Thursday, 3 September 2015

Saas Fee



Last month I went out to Saas Fee with the hope that there would be a good halfpipe to train. Unfortunately I was wrong. The rest of the park was amazing. Great jumps and good rails. It was an excellent slope style set up. There was even an airbag to train on. The halfpipe wasn't in good shape. But I still managed to get some stuff done.




The glacier was in good shape. There was a lot of melt whilst I was there. But that is because it was 2 weeks of really good weather. Surprisingly a lot of snow still hanging around. The only problem was that a lot of crevasses had appeared. But because they weren't that big it didn't make it too dangerous.





I tried my best to get as much out of the halfpipe as possible. It was difficult though as it was in pretty bad shape. It was very small and because it was so warm it couldn't be cut regularly meaning it had a bad curve up the wall. I managed to learn switch rodeos on the jump and in the halfpipe. The halfpipe was difficult and had his limitations.




Apart from the halfpipe not being great. It was a good trip. The weather was great and the rest of the skiing was excellent. Also. The restaurant we always go to still has a camel. I have no idea why they have one. But it is still there!



Friday, 15 May 2015

Mammoth BK Pro Camp

Last month I was lucky enough to go to California for the Bud Keene Pro camp in Mammoth. Due to the season that Mammoth was having I was not that hopeful that the snow would hang around or the features would be any good. I was very very wrong. Yes there was no snow. But the park staff did an excellent job of getting a great park set up.


Before I got to Mammoth Coach Jamie and myself got a night in LA. Since we travel a lot and rarely get to spend anytime in the actual city Jamie and I thought we would see the sights. We didn't get up to too much. We ended hiring a super car to drive around in for the day which was amazing fun. I didn't get a chance to drive it because I am too young and Jamie is old...So it was cheaper for him. We went to the Santa Monica Pier, went up to Malibu and also went down Sunset and Rodeo.




Next stop was Mammoth. We flew into the tiny airport and went straight to register for the camp. The first week was great! I found it difficult to get into things for the first few days as I was very Jetlagged. The time difference was 8 hours. But after that things started to get a lot better.



Every athlete on the camp was extremely motivated to get stuff done. Even the youngsters that had just booked on. So it really helped everyone else as people were always progressing. I managed to get doubles out of the way fairly early on. It was really good for me because it meant I could move on and progress/ work on other things. There was an opportunity to hit the airbags I wanted to spend a lot of my time on them as it doesn't come around very often.

When we aren't skiing all of us either went to the gym or hung by the pool. In Mammoth there is natural hotsprings so one morning we went down to them for sunrise which was amazing! I would definitely recommend going if you are in the area.




The second week of the camp didn't go as well as I would have hoped. The weather came in pretty badly and it was pretty crap!



Even though the second week was terrible weather I still managed to get a bit of time on the airbag. It was very worth while trip. I loved every minute of it and I am hoping to get back on the next camp in the summer. Fingers crossed I can keep progressing and I think camps like this are the key!


Thursday, 26 March 2015

3 Weeks in Europe

Early March I was lucky enough to be invited on a small filming project with Animal to Laax with Dom Harrington and Johno Verity. Throughout the winter I had seen photos of Laax and their park. It is safe to say it is the best park in Europe this season. By a long way. 4 perfect jumps and the biggest halfpipe in the world!



We were very lucky with the weather as we were only in the resort for 4 days and we got 4 days of glorious sunshine. It made it really productive but it was almost to hot to ski at times. The halfpipe has a small drag lift right beside it meaning the lap time is so short. 3.30minutes exactly. I was absolutely knackered by lunchtime.





It was an intense few days but the edit should be really fun and great riding at the same time. I am looking forward to seeing it.




After that I got a lift to Geneva airport where I was met by Jamie Matthew. Together we both drove to Tignes for the SFR/ World Cup Finals. Because I was in Laax I missed all the training for the contest. I only got 4 runs before the event started meaning I didn't manage to get the best run I could. I still put something down and ended up 18th overall. I was actually really pleased with it even though it was not quite what I wanted before arriving. I didn't expect many people to go to it. But it turned out to be be all the top guys. Pretty much the X-Games field.



I didn't make the cut as my run wasn't really good enough. So since I had another 2 days in Tignes with Jamie we spent it skiing. It was one of the best days of my season so far. The pistes were empty and I had fast skis so I had such a good time bombing around. What made it even better was the weather. It was blue skies for all 4 days.




I am not the biggest fan of Tignes as a town so I was very happy to be leaving. Jamie and I were heading back to Laax. We decided to go the long way round and went through Italy. We took our time and ended up stopping at a few nice spots including Lake Como. It took us 2 days to drive from Tignes back to Laax but it was worth it seeing as we got to see some of the country which we never usually get as all that seems to happen is fly in, compete and then fly out.



My luck had ran out and the weather in Laax wasn't great. I was really looking forward to going back because of how good it had been before going to Tignes but the weather just did not cooperate. I managed to ski a little bit but it wasn't as productive as the first trip. I think the camera's gave me a bit of Kodak courage ;)

I still managed to work on a few bits and pieces so it wasn't a complete bust. I found it tough though because in the back of my head I knew I had to go back to Tignes for the Brits and it was going to be a mission!





