Last week at Kirkwod, CA was the third stop for the ladies, fourth for the men of the FWT. The Tahoe area had received one of the driest Januaries in a while and because of that the conditions where not looking ideal. One storm about a week before the contest had produced about 8 inches of snow, which was soon affected by the wind. After the forerunners came down on the inspection day all of the competitors where well aware that the conditions where not ideal. The top ridge of the venue went from edge able hard pack to ice, leaving all of us a bit concerned with the landings of some of the top cliffs. Further on down the venue it was softer and then further along it turned to punchy wind pack snow with a nice little crust layer that could grab you if you weren't paying attention.
My plan for the day was an easy to navigate line with some decent size drops that should help me get to the top spot if executed well. This stop was especially important for me because after a season plagued with crashes I was not only not in a good spot for Verbier but not high enough in the rankings to re-qualify for 2014 season either. I really needed a podium to help my season.
When I dropped in to my line I had a little sketchy landing on my first drop catching some rocks in the landing. During my run I decided to take it down a notch due to the conditions and to try and keep it fluid and fast instead of focusing on larger drops like I normally do. My second drop I turned it into a technical S chute instead, added another smaller feature and took it a little smaller on the last feature. Normally I don't like to scale it back some but with the conditions the way they were I decided that was the smart thing to do.
That day my smart skiing had paid off and landed me on the top spot of the podium! It felt good to not only cross the finish line without a crash but to also walk away with my first victory of the season. I'm currently sitting in the 5th spot in the rankings. My hopes for Verbier are looking much better as well as my chance of re-qualifying for the next season. The next stop is in a few days in Fieberbrunn, Austria and I am hoping to be able to drop my worst finish to help move me up some more in the rankings!
Stay tuned for the 5th stop of the Freeride World Tour coming up next week in Fieberbrunn Pillerseetal, Austria and watch Jackie as well as Aurelien compete live!