"What I'm thinking a lot at the moment is how much of a mental thing competition skiing and also how mental filming can be..."I have been thinking a lot (maybe too much) about my approach to skiing this season, so I decided to try to put some thoughts down and give you an insight into my mind here (Sorry, I wasn't able to cut the text - there are a lot of thoughts filling my brain, as you might know, ha ha)...
My contest season started in Engadin with tough conditions in the Face -not for having fun, but for planning a contest run: it was a picture book-like day, huge amount of fresh powder and a cloudless beautiful day. The 'problem' was, that the landings of the cliffs in the lines that appealed me most were to deep. ;) So I ended up looking at the face for 3 hours to find a creative alternative (2 airs at the top, followed by a nice sized backflip and two possible outruns depending on how clean my backy is stomped), instead of having fun in the powder and started to ask myself if it is worth it to 'give away' such a nice day for one contestrun.
I hiked to the top to drop in at around 2.30 pm ... unfortunately with an empty battery in my helmetcam so I have no footage of my run. The thing is I was pretty satisfied with it except for my bottom air which I backslapped, so after a nice final run at the Corvatsch North-West-Face after the comp I was kind of bummed about hearing my score (6,4 out of 10 points). But without an external footage it's hard to judge your own run, because there are a lot of mixed feelings while doing a comprun.
Next stop was in Hochfügen, my most favorite event. I planned a really cool line over some months before the comp and was really looking forward to try it at the contest day. But as it turned out and everyone knows, northern Tyrol has been absent of huge snowfalls this season, so my bottom cliff wasn't an option anymore which was pretty demotivating.
Next plan... my old line from the year before, when I ended up 7th.
Went too big at the first hit... lost both skis... no score.
|360 in Hochfügen (c) eye5.at|
|0,1 seconds before the no score ...(c) eye5.at|
So ... "What tactic should I use for the next comp?" was the question I asked myself and my friends ... decided to try to ski 'with the handbrake on'. Adjusting my riding just to have a higher possibility to get a good score was a hard first step for me. Those thought jumped back into my mind just some seconds before the takeoff of my planned 360 at the 3* event in Axamer Lizum, so I slowed down and fucked up my trick. Bad mindgame?
Two days after the comp I returned to the face and redid my run two times with full speed and way cleaner...
|backflip in Kappl (c) Guy Fattal Photography|
Planned to ski the face in Kappl as I would do it for fun or while filming (a small 360', a backy and a mid-sized 360)... clean first trick, tried to do a really slow backy at the big standard cliff to stomp it clean in the tricky landing section... did a too low set up turn, ended up being too slow (which I knew right before the flip, but it's really hard to change the plan in a blink of an eye before the takeoff)... crashed, lost a ski and broke my bindings in the next turn ... no score.
After more or less four unsatisfying comps my mind was fragile.
Is it worth it doing the Freeride World Qualifiers? (which takes a lot of time, money and it's hard to film or do trips besides the comps)
Is it worth it to change my riding, just to have a higher chance of stomping everything totally clean to get a good score?
Is it worth it to stop trying to progress the Freestyle part inside of Freeride competitions?
To land a cliff or even a double- or triple-cliff clean is somehow different to stomp a 360, a 540 (like Patrick Baskins) or even a 720 (like Fabio Studer) clean of a fair-sized cliff.
While doing that you take a high risk to your score (not a high risk to your safety, which must be prevented) so I still have the opinion that it might be worth it to ease the score here a little.
Because being creative even in Big Mountain lines is what true Freeriding is for me... meaning on the one hand skiing creative, highly technical lines or on the other hand doing creative tricks out of natural hits.
And seeing guys having a different approach in competitive skiing than in filming or just freeriding for fun, makes me kind of sad, even when they are just thinking about changing their approach.
In every contest the choice of the face and the kind of judging should be suited for every rider - so everyone has the chance to win, while being true to themselves and not adjusting the riding to the judging.
After those ups and downs... the El-Flamingo guys and I (also with Jules and Max on board) started our two weeks long roadtrip into the Southern Alps. I has been two awesome weeks, which have been really important for me to clear my mind and get as stoked on skiing again as I used to and want to be.
After the trip I headed to the next comp in Silvretta Montafon, one of my most favorite resorts! There was a 'last minute' face change, because the originally planned 'Hochjoch' face was too sunaffected.
But the Zamangspitze-Face has also a huge potential for a comp, so I planned a nice, safe line for my run. While hiking up, I noticed that the conditions are, not as anticipated, quite good... decided to do a big 360 at a totally blind takeoff, because I was keen to try it ... couldn't stomp it clean... 18th place.
Was it worth it?
I think so ... ;)
But, for the last two comps, I think that I've learned my lesson and tried to try ;) a more mellow approach...
After winning last year, I finally ended up on the podium at the X OverRide at Kitzsteinhorn again. After breaking my pole at the takeoff to my 360 in the super soggy snow, I managed to land a backy and two more cliffs and got rewarded with the 3rd place.
A week before the final comp this season in Obergurgl (4*) I injured my lip pretty bad with my knee - It was too bad, because I finally started to feel happy with my skiing and was really motivated for the last comp.
So I grabbed my full-face helmet, skied a safe line and ended up 10th.
Well... for next season I started to work together with a mental coach to become the master of my mind. ;) ... I'm gonna be prepared and motivated, ha ha!
Cheers and sorry for stealing your time,