Ieva Januškevičiūtė will be the first Lithuanian athlete to participate in the Olympic women’s alpine skiing events. This is the 19-year-old athlete’s blog entry, “The Road to Sochi.”
Everything started like this… When I was six or seven years old, my dad started to teach me how to ski on the hill behind the Lazdijai swimming pool. Later we went several times per year to ski in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Of course, we also skied at Liepkalnis.
Ieva Januškevičiūtė was in a good mood during the winter holidays. The 18-year-old recently achieved the best FIS result of any female Lithuanian alpine skier at competitions in Italy. During FIS races held at the mountain resort of Speikboden, the Lithuanian took 19th place in the Slalom, with a result of 104.7 FIS points—points are calculated by time lost to the winning skier, the smaller the difference, the lower the score. No female Lithuanian alpine skier has ever achieved such a low result.
Up until that race, Januškevičiūtė’s best FIS result was 134.03. It was achieved in Slalom races last February held in the Czech republic.
Januškevičiūtė’s two runs in Speikboden had a combined time of 1:31.00. The winning time of 20-year-old Austrian Valentina Fankauser was 1:20.39. Forty-nine skiers started the race, only 23 finished.
A week in the Alps, a few days at home, and back to the mountains. That’s the kind of rhythm Lithuania’s alpine skiers are living this year, moving between training camps.
Lithuanian national team members Karolis Janulionis and Aivaras Tumas were training in Kaprun, Austria, with coach Audrius Santackas and other Ski Club Snow Bees members Oct. 27 – Nov. 5. At the same time, in Hintertux, another Austrian glacier, Anžela and Vytautas Aleksandravičius were working with the young members of their club, Alpiu Aidas—it was the club’s second camp in Austria this fall. On Friday, Lithuanian team members will be on their way back to Kaprun to participate in the European Ski Federation’s fall camp.
The most important races this season for Lithuania’s skiers will be the country’s national championships in Italy Jan. 12 – 19, the European Youth Olympic Festival in Romania in February, and the World Alpine Ski Championships in Solden, Austria, held also at the beginning of February. There will also be several junior/senior and children’s International Ski Federation (FIS) races.
As always (and as it should be!) Kalnu Ereliai skiers are on top of the Lithuanian podium!
Kasparas Pajaraskas, 16, and Aivaras Tumas, 15, proved to be strong competition for the men in the season opener in Austria, taking overall podium positions in both the SL and GS races, along with teammate Algimantas Milašius, 18. This is a great start to the season for Tumas, who makes his FIS (International Ski Federation) competition debut this year.
On the women’s side, KE skiers Marcele Kuliešiutė, 16, Ieva Januškevičiutė, 16, Ieva Urbonavičiutė, 17, and Laura Pamerneckytė,15, show the depth of talent of the KE women’s team. They took the top 4 positions in SL, and the top 3 in GS, their times separated by less than one second. Pamerneckytė who will also make her FIS debut this year, did not finish the GS, but showed her talent in the SL finishing 5th in the overall rankings (women and men).
While most of the participants in Kaprun return to Lithuania this week, the Lithuanian national team stacked with Kalnu Ereliai skiers heads to Schladming, Austria for a two week camp sponsored by the newly formed ESF (European Ski Federation). Pajarskas, Tumas, Januškevičiutė, Urbonavičiutė, Kuliešiutė and Pamerneckytė will be joined by Karolis Janulionis, 18, along with Lithuanian National Team Coach Audrius Santackas, and KE Club Director Miroslavas Urbonavičius. These three weeks will be the longest time KE skiers have spent in Austria, and despite having to keep up with their school work long-distance, the kids are enjoying the experience. Trainings include SL and GS gate work and freeskiing with Austrian national team coaches on the World Cup slope, physical conditioning and video analysis.
The team will return to Lithuania at the end of November, and have a few weeks at home before leaving again in mid-December for a camp sponsored by the FIS in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, ahead of the 2011 FIS World Ski Championships.
The Kalnu Ereliai fall camp took place in Solden this year. On the first day of camp, the kids got to watch the opening World Cup GS, and meet many of the top male races in the world. They then spent 5 days training SL and GS on the icy glacier.
Three KE skiers, Marcelė Kuliešiūtė, Ieva Urbonavičiūtė, Ieva Januškevičiūtė participated in this years FIS Selection camp in Hintertux, Austria. The lived and trained with some 30 boys and 20 girls from 20 different countries. The competition was tough, since from these skiers, only 10-12 boy and girls would be selected to attend the next camp. All in all, it was a great experience for our KE skiers to ski with kids their age from all over the world; they came away from camp with improved skills on the hill, and many friends off it.
Kalnu Ereliai ski team’s fall snow camp will be on the Kaunertal glacier in Austria. On the first day of camp, the children went with their coaches to watch the Opening GS of the Alpine World Cup in Solden.