I will update my blog from the World Cup tour and training around the world.
We flew to New Zealand in the middle of August which means that the summer is over for me. Here it’s winter so there is no need for summer clothes any more. We had a travel of 36 hours from Rovaniemi to Lake Tekapo and time difference is 9 hours so the minimum time to stay here is three weeks. It’s going to be fall when we get back home.
After first four days of skiing I can tell that we made a good choice to come here. Travel is long and there are few glaciers in Middle Europe to ski in the summer but glacier is glacier and snow is different. If you want to train and test equipment on snow which is similar to snow what we have in the races the only chance is to go overseas, either New Zealand or South America. Of course there is a risk to catch the weeks with bad weather but this risk is always and everywhere in outdoor sports.
Conditions have been great so far. Snow is fine winter snow, sun is shining, it’s minus degrees on the slope and the training hill is watered after last snow fall. So we can ski the new GS skis in race kind conditions.
Even here we can not run away early mornings. We have the slope for training 7.00am-10.00am. Driving from the house is half an hour so we start driving at 6.20am in the darkness. We get day light slowly from 7 on. ”Wake up running” in the morning at 5am is pretty normal for us but here it’s more beautiful with so bright stars in the sky! On the way back from training it’s possible to see the country side and I am not surprised why one of the most greatest movies, The Lord of the Rings, was filmed in New Zealand!
Season is over! It was just a little while ago I was heading to a ”tunnel” which includes skiing, travelling, physical training, rest, packing and unpacking – and all this was done to be good in races. From June on there was lot of swett, joy, satisfaction, tireness, good training and some tears. All this just for being fast when it counts on a race day. What you can see on TV (races) is just a tiny part of a life of an athlete. Of course it’s the most important part because then it’s meassured how you made your job. To perform well in a race you need good technique and physical preparation but also good mental shape to handle the pressure and excitement.
I still work one more month doing ski testing and Finnish Nationals. But the most important season is over. After the World Cup Finals I feel my body and mind pretty empty. At least I know that I gave everything for this season. And it feels good! My season started not so well and also the end was not the best but in the middle I had lot of good races and performances. 6th in slalom cup and 13th in GS are good starting positions for next season.
Spring is here and I will enjoy skiing more and more relaxed. We can cool down and look back for good memories this season. Slowly it’s also time to take a look for the future :)
Race season is in half way now. Material testing is though a never ending story :). You can never stop developing your equipment. This season I have tested more boots than last few years. Since summer I have tried about ten pairs of boots and still I can find details to improve.
I even tried different sizes and just a small change of length in the boot changes the stability and stiffness which affects to your angles in the body.
Last week I tested again a different boot. Difference is small but when it makes some movements easier it makes you feel more confident. Here we play with small margins all the time so every little detail has to be checked carefully through.
We had good conditions for training last few days. The whole team is motivated, I am excited about testing and fixing with the material so it’s hard to get me finished with training :)
US races are done for the season. Race season is just hardly started with three races. Aspen weekend ended up pretty good. Already second GS run felt comfortable missing just a little bit of the last ”racing gear”. Finally we could also start the slalom season and it was good for me. Slalom has been stable over the summer training season but I have been looking for some speed. It definitely came at the right moment.
Many times I think what is the most optimal preparation for a race weekend. You have to be on snow almost every day but still you should be well recovered, fresh and hungry for the tough weekend. GS is always on Saturday and slalom on Sunday so usually we train slalom in the beginning of the week and GS towards the weekend. After GS race there is a chance for slalom training to get used to shorter skis and turns for the next day. Just the days get really long this way. Wake up call has been before six in the morning and the race is over around two o’clock. In addition to two race runs there are always warming ups, course inspections and overall a focused atmosphere over the whole day. Without eating too much beetween the runs. And that’s a little problem for me :). So you get to have lunch after slalom training not earlier than three. In the evening there is still to do regeneration and bib draw for the next day’s race.
