BY CHAS GULDEMOND
It was a great start to the season with consistent results at the first two events. I would say that’s something to celebrate and what better time than Christmas! After the grand prix everyone scurried to the airport to fly home to their families all over the world. I, on the other hand, stayed put because I knew it would be a great opportunity to train.
I started the holidays off by dropping my wife off at the airport. She had to go home to take her final exams for cosmetology school the day after Christmas. So all of a sudden it was just me and the pups in the truck cruising back up the I-70 en route to Breckenridge. Thankfully, I was invited to stay and celebrate Christmas with Eric Willett and his family. Unfortunately, my teammate Eric broke l7 vertebrae in his back the day of grand prix finals. It was a shock to all of us and a huge bummer. So when I was invited to stay there I knew I could help out around the house and take care of the big guy. I can’t imagine the mental pain he is going through but let me tell you he is handling it like a champ. He is so pleasant to be around and I am sure he will be back on his board in no time.
On Christmas day I went shredding at Breck early in the morning with some friends. It was such an amazing sunny day, like the days people pray about. No wind, perfectly groomed jumps and small lift lines — can’t ask for more than that! I had a big goal in mind and that was to get back into throwing my switch backside double corks. After the fourth run it was on and I threw my first one. It felt so good! Everyone was feeding off each other’s energy and throwing down. It was a great Christmas present to give to myself and I was stoked.
It was a sweet day at the mountain but the fun was not over. I went straight back to the Willett house and it was time to feel some of that Christmas cheer. Eric received a turkey fryer as a present and it was on. We set it all up outside and poured five gallons of peanut oil into this huge pan and waited for it to boil. The oil heated up to 400 degrees and it gets sketchy at this point. You pretty much put a metal coat hanger through the bird and then lower it into the oil without blowing yourself up. We did it smooth and slow and the bird tuned out brown and crispy. We wrapped up the bird, threw it in the truck and headed over to Eric’s parents’ house. Everyone was super hungry so we sat down to eat and just stuffed our faces. Man, Eric's mom can cook and our turkey turned out to be pretty scrumptious.
Dinner was amazing and I really enjoyed the company! After diner, Eric’s brother Chris gathered everyone up and we started playing some charade games. It was a blast. Seriously, the next two hours were filled with crazy laughter. It’s amazing to share the holidays with family and friends and that is what this holiday is all about. Thanks to Eric and his family this will definitely be a Christmas to remember and I am extremely grateful. I was happy to spend time with my friend and teammate over the holidays, and I wish him a speedy recovery! For now I'm going to continue training for the rest of this week, then it's back to Breck for the third Olympic qualifier...