Thursday, January 31, 2013

Freeride World Tour Chamonix 13'

This past week I competed in the second stop of the FWT13 in Chamonix, France. I can't explain how amazing this place is, so please make an effort to get here and experience Cham for yourself. I hope the pics can give you a pretty clear vision.

The flight was long and getting used to the time change has been challenging. I have not slept much the entire trip due to severe jet lag. It's nothing fresh air in the Alps can't remedy:) I arrived on the 24th of January with my sister Kristen who has joined me on this journey. We met up with the other athletes at Hotel Alpina, where we stayed during the event. It's always exciting to hang with the competition family. Our relationships really grow into a family environment. Friends looking out for each other, eating together, dealing with the stress of competition together. It's hard enough to be away from home for long periods of time, but if your in great company, it's easier not to get home sick. We are sharing moments that we'll never forget.

Sun Rise Comp Day

Let's get back on track here... Contest day was confirmed for the 26th. I had visual inspection the day before the event. It was a little challenging since there were few options. It was a much smaller venue then I have seen used by the Freeride World Tour, but it was really fun and challenging. It made for some beautiful lines. When you know your going to be the 60th plus person on the face you really have to get creative to try and ensure you have a few fresh turns.

That night we had a bib draw ceremony. It seems freeriding gets much more support and respect in Europe. There were hundreds of spectators, flashing lights, DJ's, and the infamous Swatch dancers. Following the ceremony we had an autograph signing which was pretty funny and embarrassing for me. But there was a huge line of people who genuinely wanted our autographs. Crazy right!

Production down town Chamonix

The day of the event I got on the tram at 7am for early load. Ladies didn't need to be up top as early as the men, but I had to catch the sunrise. It was well worth skipping a couple more hours of sleep. The peaks here jet strait up thousands of feet into the sky. The land is vast and very enchanting. Much like Revelstoke, I was captivated by the whole production of getting the event off, from helicopters, hundreds of spectators, cameras, and hectic energy. It was a blast to watch the men rip the face up. My run was quickly approaching so I started off to hike to the top of the venue. It was steep yet the foot placements where strong. The only time the hike got difficult was when the heli was just 30 or 40ft. above my head spackling me with ice. It did bring an intense element to the hike which helped relieve some of the stress of my upcoming run.

I had a fun line picked out, with multiple drops and some steep aspects. When it came time to ride my line, I had some unfortunate trouble. I was looking for a boundary flag after my first air, which would have lined me up for the next hit. I could not find it right away and got nervous. With this little moment of confusion I hit this silly wind lip which threw me down on the ground. My mind was screaming "Noooooo!", but my body got up and continued on. The next section I rode was much steeper and icier then I anticipated, so again I had to adjust my run accordingly. I knew I could ride better and was not very happy with my run. At the bottom, right off the bat, they have a camera in your face to watch your response to the score. I am pretty embarrassed because I could not hide my unhappiness. I hope anyone watching can forgive me for having a bad attitude. It's really important to maintain a good attitude whether you win or loose.
I ended up finishing 4th, which is fine, but I know I can do better. Some money from winnings wouldn't hurt either.:)

Laura Dewey came away with the win. She rode fast and fluid, stomping her line. It was pretty inspiring considering she had a hell of a time making it to Chamonix. From a car accident just a day before she left,  canceled flights, and even lost baggage, she managed to maintain composure and came away with the win! Rock Star!

The rest of my trip has been so fun, from more epic days on the snow to cruising the town. The food here is just incredible. GMO food is illegal here so we have been enjoying the taste of real food. It seems the French don't mess around with food, for it's always presented in a beautiful fashion. Espresso, decadent desserts, savory meats, fresh-picked everything... I am truly in heaven! For those of you who know me very well, you know how excited I get over great food.

Today is a down day. It rained top to bottom and then froze. I will get to explore the city and pick up a couple things to bring home for family. I am also hoping to make it to some museums, for the history here is captivating.

I will have more pictures to come. Thanks for reading and hope life is blessing you with fabulous adventures as well!

1 comment:

  1. Casey, Your journey is just beginning. You are both an amazing athlete and an amazing person. Enjoy the ride and each time you will get a little better. It will be great to see you when you get back!! Travel Safe.