The Olympic Spirit swept the snowboarding community this season, making me and so many others deeply proud to be citizens of the USA! I was delighted to be a part of the mayhem -- qualifying to compete in all five Grand Prix Olympic Qualifier Stops. After the team was selected in Park City, I had the opportunity to head to to Vancouver to cheer on my teammates who made the final Olympic cut. In addition to attending the men and women's Halfpipe Comps, I got see Apolo Ono won his first Speed Skating medal of the games and cheer Seth Wescott and Nate Holland on in the BoarderCross finals. My time at Cypress Mountain supporting the US Athletes was truly humbling and motivational. I was invited to attend a brunch with Olympic Gold Medalists Peggy Fleming, Dorothy Hamill, John Nabor and Nancy Kerrigan. I was touched when Dorothy Hamill asked ME what goals I am setting to reach for a spot in Russia in 2014!
Prior to the Olympics, I was thrilled to be nominated as Power Bar Breakout Athlete of the Year. This was a huge honor for me. The honor was bestowed on me thanks to my "come from behind success" in the first Dew Tour Event in Breckenridge at the end of December. The competition started with an Open Qualifier with 40 women, only 5 of whom would make it on to compete with the predetermined group of Pros in the Semi-Finals. I placed 6th and was VERY disappointed at the realization that I'd no longer have a shot at any of the Dew Tours for the rest of the season.
Somehow, the planets aligned for me. One of the semi-finalist wasn’t able to make it, allowing 6 girls to move on to the Semis! As the ultimate under dog in semi-finals, I rode my heart out and ended up qualifying for the Finals. I landed two runs in finals and finished 4th in the Breckenridge Dew Tour. This not only qualified my to continue on to the Dew Tour in Snow Basin, Idaho, but also landed me the Power Bar Nomination.
I also believe that this finish put me on the X Games selection team’s radar and as I was soon invited to compete X Games XIV. Though I didn’t land the run I wanted, the trip was still memorable. I stayed with PacSun and got to watch the rest of the event from the perfectly located, not to mention warm and equipped with viewing snacks, PacSun tent right next to the judges booth high above the buttermilk halfpipe. I also had the opportunity to teach the editor of Seventeen Magazine how to snowboard in exchange for some high altitude beauty tips! It was a great trip and soon I was off to another dew tour.
At Snow Basin and then on to Mount Snow, Vermont, I was able to land some of my best runs ever officially adding a switch back 5 and backside 900 into my stock bag of tricks. It is this consistency that I am most proud of this year. Landing such a majority of my contest runs was a direct result of the focused training I've put into my riding in the last couple of years. The final benefit of my efforts was realized when the tour ended in Vermont and I was named 2nd Overall Dew Tour Halfpipe Champion.
After the Dew Tours finished I took some time in Tahoe, got a great powder day at Sugar Bowl, and spent some quality time with my old Tahoe Select Snowboard teammates who I missed over the season. This time riding groomers, powder, and jumps reminded me how great ALL aspect of snowboarding are!
A bit of reflection has me remembering that above and beyond: Snowboarding is a blast and we are all so fortunate to have the time and ability to be part of this adventure! At the end of the season nears, I cannot thank my coaches and sponsors enough!!
I look forward to seeing all my PacSun teammates at the USASA Nationals next week! I am currently in Aspen Colorado at Gretchen’s Snow Angles and I drive to copper to watch my brothers compete in skiercross and slopestyle Monday and Tuesday the compete myself in Open Class Women's Halfpipe on Wednesday. Since I am officially back in school for the spring time I also have to squeeze in time to write 2 papers and an oral presentation in the next three days. Wish me luck!
Kelly went on to win Open Class Women Halfpipe at Nationals adfter writing this blog. Kelly rules.