After the last trip, our team flew home for Christmas and Olympic Trials. I was really looking forward to getting my form back and officially punching my ticket to Sochi this winter. Unfortunately I didn't have a great jump and started to far back to make a challenge for the victory. Needless to say, my stay at home was short lived, but was much needed. My family came over to watch both my brother and I compete and celebrate a late Christmas together. I even got to see my cousins from my mother's side (Kaelin and Taryn) which had been very long time since I saw them. I got some great rest and training before heading to a last minute decision world cup in Chaikovskiy, Russia. I was able to get a travel visa in 4 days and on December 30th, we hopped on the plane to Moscow. I was excited to spend new years in Moscow and visit the Red Square and all the historic sites in that area, but when I got off the plane I had a very nasty cold that knocked me out for the rest of the day and I spent all day and night in the hotel room. Late on the 1st we arrived in Chaikovskiy after a flight to Perm and a 5 hour bus ride filled with all of our bags and the heat blasting. We were excited to exit that cramped bus, but not to excited about the -30*C weather that was to come.
The venues in Chaikovskiy were very impressive and I was ready to get to business. We skied the next morning and the course was perfect with wide trials, long hills, and great flow. I really like courses like that because I feel that I can push the pace much easier and not have to sprint and then go downhill. We didn't get a chance to jump the hill before official training so, our first jumps were for official training and Qualification. I didn't have the best jumps, but I qualified and that was something I didn't do much last period. With that I was looking forward to having a solid competition jump and being able to race. I had a great trial jump, but was not able to repeat it and started 2nd to last and a long ways from the front. I was super pissed, and couldn't wait to race my frustration out on the course. I ended up skiing from 49th to 4th but with my wave start it bumped me back to 6th. On the second day, jumping was cancelled so we had to use our PCR round with was a better jump and much closer. Again I had a very solid race, but got stuck in traffic on the 3rd and 4th lap that kept me from catching the leaders. All in all I was very happy with the race and the direction I am heading now. I think my jumping is turning around and I am looking forward to the challenge here in Chaux Neuve, France.