Olympic Test Event Sochi 2014

The World Snowboard Championships in Quebec was very cold for us… We had temps that got down to -40F for three days in a row… This was one of the coldest events I have ever been to! The PGS started out well for me, after first run I was sitting in 8th place but in the second run I had a mistake in the steeps, resulting in me missing a gate and ending up 33rd.

After Quebec it was back to Europe. I flew into Munich and drove about 6 hours to Rogla, Slovenia for the next World Cup. On the way we had a little bit of excitement…. At the Slovenia boarder you need to buy a “Vignette” (which is a sticker for you windshield that allows you to drive on the Autobahn). I didn’t know you had to get it at the boarder because in other countries you can buy them at any gas station along the Autobahn. So I drove for about 20k and came up to, what looked like a toll booth. Unfortunately, it was not a toll booth but instead, it was where they stopped you if you didn’t have a “Vignette”. On one of the islands of this check point was a guy holding a flashlight that was waiting for me… He waved me off to the side of the road where another guy stopped me. First he started speaking Slovene and throwing a paper at me. After a bit, he realized I was American and he was able to speak broken english. He asked for my license and the paperwork for the car. So I gave him my license and the most official looking paper I could find in the glove box for the car. He said he was “Highway Patrol” and I must have a “Vignette”. So my first response was, “Ok, sorry I will turn around and get one”. Yea…. No.. That didn’t go over well.. He then instructed me to get out of the car and then it was off to his van… We got in the back and the door slide shut… I thought for sure I was never getting out of that van… He turned on his computer and showed me pictures of us driving through the boarder and not buying this glorified window sticker. I tried explaining that I did not know I needed a sticker to drive on the highway and that I was sorry. He could have cared less that I had no clue about it. After going back and forth about this “Vignette”, we started to talk about the fine I was to pay… At first he wanted my Passport and 800 Euro for the fine and an additional 15 Euro for this wonderful sticker. I said my passport was back in Austria at my coaches house so that was out of the deal right off the bat. After arguing the fine some more, he dropped it to 300 Euro plus the sticker (Which was the minimum for this offense). Still I told him that it was unfair because I did not know and there was no sign in english telling me about this. So finally he said ok… If you pay on the spot it is 150 Euro plus the 15 Euro for the sticker. I gave in and said ok, and forked over my credit card. He gave me one of these wonderful Vignettes and some directions to Rogla. At last, I was free, and back on the road!

Once we arrived in Rogla, we checked into the Hotel Rogla, which was at the top of the mountain with the worst internet and phone service possible… We were told we would all be staying in a Bungalow… We all laughed and said this otta be good! Turned out to be a very small apartment the would normally fit 2 people at most but we had to squeeze 4 of us in. That night it started snowing, by the next morning it had snowed about 1.5 feet and still going.. Training for the day was cancelled. My teammate Steve and I found that the hotel had indoor tennis courts. We got in a solid hour and a half of an “extreme tennis” match. I quickly found out I had no clue what I was doing. So my idea was to hit the ball as hard as possible and hope for the best. After a little while I was getting a hang of it, but Steve was obviously a seasoned veteran. We had a great time and had a bunch of laughs!

Two days later we raced. My first run was not so good, so I was pretty disappointed about it, but it was onward and upward!

Next thing I knew we were off to Russia, to the Olympic Test event in Sochi! I could not wait to get there! When we arrived in the airport we had volunteers waiting for us because we need to get on a shuttle bus up to where we would be staying. We arrived at the Park Inn, which was our hotel for the next 5 days. After unpacking and getting settled, I was finally able to walk around a little. Everything is still very much under construction. The Olympic village was being built around the clock it seemed like. But 3 years ago the mountain and village where we stayed did not exist. So everything is brand new for the 2014 Olympics. The temperature was very warm, getting up to about 55 during the day and about 40 at night. After touring around a little, I noticed everything was under tight security. There was constantly multiple pairs of army men walking around the area. Before going up the gondola you needed to pass through an airport like security, where your bags were x-rayed and you went through a metal detector… There was rumors that there is snipers in the woods and on top of the mountain. Which ended up being true, because my teammate Justin Rieter was able to get a picture with one that was walking back to the lodge at the top…. All in all it is an amazing mountain! The powder riding looked unbeatable!

With the warm temps the snow was not ideal…. They ended up having to cancel the parallel slalom because the snow was to soft and pretty much unrideable…. It was a great experience to see where the Olympics would be that are only a year away!

After I headed back to Austria to have a few day of training before heading back on wednesday to Moscow for a parallel slalom in the heart of the city, on a ramp made out of scaffolding! I am super excited to take part in this event because it has the most spectators of the entire tour!

Never Surrender!!

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