Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Freeride World Tour, Stop 1: Revelstoke

words by Nat Segal

No matter how long or hard you train and prepare for a winter of competitions, the first is always fairly daunting. Despite having a history in competitive skiing, I always have butterflies the week leading up to a big event and this one is definitely the biggest so far.

For the last four years I have been competing in big mountain. Last winter I qualified for the Freeride World Tour. It's the boss of all big mountain events, the closest thing we have to a World Cup. There are five stops of the tour, starting in Revelstoke (CAN) this week and continuing on to Chamonix (FRA), Kirkwood (USA), Fiberbrunn (AUT) and Verbier (SUI). Naturally, I am trembling in my boots a little.

It's quite difficult to share the true nature of my butterflies without a bit of a background in big mountain competitions.

Imagine a big beautiful face like the one below. Choose a line to ski (a way down that is), try to imagine it backwards as if you were skiing it and assume everything is much different than it seems. Hike or take a helicopter to the top, wait and then stand alone in the start gate, praying that the left-hand couloir will take you to the 15ft air and not the mandatory 50ft exposure of rocks and then start skiing.

Mac Daddy Face, Revelstoke Mountain Resort
So you are skiing, remember that the judges want to see fast, fluid style but you have to stay in control. No bobbles or hesitations, they want to see you charge down the line like you are skiing a blue run. It's best to include either some exposure (skiing through/above rocks and chutes) or airtime to increase your overall impression. Halfway down your legs will be jelly but just keep on going, there will be no relief until the straight line out the bottom. Pop over your chosen cliffs, jump turn down the chute and enjoy the feeling when you realise that you have hit all your features and you can book it to the finish line.

That's about it. At the end of the run relief will flood over you. You will feel as if you have been skiing moguls all day but in fact you have only taken one lap.

Today marks the first day of Stop 1 of the FWT at Revelstoke. It is currently dumping pow outside and does not look like it wants to relent until later this week. Until that time, I will continue to ski pow, taming my nerves and telling them that when I hit the start gate I will know where I am going; that my body can take the fear and turn it into energy and that when I finally drop in for my comp run that I will feel nothing but pure enjoyment and purpose.

Wish me luck.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Happy New Year

words by Zoe Jaboor.

Happy New Year everyone! We thought we'd start the new year off with a quick updates on some of the Chick with Stix coaches

While Katya is off getting top ten results in World Cup, and Anna is getting podiums in Dew Tour,  and Lauren is hitting up the park at Breck, and Nat is dropping cliffs in Jackson, and Katie is getting powder bumps in Colorado …. some of us are left back in Australia, dreaming of the white stuff. Don’t get me wrong, Im not complaining. I have been making the most of the warm weather and good waves, and preparing for my first trip of the Northern winter.

This time at home has made me more aware of the amazing results that our Australian female athletes are achieving overseas. Not only have our CwS coaches and ambassadors (mentioned above) been throwing down, but some of our future leaders have been reaching new heights and putting our country on the map in the international snow scene. 

Pip Sparrow grabbing the goods on her backflip
Pip Sparrow (who has been participating in Chicks with Stix since its inception) is a mogul skier and
recently finished 5th at the US Selections in Copper, Co. Under the guidance of coach and friends, Pete McNeil and Katie Blamey at the The Mogul Skiing Academy.  Pip achieved her career best result. I am so pleased to see her achieve in the sport of mogul skiing. She is committed, driven and dedicated. And to top it all off, she is an absolutely lovely girl! Pip’s friends and fellow mogul competitors have also been making a mark. Taylah O’Neil qualified first for the finals at Copper, and ended up second. And Britt Cox achieved a 4th place in Duals in a World Cup in Kreischberg, Austria.

Watching all these girls ripping it up all over the world is making me excited to get over there and start skiing! I head over to the North America on the 10th of January to judge a few World Cups (aerials, moguls and half-pipe)  in Val Saint-Come, Lake Placid and Park City. Somewhere in between I will fit in 7 days at Red Mountain in British Columbia to shred with some friends. Until then, I will continue to take advantage of the summer and head out for some waves with Anita, Han, Ali and Merrin, all who are enjoying summer with me at home in Jan Juc.

Hope you're all having a great summer/ winter wherever you are!