It was really overcast and that meant it was always fairly warm and a bit humid. As a result of this the halfpipe wouldn't freeze as it was too warm so they couldn't shape it. Which was a shame. The European Open was on at the same time(slope event). So it meant there was always something to watch which was nice. Woodsy ended up 5th after finals which was a great result so I was happy for him!


After a week in Laax trying to get stuff done with the weather being difficult it was time to go back to Tignes for the Brits. I was lucky enough to only have to do a short train journey and then get picked up off the snowboard crew. We ended up spending the night in Zurich and then heading to Geneva the next day to pick up a few of the other guys and then heading up the mountain. It wasn't too bad a journey.



The first day up the mountain was spent with James Webb riding between the Slope course and the Halfpipe. It was nice to ski with him again after so long as he had been out with a knee injury. After that it was the first day of contests. He was coaching so he had to take a lot of the kids for skier cross and the day after was slope style so he was pretty busy. I tried to help where possible but Webbo pretty much had it all under control and didn't need me at all.

On Wednesday it was halfpipe day and that was the reason I had turned up. I wanted my British title back and badly.



The weather wasn't amazing but you could still see the halfpipe. It was a good shape and really soft. So I was stoked to be skiing. I felt like I was skiing reasonably well but there was some tough competition from an American that had come across for it. I managed to get my run down with a double in it and I came out on top. I was so happy to have the title again as I feel like I had a tough season and deserved something good to come of it at the end.



Now I have 2 weeks at home to smash the gym and physio to get myself in shape before going to Mammoth for a private airbag camp for 2 weeks. I am really looking forward to it and cannot wait!

Hope you enjoyed the post!

Friday, 27 February 2015

Park City

Thankfully I left Breck when the weather started to come in. I think I timed it fairly well(pure luck). I flew to Salt Lake City and then drove up to Parky City. It was a pretty rubbish journey actually as my flight was delayed by over 2 hours meaning I didn't get into my bed in Park City till 3am. It is only a 30 minute drive from Salt Lake!

The weather for the majority of the trip was glorious sunshine. It was so so warm it was like skiing in the summer. I absolutely loved it. All the sun brought on a pretty big problem though. The halfpipe was starting to collapse. It meant it wasn't in a very good way. The left hand wall was very over vert meaning it spat you into the middle of the pipe making it very hard to a straight air let alone any tricks.




Since there wasn't much training to be had I just spent the first week enjoying myself and skiing the park. It was nice to ski some rails and jumps even though they weren't in very good condition due to the warm weather. To get around this problem everyone went night skiing a couple of times which was great fun





Training went fairly well for me. I was really happy with the halfpipe and since it was a bit colder it meant that it held its shape better during the day. It was probably the best halfpipe I have skied all year. I had 2 days training which I used the full time and then it was contest time.




My first run went really well and I was very happy with it. I was back skiing with a bit of confidence and pushing myself again which was the first time since my hernia I had been back on it properly. My second run I crashed pretty hard. I messed up my double and landed pretty hard on my side. Nothing serious thankfully, just a bit bruised and battered. It was the first time I had done my doubles since Russia. So I was nervous doing them but knew I really needed to. 23rd was my final placing. Fairly pleased with how it went and feeling good about my skiing again.


Here is a picture of me taking a picture of a moose. I was told after that they are actually quite dangerous but I was fine and it just ran off.



Thursday, 12 February 2015

February in Colorado

After not getting the result I wanted at the World Champs I had two options. The first was to stay at home until the World Cup in Park City and the second was to go and ski in Colorado before the World Cup and then go to Park City. The first option would have put me in exactly the same situation that I was in after the World Champs and I definitely did not want to feel like that again. I was not happy with the way I was skiing and I hadn't spent enough time back on my skis doing the basics. So I went with the second option.


On the 3rd of Feb I flew out to Breckenridge again. I already have a pass for Breck and the pipe is usually in excellent condition so it made sense to come back. The first few days were pretty crappy weather(as usual) but after that it cleared up and was a lot better for 3 days. It was nice to get back into a spring like halfpipe and start to do my tricks again.



It took me a day or so to get back into skiing. I was still really jet lagged. I then started to do some of my tricks again. Also trying a couple of new tricks. Nothing thats even remotely ready yet unfortunately. But I am really pleased to be back learning tricks again and also enjoying myself.

Since none of the other halfpipe guys are here I am riding by myself. I find it really difficult at times. It is hard to get motivated and progress when there is no one pushing you or giving encouragement. I also have a slight worry in the back of my head that if I am trying something new no one is around incase anything goes wrong. But so far so good and hopefully it continues.

After a few really good days the weather came back in. It started snowing heavily and became really windy. It was a shame that because of the snow all of the big features were closed off and it meant only the small jumps and rails were open. My skis are set up for the halfpipe meaning I have sharp edges to combat the icy walls ruling rails out. So my options are limited.






