Mid-season update.

Here's a mid season update of what I've been up to over the past few weeks and what I have planned for the end of the season. 
Park 9.
A few weekends ago I was in Verbier for the3rd edition of the Park 9 team competition. Planks Clothing supported our team and as team manager for the brand naturally I organised a Planks team to go over and compete. I thought we had a strong team and our performance could have won but according to the judges only good enough for second. Stoked with 2nd, though it was a shame not to make it 3 years in a row at the top of the podium. Here's a write up & video from downdays.eu - http://freeski.downdays.eu/news/03/04/2013/park-9-write-up/
Brits Bangers & Cash Rail Jam.
Following that we had lot of bad weather and my legs were beat so I rested for a few days to be fit for the Brits the following week. I had a few days in the park to try and prepare myself. First comp up was the Bangers and Cash rail jam supported by Skullcandy. At first look i honestly thought I didn't stand a chance knowing how high the standard of British rail skiing is. However, I managed to put down a bunch of runs and qualified for the finals. In the final I tried to keep it clean and consistent mixing up a variety of tricks on different features and it seemed to pay off as I was awarded with 3rd place. There were so many tech tricks being thrown down so again this was a bit of a surprise. Here's a little write up on mpora.com - http://mpora.com/videos/AAdfmx3kucww
Ride Her First Contest. 
The following night I competed in a local contest in Val d'Isere called Ride Her First. There was a 50ft kicker built in the centre of town followed by a tech rail set up. I was the only British rider to be invited and it was a strong field of International Athletes. Though I didn't make the podium I earned a bit of cash with a bunch of crowd pleasers in the jam session in the second part of the contest. It was a fun contest and the event organisers said I have an invite for next year. Attached are a couple of photos from the event. Photos by Ed Ayres - a cork 7 nose and a cork 9 japan. That night I finished skiing at 10pm, shattered.
Brits Slopestyle.
The following day it was The Brits Slopestyle. The weather has been pretty dreadful all week so we were all stoked when the skies cleared for a perfect blue bird day with calm conditions. Upon first inspecting the course I immediately knew that the lay out favoured me and my riding. I had freshly waxed skis and as the course was quite flat I knew being one of the heavier (definitely the heaviest) competitors I'd be able to hold my speed on the flats before the jumps. Many of the kids struggled with speed which meant they couldn't throw down their biggest tricks. Using this to my advantage I tried to keep things pretty simple, going big, doing a variety of grabs and stomping my landings. In qualifying I put down a clean run that I was pretty happy with but had no idea I'd qualify in 1st place! In the final I had a more difficult run in mind and in the first run decided to mix up a few grabs but essentially keep the same run. It didn't feel as smooth as I'd have like so decided to play it safe and try and land the same run again but just better. By this time it was almost 4pm and a full days riding was starting to take it's toll on my old, tiring legs. My second run wasn't as clean so i was forced to stick with my first one. I hadn't seen anyone else's runs and wasn't that happy with my own so I honestly didn't expect a podium let alone 1st place! The combination of sunshine and a long day evidently took its' toll on others too as the scoring in the final was consistently lower than qualifications! Anyway was so stoked to come out on top show the youngsters that there's a few dinosaurs just about holding it together! Here's a link to write up on mpora.comhttp://mpora.com/videos/AAdfwnvqy3my & a mention in the local magazine the mountain echo - http://issuu.com/themountainecho/docs/tme_0818 (page 28)
Brits Big Air Invitational
A couple of days later there was a rather informal Big Air Invitational. The format was designed to be fun. It was GB vs France with riders taking it in turns to do tricks and the crowd cheering/judging which team took the point. Half the French team didn't show up so we had to make up a few of the numbers. It was a fun event. Riders were throwing backflips, frontflips, flatspins, cork 9's and even a few moves from the 80's. However the weather closed in out of nowhere and no final winner was decided.
BBSC Riders Invitational
The following Tuesday there was a comp in the Val Park called the BBSC Riders Invitational. It was probably the biggest shambles ever. The event organiser was a friend, coach and judge (even though he's a snowboarder) to many of the competitors including the top 2 spots. I know I put down a technical clean run that deserved better and funnily enough I wasn't in the highlights video. Anyway I got 3rd but I won't be in a hurry to compete in that contest again.
The Rat Race.
The following day there was a local contest known as The Rat Race. It's a team contest and having local knowledge is essential. In your team you must have at least one snowboarder/skier and at least one boy/girl. At the start your given a list of roughly 15 cryptic clues including anagrams. Each answer is a place on the piste map or in town. You have to figure out the fastest route and get a photo of all your team at each cheque point at be first back to the Saloon Bar (the hosts) to down a pint to complete the challenge. This year after the over 3.5 hours the first three teams came in only 3 minutes apart. We just about pipped the other two teams at the post and after legging it 100m from a bus in ski boots that last thing I wanted to do was down a pint! However it's a coveted title in Val d'Isere so I and the rest of the team were stoked with the win. I've attached a page from a local magazine called The Mountain Echo that has done a little write up on it - http://www.themountainecho.co.uk/index.html it's on the homepage off the website and page 12 of the most recent publication
End of season plans. 
In the last few weeks of the season I'll be trying to shoot with my new GoPro 3 as much as possible. There's a few funny edits I'd like to make. Hopefully the guys in the park won't be as lazy as usual towards the end of the season. There is still so much snow so I hope they make the effort to keep the park looking good. If I hear of any more up and coming comps I'll let you know how I get on. There an event that I'll be doing on Wednesday which is a charity event helping raise money for 3 snowsports related charities. Off the top of my head it's a disabled snowsports charity, and cancer charity and a childrens charity. Hopefully we can raise at least 4 figures again! I almost forgot one of the most prestigious competitions on my event calender: The World Monoski Championships. This takes place on the 17th April and I'll be looking to retain my title from 2011! I'll keep you posted.

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