The first week of class at UBC started as David and I were uploading the Revelation gondola in Revelstoke for the first day of course inspection for the Freeski World Tour Qualifier. An uneventful drive up Tuesday afternoon had got us to town at a reasonable hour and despite leaving the city with nowhere to stay, we found ourselves as first time couch surfers. We spend our five day trip indulging in the amazing hospitality of our hosts, Chad and his roommates. The venue for the qualifier down separate reality was quite a bit less snowy than last time I had been in Revelstoke but the landings were just as flat as I remembered them. The qualifier went off early Thursday morning with high winds gusting at the top but somehow the visibility stayed good enough that the judges were able to see the whole course all day. I dropped in 23/23rd of the ladies who were hoping to qualify, an enormous number competing for very limited spots as there were already 16 prequalified girls in the comp for day 1 to be held on Friday. The goal for the run was to stay on my feet and ski strong and fast, while opting for a safer line by avoiding the larger of the cliff bands. Unfortunately this choice didn't pay off as I placed 8/23 and only 4 girls moved on from the qualifier to Day 1 on North Bowl.
|North Bowl: Day 1 Venue for the Freeski World Tour|
I met some great people out in Revelstoke and had the chance to ski with some amazing skiers. Even though we didn't get any of the legendary powder that the region is known for, there were still pockets of untouched snow, something you never get in Whistler a few days after a storm, let alone a week later! For our last night in town we went out with our couchsurfing hosts and the other couchsurfers that were living there at the time, as well as a plethora of other people that seemed to just walk in and out of the house whenever they felt like it. The theme for the night was retro, we just wore whatever we could find in Chad's basement.
It was a bit of a shock finding myself back in a classroom, a week behind and excited for my next trip. I had barely enough time to catch up in my classes before I was off again, this time solo, as all the people who were planning on coming with me either bailed last minute due to class commitments or were stuck in Whistler with a broken truck.
The drive to Rossland was much more eventful than the one to Revelstoke. It had been cold in Vancouver for a few days leading up to my departure and snow had been accumulating in the city, clogging all the roads. Driving through the valley, the road was a mess and blinding snow had resulted in multiple trucks in the ditch and a large number of people in Tim Hortons waiting out the worst of it. Poor conditions continued all the way to Rossland. I got lucky and made the trip in 9 hours. Other members of UBC ski and board club Freeride Team who I was meeting there took closer to 14 hours the day before. Pulling up to the cabin we had rented was a relief. In total 15 UBC students were at the event to compete, needless to say the Freeride team made an impression on Rossland. Read more about the UBC ski and board club shenanigans in Red here: http://ubcfreerideteam.wordpress.com/2012/01/19/ubc-freeride-team-goes-to-rossland/
|I'm from Vancouver! I wasn't made for these temperatures|
Trying to be a good student, I had decided to skip the inspection day to go to a few more classes before I left. Uploading the chair at 7am to get two inspection runs in before my comp run I noticed that there really wasn't very much snow in Rossland at all. The venue was bare and continued to lose snow as the competition went on. I was last on the list for the girls again and spent my time nervously pacing the start area waiting for my turn to drop. Two years ago, I hadn't made it through the qualifier because I had lost both skis doing a 360 off a mogul at the bottom of the course. This year my plan was to stick to the side of the run and hit as many features as I could to bump up my line score. Coming off of a disappointing finish at Revelstoke, I was ready to go big and charge my line. I went big in my run, but not big enough... I hit a rock in the landing, blew a ski and didn't move on to the next day. Later I found out that basically everyone who stayed on their feet in the qualifer moved on, regardless of their line choice. Oh well, there's always next year!
|Links Line. The qualifier venue|
|Day 1 (qualifier) score breakdown for the girls. Top 12 moved on|
The day was not a complete write off as we spent a few hours driving up and down the highway looking for cool features to shoot photos of. In typical ski and board fashion, there was some minor nudity, good times, and alot of sweet skiing.
Although the team was sticking around until Sunday, mostly for the afterparty on Saturday night, I was ready to head home. Sick of the excess of bare rock on Red, I packed up and took off Friday afternoon to what looked to be a pretty mediocre forcast in Whistler. Once again, the drive was horrific with compact snow for the first 650km of the drive and blizzard like conditions. 11 hours later, I was in Whistler, glad to be back.
It turns out, leaving Rossland wasn't such a bad idea after all as a huge system rolled through Whistler, dumping snow all weekend. This month has definitely had some ups and downs, but I learned a lot by doing these competitions. I feel like I will be much more prepared to compete next year and I had a blast meeting new people and skiing new places. What really got me though was how much fun it is to just rip around at home with your friends. For me, thats the best part about skiing.