Obviously those slalom training runs are nothing special after a long GS day. But maybe there is still something with this routine to get prepared. From the other hand it wouldn’t be necessery to make few runs with tired legs… Yes, I made it in Aspen once again like always. Runs were definitely nothing to tell about but next day I was more than ready to race from the first gate on. Who knows which would be the best way. But things like this makes skiing so fascinating!
Race season has started even the winter is not here yet. Ofcourse we have the ski days what we need but we just have to go all the way up to glaciers still now in November. Skiing on glaciers at the moment is not much different from any other place – just the days are long because it takes time to make the way up to 3000 meters. Wake up call in Mölltal is at 5.00 and at 6.15 we leave the hotel to head towards the glacier. At 7.30 we can start skiing. Training is done about three hours later. Then we just catch the lunch at the hotel at noon.
It was really sad that Levi had to be cancelled this year. Levi race is ofcourse special for us. But nobody can change the weather. Hopefully we get snow in Finland and the Alps soon. We train anyway and get ready for the next races to come.
Weekend off in St.Gallen was good. Weather was pretty unstable all over and I got well recovered after last week’s training. Appenzell is close and there you can find nice routes for easy walking just to relax by yourself. I did also watch FC St.Gallen – FC Chiasso football game. Again a good atmosphere and lots of emotions on the field!
My biggest expectations for a summer is not the warm and sunny weather but football and paddling. Of course I like good weather but I do love these sports so much that I couldn’t live without. Summer is really important time to be well scheduled to improve physical qualities for alpine skiing. This is the goal and football and paddling are a great part of it.
I had three great days of paddling with my physical coach Michael on the Lake Inarijärvi in Northern Finland in the beginning of August. The weather was not so warm but +12’C day temperatures were warm enough. First day rain showers and moderate wind were more than good reminders that this will be tough training too. And that’s how we planed. Not only paddling but also intervall training by running in the forests of the Lake Inarijärvi islands were part of my endurance training block. We stayed the nights in a tent and had fire right by the lake beside the tent. It was full training but also a great adventure. The lake is huge, 80 km long, 50 km wide and has 3300 islands! So it’s easy to have quiet atmosphere without seeing many people at all.
Paddling, running and three football games made my last two weeks training block successful. For sure there was no time for strength training these weeks and this one max power training which I made was not so good. Well, that’s pretty obvious, and the focus for strength training will be after next ski camp.
So I have already a good feeling about this summer and I don’t mind if the winter is about to come soon :)
We just finished the second ski camp. First six ski days for the season we had in Stelvio in the beginning of July. Last week we were in Saas-Fee. Lapland is having really warm summer this year and I could enjoy those hot days at home for a week between the camps. That was quite enough for a ”winter person” like me :). If Lapland is warmer than normally, Middle-Europe seems to have colder July. I think it was extremely winter kind conditions on the glacier in Saas-Fee. Which is more than good for training!
Ski training and physical training has found a good rhythm. The whole body has got used to ski again. Still the GS training run of 50 seconds on an altitude of 3500 meters feels heavy. Main key is to stay healthy and be physically balanced to get the best out of ski training.
Technically skiing goes little bit up and down which is normal for this time of the season. Some days I think my slalom is on a better level than GS and the other days feeling is totally the opposite. This is just challenging but also fascinating! There is always potential to be better.
Holiday is far behind. I had already a good month of physical training. First weeks in June are always a shock for the body. After some time off you are full of energy and you think you are in the same shape as in the winter. I am not. Muscles have got relaxed and they need few weeks time to get in a good training rhytmn. Well, that’s the way it is and there is no short cut – for anyone.
Mid June we made again Levi24 mountain biking event. You bike as a team (one at the time) 24 hours as many kilometres as possible. I didn’t remember from last year how tough it was. Once during the night I really thought of the idea of doing that… But it’s just amazing feeling to finish a round of 10 km, send the next one of your team for a round and wait few hours for your next turn. To do this with a team is great and gives you more energy. Next year again!! And you remember that in Lapland in June it never gets dark in the night. Exotic and beautiful!
