first year of FIS (International Ski Federation) racing, which means they have to move to a larger ski radius. Often this is a difficult transition, so the coaches included brushies in our course to ensure that we skied the correct line. The conditions were a little more variable, ranging from rock hard surfaces to softer rutted ones, but as our head coach Simone reminded us, difficult conditions make a better skier. 
This entire camp was a progression. Therefore, we were still working towards a stable upper body and we started each day with the same pattern of drills as the block before. The warm up drills helped us create efficient habits in our skiing, and once we brought those into the course, our skiing improved noticeably. 
Les Deux Alpes had a few more busy days, but luckily this barely affected our training. Simone organized priority access for BSA athletes; the same level of access as the French regional teams. This meant that in the morning, we were able to skip the main queue for the first gondola, which would otherwise be a 45-minute wait. 
A few afternoons this week, we were very lucky to be visited by a Nemanje Ignjatovic, a world class ski technician who had previously worked with the Finnish national ski team. He was more than able to answer our questions, and he showed us his tricks for maximizing ski preparation. 
The day before our off day, we hiked towards the Diable chairlift. Once again, it was quite a difficult dryland, but the views provided temporary distraction from our tired legs and shortness of breath. The following off day, we once again split into two groups. My group drove to see the medieval town of Briancon, and the long established military fort, built in 1709. The other group stayed in town to go swimming and to go down the luge. 
The final training block that I participated in was another four days of slalom. During this session, those of us who are going down to race slalom in South Africa began to shift into race mode. Often, the training camps I have attended have one or two days of freeskiing then the second we go into gates, everyone focuses on skiing fast, and the thought of skiing technically well goes out the window. This makes the course seem much harder. However, since we had already run gates while doing drills, skiing the correct line and focusing on our technique, there was a much more solid foundation for focusing on speed. We had one foggy day out of the four, but the lifts stayed open so we were able to train through it. 
On the final day off we played paintball. This was my first time ever playing so I was a little nervous. This was not helped when a group of 20 Italian boys showed up. They were also on a ski camp. We ended up mixing with their group and playing against other BSA members as well. It was far more fun than I expected! Ultimately it was a giant game of capture-the-flag in a forest area. Each team had a fort and structures to hide behind. Paintball with two ski teams obviously became quite competitive and some of us may have left with a few bruises but everyone was alright. 
In a week or so, a group of us are heading down to South Africa for ten FIS slalom races. I wasn’t aware that you could ski in South Africa, so this will be an interesting experience. I will post my next blog while I’m there. Thanks for reading!

My dad and I flew into Munich on June 21st to pick up the BSA van. We met the other
athletes, Jake, Tom, Charlie and Soneva at the Geneva airport a couple of days
later, and drove into Les Deux Alpes that afternoon. There we met our coaches
Simo and Alice and the other athletes: Daisi, Francesa, Gigi, Zoe and David.

I hadn't been to the Alps in the summer before, and I was amazed by how green the
typically white mountains were, and enjoyed the view from the Jandri Express
gondola. I also appreciated the simplicity of the commute, all we had to do was
walk to the gondola from our hotel and it led directly to the bottom of the

My legs definitely felt shaky for our first day of skiing but luckily, we did not
jump into gates right
We started with some slow drills, such as edge sets and garlands to practice
edging our skis and getting used to the snow. For the entire first day, we did
drills, specifically focused on our alignments. Some of these included pivot
slips, short swings, poles-on-hips, poles-on-shoulders, lifting the inside ski
and javelin turns. We added the last four drills to our progressional warm-up,
everyday before training. The snow held up very well, similar to winter
conditions. It did not soften up until 11:30 which was a good ease into our
first day.

After training we eat our standard, included, three course lunch at our hotel. Most
afternoons, we walk around the town, tune our skis or buy snacks at the
supermarket. We have had lots of fun going down the luge track a few times,
which is included in our pass at Les Deux Alpes. Then at 4:00 we do dryland.
Usually I dread dryland after skiing all day, but the sessions we have done are
firstly focused on mobility and recovery and then focused on agility,
coordination, cardio etc. Plus they have been fun. I always feel much better
after stretching and playing games with my team. Dinner is also included in our
stay, and after that we watch and analyze our videos from training that day.

Our training days are broken into blocks of four with a rest day in between. During
the first four days of skiing, we started each morning with a progression of
drills to work on our alignment. It is important to go back to basics during
preseason, to ensure that we have a solid foundation of skiing to build on for
the rest of the year. During this block we have reviewed many helpful alignments
and movements that I had completely forgotten about during the stress of
competition season. After free skiing drills, we went around brushies while
executing the drill to rehearse those movements through a course.

The day before our off day, we went into a valley town called Venosc. All we had to
do was walk to the gondola that would then take us down into the valley. The
houses were built on on the hillside. For our dryland that day, we hiked up the
side of the valley, back to Les Deux Alpes. It was a steep, but very scenic
hike. As difficult as it was, I appreciated this dryland and the fact that we
had the following day off.

During our day off, we slept in, then Soneva and I explored Les Deux Alpes. We were excited to see so many creperies in one town and an array of beautiful wild
flowers. In the afternoon, we went back into Venosc and went rafting down the
valley river. We dipped through currents as the raft guide spun our boat in
circles. We got out of the raft to briefly swim next to a snowmelt waterfall
which was as beautiful as it was chilly. All of the boys chose to downhill
mountain bike all the way from the top of the Jandri express, through the town
of Les Deux Alpes and down into the valley of Venosc. Luckily, this time we rode
the gondola back out instead of walking.
I’m looking forward to our next block of training- GS, and will update this blog
after it!! :)