Event organizers of SWATCH Freeride World Tour, Freeskiing World Tour and The North Face Masters of Snowboarding announced a merger this week that will combine all three tours under one unified global 5-star championship series. The new six-stop world tour – named the SWATCH FREERIDE WORLD TOUR BY THE NORTH FACE – will include freeride skiing and snowboarding at each stop.
This means that the world’s best freeriders will be competing in the USA/Canada and Europe together, increasing competition between riders and hence the level of riding in general. There will be one true Freeride World Tour champion. On the women’s side, there will be 12 strong skiers battling it out for the overall title. I find competition for the women especially important: it brings us together from all parts of the world, allowing us to push the level of female skiing further and faster due to the fact that it’s incredibly motivating to see each other skiing strong, fluid lines with solid airs.
It makes me very sad that I won’t be one of the female FWT riders after my last competition season full of crashes which cost me a place for the FWT 2013. I’m going to be competing on the Freeride World Qualifier events this coming winter, starting with a 4-star event in Chile now in August, with the aim of re-qualifying for FWT 2014. Still, I tried my best last winter and learnt a great deal about competition in general. The Freeride World Qualifier events will be ideal for me to build up confidence and learn to play the mental game required during competition. They will be important stepping stones for me to achieve my final goal: a successful performance on Freeride World Tour level.
Today was Day 1 of the Swatch Freeride World Tour in Revelstoke, BC Canada. I came into the comp feeling fit, strong and well prepared. We arrived 2 days early to settle in before competing, get over jet lag and to make sure all our gear is here on time; our planning was great. We got to inspect the venue on skis, giving riders a chance to check out take-offs and landing zones. I chose a line to the skiers right side of the face and felt confident that I could ski it well.
I was pretty nervous this morning before my start. After inspecting the course I had time for some warm-up runs: my legs felt soft as jelly and my muscles were cramping up from tension. On my third warm-up run I started relaxing and having fun. I felt pretty good at the start, chatting with my fellow competitors to distract myself and keeping my body warm. Then it was time to ski!
My first small air led me straight to my second feature: a decent sized cliff with some trees along its edge to guide me. I pointed my skis a couple of metres before my take-off and I flew further than expected, opening up a little before my landing. I backslapped which would have cost me points for lack of control, but I didn’t lose momentum and skied to my third feature: a challenging double.
My double (and nemesis) with an arrow showing the take-off
All I had to do was point my skis and commit to the fall line, keeping my weight over the centre of my skis. I knew I could do it and I knew I would clear the bottom 4 to 5 metre drop for sure since the terrain was really steep. I was too fast on my take-off though, due to nerves I think. I took the double but crashed on landing the bottom air, hitting a large amount of soft snow in a compression I had misjudged at inspection. If I had angled my skis a little more to the skiers right I could have avoided the compression – it would have worked out. Anyway, of course I was disappointed about crashing, that always sucks because you only get one chance. On the other hand I skied fairly well and had a lot of fun doing my line. I’m on the right track and hopefully next time it will work out. Now I just have to figure out how to get my nerves under control!
The steep section through the trees at the bottom of the run at North Bowl