28th May 2014Towards the end of the northern hemisphere winter I competed in the Junior World Champs in Valmelenco, Italy as a member of the New Zealand Free Ski Team. I didn’t have the best build up as unfortunately I took a bit of a tumble in the pipe about 3 weeks before leaving for Italy, but with some days off snow and a few physio sessions I was going to make it onto the plane.
I left Breckenridge at some ungodly hour arriving at Denver Airport before the sun had even risen. Avoiding excess baggage fees with “the foot under the ski bag trick” I was on my way to the fashion capital of the world. I was met in Milan and chauffer driven (with a quick stop to sample Italian Cuisine - haha McDonalds) to our family run hotel in Valmelenco.Skiing the next day was heaps of fun. Breckenridge was still experiencing full on winter so it was great to be skiing in more spring like conditions. After only skiing in a 22ft rock hard pipe during the season the 16ft slightly under-vert slushy pipe was challenging at first, but as the day progressed the more fun it became. The next few days of training went well, and going into the qualifiers I had a run that I was happy with. Comp day was blue sky and sunny. The pipe started out icy and then slushed up nicely. I put down a good run and qualified 10th for finals the next day, along with the other 3 New Zealanders. I decided for the finals that I just wanted to land a clean run so didn’t change up any of my tricks and instead focused on amplitude. This worked well and I finished 7th in the final. Big ups to fellow team mate Beau-James Wells for putting down a sick run and finishing 1st. This was the first time that I had traveled away to a competition by myself and having a small glimpse of what life as a pro skier would be like. I hope I get to experience a few more glimpses - because I loved it!