BY CHAS GULDEMOND
After the US Open, it was time to head to Tignes, France, for the European X Games. Every year, this event seems to be the last big contest of the season. Usually by the time this one rolls around, everyone on the circuit is a little burnt out and ready for some off-time. Since I have been training a lot more and not doing as many contests, I was pretty amped to compete!
This was my fourth year at Euro X and this event has definitely had its ups and downs for me. The first year I did badly, the second year I won and last year I just could not seem to put it together. This time, I was ready to throw down and show everyone what I have been working so hard on.
Tignes is an amazing place set far back in the French Alps. To get there it is a three-hour drive from Geneva, Switzerland, and the views are insane. This year, I did not get to enjoy the views because I got in late from the states. The drive did not take three hours either – me and my buddy got lost because the GPS brought us on a detour in the wrong direction...oh well. After five hours, we got to see Mt. Chamonix...in the dark, haha.
Once we all got settled in, the event started and the first practice day was super nice out. Tignes had just gotten hit with about two feet of snow and that morning the sky opened up for a perfect day. The snow was good and everybody was feeling it. I had been putting down runs and implementing all the new tricks I have been working on at home. I was having so much fun that I learned a frontside double cork on accident just messing around in practice! It was a really good day and learning and landing a new trick was a super confidence booster going into the event!
Two days later was semifinals and the weather was perfect again. I had a good plan going into the day and was confident in my run. My run had one new jump trick and two new rail tricks in it. I wanted to show the riders and judges how hard I have been training to change my snowboarding and adapt with the new generation. I landed both runs and on my second run, I popped into eighth, which is the bubble spot. I sat nervously in the finish coral while three more riders dropped. On the last run, my buddy and teammate Eric Willett stomped a cleaner run and bumped me out. I was so stoked for him, but that could not change the disappointment I felt inside. I tried too hard of rail tricks and my landings were not perfect and that did it for me. Lesson learned.
The next day, the finals were going down and I was not going to miss the show. I went up and practiced with my buddies and had such a good morning on my board. I got a little redemption on the run I screwed up the day before. Even though I was not in finals, I felt like I needed to be up there riding practice and supporting my friends. The final was next level and it was awesome to help coach and cheer on my peers. Still, I felt like the doors were open and if I was competing, I could have been able to do really well. Days like these make me want to work harder because there is no worse feeling than sitting out during a final because of stupid small mistakes. In the end, my buddy Seb Toots from Canada took home the win and I was so proud of him because he has had a tough season.
Overall, this year’s Euro X was a very humbling experience and I’m glad to know that there is always next year.