Park city shred

So since I am such an idiot, and I didn’t buy a epic pass, (I got the summit value pass which works for Breck and Keystone) I had to buy day tickets for Laura and I. Even though it was expensive it was definitely worth it as the park here in Park City is so much fun. They don’t have the big line up due to a lack of snow, but the smaller park which is jam packed with rails and has two jumps, is so much fun.

Laura and Steph went off and explored the mountain and Tom and I cruised around through the park with a bunch of other skiers. They have built an elbow bowl feature in the park which is skate inspired and redirects you into the lower rail line. The bowl feature is hands down my favorite feature up there.

It is super warm here in Park City and today felt like we were spring skiing. It was super hot and slushy and the sun was kind of in and out all day. I haven’t been here in 3 years and I forgot how much fun this place is. I definitely need to plan to spend some more time here in the future.

This is the lower part of the park and it is full of rails.

This two jump line leads into the bowl and then into the lower rail section pictured above.

Tom on jump 2 in the park

Tom on the flat down

Niklas Eriksson on the flat down

Tom airing off the pole jam into the bowl feature.

I think we are planning on another day here in Park City tomorrow before getting on the road again to Las Vegas. I’m not sure if I’ll ski as it started raining a little this afternoon and if it is raining tomorrow, I am definitely not buying a day pass.

Time for some dinner and an early night as I am exhausted,

//Russ

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Road Trip Part 1

So as I mentioned yesterday, we embarked on a road trip to the West Coast of the USA from Colorado. The first leg of the trip was from Frisco to Park City with a detour to the Arches National Park.

The trip itself was pretty easy and the landscapes you drive through are pretty unreal. It almost feels like you are driving on the moon or something out of this planet. It was completely different to anything I have done before.

Mid way through the trip we made the detour to Arches National park and it was 100% worth the time. The park is located in eastern Utah and is famous for containing over 2000 natural sandstone arches. We were absolutely blown away by the landscape and felt like we were walking through a set from a cow boys and Indians movie. I would 100% recommend anyone checking out the Arches National Park.

After checking out the park we continued the trip to Park City. We are staying with Tom Wallisch and Steph Osborn for the next couple of days before stating the 2nd leg of our road trip. Hopefully the weather stays as nice as it was yesterday because I am super keen to ski Park City resort. It’s been almost 3 years since I was last here riding.

//Russ

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Road trip time

The next event for me is the Grand Prix at Mammoth, which is quite far away from Frisco. Usually I would fly but Laura and I have decided to mix it up a little this year and to do a road trip out there. We are breaking it up into several stops with one stop in Park City Utah and one stop in Las Vegas.

We just woke up and we are about to hit the road en route to our first stop of the road trip: Park City. We are going to have a pit stop at the Arches National Park. I’ve heard good things about this place and I’m really excited to check it out.

This is the planned route. It’s going to be a long one but I’m super excited. I’ve flown over this part of the country a million times so checking it out is going to be fun.

Time to drive,

//Russ

 

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Xgames

So yesterday Laura and I decided to head up to Aspen to watch the Xgames. We left Dillon early in the morning so we could watch slopestyle and then we stuck around for the day to watch big air that night.

Xgames is unlike any other event, and this year I got a taste of what it is like for Laura when she is watching me compete. Obviously I wasn’t in the event, but I had the pleasure of watching all my friends from the bottom. It is a totally different experience watching rather than competing and it was definitely difficult to watch at times.

As an athlete, when you are in a competition you are so focused and all you are thinking about is the run, or trick, you are about to do. You sideline all thoughts of anything that can go wrong and you visualize your run being stomped perfectly. I know, when I compete, I do watch the event either from the top or at the bottom, but it is somewhat of a distant viewing as I am still putting a lot of thought into the tricks I need to land to get a good score.

As a spectator, which is something I haven’t done too many times, you are literally watching gladiators go to war. Yesterday the light was pretty damn bad for slopestyle. It was flat light and very hard to distinguish any definition in the snow. But regardless athletes were still throwing some of the biggest tricks there is to be thrown in freeskiing. Slopestyle saw a lot of heavy crashes and it made me sick to watch some of them. Henrick’s crash is one that stands out and I hope he is all good. Due to the challenging conditions during slopestyle yesterday, more people seemed to be crashing than landing, and some of the crashes were not just a slide out with snow down your pants, they were explosions on the landings.

It is always hard to watch your friends crash but I think it is harder to watch as a spectator. I’m not saying seeing my friends crash while I am competing is easy. You are obviously worried about them but ultimately it gets sidelined and you have to put the image of them crashing to the back of your head so you can focus on the run or trick you need to do. As a spectator there is no need for you to push the image out of your head, so as each person drops, the thought of the crash from an earlier competitor, is still right there in you head and you are hoping something similar doesn’t happen again to another friend.

I didnt take any photos yesterday but found this on Google images of Gus Kenworthy. As you can see it was pretty flat light out there.

Big air was a similar to slopestyle, in terms of crashing. It wasn’t because the light was bad or because the jump was bad, its because in freeskiing we have pushed the sport so far that with the tricks we try, you either land them and ride away perfectly, or you go down hard. I had the same feeling watching big air as I did watching slopestyle. I was nervous for all my friends and just wanted them to make it out alive but at the same time I wanted them to put on an epic show. It was crazy how hard some people were slamming.

Bobby slammed super hard on a switch triple 12 and his helmet explode. The whole crowd, 48000 people, went silent, watching to see if he was going to get up. He did, and to everyone’s amazement he got another helmet and went back to the top to complete the finals. As a spectator, I thought it was a questionable decision and he probably should have chilled as head injuries are a super serious matter, but as an athlete I know exactly what frame of mind he was in. I know because last year in slope training I hit my head and shattered my helmet, but because of all the adrenaline, the crowd and the drive to do well at one of the biggest events in the world, I went back to the top to try and stick my runs, which is exactly what Bobby did. Bobby went on to get the silver medal and 100% deserved it after some of the tricks he put down.

Pretty serious helmet smash

There were countless cashes in big air and even if they looked like a yard sale on the landing, with skis, poles and even goggles flying all over the place, the majority of the athletes walked away from them with bumps and bruises and not a serious injury.I think Alex Schlopy may of hurt his shoulder at a switch 1980 attempt (i can’t even fathom spinning that much) and I am hoping he is ok.

It just goes to show how crazy and how difficult the sport has become. Its a fine line the athletes walk between winning and ending a season and to be honest, I think I like being in the role of an athlete more than a spectator. I was more nervous as a spectator than I am as a competitor. I am definitely nervous competing but it is a different type of nervous and I definitely like them more than spectator nerves.

Congratulations to everyone who managed to stick their runs and got up on the podium and also I hope everyone who has crashed or injured themselves during the Xgames makes a full recovery so they are back to doing what they love in no time!

//Russ

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My run from World Champs

So after a long day of travel I am back in Colorado. It was quite a rush to get out of Austria but once we were on our flight everything was pretty mellow and the trip went pretty fast.

Today I meet up with Spyder in Boulder and was shown around the show room and the office and got to see the next line of gear. It all looks absolutely amazing and I’m stoked to be riding for such a cool brand.

Right now I am going to sit back relax and watch some Xgames live stream. Mens ski eliminations and snowboard big air are on tonight so it should be a pretty good night!

Also I managed to find my 2nd place run from the world champs online. Check it out:

//Russ

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