Summer just got nice and warm in Finland so it’s time to go for skiing in Italy :). Actually it feels good to break the rhytmn and ski next week and come back home for some more physical training.
Regards from sunny Rovaniemi,
Once again a season is over. In October World Cup starts all of a suden and In March it’s finished before you realize that ”this is it”!
Season is long anyway. Summer training starts in June with physical training and in July we go already on snow. Summer goes by in regular rhytmn – early mornings, training, eating and rest.
Race season is getting closer in Autumn and it makes me more and more focused on everything what I do. Excitement, mental pressure, travelling, packing and unpacking make race season tough and tiring in another way than physical training season. But this huge scale of emotions what you can feel in the race season is something what athletes are looking for. It’s hard to describe the feeling after a successfull race. You can only see the great run on TV but there is so much hard and persistant work of many people needed for the good results.
Season 2010-2011 was one of my best seasons, specially skiing wise in slalom. New coaches Christian and Luca brought up some fresh ideas for ski technique and I could improve my skiing through the whole season. New ideas and equipment have still a lot of potential for the future.
I didn’t get everything what I wanted this season, but I got a lot. Second in slalom cup and third in GS cup made a good season for me. And I am still hungry to go for the victories in the coming seasons.
I skied a lot after the World Cup season in spring. There was Finnish Champs and good ski training in Finland. Now it’s finally time for some vacation in May. For me the vacation means no schedule! I do some sports but I don’t need to follow any time table. Time goes fast anyway and soon the next training season starts.
World Championships were again full of sport drama – both in good and bad. I will remember these Champs forever. GS was nothing special, not good not bad. Those feelings are nothing to remember. Slalom was quite different…
Everything was so good on the slalom day. Focus and excitement just on the right level. Equipment worked perfectly and the whole team was well focused. Two runs, over 120 turns to be done and one of those turns became a disaster! It didn’t turn out to be my day. But there's nothing I would do different – preparation was good and the first run as well. Second run was not easy but it was one of my best runs up until the mistake at the end of the course.
It’s hard to descripe the feelings I had in the finish area because there was no order in my head. Feeling was most likely powerless and empty. Just a couple of minutes later I heard about my intermediate times and it increased the disorder in my mind. First I had a thought of realizing how close I had been to one of my dreams ”if”... But I also felt good about ”a great effort”!? This is just a sport of SO small margins!
Media corridor felt longer than before. Still I went through it pretty easily thanks to adrenaline running still full in the blood. Thoughts were not quite clear when after it all I sat down in the car with my coach and physio. Half an hour driving back to our hotel. There were not many words spoken, silence told everything – ”we couldn’t have done things better before the race”. And from the other hand, ”with this skiing we have there are lot’s of goals for the rest of the season”…
World Champs are now behind and I had a good week at home. Recovery started really fast and beside the time off I also made some good physical training. Weight training was working excellent – I made season record in snatch, clean&jerk and squats. Core training, cross-country skiing as well as snow shoe walking was really good, not only physically but they also gave a lot of mental energy :)
World Cup will continue in Czech Republic 11.-12.3 and then the finales in Lenzerheide (slalom 18.3 and GS 19.3).
New Year and new success! Flachau was just great when it comes to atmosphere and result. Afterwards I think skiing there looks really easy – and it was. But in the race nothing is clear before you have done two excellent runs. Excitement and focus has to be in balance and still there is so many things what can happen in the race run. And close it was – the victory!
After icy slope in Flachau we had something very different in Slovenia. It got up to +15’C during the day so no wonder that we couldn’t have alpine skiing races in those conditions.
Now I’ll have a break of one week at home. It will be a good time for physical training. Past month was pretty hectic with all the races and travelling so physical training was only easy going for recovery and some core training. Muscles felt ”too” fresh and now it’s time for good strength training. Fresh feeling is of course good for racing but season is still long so I shouldn’t lose now the strength. Training week started actually already in Munich on Sunday. Good gym training with squats and hamstrings was done and on Monday we flew home. Gym and cross-country skiing will be my programme this week at home.
