Not a Bad Sight to Wake Up to…

I didn’t want to get up at 8am this morning, but I was very glad I did, and not just because I had lots of stuff to do; Morzine had it’s first proper snow of the season overnight! Even with my poor eyesight, there was no mistaking that it had snowed down to about 1300m, and there was even a little bit at town level. In fact, it’s snowing down at town level right now!

Here is a selection of iphone photos taken without the aid of my glasses:

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The pictures don’t quite do it justice, but I can assure you, it’s pretty impressive! It may well melt before the day is over, but I, for one, am stoked that winter is finally on it’s  way. Fingers crossed that there’s heaps more snow to come!

Hello Again

It’s been a while, hasn’t it? But don’t worry, nothing of much interest has happened. It was summer;  it rained a lot. I stabbed myself in the hand, got an infected foot and managed to convince some American people that I was fat and ugly and couldn’t ski because I wrote an article about Jamie Anderson getting naked. That last one probably doesn’t sound like it was that good, but it was, really, because it was my first internationally published piece of writing!

Anyway, the other day the weather changed and there was an autumnal chill in the air. The leaves are starting to go brown and this morning there was even a little bit of snow on the peak I can see from my bedroom window. This is probably the best time of year because it means that winter is coming and it’s time to get excited about skiing! Now it’s totally acceptable to make completely uneducated guesses as to what the snow’s going to be like this year, make over-generous declarations of what tricks we’re going to learn and what over budget kit we’re going to buy. The only thing that beats the anticipation is actually going riding and having the best time ever.

So it’s pretty much the perfect time to get my season edit from last winter up here. You may have already seen it, but it’s probably worth watching again, if only for the secret slams at the end. They are very funny.

Enjoy, and have fun getting stoked about winter!

This Time Last Year…

And so another summer begins in a flurry of thunder storms, blistering heat and casual unemployment. And I’ve realised that it was this time last year that I started my pokey little blog, completely inept at using WordPress and not quite sure of what to write. I’m still eye-rollingly shit at WordPress, but I like to think I’ve gotten a bit better at, you know, spelling and stuff.

So thank you to everybody who has taken the time to read and make positive comments on my rantings and ravings, and all the other stuff that comes out of my head. I really appreciate it, even if, when you tell me I look at the floor and mumble something.
This winter was an interesting one; I turned twenty five, bought an iPhone, the cameraman went and got himself a proper job, I became the owner of a car with a 0.9l engine, worked FIVE days a week, got more minor injuries than I would have liked, and moved to a flat where the kitchen isn’t also the wardrobe, hallway and shoe cupboard. Originally I thought, this can only mean one thing. I’m getting old.

 

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Getting into the slush

But then… I also thought, I’ve had a lot of firsts this year, too. I went ‘street skiing,’ dropped the biggest cliff of my life (which I didn’t land, but no big), did a road gap, entered a freeride competition (which was cancelled, but no big), almost modelled some really, horrendously ugly ski wear, fell over in a boot pack and caused an avalanche, and was in a freeski/snowboard demo for Avoriaz or Oneill or both. I also went to Austria twice, got some new sponsors and got a crash on film that was worthy of a girl fail video compilation. (Watch here at: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10153944806365231&set=vb.754140230&type=2&theater)

 

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 Double ejecting into a rock…

Remembering some of those things makes me think that as well as getting older, I may have become a bit stupider, too. But it’s ok, because I really didn’t have that much dignity in the first place. My pride and riding niggles are righting themselves, and I’ve got all summer to make myself less injury prone. Plus, if I didn’t do stupid things every now and again, my life would be distinctly more boring than it already is, and I would have nothing to talk about at parties.

Before I started writing this, I’d actually felt like my winter had been a bit of a failure; I didn’t get as much filming done as I wanted, and March and April were spent catching edges and flat landing in gluey, ankle biting slush, which made me think I wasn’t really getting better at skiing at all. Like I’d finally hit that plateau that you just can only go backwards from.

 

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Always  making new friends on the mountain

But looking back on my winter in a nutshell, I actually had a completely awesome and exciting time, and met some really cool people along the way. I suppose being a good rider isn’t about how many tricks you can learn in a short space of time, there are lots of other factors involved, like consistency and confidence and variation. All that stuff I was worried about is the stuff that, incidentally, makes skiing feel less like fun and more like work, which is not a good attitude to have! Fun and games will definitely be the focus of next winter.

Sometimes, it’s really good to write things down.

