For a better browsing experience please switch your browser out of compatability mode.

Sitting Pretty (12/27/13)

BY CHAS GULDEMOND

It has been a really eventful past couple of weeks. Since making my way over to Summit County, Colo., I have been training and getting ready for the first two Olympic qualification leading up to Sochi. The first one is the Dew Tour and the second is the Copper Grand Prix, which is a U.S. Snowboarding event.

Every year some of the best early season parks seem to be at the Vail resorts in Summit County. One being Keystone and the other is Breckenridge. I had some decent training at both the mountains two weeks before Dew, but about halfway through I caught my edge on a rail and flipped on to my shoulder. Let me tell you, it hurt and after getting it looked at I was told that I had a grade one separation of my AC joint. I was super bummed and just prayed that it would heal quickly. Fortunately, with a lot of physio and ice my shoulder healed over the next week and did not give me too much trouble.

Immediately after healing up a hurt shoulder the week of the Dew Tour was upon us and I had my plan. My plan was to do my stock banger runs to land in a good spot over the other Americans. The reason for this is I needed to get good points in order to make the Olympic team. I made it into finals pretty easy putting a solid run down in semis. Phew. The first hurdle was over. On finals day it worked out alright. I put down my first run and was sitting in the top three. I was feeling super good about run one and knew I needed to step it up for run number two. Strapped in and ready in the start gate the wind started up. I focused in and just went for it. It sucked because I was blown to the bottom of the landing on the first jump and fell. By that time I was off the podium and I could not do anything to change it.

At the end of the day I ended up fifth overall and the No. 1 American, earning me a thousand points. I was bummed that I did not make the podium, but I was sitting in a good spot in the American qualification. plan was to do my stock banger runs to land in a good spot over the other Americans. The reason for this is I needed to get good points in order to make the Olympic team. I made it into finals pretty easy putting a solid run down in semis. Phew. The first hurdle was over. On finals day it worked out alright. I put down my first run and was sitting in the top three. I was feeling super good about run one and knew I needed to step it up for run number two. Strapped in and ready in the start gate the wind started up. I focused in and just went for it. It sucked because I was blown to the bottom of the landing on the first jump and fell. By that time I was off the podium and I could not do anything to change it.

With no rest day we were off to Copper for the first day of Grand Prix practice. The course was pretty good and with a couple changes and feedback to the builders I knew it would be a great course to rip. Mentally I have been feeling really confident and strong and I feel like that showed on the day of semifinals. I ended up landing two awesome runs and I was so stoked to move on to finals for the second week in a row.

The day of finals I did not know what to expect. I had waxed the night before for snowy conditions. The weather reports were off because when I arrived that day it was not snowing and the groomers had no snow on them from the night before. I had my plan dialed either way and I was going to stick to it. The plan was to lay down a solid first run to get good points for American race and then on the next run I was going to go for the win. I was feeling pretty good after the first run having stomped it clean and was sitting in second. Of course by the time my next run came along I was bumped of the podium and needed to throw down. On my final run, the top rail section went perfect but after the first jump I was scrubbing for speed and I came up short of the landing on the second jump blowing my run.

The day was over and I could not do anything to get back on the podium. I guess it could be way worse because when the day was done I ended up in second on the American standings. This puts me in the top spot for the Americans with 1,800 points. This does not guarantee me a spot on the U.S. team, but it’s looking good and I feel good sitting No. 1 going into the final events before Sochi!