Every year as the holidays come to an end, each competitive snowboarder is faced with a similar challenge: deciding where the best place to get back on snow would be.
With snow conditions constantly changing, hard to perdict mountain weather and holiday crowds. What you might think to be an easy task can be quite difficult. Especially when you only have a week to shake the cobwebs and get back in the zone before the contests begin again.
Not wanting to spend big bucks and chance unfavorable forecasts, this year the U.S Team did something different. With Utah having one of their better starts to winter in years, the team decided to build us our very own private jump at the training grounds of the prestigious Utah Olympic Park.
Photos courtesy of "Wiki Commons"
The New Addition
Ever since the Winter Olympics in 2002, the Olympic Park has become a training facility for athletes of all levels. The Olympic grounds were originally only designed with bobsleigh, luge, skeleton, ski jumping, and nordic in mind. However, over the years the park has added other features to aid in winter sports training. One of these additions, in partnership with the the U.S Team, is being built specifically for my discipline… a dry land, big air training bag!
The concept is a jump built from a material which resembles snow and can be used during the summer months. But what makes this jump so special is the landing. It will be made to act as a giant airbag, but resemble the landing of an actual jump. This will allow me and my team to train and practice difficult, new maneuvers without the big risks of getting hurt. It’s really quite something! You can read more about it here: PROJECT JUMP
To make things even more convenient, this summer jump can easily be converted for use in the winter! As this new addition is still in its building phase, the airbag wasn't set up yet. But with the layout already built entirely from dirt, it didn't take much time to move snow around and mold an actual jump in its location.
Over the last few days, me and team have been hard at work getting revamped for the competitive season. It was the first time the facility created a jump of this kind, and what they built was smaller than we were expecting. So instead of pushing to learning new tricks, I’ve been focusing on perfecting the tricks I already can do… which has been a nice change of pace. It’s never a bad thing to step back from the big jumps and constant push for progression and focus more on your style and creativity.
In just a few days, I’ll be heading off to Austria for the first Slopestyle World Cup of the season. In 2015 at this same venue, I was able to take home the win and walk away a world champion! Let’s hope the course treats me as good as she did then.
Wish me luck!