Junior Freeride Tour Chamonix Ski Diary
This weekend was the first stop in the French Freeride Skiing Championships in Chamonix! “It is Friday, my suitcase is in the trunk of the car, and my dad takes me to the train station in Grenoble.” He tells me, “The most important thing is to give it your all! Even if you fall, show them how you are able to ride BIG!”
I am stoked, and gearing up for the big ride tomorrow at midday. Luckily, Manon (a good friend of mine) helps me destress and forget, before I embark on the train. Thereafter it takes five hours and two transfers before I finally arrive in Chamonix. It is night time, the city is magnificent… there are lot of people, including laughter, and the smell of hot chocolate which engulfs the city…. Just the kind of vibe I love!
+ Ski Schedule
- JANUARY 22ND / FRIDAY 7PM
- We met for the riders meeting where everybody pleasantly greeted each other, and the security instructions were presented to us. We were told we were going to ride on the pentes de l’hôtel, a relatively steep face, which has quite a lot of rocks and cliffs. We also all needed to select our race numbers, and I got 29/50 - not too bad (I was mostly happy with this number as I could watch a few other riders first and gather an idea about the face). After all the formalities, I realised the trip tired me and I was sleepy
- JANUARY 22ND / HOTEL ARRIVAL
- I arrived at the Auberge Ski Station, and the manageress welcomed me with a big smile! She insisted that I explore the establishment and guided me around. First off was a large kitchen where all the food preparation takes place, as well as a place to meet and discuss. Next I entered my room and met two foreigners, a Finnish female and an American. We enjoyed chatting, and they told me all about their travels, including their misfortunes and anecdotes.
- JANUARY 22ND / 10PM
- After a delicious carbo load of pasta it was bed-time. Once again I found my room, and just by the way the bed was super comfortable!
- JANUARY 23
- Today I woke up slightly apprehensive. I wanted to give it my all, in fact 500%! So I started the day at Epicerie du midi. Following a balanced breakfast, in a cosy and warm ambiance, I felt stoked and determined. I was into this and focused on my objective… Melvin and I went back up to our rooms to get our skis and headed to the Brévent Cable-Car, where the rendez-vous was scheduled the day before by the staff.
- JANUARY 23RD / 07H45
- The pressure is all around! All the riders, or almost every rider was in a gondola, and the tension continued to build. Somehow everybody tried to keep calm; by telling jokes, or by talking about what riders from the freeride world tour did in Andorra…. We arrived at the bottom of the face - a pretty nice slope, some potentially dope and fast lines in the distance… At first I picked a line on the left, but understanding that every one would be taking it, I finally decided on a line on the right. A small cliff 4~5 meters on a cornice, followed by a cliff from where one would definitely take off. The recon is over, the first 30 bibs, including me headed to the start. After a few cable-cars, and an about half-an-hour of walking and hiking, there we were. The view was splendid.
- FREERIDE BEGINS
- From above the sea of clouds we could admire our lines! I was charged, and I knew where I needed to be… It promised to be an incredible run, if I could do it… After multiple race stops, due to the weather, I found myself at the start… Melvin who went right before me chose the same line as I did, seemed good! I turned my Tom Tom Bandit camera on (bip bip bip), and it was rolling. 3-2-1 drop in, it was on, and I engaged myself. After a few turns, I missed the first cliff I wanted to jump - a rock made me change my trajectory… No drama! I then picked-up speed, maybe a little too much, and I braked heavily! The cliff that I had spotted is in front of me, and blindly I jumped it! I admit that I arrived too fast! I took off as a bird in angry birds would, and as bad luck would have it I too land as an angry bird would - I am splattered out in the snow. Plus I lost a ski. I’m outraged! It’s not that difficult to land correctly! And I knew it, I was disqualified! I put my ski back on and headed back down the mountain… But I am truly gutted! I passed my way under the arch, the speaker called me out and told me, “It was a nice show…” If people were amused, good for them, but I badly wanted to get a ranking. I will do better at Les Arcs…