The first training camp of the Austrian ski jumpers under their new head coach Andreas Felder was held this week on the Stubai Glacier in Tyrol, where the first snow jumps of the season were made on self-made hills.
Besides Stefan Kraft, Michael Hayboeck, Gregor Schlierenzauer, Manuel Fettner, Clemens Aigner and the ladies' team around Daniela Iraschko-Stolz, Andreas Kofler also participated in this camp. The veteran had missed the entire last season due to an autoimmune disease. "It was not an easy time for me, but I handled it as well as I could. I was struggling here on the glacier a bit in the beginning, but then I did better and better in finding the rhythm and the balance during the jumps. My health is not at 100 % yet, but I feel good and strong again - and I'm sure: The longer the preparation lasts, the better I'll feel", said Andreas Kofler.
After this first joint training camp, Andreas Felder is confident for the upcoming tasks: "The first camp was mainly about getting to know each other and we were trying to find the right balance in various fields. It was the first time, that the team was working together with the new coaching staff for a couple of das. I think the guys, and we as coaches, can take a lot out of this. This week here on the glacier makes me very optimistic for the new season."
The athletes also liked this a bit unusual start of the pre-season preparation. "Last week I was wearing swimming trunks in my backyard, this week the skiing gear on the glacier. This was a bit unusual. With the jumping skis on the drag lift - this was an interesting, new experience. It must have looked strange. Usually, we go down the big hills with about 100 km/h and are five meters high up in the air, here we were jumping on mini hills. But you always have to be open for new things and this first training camp was absolutely positive", said Stefan Kraft.
His teammate Gregor Schlierenzauer added: "It was interesting. The motto was: Back to basics. I think it's very good that we were able to train here on the Stubai Glacier at this time of year and start the preparation for the World Championships like that. We had to jump on the small hills and get the right feeling for the inrun-position, gliding, and the take-off. You always learn something new from every coach."
The preparation for the 2018/19 season with the WSC in Seefeld as the big highlight, didn't start that well for Daniel Huber. The 25-year-old had to undergo meniscus surgery on Tuesday and will now be sidelined for four to six weeks.