Competitions season officially kicked off yesterday with the North Face Park and Pipe Open at Copper Mountain.
This season is the official beginning of the 2014 Olympic qualification process. As a result of this, we see a lot new athletes getting in the freeski sport, from different nations and backgrounds. For the first time since I started riding pipe I've seen a waiting list for a woman's competition. In the end, the organization even had to decline some of the girls. It’s really motivating for me to see how new girls are taking the step to ride pipe and developing their skills, pushing the limits.
Even though King Winter has decided to invited himself suddenly, making the conditions to train really hard due to the freezing temperatures, the pipe was kept in perfect shape thanks to the Copper Mountain crew.
The qualifications already showed a lot of variety in the tricks for the women. A lot of the young girls pulled out there best trick in the hope of making a statement and showing what’s the next generation has in store for the future. The judges rewarded their courage. A few fresh faces made it in to the 12 girls for finals along with some of the heavy hitters like Keltie Hansen and Maddie Bowman.
With the arrival of finals came some negative fahrenheit temperatures. Jumping and dancing at the top of the pipe was the name of the game while trying to keep the toes alive. For some girls it was their first big event and it was great to see the more experienced girls give them some advice and tips. Although we are competitors of each other, we really are one big family and trying to push each other to get the best out of ourselves.
Some of the girls dropped in switch and we saw tricks like switch 720° along with flairs and alley oops 540 and 900. But today the judges wanted to see some,amplitude and clean executions or your score would go down. In the end it was Maddie Bowman who took the win hands down, with a run that consisted of a left cork 9, right 7, switch 5 and scored an 85.8 with this. For my part, I ended up second with a left 5, alley oop 5, and a 7 at the end. Angeli Vanlaanen made her comeback after some health issues at the North Face Park and Pipe Open and placed 3rd thanks to her amplitude signature that she kept all the way down along with a 5 and a 7.
Looking back at the competition, everyone involved, competitors, coaches and spectators alike, agreed to say that this was the perfect way to start this years competition season and get ready for the Dew Tour in Breckenridge next weekend.
A big thanks once again to everyone who was involved!