A Busy January - Mike Rowlands

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Over New Year I spent a week in Austria shredding with my closest friends in skiing and enjoying life. The outcome of that week was this edit. I was so happy to get back on snow and finally hit some bigger jumps!

Val Thorens

Two weeks after new year I was faced by my first competition of the season! The SFR stop in Val Thorens - France. I was really looking forward to this comp as I had gone the year before and really enjoyed myself! We headed for VT a few days early, hoping to get a few days of practice on the course like last year. However, when we got there we were greeted by bad weather and an empty snow park - the course wasn't even built. Luckily, Val Thorens are neighbours with Meribel; so despite the bad weather we rode there in the following days to get our ski legs back. The night before practice day a meeting was called where it was announced that because of the weather, the qualifiers would be held the day on the day originally intended for practice.  We would only have four practice runs and I was to be in heat one which started at 8:30 in the morning and I would be second to drop in my heat. So all round I was not feeling extremely confident. The next day rolled around and I lazily got out of bed to go skiing at stupid o'clock in the morning and to my surprise, despite the bad weather over the previous days, it was blue bird and it made me more confident to ski. We got to the park and the shapers had done a fantastic job of building the course; only finishing it at 23:30 the night before.  Everything was perfect apart from the last big kicker which was just too whippy. The course shapers tried to cut it down to make it a bit more mellow but it was still too violent giving everyone problems in the first heat. [caption id="attachment_1351" align="aligncenter" width="662"]Awesome course Awesome course[/caption] I got two solid runs down and  I was happy with both apart from not being able to perform my intended trick on the final kicker due to it being too dangerous. I placed 26th overall out of 75 adults which was a giant improvement on last year. Unfortunately I missed out on qualification for finals by 6 places but I was happy with how I rode! I also made loads of new friends, including my K2 team mates from The Netherlands. All in all it was a rad week and I am looking forward to my next SFR comp.

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