It has been a while and a lot has happened since the Olympics. Mainly, I've been gearing up for this crazy trip. To give you a little foreshadowing of what to expect from this post, I competed in 4 of my biggest contests of the year, rode at 3 different resorts, stayed in 4 different places, practiced my french and ate some delicious Quebecois food. Need I say more? Well that pretty much sums it up, I'll now go into further detail but feel free to scroll past that and just check out the photos.
The National Champions are a pretty big deal to me. I've been competing in them since I was 16 years old and I always enjoy seeing how I compare to the rest of the country in freestyle riding. Canada~Snowboard decided to split it into two resorts this year, Halfpipe was at Stoneham while Slopestyle (and all the racing) was at Mont Tremblant.
We arrived to Stoneham and found that the Halfpipe was in pretty awesome shape. It's a 22 foot pipe (the same dimensions as the Olympic pipe), which are really fun to ride in. There are only 2 in Canada now because unfortunately Cypress Mountain has no interest in keeping their amazing Halfpipe going now that the Olympics are over. That's a shame because Canada needs more good pipes to produce good pipe riders - but this post is supposed to be about my trip so I'll try to stay somewhat on topic. Back to Stoneham, right! Our first day of training was awesome. I ended the day by landing the best frontside 7 of my life (so far). My coach, Joe, has video from the trip that I hope to get soon and I want to post some here.
The following day was the last day of practice before the competition and my back was bothering me a bit. I decided to take it mellow and save my back for the competition. I've been dealing with my lower back injury on and off since January. I've been going to lots of physio and chiro appointments leading up to the trip to make sure that I would be good to go. Thankfully, this would be the worst my back would be during the trip.
I felt good on the day of the contest. I was trying the toughest run I've ever tried, starting with a frontside 7. I landed that trick really well on both runs but was not able to put a complete run together. I ended up coming up just short of making the top 12 final, placing 14th. This is the best I've ever done at the Nationals, however I still feel like I need some more training before I will feel like I deserve to be in the finals with the best in Canada. I'm stoked for spring pipe riding where it is a lot easier to learn tricks.
OK this post is getting huge. That was only 1/4 of the trip! We also spent a day in downtown Montreal. Check out the photos below.
Kyle and I, first and second cut for finals, it stings but we learned a lot and had fun
Look how straight and perfect looking the left wall was.
Oh that's where I parked my car!
Cobblestone street in Old Montreal
This art is amazing!
Joe and I in downtown Montreal
After that we were off to the Slopestyle Nationals at Mont Tremblant. I'll try to keep the rest of the post shorter. I was feeling pretty good on the jumps and rails. I had a nice flow in my run and would have made finals if I can landed it clean. Unfortunately though I went too big on my last jump on the first run and then over rotated a 540 in my second run. My buddy Robby came third, he's killing it this year!
To finish of our epic journey, we drove down the road to St. Sauveur for the infamous Ride Shakedown (previously the Empire Shakedown). This is the biggest, most competitive event in Canada. It attracts professionals from across the country and around the world. It was amazing to compete in this contest. They usually have a massive jump and a gnarly street rail setup. Kyle and I held our own, landing 720s on our first run but both of us messed up on the rail. In this contest you have to call your trick beforehand and you cannot repeat the same trick twice so I decided to go for my first frontside 1080. I was close in my practice run but I spun too slowly on my judged run. I competed in the rail jam after that which was so much fun. I'll try to put the video up once I get it because that is way cooler than me trying to explain it.
Yah right! The jump had people skiing under us as we jumped!
This is the scene from the top of the course during the finals. Massive crowd!
Well if that wasn't a post, I don't know what is! Video coming soon.
Thanks for stopping by,