Kicking off the 2010-11 season
By Jane Sowerby
After missing the majority of last season due to injury, I was determined to make the most of this one. I started slowly, trying to rebuild my confidence on the slopes. After all, I've got four years until the 2014 Winter Paralympics in Sochi – plenty of time to improve and, hopefully, hit top form just at the right time.
First stop, Austria. I chose to drive there in my trusty Ford S-MAX. It was crammed full, but I managed to fit in all my ski equipment for ten weeks' training and racing. I had a fortnight in Hintertux before the official team's pre-season training camp began. Despite being hampered by bad weather, we still managed to get some quality training days. I could already feel both my skiing and confidence level improving considerably. Brilliant stuff!
Even in the adverse weather, the S-MAX had no trouble reaching the top of the ski hill each morning, unlike others! The winter tyres and snow chains certainly helped to tackle the ice and snow, while many other vehicles just couldn't get enough traction. Not surprising, with a metre of fresh snow in just 24 hours – snow chains are the business! My fellow athletes loved that the car stereo automatically streamed tunes on my iPhone to the audio system, which gave us an endless choice of sounds to get us pumped for training.
The two-week camp had an excellent team of support staff and was very professionally organised. Our fantastic Ski Technician helped us prepare our skis properly each day, which is just so important for great performance. He also shared his skills and knowledge so we can carry on looking after our own equipment and make sure we’re fully prepared for every race.
Our Sports Psychologist was a great help with instilling the right mental attitude, for instance with goal setting and channelling our emotions. Plus, our Coach, Assistant Coach and Physiotherapist completed the package of all-round support for mind, body and soul.
I've now moved to Stubai in Austria with a few of my teammates and we're getting stuck into some military training. Hardcore workouts included! We’ve also been joined by servicemen who were recently injured while on tour in Afghanistan. It's a humbling experience and they're great people to be around. They’ve gone through so much, but thankfully they're enjoying excellent support and encouragement to take up competitive sport.
The weather continues to make training difficult, but we’re working on balance drills in the fresh powder when we can’t set any gates. The whole team is skiing really well at the moment and it’s exciting to think that Team Great Britain could be really making its mark at this season's races. We certainly have the dedication and desire.
We're at the Europa Cups during December in Austria. After that, I've got a brief Christmas break in the UK before heading off to Italy in January for the World Championships. Bring it on!