Race season has started really good!. It’s still early season so nothing is won yet. Well, I was close once – one hundred of a second :). But I can also say that every podium place feels great and it’s a result of many good training runs and of course a good effort in the race.
Skiing feels easy at the moment – almost every day. It means that we had super training and good skiing in Italy before Courchevel. In Courchevel, day before the race, we just tried to get some good runs for the feeling but it didn’t work as I expected… Well, I made more runs than planned and got the confidence back. It was also a good reminder how important it is to stay focused on every run specially when everything is working good. On the race day confidence from the training in Italy was back and skiing was fine.
Now it’s time for a short Christmas holiday. Few days of relaxing, good sleep and good food – that’s my receipe for the days at home. On the 26th we’ll travel to Austria for the next races which will take place in Semmering 28.-29.12.
What a weekend in Levi! And how did we end up like we did? After Sölden I could hardly think about anything else other than Levi and slalom. In the beginning of November the weather was not exactly on our side and once again we had to travel to glaciers this season. We had short but good training camp in Hintertux and then a super fast travel to Levi to use the option for training one day on the race hill. 24 hours after the last training run in Hintertux we already skied in Levi! After this one day (Saturday 6th of Nov) the race hill was closed.
During the last week before the race we focused on good quality training in the front slope. Weather was pretty cold so there was no reason to ski too much and get tired. We did what we needed and it took 2-2,5 hours on the slope each day and then we had time for good recovery, some badminton or easy cross country skiing. The days got busy towards the race and all the energy what could be saved was needed on Saturday.
On the race day we woke up at 5.50 though the race start was at 11am. At first morning wake up by jogging, breakfast, warm up runs and inspection of the course - all of this takes time. Between the race runs I ate only just a banana and some sandwich which means that after the race, around 3pm, I was craving for lunch. Well, the adrenaline level was still high after the race and especially due to success so you didn't even feel hungry or tired for an hour or so. However, when I finally got to my room, still race suit on, at 5pm, I was ready to anything.
The home race in Levi is, as I've mentioned many times, something
really special! Atmosphere and support from the crowd is just great and to be successful there is like a dream come true. It's ok to enjoy those feelings for a moment because the podium doesn't come any easier at all in Levi.
Few relaxing days to calm down after Levi was needed. Now we are already in the US and the thoughts are turned towards the races in Aspen on 27.-28.11.
Well, that's how the season started from Sölden. Like so many times earlier, the Retternbach glacier didn't make it easy on us racers. It wasn't a surprise that a run with maximum physical input, lasting over one minute, performed in 3000 m altitude would feel rough, but it did. Yet the performance and the preparation for it had even stronger effect mentally. It seems that nervousness doesn't get less over the years. When I know I'm fit and ready, it creates its' own pressure. Then again it also tells how focused I am and that the competition has a great meaning.
Levi is just around the corner and soon after a quick stop at home it's time to head towards slalom training. Homerace is a special race in the world cup calendar. The stands are filled with Finnish flags and there really isn't any other spot as great to do well than Levi. The top performance needs everything to go well, but there's no doubt that the plan wouldn't be to do everything possible to make sure the skis run the fastest on the Finnish snow.
The great start from Sölden and a few well slept nights at home have brought the energy levels to the top. I already opened my cross country season in Rovaniemi and at the gym the weights feel lighter than ever. Right amount physical training combined together with slalom training and the competition season can continue. :-)
The opening of the season surprises almost always the same way as winter surprises the drivers on summer wheels. Luckily, my own feeling is that I have already my winter tires on. Small hesitation about my own skiing and especially speed lingers always before Sölden, but it’s part of the picture. Not even in this sport there is no such thing as fully prepared. However, now it’s time to get to real business and change the training mode into competition mode. During summer nothing was more important than the training and the recovery, but now the number one thing is to be as good as I can be on those days just before the race. If there will be days when the iron isn’t as light or the plyometrics training isn’t running as smooth as it should, it doesn’t matter, because the base work has been done and the concentration is focused to skiing and especially to the race. Naturally the gear is being tuned up until the last minute and tested in the equal conditions of the race hill.
