Friday, February 4, 2011

The 2011 FIS Alpine Skiing World Championships.

I will try and blog each day from Garmisch Partenkirchen and the FIS Alpine Skiing World Championships, I know I have neglected the blog lately but as most of the readers follow my business site on Facebook I did not feel the need to blog.

This is my first major skiing championships, having had to miss out on the previous one in Val d'Isere France 2 years ago through a family illness and then the Olympics last year despite having accreditation for both. This time around I made darn sure I would be there. I arrived a few days ago to (1) relax and take some time off having been on the road since the start of December and (2) as this may be my last sports event I cover as a photographer I wanted to savour it.

For those of you that do not already know, I am a freelance photographer, which means I have to pay for all my expenses, arrange all my own accreditations, arrange my own travel and accommodation, and rely on getting my invoices paid on time to help me sustain the trips.

Life on the road has been good to me this year but the cold weather has started to take it's toll on my poor old motorhome, which needs some serious TLC to get it back to a fully operational state. Staying in temperatures of -20c and doing daft things like forgetting to top up the propane tanks for heating, obviously does not help. But enough about that and onto work stuff!!

Garmisch Partenkirchen for those of you that have never been here or heard of it, is a small town (I come from London so everything is small after that) in Bavaria a region of Germany. I first came here over 20 years ago on a skiing trip with the British Army, we may have also visited a bar or 2 in those days! I have since been back on a number of occasions both as a ski tourist and also 3 times to cover the world cup races. If I ever win the lottery this is one place I would like a place. The history of it is as varied as the people that now call it home. The skiing is not the most difficult in the Alps and there are nowhere near as many runs as you would find in some of the large resorts of Austria and France, but what this place offers is beauty just makes you want to come back, be it the amazing view of the Zugspitze mountain, Germany's highest which is part of the resort, or the lovely Bavarian style buildings.

I have spoken with residents and other Germans about the World Champs being here, and the general consensus is one of disappointment that the old stadium from the 1936 Winter Olympic Games was not knocked down and replaced with a new building. Personally I like the fact it has remained, otherwise it would feel like they were trying to sweep part of the history of the town, region and country under a rug and pretending it is no longer is there. I lived in Berlin for a few years when serving with the British army, and the old Olympic stadium complex there were our barracks, so for me it's sort of like coming home to a familiar place.

For the Championships I am lucky enough to have one of the 40 allocated on-piste photo bibs, which means I get to shoot action shots and not get stuck in the finish area which I hate, the bad thing is that my young apprentice was not granted accreditation, apparently there were over 600 applications from around the world, for only 140 positions, 40 on piste and 100 in the finish area. I will be sending my images all over the world from either my laptop on the mountain, or back in any of the sub or main press centres. Hopefully a few will get used in newspapers and magazines so that can help top up my petrol tanks....

I mentioned earlier on in this epic piece of writing that this may be my last event. When I return to the UK after this I am going to have a serious think about if I want to continue doing this or go back to my previous profession of security management, where I can at least make a decent regular wage.

Well that's about it til the next issue of Mitch's blog.

The 2011 FIS Alpine Skiing World Chgampionships Garmisch Partenkirchen. - Images by .

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