Monday, March 11, 2013

8th at World Championships

Yesterday is up there as one of my career highlights. I finished in 8th place at the World Freestyle Championships in Voss, Norway. This was my third World Championships event, and like all major competitions (but this one in particular!) the pressure was on.

Fortunately we were lucky to have blue skies and sunny weather for the whole week. This almost felt like a first for us this season when it comes to racing.

Two days of training on the course meant that by race day, I was more than ready to go head-to-head with the best girls in the world for a shot at the World Championships title. The course was very technical, with some cranking bumpy turns that lead to quick transitions and some big airs. I was ‘feeling it’ after training, and knew that if I could put together a clean qualification run, I should be fast. I qualified in 9th place, my second best qualification this season.

Qualifying fast is one thing, but Finals is a whole new race. Besides gate choice, the top 32 men and women start from scratch. In my first heat, I had a great start and took the whole shot from the first turn. I maintained my lead over Alize Baron of France, and crossed the line in first, progressing through to the semi finals. In the next heat, with third gate choice, my start was solid but there wasn’t enough room from the right gate to get into first or second. I snuck into third and didn't give up the whole the way down, looking for an opportunity to pass. Unfortunately the opportunity didn’t arise; Baron skied extremely well and left no room for overtaking. I finished in third place in my heat, so 9th overall. To my luck, a disqualification of one of the girls in the semi final due to ‘unfair contact’ pushed me up to 8th.

Teammate Anton Grimus also had a great day, finishing in 7th place. Two top 8’s at the World Championships for the Aussies; not too bad for a little team!

We have just arrived in Åre, Sweden, where I will be competing in two World Cups over the weekend. These are my final events for the winter, so let’s hope I can finish this great season strongly, increase my World Cup ranking (which is currently at 16th), and produce two more great results.

 View of the ski cross course. Courtesy of Anton Grimus.


An impressive jump on the slopestyle course.


 Lambs head. A traditional dish in Norway. Can't say I was brave enough to try this one....