Thankfully one of the slopestyle skiers is here. So Andy and I have been skiing together a little bit when there has been breaks in the weather. It is starting to clear a bit now so hopefully I can get a few more good days in before heading to Salt Lake then onto Park City.



Thursday, 29 January 2015

World Championships

After Breckenridge I was lucky enough to spend a few days at home which was nice. But next up was the World Championships. It was a big event and I knew it was a good opportunity to get a good result as a lot of the top athletes were at X-Games. I was only going to be out in Austria for 5 days, so I knew I had 5 days hard work then I was home again for a bit of R&R.

I flew into Munich and then had to get a train to Salzburg where I got a lift to Kreischberg. It was in the middle of nowhere. The travel out wasn't too bad as I met up with one of the other halfpipe skiers in London. We ended up getting into the hotel at 11.30pm because the travel day was that long.

The next day we had our first open practise. Safe to say this didn't go well for me. I was in all my new kit which was great but it just took some time to get used to. It was also the first time I had skied competitively since my surgery. Well both my surgeries for that matter. I struggled and I wasn't feeling very confident. Since the event was at night and it was night training it meant the halfpipe was really icy. It was an excellent shape and I really loved it but it just made it slightly more daunting because it was glass.



The second practise went so much better for me. Everything seemed to click and I felt confident again. My run wasn't the best I had ever done but I was making it work. It felt really nice to be skiing back on point after having a tough couple of months on skis. Practise is fairly long so it is difficult to sustain the same amount of effort you would put into comp day. Thankfully Jamie knows us well enough to call it early or keep us riding depending on how we are skiing. Sometimes it is better to be fresh for the next day rather than ski into the ground the day before.



It was competition day and I was feeling good. Training went reasonably well. I was pretty happy but also nervous. I am usually nervous so it was a really good thing. I felt back to normal. Much to my disappointment the contest didn't go my way though. I messed up both my runs and it cost me badly. On my first run I missed a few of my grabs. Which meant I was docked a lot of points. And on my second run I messed up my right side 720. I ended up 19th place which is really not what I was wanting. I was disappointed and very gutted about how I'd done.

It turned out to be a real eye opener that it was going to take some time to get back to my best. I wouldn't be able to just come back just as strong as I was before. It has made me more determined and focused to get back on top and start pushing myself again. After reviewing my run I have lost a lot of the basics of my halfpipe skiing. Now I know I need to go and work on them because without the basics I will constantly be struggling with the big tricks.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Animal Edit

This season I am lucky enough to be part of the Animal ski team! I feel very privileged to be a part of this team with the likes of James Webb and snowboarder Dom Harrington.

I was lucky enough to spend a few weeks in Colorado filming with Josh Birch for my Welcome edit provided with Animal. I was really happy with how it turned out. Unfortunately due to weather and a couple of little niggles I wasn't quite able to get some tricks I wanted. But I enjoyed working with Josh and will hopefully get to again in the future!




Thursday, 8 January 2015

Colorado

On the 1st of December I flew to Denver to finally get back on ski's after a really chilled summer. Unfortunately it did not quite have the ending to the time off I had planned. I ended up getting an inguinal hernia and it turned out to be a slightly bigger set back than I expected. It turned out to be 4 weeks post op till I was back on skis and then another 2 weeks after that till training properly again.

After a slight bit of bad luck I got some good news. One of the Snowboarders, Ben Kilner, through a friend got a couple of us box seats to a Bronco's game. It was my first ever NFL game and it was an amazing experience. It's very different from any other sporting event I have been to. There was hardly any away fans.






Later that night the 4 of us drove back to Frisco where we were living so the next day we could get back on top of training. But very rarely did the weather cooperate with me this season. It seemed to wind, snow or flat light which made things very frustrating. When things did clear I knew I would have to take it easy since I was coming back from the hernia surgery. But after a summer off it felt amazing to be back on skis. The first couple of weeks back skiing were spent at Keystone mainly as not much was open in Breckenridge. They were still in the process of making snow and getting things ready.





As soon as Breckenridge opened that is where I wanted to ride as it has one of the best halfpipes in the world. Along with arguably the best park(if the weather holds out). The weather was good for the first few days and then it came in just in time for christmas. It was a blessing in disguise as it meant me and the rest of the team staying out over the festive period could relax a bit and not stress to much about learning new tricks and training. All of us could just switch off and have a bit of fun.

After the New Year I knew it was time to get my head down and start working hard again. I had a filming project with Josh Birch which I really wanted to concentrate on. So the majority of my focus went into that. I found it to be a good way to get through a big trick list because I wanted a lot of them in the edit. It was really easy working with Josh as we both had a fairly good understanding of what we wanted/needed out of each other. I have faith that he will make a good edit and I am really excited about seeing it!





The next trip for me is the World Championships in Austria. I fly to Munich next weekend for the week. It will be my first contest since the Olympics so I am really excited to compete and hopefully I can get my run down. I might be a bit rusty but I think I will manage ok!




PS. I don't expect anyone to read any of that. All I do is look at the pictures...

Some big news coming soon! Hope you all enjoy.