I finally managed to win a comp in Europe!
Standing on the top of a Euro podium has been on my to do list for aaaages, and it finally happened at the Axamer Lizum 3* last weekend!
As an extra "20% more in every pack" kind of bonus, I got to share the podium with Kiwi freeride big dog, Neil Williman, who came in and grabbed 3rd place in his first comp of the season! Neil competed on the FWT for a number of years and is one of the guys who has inspired me over the last few years.
The face at Axamer is pretty interesting.
It is steep and technical for a short time up the top with only a limited number of entries before it opens out a bunch into the mid section with cliff like features decreasing by the bottom.
It was also pretty boney in places with a bunch of previously exposed sharp rocks being covered by a small dump of snow the night before the comp.
My top cliff was one of the first things I spotted when I saw the face. It caught my attention as the most interesting top feature I could see, I was into it in a big way.
It had a pretty technical entrance to air into a sort of walled in section of snow that no one else skied. I landed it smoothly and the rest of my run was made up of quick skiing on a ridge with 3 more airs. I found it quite hard to pick an awesome bottom section, and after my run I didn't think I had done enough because my bottom air was quite a bit smaller than a lot of others.
The judges were stoked on my top cliff because it was unique and creative which meant it scored really well, and in combination with a few more features and clean skiing to the finish it was enough to pick up the win.
Here is the video of my run:
Follow this link to see the full replay:
This result puts me back into 3rd place in the Europe-Oceania rankings.
So now everything is going to be riding on the next and final comp of the season, the Obergurgl 4*.
This year only 3 ski men will qualify for FWT from each region, 6 in total between the 2 regions.
To be sure that I stay in the top 3 I will need to place 2nd or higher, but there is still a chance that I could get in with a 3rd or even 4th place, depending on how the others in the top 8 or 9 end up on the day.
So my goal now is to go for it and get on the podium!
The evening after Axamer Lizum I travelled to Italy to do another 3* the next day in Cortina, along with a bunch of other competitors.
I turned up expecting a big day after seeing 130 riders confirmed on the start list on line.
What I found instead was that the organisers had allowed a further 50 local wild cards into the event.
That brought the total riders to 180. ONE HUNDRED AND EIGHTY!!
The comp started at about 10:00am and must have finished after 5:00pm.
Everyone had to be heli lifted to the top before about 1pm, and by the time I dropped in as bib 154, it was something like 4:15pm.
Long story short, by the time it was my turn to drop I had no energy and was screwing up doing pretty basic turns. I pretty much threw in the towel and skied out without jumping anything of note, purely because I felt like to try and put a good run down would be a dangerous move. I finished 83rd ski male...
For me it was a waste of time.
All I learned from the experience is that 180 people on a variable snow venue makes me want to say a lot of very bad words, loudly.