I notice from myself that the competition season is getting closer. The relaxed spring me has transformed through summer’s and fall’s physical training into a focused me with a mood of the competition season - highly focused training runs and preciseness in everything else. The skiing fills every soul and everything else has been put aside for the world cup season. Just right amount of excitement is griping in and there is no better way to release that than to have the bib on. The season starts from Sölden in October 23rd and the battle over the crystal globes continues until mid March. Everything has been done as well as possible, but so have many other rivalries. Nothing comes for free, yet nothing is given for free either. :)
Wau, we finished last week a ski camp which went like planned – not like the camp before when the weather was really unstable. I can also feel the good camp in the muscles – so much we skied in good conditions in an altitude of 3700 meters.
In skiing it’s most important to prepare yourself physically in a good shape to ski fast but you can’t forget to work with your equipment as well. Many times it feels that you fix and fix, small and even smaller details. Everything has to fit perfectly, specially the boots. For the good “touch” on snow the boots are too small from beginning and they have to be fixed just step by step. This means some tight and a bit painful ski days for feet.
I changed helmet, poles and shin guards this summer too so I even need to try them to find for me the best fitting equipment out of their different models.
No wonder that time feels like flying on the ski camps. Now, after three ski camps everything seems to have found their place really well. Ski testing is of course something that goes on all year round. Continuous ski development drives us forward!
Ski training has started full. We skied the first camp in Stelvio in July. Conditions were so good that we skied all 7 days in a row. It was really effective because we stayed in 3000 meters and in the morning at 6 o’clock we could just walk with boots on from the hotel to the gondola to go up for skiing. One week of skiing was good endurance training for the legs and last days of course the muscles were not any more so fresh. But we could be more than happy about the first camp!
Now we are already on a second camp in Saas-Fee. Bad weather days which belong to the summer happened to be now. Glacier has been closed on two out of three days. Fortunately the weather forecast for the next days is really good so looks like we can ski then five days in a row. If that happens we can be satisfied again. We had a great plan for this camp by skiing four days, having a day off, and skiing three more days. Well, now that plan can be forgotten and we go skiing when the glacier is open. Plan changes are everyday life in this sport. Only thing which bathers on this unstable days is that you have to wake up at 5.30am, make your morning jogging, have breakfast and go to the lift with two pairs of skis, boots and a back bag. Then you just might hear that the glacier is closed for today. You can also not make too heavy physical training because maybe next day you can ski again and many more days as well. This every alpine skier knows and we can not change the weather so there is no reason to get nervous. That’s why we should take all the best out for those good days.
Summer is here and lots of things have happened! Start for the physical training in the end of May was one of the few things which didn’t change. We got a new coach, Italian Christian Thoma, and he already met us on skis in Finland in April. The well known volcano in Iceland made us travel from Helsinki to Lapland (10 hours) by car instead of flying. That was a great coincidence to get to know each others from first moment on.
One big thing for me was the change of skis and boots. Now I go with Fischer and I am excited to go back on skis in July and learn new equipment better and better. It will be lot of testing in the summer which means tens of pairs going through my service man up to glaciers and be tested by me.
Well, once I started to change things then the whole picture has to be perfect :). My website was made new and it was fun to work with new colours and ideas for the site.
There are two things in summer what I don’t change. One is physical training in Rovaniemi and the other one is football. There is definitely everything what I need for training at home and my team has started the football season really good. I would just need few more hours every day and some extra days in a week. Then I would play even more football…
One World Cup season is over again and it feels as weird as always this time of the year. Itís been a long season and next race will not be earlier than October. Still I will be busy until the end of April. There are few PR events to be done as well as a very important period considering the next season. This is the best time for training and ski testing in Lapland and we will use it.
My season was bit of a roller coaster. Some races we won and the next one we were not in top ten. Overall the season was pretty good - Last season was just so excellent that you can not always make the same even if everything has been done well.
See you in Lapland!
