17.2.14

Sochi Olympics


It's my first Olympics and it's been a freakin blast. It feels so good to achieve a goal I've had ever since I  was a little kid. It blows my mind how many hours and years I've put into this sport and what I've had to do to make it happen. It hasn't been easy and at times (tons of times) I've contemplated moving on doing something else, but it's all been worth it.

The olympic experience has been more than special. We all went to the opening ceremonies it was as cool as everyone that has been says it is. When I walked out in front of the tens of thousands of people and knew that there were millions and millions of people watching on TV. It really gave me a crazy amount of energy to see all the hype of the games. Also meeting all the other athletes and watching them compete even medal in their sport has been super inspiring as well. Everyone has worked their ass off to get here and it's really cool.

The downhill here is so legit, it has a little of everything and is game on the whole way. There are 4 jumps one of which it the biggest many of the veterans downhillers have ever seen. Lake jump is about 80 meters so your in the air so long its a crazy feeling. For the first week it was bullet proof ice in the middle too which made it way more difficult since it was hard to get a good edge.

For the combined the downhill start was moved down about 7 seconds less than the full length downhill. It was still super demanding and the jumps were even bigger since the snow got quicker in places at least in the training runs. It was finally my chance to race and I was in the zone. I was so excited in the start and ready to crush it and have never come out of the start with so much intensity. I had a hell of a run too and wasn't that far out even though the bottom was getting really soft and slower with my later bib number (28). The thing about racing the olympics which is different is that it is a one time every four years so you just gotta go, such a rush. For the slalom it was set by Ivica Kostellics dad, who is infamous for setting ridiculously turny courses full of combinations. He set the most un-flowwy slalom course I've ever skied but I was still pushing it whenever possible and ended up 11th. So stoked!

Got to go see the Russia vs USA hockey game the other day that was crazy. Next I'm racing GS in two days.
/JG

27.1.14

Sochi!

I made the Olympic team! This is a goal I've had since I started ski racing, and I knew I wanted to go when I watched the 2002 Olympics in my home town.

This last week I was racing the Hannennkamm in Kitzbuhel, Austria. As you may know the Hannenhamm is a classic race thats been around for a long time and is infamous for carnage. The hill is so gnarly it's like heli skiing Alaska but its all icy and bumpy and your hauling ass. The start is 0-60 in about 3.4 seconds, so you take off faster than a race car. It's so steep when your standing in the gate you can literally look through your tips to the first gate. The Streif which is the whole top part is so steep and  its got some pretty big turns through bumps, then the basketball turn before the road you feel like your pinning it straight at the a-net but you have to trust the skis will come around. I ended up 32nd which I'm stoked with since I only had one training run before the race, on a hill that takes a lot of experience I feel right at home. It was pretty cool having 50,000 plus people watching in the finish as well.

In the Combined we had a super-g in the day light and a slalom race at night under the lights. The super-g I had a good run going but had the wrong tactics on the bottom and lost some time, but I set myself up pretty well for the combi slalom later that night. The slalom set was very legit as it was on the world cup slalom hill with tons of terrain. I sent it and ended up 11th in the race, a career best and secured a spot on the Olympic team. I'm so glad the hard work in the gym this summer and training camps paid off along with the years of pushing myself and now I'm going to Sochi. As of now I am for sure racing the Combined and there is a possibility I could race the downhill too.

This week we're heading to St. Moritz for World Cup downhill races to replace Garmisch races that got cancelled. I'm in Solden, Austria for a day tomorrow and it's snowing! Hoping to get some face shots tomorrow.
/JG

19.1.14

Wengen World Cup

Wahoo! what can I say I'm pretty stoked right now. Just got done racing the Classic Lauborhorn race in Wengen, Switzerland and it went very well. I had two career best days in a row with a 20th in the combined and 12th in the downhill.

I was super confident coming into these races because of good skiing in previous downhills and had been on the cusp of breaking into the top 30. The week before the race there were some Europa Cups that ran the top half of the course which were key in having more of a chance in the technical parts against older guys with more experience. Getting to run parts of the track gave me a better feeling and helped with my timing to nail the important turns up top. Not to mention I was winning the run before messing up the s-turn, but still got 7th and knew I was skiing fast.

The combined was pretty difficult. The slalom portion was on the World Cup slalom hill and the snow was super soft. I ran 41 and there was such a dished out rut that you sometimes had side arm the gates instead of cross blocking them. I has a solid run for where I ran and ended up 25th on the run. In the downhill portion I skied really well through soft conditions and was 10th on the run. I was psyched to get some World Cup points in combined and help my chances of going to Sochi.

