Jackie Paaso is reporting in from the road, while traveling from the Red Bull Cold Rush to the next stop of the Freeride World Tour in Austria. Helly Hansen wants to extend a huge congratulations for her 2nd place podium finish at the Red Bull Cold Rush - arguably one of the most difficult skiing competitions out there!
The Red Bull Cold Rush just wrapped up yesterday in Silverton, CO and once again it was a great event. This is definitely one of my favorite events of the season. It's such an honor to be invited to ski with such an amazing group of athletes! For those who may not know exactly what the Cold Rush is I'd have to say it's the ultimate test to finding the most well rounded skier out there today! Athletes from many different backgrounds get together to compete in Big Mountain, Slopestyle and The Cliffs day. After two runs on each venue all the competitors sit down and view the show and judge for themselves who they think should come out on top. Score cards are counted and the winners are announced.
This year at the Cold Rush we had some trying conditions. The Cliffs day was cancelled because the whole venue slid and the Big Mountain venue was cut in half due to another avalanche. So for 2012 the Cold Rush became a two day contest between Big Mountain and Slopestyle.
The big mountain venue happened to be the same as last year and I decided I was going to ski the same line I had intended to in 2011 only this time not bail on my drop. When I approached the same line in 2011 my last drop appeared so large from the top that I wasn't sure if I was in the same area. I felt confident going back there this year to get redemption. I dropped in for my first run and lined up my last drop pointing it from my land mark. Unfortunately I didn't stomp that landing and punched front and skied off. I inspected my line some more and decided after some consulting with Grete Eliassen that I needed to take it a little further to get to the better landing. Skiing down on my second run I noticed that the snow had changed a bit and got a little more difficult to ski. It also turned out a little more difficult to land in. I made it to where I wanted to land but the snow caught my ski and I tomahawked down the landing.
I was a little disappointed that I wasn't able to stomp my run on Day 1 because the Big Mountain day was my specialty. I did have a feeling however that my line choice may have been high enough to keep me in the rankings for the overall. Slopestyle day came a lot faster than I had anticipated. This venue had me nervous for weeks to come. It was considerably bigger than last year and there was also a rail feature. I decided to ski a clean smart run and try and stomp my landings. The first run went down and I 50/50 the rail then did a 360 of the cornice drop and had intended to do a 720 off the Castle jump. For some reason my nerves got the best of me on the last drop and I decided to just straight air it.
Back at the top I was getting ready for run 2 when Rachael Burks suggested I do a front flip instead of a 720. We had watched so many of the guys struggle to land their tricks and decided that hitting the jump straight on might be to our advantage. I decided to follow Rachael's advice even though I'd never down a front flip on snow before. I figured now was a better time than any other. I went for my same plan up top 50/50 the rail 360 on the cornice jump and then the front flip on the Castle jump. I landed the first two and managed to land the front flip also even though I did have a bit of a back slap. I was the only girl of the day to land back to back tricks off the jump that day and that was a huge help for me in the rankings.
At the end of the day I managed to come in 2nd overall at the Red Bull Cold Rush! I was so excited to share the podium with my good friends Rachael Burks and Michelle Parker!
Now I'm off to Austria to get ready for the 4th stop of the Freeride World Tour in Fieberbrunn!
To view Jackie's runs in Big Mountain and Slopestyle, as well as vote for her for People's Choice at Red Bull Cold Rush check out the links below: