Looking like an extension of the Starship Enterprise Ski Dubai towers out above Mall of the Emirates in Dubai, built with a underfloor cooling system and double insulated outer lining the ski hall maintains a year round temperature between -1c and -4c with the outside temp getting up to +45c in the peak of the desert citys summer .
It was set to be the first stop on the world cup circuit for the 2018/19 season but we almost didn’t make it. 3 weeks before the competition was meant to start our new coach for the Australian Para snowboard team pulled out, he had been offered another contract with a Chinese freestyle development team and at the moment they have got cash to burn before the 2022 Beijing winter olympics.
So after a topsy turvy couple of week we were tacked onto a new program under the OG Finnish coach Mikko Wendelin and we were on our way to Dubai. Arriving early morning we got settled in our accommodation and then made our way over to Ski Dubai. Having just hopped off the plane I opted to just take a couple of laps beside the course rather than join official training. I wasn’t sure what to expect but the course looked really good, a fast top section with a little jump mid way followed by some tight berms through the bottom. 3 days of racing coming up.
Day 1 Continental cup
The continental cup gives riders who are not yet qualified for the world cup a chance to make enough points to compete at the world cup level. I treat the continental cup as a warm up for the world cup trying to get the fastest lines sorted out. I ended up in 3rd place after my second run and was stoked to get on the podium for something.
Day 2 World cup
The day started out pretty slow I didn’t sleep to well so I had a big cup of coffee at breakfast time followed by a cold shower to get myself into gear. We made our way across to the Ski hall enjoying the 33 deg morning and were meet with a fast looking 30 second course. After one warm up run it was straight into timing. I came out of the blocks firing putting down the fastest time for my category. Second run my time was beaten by reigning silver medalist Patrick Mayhoffer but I still had a chance I rode smoothly but right on the edge of control and it was enough for me to regain top spot, earning a gold medal in the first world cup of the season.
Day 3 World cup
The final day of competition I hoped to repeat the successes of yesterday. I had a coffee and a cold shower, a new found routine. It worked somewhat because I managed to get a bronze but I think I put a bit much pressure on myself to repeat yesterdays performance, crashing out first run after pushing a little to hard.
We celebrated the teams success that night finding a rooftop bar nearby but at $20 a pint celebrations were fairly short lived, the Shisha added a nice middle eastern vibe to the scene though. Onto the next tour stop Landgraaf.