The downhill was moved to a weather start as the top was super windy. It was almost the exact opposite of the Europa Cup and started right after the hunchopt jump. It was crazy being so close to the crowd next to Canadian Corner. They're so loud and you don't usually hear it because your skiing by really fast. I nailed s-turn and carried my speed on the flats and stayed loose and smooth through the bumps. I've have good split times all season and it was a long time coming, it felt good to put a whole run together and just ski.

Now I'm heading to Kitzbuhel, very excited to see what it's all about.



And heres the link to my downhill run:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rpnLg-WRviQ
/JG

3.1.14

Bormio

Finally got to try my strength on the old Bormio track. Bormio is known as one of the most bumpy, dark, and exhausting hills on the World Cup. After some good skiing in Val Gardena the week before, I was ready to step my game up and push it.

When I got there and inspected the first day I realized that line choice mattered a ton. There are two big left foot doubles with the second gate completely blind, so you have to inspect really well. I probably hiked half the course, because I really wanted to make sure I was dialed. The bottom of the course is infamous for people stumping out, because your legs are burning so bad. Luckily I felt strong all the way down, which is a good test to show all the summer training paid off!

On race day I had a good run. There were some variables I couldn't control, but I was stoked with how I skied and slayed the important parts. It's crazy how many things I learn about tracks in just one time down. There are some key turns that matter a ton for carrying speed. It's tough to go to a new hill and want to be competitive with guys who have skied the track a few hand full's of times, but its exciting to know how close I am already with only a couple runs down. The speeds were high and the jump was huge, I was in heaven.

Next stop Wengen!

/JG

22.12.13

Val Gardena

This is one of the coolest downhill's I've ever done. It's the first time in a while I was so excited but nervous at the same time. You get air around 26 times during your run and one of those jumps is 70+ meters so it's a big one called the Camels. Some other jumps you actually have to clear gaps in the turns in whats called the Ciaslot's (shh-ah-zlot). 

Imagine a skier cross or mountain bike dirt jumps and you'll get an idea of what this downhill is like. The amount of terrain is insane, you're just bouncing around trying to be loose in the legs to absorb it and sometimes you have to pop it to make gaps. 

The Super-G was so foggy up top that I got lost a bit and was off track, and had too many other mistakes. I was making good turns though, so next time I'll get 'em. The downhill on the other hand I stepped it up and was close to the points. I only got one training run and I cut my training time in half on race day. This hill takes some mileage to get the terrain figured out, and now I feel really comfortable on it. It's just like free skiing around Snowbird, and I think I adjusted so fast to it because it felt second nature to me.  

The next few days we're hanging out in Austria before heading to the next downhill, Bormio! I've never been but I'm excited to get to ski another new downhill and ski fast. 
/JG







 

9.12.13

Beaver Creek World Cups

Wow, racing speed is so much fun. Last week we got a taste of a different side of Beaver Creek. Instead of going down the usual Birds of Prey track, we went down the top half of the new women's track the Raptor. It wasn't all that bad but it wasn't quite as fast, flowy, and challenging as the mens hill. I feel like Birds of Prey is so much fun and it's hard to have something come close. Getting to run it this new way showed me I really need to continue working on being smooth when I glide, because there was 30 seconds of dead flat at the top. Luckily that was a one time thing and next year we're back on the old track.
I will say as always it was awesome to race at home and see so many familiar faces in the finish line. It's great to know so many people out there support me and it gives me an incredible amount of motivation to keep going and get better. Also I need to take every day as a learning experience, I'm one of the youngest guys on the World Cup and need to learn these tracks to get more comfortable on the hills. 
This week I'm in Copper racing some NorAm's and the National Downhill, then pretty much heading straight to Euroland. First we go to Val Gardena for the World Cups. I've never been there but there's a ton of terrain and its supposed to be a blast.
/JG

3.12.13

Lake Louise Races

Lake Louise is an interesting place to race. It can be really bumpy and dark and it was both this week. This year there was sharp terrain all over the course, it was super fun, but tough to be fast if you ever get off line. 

A lot of people talk about how Lake Louise as less of a skiers course and more of an experience course.  Every time I go down the course I get better and faster so it just takes some mileage. There are so many flat sections that if you don't carry speed perfectly onto the flat you can lose tons of time to more experienced older guys. The snow was also really icy and there was holes everywhere, pretty sketchy going 80 when its flat light. 

Anyway all is good because it was a hell of a good time and racing speed is always fun, thats why I love it so much. Also it makes the rest of the tracks seem way easier and gets me into "time to send it as hard as I can mode." 

I'm now in Beaver Creek where the snow is money as always. The snow crew here kills it plus because it has way less humidity you have more grip and less bumps. Not to mention it's on a sweet hill thats consistently steep and has big turns and jumps at the bottom. So stoked!
/JG



Getting launched off some of the terrain I was talking about in the first training run.

Looking down the downhill start, 0-60 faster than most sports cars