Adventures in Austria, Part 2

For my second trip of the season I made it to Austria again, but only for three days this time. This adventure was ‘spring break’ or ‘the board test,’ or whatever the cool kids are calling it these days. I wasn’t actually going to test anything, (mainly because I don’t snowboard) I just wanted to go skiing, and get some shots for what will be an incredibly short season edit.

With my favourite Austria dwellers, Sabrina Burnham and Nathan Clough, we set off from Morzine, fresh faced and chipper from spending the night before at the Avoriaz closing party. Google maps said it would be a six hour drive. It took ten.

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Selfies and a lake, what a way to start my relationship with Instagram.

It was a further thirty minutes to get up to Kaunertal Glacier in the morning, getting better on timings compared to my last Austria visit, and it was probably the most beautiful drive to a glacier ever. There was a lake, and little wooden statues on the hairpins, and some mega avalanche debris to keep me occupied.

That wasn’t the best part though, because when we arrived, just in time for the only hour of sun that day, I looked over at the park and there were, like, FOUR down rails, and, get this, A FLAT BAR. There were even some big fat plastic tubes to learn stuff on. So in short, pretty much everything that Avoriaz doesn’t have. But you do have trees, Avoriaz, so don’t worry about it.

ImageTubey tube tube tube. Tubes for days.

Filming was skipped in favour of fun, and becasue of the instant slush that kept falling from the sky, and it was down rails for days, then more drinking, and more down rails. Similarly to my last post, it was goal not met with regards to getting some footage, but I had way more fun going somewhere new, riding and hanging out with my homies – including a long lost friend from my winter in New Zealand.

I don’t like watching myself skiing anyway.

A Brit Good

So last week I got into my little red grandma car and trundled along to Tignes for the Brits (or British Championships as they’re more formally known) feeling not particularly excited for a number of reasons: A. Because it had been a while since I’d competed, Avoriaz, being Avoriaz, only puts on comps for snowboarders, and B. Because both years that I’d been, I’d been the oldest girl competing by about seven years (so it doesn’t really give an accurate representation of British snowsports. Not really…).

ImageMe with Sarah Hoffman and Madi Rowlands, the three oldest competitors, but still with a twelve year age range. Photo by Kirsty Thompson

So there I was, feeling a bit apprehensive, and a bit cynical, knowing that I was probably going to be spending three days hanging out with people who older people like to call ‘youths’ feeling like a grandma and trying to keep up with their mad young people skills that they’d gained from copious amounts of coaching and youthful fearlessness, when I bumped into one of my good friends from Morzine who was living in the Tignes equivalent of Morzine, Les Brevieres. That was my first clue that it was going to be a good trip.

ImageDoing some trick on some jump. Photo by Kirsty Thompson

My second clue was when I mentioned that I thought the jumps were running really fast and everyone laughed jovially and said ‘er, this is really slow.’ Because Avoriaz is pretty low down, and there had already been a few weeks of ankle deep slush to contend with. So it was nice to go somewhere higher up and be able to hit the jumps without feeling like I was going to die. Somewhere with really nice jumps, no less. Big ones, all in a line. And rails, big rails with nice lips. Park mecca for France!

Then I also realised, that for the first time in a while, I had three days off work. THREE WHOLE DAYS. And I wasn’t in Morzine, which I’d become thoroughly bored and unimpressed with, and had, to put it bluntly, been a miserable bitch. With three days to do whatever I liked, my body had time to recover from all the little skiing niggles I’d picked up, I had time to do some yoga, and just generally, feel good about life. It was like being on holiday.

ImageWinning 50EUR in the rail jam. Photo by Laurie Baker

Even the competing part was pretty fun, AND there was another girl to join me in the overall age category, so I didn’t feel like a complete pensioner. I came third in the rail jam, which was awesome because rails have never really been my strong suit, and I crashed in both my runs in the finals of the slopestyle, which was also awesome because I knew I’d done it doing the best that I knew I could do, as opposed to doing a boring safety run and then spending the time until prize giving thinking I probably could have done better. Or maybe I’m just getting old, but either way, I wasn’t disappointed.

In the cheesy conclusion I’m going to say that those crashes were the best thing that happened that day because it meant I didn’t have to get all stressed about the competition anymore, and made me realise that competing is just a chance to get to ride with awesome people who will push your skiing. It’s not about winning enough money to make the trip worth it, it’s about getting to go somewhere new and have a good time.