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…).
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.
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.
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.