Season Wrap

7 05 2011

December 6…

My boyfriend Chris and myself board an Air New Zealand flight out of Queenstown. The start of a 32-hour journey to Mayrhofen, Austria.

Tiered, dirty and grumpy we are picked up from the train station by “Paul” our landlord and driven to our accommodation. Sleep falls upon us and we wake some 12 hours later to snow, snow and more snow.

We pick up our season’s pass and meet up with our friend Henry (who knows Mayrhofen well) and head up the Gondola. We were met with 1 metre of fresh powder and no crowds. Directly under the tram and we were on the most amazing face (Wangle). We had it to ourselves all day. It was one of the best days of riding of the season!!

It was like that for 3 weeks.

Wrangl Face Mayrhofen

January 13…

We hire a rental car from Innsbruck and arrive in La Clusaz, France about  7 hours later. Excited for the first stop for the Freeride World Tour. I registered and check into the hotel.

The next day we head up to discover the snow gods haven’t been as kind in France. Hard, icy conditions greet us.

Stoked to meet up with some of the Wanaka crew. Tori Beattie, who was also competing.  And Neil Williman for the men’s.

Lucky for me, this year I was pre qualified for the first time and I didn’t have to do any qualifiers this season, so straight through to the finals for me.

Super keen to get the first stop out of the way. I pick out a line that I think will score well for me.

Competition day comes and everything goes well. I stay on my feet and land second on the podium.

Party ensues and we head into town for a fun night.

La Cluzaz Podium

January 20…

Only an hour and a half away and it’s on to Chamonix, France for the second stop. Once again it’s the same conditions as La Clusaz.

The organizers of the tour decide that the snow conditions were not safe enough and that the venue face is to be moved to Courmayeur, Italy. Which was just on the other side of the boarder (only 45 minutes from Cham).

Lucky for us the venue face was heli access only.

We scoped the face the day before the comp and conditions look good. I came in forth and a bit disappointed.

We heard from friends in Austria that it was dumping so we decided to head straight home. It was a good decision to, because that was the last time we got to ride good powder in Austria.

Sad that we had to drop our rental car off it was back to public transport for us.

Comp Venue

February 3rd

Only 20 minutes from our house was the 3rd stop of The Freeride World Tour, Hochfugen. I was really excited to ski this face as I had been scoping it for weeks. Unfortunately I had a big butt check off my first drop. I skied the rest of my run well, but it was only good enough for 7th. Ahh!

Comp Face

February 20..

We fly into Reno, Nevada USA. Chris and Myself stayed in a Casino, which was really cheap and close to an outlet shopping centre. We went a little crazy.  After we had our fill of retail therapy we drove through to Kirkwood, California. About an hour away from Lake Tahoe.

The day after we arrive a huge storm hits us. The mountain is shut and we are stuck in our hotel room (which we are sharing with 8 other athletes). And very soon everyone develops cabin fever.

The next day the storm clears to blue bird skies and 3 feet of dry pow. All I can say is awesome!!!

Last year I won this event so I was keen to represent and try and regain my title. This year the Kirkwood stop was combined with the Freeskiing World Tour. So the athlete pool would be twice as big. And it would be running under the direction of the other tour. And part of that was 2 days of competing. On the first day I had a really good run but ended up in 2nd by 3 points. On the second day I pushed it as hard as I could and got the highest score of the day. But unfortunately it wasn’t enough and I got an overall score of 2nd.

So we flew back to Europe with lots of excess baggage and a huge trophy I have to lug around with me and have everyone ask about it (which is really embarrassing).

Kirkwood - Just finished my run

March 10th

It’s another rental car and another road trip. Lucky for me Chris is more than happy to do all the driving so I can chill.

Next stop it’s Nendaz, Switzerland. Coming second last year I was keen to have another good performance.

This year the conditions were tricky and a lot of people were getting caught out in the sugary snow.

We scoped the face and picked out a fast line with a mandatory drop into a tight chute that I had to straight line out of and a big cliff transfer at the bottom.

Unfortunately I came out of chute super fast and watched the entry point for my cliff drop zoom by. And all I could do was hold on. I nearly skied past the finish line I was going that fast.

Once again I finished with a score good enough for second so I was stoked again.

With the prices of accommodation and food in Switzerland ridiculously expensive, Chris and myself had to decide do we stay for a week and wait for Verbier, which is only an hour away. Or do week drive all the way back to Austria, which is 7 hours away. We decide to drive home.

Podium Nendaz

March 18th

The Verbier Extreme… For the last 2 seasons I have fought my way through qualifiers and tour stops to get there and each time I have just missed out. So to get to compete in the Extreme this year has been my goal I have been working towards for the last 3 seasons.

The infamous Bec de Ross… With a fresh snowfall, the conditions looked epic. Chris and myself scoped the face for 2 days and found a big cliff at the bottom of the face that just had to be hit. We finally found a line we were happy with and I was confident about. The biggest thing for my line was sluff management. With the fresh snow brought unstable conditions, and there were a few steeper sections I had to work my way through with this in mind. I managed to stay on my feet and got to just above my cliff and I could clearly see my take off so I pointed it and sent it. As I took off I saw how perfect the landing was. I stomped my landing and as I skied out a slab breaks away. Lucky it was only small and I step out of it.

To finish 3rd on the Bec de Ross for the first time competing on it I was stoked.

After my run I came up to the viewing point to find heaps of Kiwi’s had come to support me and I was so happy.

After all the prize giving’s it was time to party again.

With that result I finished third overall on the Freeride World Tour. All in all a successful season and I’m very happy with my results.

Now I can’t wait for the New Zealand season to start up. I’ve got some fun missions I want to do this year with The North Face and Volkl. So hopefully we get lots of pow!!!

Support crew Verbier

Verbier - Finals Face

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