This is my third year doing competitive snowboarding, and my second time going to the USASA National championships in Copper, Colorado. You qualify by competing in local events. This season was difficult because of my two injuries, but I had made it.
I left on Thursday, March 31, getting a ride in the car with one of my good friends. The drive took about 20 hours total, and we did it over 2 days. Finally, on Friday evening, we arrived in Copper Colorado, ready for a full day of practicing on Saturday. I was to compete in Slopestyle, Rail Jam, and snowboard cross over the next week.
The most difficult part about this year was the fact that I did not have a coach with me there, unlike almost everyone else competing. although I knew what to do, I was lonely, and had no one to check in with, or talk to about my competition. I remember on Saturday, Practice day, I fell hard on my first practice run in snowboard cross. With no one to talk about it to, and no one to tell me how I could improve, I felt my day go downhill from there. I tried to pull myself out of it and be mentally strong, but it was very difficult.
Sunday was one of my best days. It was another practice day, and I spend the day riding in the course where my slopestyle competition would be held on Tuesday. After many runs trying to get the correct speed for the jumps, I finally felt confident and ready to conquer it! Later that day, I had a job interview with the resort, because I had applied to work in their summer snowboarding camp. Hopefully I get to spend my summer there snowboarding!
On Tuesday, I had both Slopestyle and Rail Jam competitions. The weather was not ideal. It snowed all day, and with fresh snow on the ground, it was almost impossible to get enough speed to do the jumps. It turned from a Slopestyle competition into a brave-the-weather competition. However, I stayed on my feet and ended up in 11th place! I still wish I had been able to do as well as I had on Sunday, but I can’t control the weather, so there’s no point in being mad.
Although I do not consider myself a racer, snowboard cross went pretty well. Snowboard cross is the event where four people ride down a course with jumps, banked turns and other obstacles at the same time. Between Saturday and the competition on Wednesday, I got to ride the race course about 5 times. Every time, I fell coming out of the start gate. It was embarrassing, but the start gate was a vertical drop, leading up to a jump with a gap to clear. Having no coach didn’t help either. Finally, the run before my competition, I made it past the start! I fell in the middle of the course but I had the hardest part on lock. My goal was to go through the whole course without falling. Finally, in my race with other people, I made it through the course! Unfortunately, only the first place winner of the race advances to the next heat to race other winners. The other racer got in front of me in the beginning, and I stayed about 10 feet behind for the whole race. I still ended up in 9th overall because of my time trial, which is when they time you going through the course to solve any tiebreakers.
Now that I am back from Nationals, it was a pretty fun week. I got to stay with my friend and we had some good times off the slopes as well. I am disappointed about the conditions on the slopestyle day, but there’s nothing I can do about it. The biggest thing I learned was the importance of having a coach. When I found out last minute that my coach from SNC would not be coming, I thought I could do it all myself. I did manage it, but it was difficult, and I felt it would have been a lot better with one. Although I knew what to do and how to snowboard, it was difficult being all by myself. My competition season may be over, but my season still has a few days left! The day after I got back, I left early to go to Squaw Valley and train freestyle with some awesome people. Competitions aren’t my motivation. I see them more as a by product of my hard work which is brought on by passion and love for doing my sport.