The pair’s training during the offseason has “been really good” according to coach Shawn Fleming, who added that he believed “we were able to tick everything off the list that we were hoping to focus on”.
“That is a good feeling coming in to December knowing that you haven’t missed any key sections of your training plan and hopefully this translates to fast skiing on the track,” he said.
Val Thorens plays host to the first races of the season and for Kennedy-Sim and Grimus it’s “where the first real test happens against all the other nations”.
“The beginning of the season is always exciting because they are happy to be back in the race environment, but there are lots of unknowns surrounding the first race,” Fleming said.
“We get to train with most of the other nations at some point in the offseason but training is training.”
The Cross Alps Tour sees athletes compete in Val Thorens, then on to Arosa, Switzerland for a night time sprint event which is then followed by races in Montafon, Austria.
The Tour then concludes in Innichen, Italy on December 22 with a back-to-back two-race finale.
With such a jam-packed schedule, it’s important that our Aussies are just as fit mentally as they are physically.
“It’s a very tight schedule which can be very physically and mentally demanding to get through,” Fleming said.
“Obviously this sport takes strength to manage the loads in the fast turns and also the landings of the jumps. A great strength and conditioning program in the offseason goes a long way to keeping them healthy during the busy race schedule where sometimes rest is hard to come by.
“Mental strength in this sport is everything, you are racing at high speeds through lots of terrain with three other people in close proximity all trying to be the fastest down the hill, so confidence and self-belief are key.
Just days out from the first race of the season, Kennedy-Sim and Grimus will have their first opportunity to train on the track in Val Thorens where the focus will be “getting comfortable” and “building that confidence to take into the coming days”.
“Once the Cross Alps tour begins though you are in such a bubble of competition that you really start to build from day-to-day and track-to-track,” Fleming said.
“That is our goal in the coming weeks: to use the schedule and feed off it to boost confidence and create some real momentum in terms of performance.”
The 2017 FIS Audi Ski Cross World Cup Cross Alps Tour takes place from the 7th – 9th December in Val Thorens, France. You can check in for live updates HERE and also on OWIA’s Twitter account.