Thursday, January 19, 2012

Touchdown Denver!

The 2012 season; I've been off to a great start with my off-season training, conditioning, and mental preparation. The ONE thing that I (and the rest of the Western US) took for granted was the weather. It's January 19th, 2012 and the Sierra mountains have absolutely NO SNOW. Ironically, a storm is pulling into CA as I'm sitting in the Denver International Airport waiting for the rest of my crew to arrive. What does this mean for my season schedule? To start, my first event, an FIS USSA Revolution tour event at Northstar-at-Tahoe was cancelled. Even with $30mil in improvements on the mountain, there was no money in the world that was going to bring in enough snow for us to have a race track. Luckily, Northstar is in my back yard, so I wasn't committed to any travel plans or expenses before we got official word the event was off.

What does this mean for the season so far? Aside from the lack of on-track preparation, the snowfall (or lack thereof) has been so dismal that even freeride training has been difficult. Ian "Why Turn" Wu came up with me to help train over the features at Boreal, and was able to give some extremely valuable input after watching my stability while in the air. OF COURSE Ian had to put it in mathematical terms, and we agreed my "-x^2 path of travel should start to resemble more of a -1/2x^2 path." I cant honestly say what's more humorous; the fact that Ian can effectively connect snowboarding and math, or the fact that I'm completely comfortable communicating the same way. Nonetheless, his input was priceless, and just as valuable as getting up there 10 times and having to learn my mistakes the hard way.

Photo - The creative "Speed Bump" out of the start, Copper 2012

Tomorrow the Copper Mountain course is open for official FIS training, they've been great about updating pictures of their progress, and there have already been a handful of videos uploaded that show the course from the riders perspective. I've been studying those vids every single day...over and over, to make sure I have that course memorized before I get there. Over the past week, several groups of athletes have already come out to train up there; from a Shaun Palmer SBX camp to the first race for the local USASA Series. If I had the disposable income to chase the snow wherever it was falling, I would've been out here too. But, I've made due with what I had available, and I'm excited to be here this weekend. Once again I'll be up against the best racers that North America has to offer, minus just a couple that are out in Veysonnaz, Switzerland competing in the World Cup. I'm back in California on Monday, back to work for a few days, then heading up to Vancouver for the next stop in the Nor-Am tour. Right now this table is looking like a pretty good place to rest my head for awhile. Stay tuned for some pictures of the course when I get up there tomorrow!

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