|Me and Maggie Voisin at Dew Tour in Breck|
|Topping the Dew Tour podium|
|My brother Chris!|
|U.S. Freeskiing teammate Aaron Blunck also leading the FIS points|
What a month! I am back on the competition circuit and it is busy! Between training for two disciplines — halfpipe and slopestyle — there isn’t much time to spare. Between balancing both practice times for qualifiers and then hopefully making it into finals, it takes a lot out of you!
December started out with Dew Tour, my first winter competition and first Olympic qualifier; it felt great to be back! My Dew Tour schedule was a bit hectic because it had me in back-to-back events on the same day; I had a 20-minute break, which gave me just enough time to scarf down a Subway sandwich to get my energy back up. Luckily the people at Dew Tour are amazing and helped me out by putting me early in slope and later in halfpipe. I was able to qualify in second for slope and by the hair on my chinny-chin-chin just was able to sneak into the eighth and final spot for halfpipe finals. It was tricky and a little nerve-racking going right from slopestyle qualis right into pipe qualis. I had to play the day out smart and know what was enough to get me into finals for both, but at the same time conserve some energy for the next couple of days. You also want to save a little bit more for finals day! Once the qualifier day was over I was able to breathe a little bit easier knowing finals were on different days.
Pipe finals were up first and I knew I had to step up my run from qualifiers because that wouldn’t cut it and get me on the podium. It was my first time in competition putting a 900 in my run and knew I had to go for broke and just do it. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to put it to my feet as clean as I would have liked in finals, but was still proud of myself for doing it. I ended up in the sixth spot but was fourth for American standings! I now know I am capable of it and just need some more practice! I have a feeling once I really nail it down in my run it will be a game changer!
Coming off of halfpipe I wanted some redemption in slopestyle. I was really feeling the course at Breck and my brother, Chris, helped me come up with a run that I felt good about. Qualifying in second I was second last to drop! I was able to land my first run decently, which put me in the first place position on my second run. Luckily dropping into my second and final run I was still in the lead, and with one athlete behind me I knew I was on the podium no matter what! That right there made my day and knew if I cleaned up the whole run in general that I could bump my score. Waiting and watching at the bottom for the final girl to drop, Maggie Voisin, I knew she was capable of landing a clean run as well to bump me out of the first place spot, so I just had to cross my fingers and hope my first run was enough! And it was!
Dew Tour being our first Olympic qualifier — and coming back from my knee injury last season — this was a huge goal of mine to come back on top. Don’t get me wrong, I can breathe a little bit easier now, but there are still more Olympic qualifiers so anything can happen, but starting off the season the way it did is a huge confidence booster for me.
Going straight into Grand Prix at Copper the following week I was feeling kind of run down and tired, but my knee was feeling amazing and knew I just had to get through this and I would have some time off. Unfortunately with weather conditions I wasn’t able to make slopestyle finals and was pretty bummed out, but you can’t win them all and it lit a fire under me to ski even harder at the next one! Once again coming from one qualifier into finals for the next event was difficult. I was bumming about how the morning earlier went, the conditions still weren’t the best and I was flat out drained. I knew I had to let the morning go and focus on the event at hand. I just missed the podium by one spot, coming in fourth, but was the third American. It was a result that I couldn’t be upset about because it was helping my overall standings in making the Olympic team. Not to mention at the end of the night I received the FIS yellow bib, which means I am the current world cup points leader in halfpipe. So glad I was able to take some time off for the holidays and rest and am more fired up than ever for the final three qualifiers. Keep your fingers crossed!