2nd Place Freeride World Tour Röldal

Ok I admit I was apprehensive about competing in Röldal. Previously, I had crashed both at the Revelstoke and Chamonix stops of the Swatch Freeride World Tour and the pressure was on to do well in Röldal or say goodbye to qualifying for the finals in Verbier – the highlight of the tour. But once I had arrived in Röldal at the very comfortable Röldal Terrasse Hotel, albeit to pouring rain, I was able to just relax and enjoy the ride. I managed to forget about overall rankings and just focus on the competition at hand. Due to the extremely icy conditions, it was decided that the original competition face we had inspected was too unsafe to go ahead. Also the second option had to be discarded after discovering boiler plate ice and unsafe conditions. It was the third option in the end which became the competition face, so for the riders it was extremely important to be flexible and quick off the mark to pick and memorize a line.

The competition venue in Röldal

I chose a simple line I knew I would be able to find without any problems. The competitors were flown to the start in the heli to save time, a very good decision since the last competitor must have descended around 4:00pm. I felt pretty good at the start, finally not so nervous anymore, and found my line without any problems. The upper third of the venue was extremely icy, which we were aware of. The rest of the venue however offered great snow conditions with around 10cm of fresh powder. I skied a fluid line close to the fall line with 4 cleanly stomped drops, I was really happy with my skiing at the end of my run. I came in second after Christine Hargin, skiing almost the same line as me, however with more speed, especially over her features. That’s something I’m working on right now and hope to improve for the next stop in Fieberbrunn on 10 March.

My last air during my run at the Swatch Freeride World Tour Röldal

 

Feeling very happy in the finish line after my successful run

Swatch Freeride World Tour Chamonix

I just got home from the 3rd stop of the Swatch Freeride World Tour in Chamonix. I wish I could write something more exciting than what really happened at the comp: after hours of travelling, 2 weather days, inspection in challenging weather conditions, numerous riders meetings and interviews, getting up at 5:00am on the day of competition and pouring so much energy into one run, I had a stupid crash at the very start of my line by burying my ski tips into the snow. Sure it was quite flat light and there was a bit of a wind crust, but when I ski normally I rarely have crashes like that. It was super disappointing! My conclusion is that I’m simply too nervous. My plan of action to deal with my lack of contest experience is to ski as many comps as I can, there are a couple coming up in Austria during February before the 3rd FWT stop in Roldal, Norway: the Eric Themel Invitiational in Schruns and the 4-star Freeride World Qualifier in Hochfügen.

Regarding the competition itself, all in all it was a big success and a great experience to spend time on and off snow with some of the world’s best freeriders. Kästle team mate Jackie Paaso won the women’s event with a gutsy and strongly skied line, stomping all her cliffs smoothly and with confidence, so proud of her! Angel Collinson who is an amazing skier came in 2nd with a technical line and my room mate and line-discussion buddy Janina Kuzma from New Zealand came in 3rd with a fluid run and some stylish airs to the lookers right of the venue. The women put on a great show and the level of skiing was amazing!

The competition venue in Chamonix

Swatch Freeride World Tour Revelstoke

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!

Revelstoke trees

The steep section through the trees at the bottom of the run at North Bowl