Back up in Breck!!
Jumping back and forth for school has proven to be a test for my focus to finish up, but being back in the mountains is AMAZING! I barely made my flight back Friday morning, thank you Emily, and from the second I touched down in Colorado its been non-stop.
Friday was moving day/ dry land training to prepare for the hectic weekend. Being back in the Breck house is so nice but I forget how lonely it can be living up here alone! I guess the good thing about this season is the insanely busy schedule I have. Saturday was jammed packed with a 9-1 bag jump session at Vail followed by an afternoon riding the pipe at Copper until last chair at 4:00. The bag jump is this crazy looking feature that looks like two halfpipe slices side by side, with a huge airbag at the base of the walls they share. Really confusing but its amazing for training as you can simulate your first hit and throw any crazy trick without the fear of absolutely obliterating every bone in your body. The Saturday session was my first day with the team and we were joined by the French National Freestyle team and arguably the best men's pipe skier in the world Kevin Rolland. As if that wasn't intimidating enough it was also the first day Elana (my god send of a coach) saw me ski. Long story short my first hit I just went as high as possible with a nice tweaked out mute grab to get a feel for the feature, second hit was a cork 9.... Now I realize this is all a different language to most who read this but a cork 9 is an off-axis 2.5 spin trick that most of the pro women are still attempting to perfect. I wrote it off to beginners luck and after watching the boys throwing doubles like it was no one's business, I went for my third hit. Cork 10... I landed a little bit disoriented but was met with some insanely excited cheering from my coach and when I got to the top/ drop-in point I got some smiles and approval from both the kids on my team and the French boys. Its cheesy but pushing that hard and going that far out of your comfort zone makes for a indescribable feeling; chatting with the french men made for some entertainment as well, I felt like I was talking to gods you would not believe the tricks they can throw.
That afternoon was predominately focused on my "pipe mechanics". Hitting a feature as hard as you can because you know there is no way you can get hurt gives you some confidence that the ice walls of the pipe have no problem shutting down. I did NOT throw the spins at Copper, but instead worked on remembering how to ride and air out of the 22 ft monster that is my new BFF. A couple of the US kids were there in the afternoon, typically the morning is a mad house since Copper is the only halfpipe open in CO at present. Of course every one of them knows Elana so I was shaking hands with halfpipe gods and trying desperately not to start hyperventilating and screaming like a preteen at a Justin Bieber concert.
Sunday was a long day at Copper. 9-2:30 doesn't seem like a long day but hiking/ skiing the pipe/ making laps to keep your legs warm in what felt like antarctic climate def. keeps the heart pumping. It was another day of lifting out of the pipe and breaking me of the bad habits I accumulated after only one season of riding pipe. I felt my amplitude continue to grow along with my confidence and occasionally frustration. The halfpipe is the therapy I have always needed because most of my Type A character flaws just won't cut it. Patience, trust, and "letting go" seem to be recurring words of wisdom difficult for my crazy personality to wrap any understanding around... but I am getting there.
Today is Day 1 of the Grand Prix competition which I opted out of so the pipe is closed for competitors only. The weather gods must like me though because we keep dipping in and out of the negative's and I would rather go on a date with Rosie Odonnel than brave that kind of cold. Sooo, today is dedicated to dryland and a desperate attempt to study (currently failing more than a penguin attempting flight). Tomorrow is a dryland and tramp morning followed by either another bag jump session or some quality time at my fav place Woodward. I'm hungrier than ever for that RedBull helmet and the spot at the Xgames so its pedal to the medal, I've kissed my final grades goodbye and come to terms with reality, this is where I am supposed to be and I could not be happier. Can't wait to see everyone one last time over finals week, best of luck to everyone studying!! Sending positive vibes.
PS. Sponsor update!! Had a great meeting with Icelantic over Thanksgiving Break and I could not be more excited to work with the company. They hooked me up with some sweet gear and some new sticks on the way and are so supportive of my goals and coming season schedule. They have some sweet projects in the mix as well including a documentary I hope to get some sick shots to contribute to! They have photographers and filmers on deck so anytime I need help putting some shots on the desks of future sponsors, they are there backing me up! The company is sick I highly recommend checking out their skis and keeping an eye out for my debut on the "TEAM" tab!! Everything is falling into placeeeee :)