From Norway I travelled pretty much straight to Slovakia, with a day stopover in Vienna at Austrian Snowboard chick, Manuela Mandels place.
It was a fairly multi-cultural few days actually, to come from wealthy country like Norway to the less wealthy Slovakia was a pretty interesting experience. The two places are very different to one another.
I also spent a day as a tourist in Vienna on the way, checking out some of the cities famous sites. Vienna is a pretty awesome place to visit, The 1st district, which is at the centre of the city is full of big, important and rather old buildings. The place has an incredible feeling of age and history, which can only be topped by the Natural History Museum, which is full of much older and much more historic stuff. I spent about half a day in there...
Vienna is pretty different to both Slovakia and Norway so that added in another contrast along the way.
Aside from getting #DadBodDeep in history and culture I also went skiing.
The purpose of the journey was to compete at the FWQ 4* event at Jasna In Slovakia.
The venue drops right off a wind stripped ridge from the top gondola station and heads down through ice caked cliffs to the basin below. The terrain there is sick and I really want to go back to explore more of it!
The weather and the snow conditions reminded me very much skiing in NZ, which made us Kiwis feel right at home.
This was the biggest group of Kiwis I have ever been a part of since I have been competing internationally.
We had Hank Bilous (10th Ski Men), Maria Kuzma (2nd Sb Women), Roland Morley-Brown (7th Sb Men) and Anna Smoothy (1st Ski Women) riding while Dion Newport, Neil Williman and Hayden Sedden were spread across the two judging panels.
It was so good having everyone there.
This comp was a perfect example of knowing what I wanted to ski as soon as I saw the face.
I spotted this steep tight technical section into a big air at the end of the Venue, and Immediately knew it was true love.
The tricky part was deciding on a top section, and in the end I went for a pretty straight forward approach so that I could focus on the main feature.
I placed 6th overall which I am stoked with, although I back slapped my last cliff pretty badly in all I am really happy with the way I skied. There are a few things I would do differently, but they aren't as major. Besides I would be confused if I got the the bottom of a run feeling like it was perfect!
After Jasna I am now sitting at 5th on the Qualifier tour and 49th in the world, including FWT riders. This could change quite a bit over the rest of the season as there are still two more 4* comps and a few 3* to go. So I will need to get some more good results if I want to maintain my ranking.
If you listen to the audio at the end of the POV clip below, you will notice that having a beard is not a ticket to manliness if you still still squeal like a child when you're excited.
It was amazing to see Anna Smoothy shred her way into first place for Womans Ski, she skied with speed and purpose, the best I have seen her ride recently.
In fact the Womans Ski category was a real stand out, there are some talented chicks rising through the ranks of the FWQ and I am keen to watch them throw down in the future.
I am back in Champoluc for the next week until Nendaz Freeride in Switzerland, and we finally have snow here!!
When I left the judging spot to head up for my run, I decided to take a run through the trees to practice my high speed short turns in preparation for the tight section in my run.
Part way down I managed to shoulder check a small tree and as a result lost control and blasted off a mogul high speed into a bunch of bigger trees.
On the way through I snapped the one in the picture below with the top of my boot and my knee. I am pretty lucky that it was already dead because it only hurt a lot, and didn't actually damage anything.
I went straight through it into the trees below. They didn't snap and they also hurt a lot.
It was a pretty great way to prep for my run.
10/10 would crash into trees again.
For the post comp Dion Newport organised the first ever Dion Newport Invitational Grand Prix at the gocart place down in Liptovsky Mikulas, The DNIGP, it was loose.