So many things had to line up going into the final stop of the Freeride World Qualifier in order for me to make it on the World Tour next season. I needed to place 1st or 2nd at this final stop to edge out my friend and the current leader Michelle. I had a lot of emotion coming into this event, given how much effort has gone into the season leading up to it. Putting that much pressure on yourself prior to an event usually does not work in ones favor, however, I have been competing long enough to learn how to channel that energy into my snowboarding.
We arrived at Crystal Mountain, the morning before qualifiers to get on the venue and inspect the course. Unfortunately, we misunderstood where the venue would be since the organizers told us it would be somewhere different than what they had planned, in order to conserve snow conditions on the actual course. So, after spending the whole day inspecting the wrong course, I was a little stressed out to learn that the venue was actually going to be somewhere other than what I was looking at all day long. That being said, we were provided with some good photos of the actual qualifying venue at the riders meeting the night before so I was able to study those and find a line to inspect the following morning.
The conditions were pretty great considering the less than ideal snowpack, as well as the lighting coming in and out. We were able to get a glimpse of Mt. Rainier towering behind us from the top of the venue prior to us dropping in for our runs. The sport is continuing to grow and I was ecstatic to compete against 17 talented women in the field (the largest of any i've been a part of.) I dropped in 4th, and was elated to find my line, which was a typical line for me on qualifying days, being a technical line with a high consequence exit through a narrow chute. Most of the field stayed on their feet and there were so many good runs I new that the cut for finals would be harsh and the scores would be tight. They cut the field from 17 girls to 10 for finals, landing me in 5th place going in with less than a point spread from my 5th place score to the girl in first place. I knew I had some making up to do to get myself into that second or first place on the podium. So, I decided to mix up my strategy for finals after seeing what the judges really liked by watching the rest of the runs.
A big thank you to Crystal Mountain for giving us by far the most amazing finals venue of all of the Freeride World Qualifiers in the US. Aptly named the The King, this peak looms above the rest of the surrounding mountains in the area, with prominent rock features, spines, and chutes that cover almost 1200' vertical feet. Needless to say every single person was FIRED UP to ride this venue and genuinely looking forward to our runs for finals. Mother Nature did her part in providing us some fresh snow to help soften up our lines and cushion our landings. Again I dropped in at the beginning of the pack. As I mentioned earlier, I decided to take a less technical line and really lay down some nice turns with some speed that I could take into my cliff drops as well. I found a fun natural halfpipe at the top that allowed me to make some really nice turns tossing snow off the side of the spines each turn and truly having a blast which I think translated into my snowboarding. Hands down one of the most fun runs of my snowboarding life.
THANK YOU SO MUCH to all of my supporters, and my sponsors for helping me get from my first contest in Japan, all the way to standing atop the podium at my last event here at Crystal Mountain and cementing my place on the Freeride World Tour for the 2018 season. Also a big thank you to my family, my mom especially for always believing in her little baby and helping me see through this crazy dream of mine. I love you all, thank you a thousand times! Get ready for the big show next year!