My goal in 2016 was to win the Freeride World Tour. When I walked away from the first contest in Andorra I felt I was headed in the right direction. I had changed my style a bit from "Go big or go home" to a more consistent and maybe smarter style.
Things changed in Chamonix and I struggled with my new tactic. I had a line that I had won with in the past and then I had the slightly more conservative line with a higher success rate. Unfortunately, I couldn't decide between the two lines and I ended up trying to make something out of nothing. I ended up 6th and dropped from 1st in the ranking to 2nd.
That was no reason to stress just yet. I was still sitting in a good spot. Coming into the third stop in Andorra I knew I was already qualified for the 2017 season and also making the cut for the fourth stop in Alaska. So I thought I might go for it and ski something I was excited about. Well, again that didn't quite work out as planned. I had a great top section and then too it way too easy in the bottom. Again I found myself in 6th place. I dropped to third in the ranking and the stress was starting to set in. I really needed a good result in Alaska to hold onto my title dreams.
I picked a solid line that I knew could score well if executed nicely. Unfortunately my head just wouldn't let that happen. I again took it way too easy in the bottom and I ended up in 4th place. Moving down some more to the 4th spot in the rankings. To be honest, I was upset and frustrated. So much that I didn't know if I'd be able to pull it together for the last stop. I had lost my shot at the title. It was only the ladies in the top 2 spots battling it out. The best I could do was win the Verbier Xtremes and maybe end up 2nd overall.
The day of the contest I was exhausted. I struggled with sleep the two nights prior and was battling a cold. My parents told me that was good. Apparently in the past I had done well when I was sick. I suppose it was because I wasn't just focused on the contest. I was more worried about feeling healthy for the contest. It was cloudy when we got up on the mountain. I didn't think it would clear and I didn't think we would ski. Surprisingly the rest of the ladies just wanted to compete even though it was tough to see. I guess they too were struggling with the stress of the big day. Some couldn't eat, some couldn't sleep, and some I'm sure struggled with both.
When I dropped in for my run the light was not great but the snow at the top was okay. I felt okay but I felt I should dial it back a little. I didn't want to risk too much in the conditions. As a result I was able to hit an extra drop. Nothing was massive, it was just solid and fluid. I got to the bottom and I felt pretty good. I had no idea i it was enough, but I guess a part of me knew. I came down and ended up in 1st place with two ladies left. You never want to see your friends fall, but at the same time it means you win if they did. Your excited and guilty at the same time, their failure is your victory. You want to smile and celebrate yet at the same time you want to console your friend. For the first time ever I had won the Verbier Xtremes! Probably the most important contest my sport has, and one of the few I had not won yet.
I managed to pull my frustration and disappointment from the AK stop and turn it into something positive. A victory, which also meant I moved up to 2nd in the overall ranking. The title will have to wait till next year, but it's closer than ever!