One month long race trip was nice to finish in Cortina. It was great to be successful even if the body and mind was already pretty tired. Once again I was confused to realize that the feeling in the morning doesn't necessarily tell the result for the day. Over the years Iíve been successful after very different "pre feelings". Good results depend on so many things and you can not really control them all even if you wanted to.
I just had a week of rest and easy physical training at home. I feel again ready for skiing. Olympic clothing is fitting well and all the paper work is done (hopefully) so now itís time to focus on sport. We will make a training camp in Austria for one week and then itís about to travel over the Atlantic!
Lot of spectators and a night race makes the atmosphere different for athletes and people watching the race. We could have more night races!
A race day like this is pretty long with all the preparations etc. ñ at least for me. We can sleep longer but latest at nine I am having breakfast. Before the lunch around noon I go for a run and wake up my body. The race started at 5.30pm but we went up already at 2pm for warm up runs and inspection. Second run started at 8.30pm and was finished one hour later. Finally we were having dinner at the hotel after 10pm so the day was long. During the race I donít like to eat too much just some sandwich, bananaÖ In the evening the body gets food but itís little confused about late dinner and all stress during the race.
After a night race we were back in our normal rhythm straight away. We had a good GS training in Reiteralm the next morning. Now itís just about keep going for the next races in Maribor in the weekend.
My holiday is about to end and tomorrow I travel to Austria for races. It will be a tough race month but I am more than ready. I had a break from races over one month but I also had good training. I got nice Christmas so lets enjoy of the races next four weeks :)
It turned to be October already and in the North it got cold like winter would be on its way. It's not the same with middle Europe. We just had one week camp in Pitztal and itís still pretty warm. Thanks to clear nights we anyhow had the best camp for the season - sunny days and hard snow conditions.
Glaciers their selves donít look good at all at the moment. In many places you can not ski the lower parts or lower lifts which usually works this time. There just isnít any snow, only dark glacier ice. Under these circumstances we can be even happier about this camp. We were also lucky to catch the week without too many teams so it was easy going in the lifts.
It's going to be a tough winter again but we saw in Sölden that summer training was not bad and we have worked right with the team. Levi race is soon and great conditions in Lapland give us possibilities for a good preparation for the home race. From tomorrow on we will train in Lapland and it will be lot of slalom turns to be done in next two weeks. Itís good because in October we focused on GS. Slalom has also worked fine in the late summer trainings and if needed we can use days from morning till the evening to find race speed also for slalom :)
Our third ski camp has started in warm conditions. In one way it's nice that you can still enjoy summer down in the valley but would be better for skiing to have little colder. 0°C level is now over 4000 meters during nights and with some clouds the slope doesn't freeze enough. It would just need a clear night or even better is minus degrees over a night on our training level 3500 meters. So we had few softer days on snow but now again great hard conditions!
These weeks are pretty busy on glaciers. Holiday time brings lot of clubs and junior teams as well as national teams on skis. Well, at least we will not freeze on a lift line :)
First ski camp is just about to start in Zermatt. On Friday 17th of July we take the gondola up to 3800 meters and start with GS turns. I had over two months without skiing but it went really fast. I had instead a good period of physical training and it feels well balanced in the body so I am ready to go on skis. From now on time will fly and soon weíll be in Sˆlden for the season start!
In June and July I train mostly at home and these are the months for regular routines of training, eating and resting. This summer I also had time for few summer events in Rovaniemi. I went to see couple of great Finnish bands on open air rock festival. Itís nice to see how professionals do their job in different kind of businesses. To be on your best when it really counts in the music business or in sports has a lot of similarities I think.
Physical training season has started again for real. I skied until end of April and May was my month off. I didn't just lie down but I played football and badminton - sports what I really enjoy and donít even think as a training. From the 1st June on I started scheduled training which means two training sessions almost every day, good rest and food and good sleep. It feels nice to get back in a normal "athletic" rhythm. I can only focus on training and everything else comes then if there is time for anything else.
Finnish and Lappish weather in the summer is just great for physical training - you can always train any time of the day and it wonít be too hot. Hopefully itís not too rainy either.