Panorama FIS Series Update
The Panorama FIS Race Series has officially come to a close. The past week of racing covered almost all of the variables we do our best to prepare for: fast sets, turny sets, straight sets, unnatural terrain use, 25cm of fresh snow, raging blizzards, fog, soft snow, hard snow, quick intervals, sunshine, shadows, complete darkness (if I missed anything feel free to add it, we most likely dealt with it too). The athletes handled it all in stride, and if they didn’t nail it on the first try they sure as heck learned how for the next time. It was a tough series in a lot of ways, but as usual the highlights shone brightly and the whole team kept running the ball and moving the chains.
For the athletes, the progression from day 1, not only in the adaptations to technical and tactical approaches but also in the way they assessed themselves after each run, was close to a tear-jerker moment for Kike and I to witness. We went from “oh no, it’s the end of the world” to “yeah, I can see a lot of similarities in my own skiing to that guy/girl” or “I think can beat them next time”. Challenging moments like the ones they faced here, even a few weeks ago, would have taken some serious inspirational speaking to get over and above; this week the immediate reaction was to look forward to the next run – the next race – the next training block – and figure out how to improve. I heard from the ENTIRE group throughout the last 4 days, all isolated incidents, requesting harder fitness sessions, longer courses, and tougher, faster sets. There was no getting stuck or hung-up, only how to keep moving forward. They may have had their hands hovering over the panic button for a moment but it never got pressed.
As is every year, these races are very competitive and offer a very real glimpse into what racing at the U18/U21 level is. They aren’t always the most productive from a FIS points perspective, but it’s not every day we get to race against our own Provincial and National Team athletes, and learn a little more what it takes to compete at this level. The learning curve is steep at an event like this, and the emotional/psychological management all of the athletes here are forced to practice creates a skillset worth much more than it’s weight in momentary frustration and blows to confidence. We are trending in the right direction. Hard.
I’m sure I can speak for all of us when I say we’re looking forward to a (short) break, however I’m also sure I can speak for all of us when I say we can’t wait to get back to work.