Thursday, January 26, 2012

Day 1 at Winter X Games, Aspen

So I have survived my first day on the Winter X Games ski cross track!

Yesterday would have to be up there as one of the best days skiing of my life. Big call, I know! It wasn’t because of freshly groomed crisp corduroy runs on a bluebird day, or waist deep powder (which usually takes the cake!) It was simply because I skied the most well built, fast, scary, adrenaline pumping and rewarding ski cross track of my life. Plus I got to ski it with the best ski cross athletes in the world.

When I headed up for our first inspection at 11:30am, I’m not going to lie, I was very nervous! The kind of nerves that make your stomach churn and butterflies fly. After a good look at the course, I decided the best thing to do was to section the course, and gradually build it up until I skied it full length. Unlike most world cup courses which last from 50 seconds to 1 minute 10, this course is about 1 min 40 seconds. A real leg and lung burner! Plus we’re up at 3,000m, so that adds to the fatigue. By the end of the day I was happy with my training runs, and looking forward to skiing it again the next day!

(Karolina of Poland and I excited to ski the course)

(The Swiss girls, Sanna and Katrin, and I)

The atmosphere here in Aspen is incredible. There’s such a positive buzz in the air. Everyone’s excited to be here, and looking forward to having fun competing on the course.

I am extremely happy that I ballsed up and made the decision to come and compete at X Games. The easier and safer option would have been to stay with the Australian team and train in Europe, but I figured that this is an opportunity that doesn’t come around often, and it has been a goal of mine since I made the switch to ski cross in 2009. So I am here totally solo. I jumped on a plane, rented a car, booked accommodation and I am a party of one! Great thing is I know every ski cross athlete here, plus a few other Aussies in different events, so I don’t feel alone at all.

Here is a sneaky peak into the 2012 Winter X Games ski cross course. The sun was out for our first day of training, and snow conditions couldn't have been any better! In this head cam video, you will see Marielle Thompson of Canada and myself take on the track, enjoying every second of it!

Qualifications are on Friday to determine the ranking of the top 12 girls. We are then split into two heats of six, where we will fight it out for the X Games title at 12pm on Sunday (US Mountain Time). Catch all the action on ESPN, either on TV or live on the internet.

Now for a few pictures of the course....

(The 12ft ledge drop start)

(A bordercross rider takes on the gap jump)

(A view of the gap jump in inspection)

(The butter box)

(You wouldn't want to be going to slow over this thing!)

(The intimidating in-run into the final jump)

(If I'm 174cm tall, how big is this thing?!?)

PS- A big thank you to Kyle and the team at Surefoot, Aspen for helping me out with boot work last minute! And to Andrea for so generously putting me up in her condo in Snowmass. Appreciate the support from everyone!