Time for another winter of skiing and traveling! It seems like my season never ended, to be honest. Right now, I’m in New Zealand finishing up a two week training camp at Cardrona and headed to Austria tomorrow for some fun with Kastle.
This coming season is going to be very different from the past six that I have been through as a pro skier. I feel a little bit afraid, but very excited and definitely more confident than I have been in a long time. Last year was full of frustration, distraction, and anxiety for me. I had injuries, poor results in contests, and an overload of work, which was all brought into my life by me. I won’t lie, it wasn’t fun and I definitely bit off a little more than I could chew. I guess you’d wonder how being a pro skier could possibly not be fun, but let me elaborate just a bit.
When the season started, I was feeling ready for the contests. I had a spot in the Breckenridge Dew Tour for both Pipe and Slope which was really my one shot to get into X Games and the rest of the Tour. During practice I was skiing the best I had all summer and had a great run together. In my first run of the slopestyle qualifiers, on the first feature, I hooked my ski on the rail, almost broke my leg, and smashed my head really hard. I ended up in the hospital and had my first ever IV since I couldn’t drink liquid without gagging from my severe concussion. After that incident, I chilled out for three weeks. Didn’t do a thing, but plan some fun videos and do voice overs. Anything to distract my mind from my terrible early season performance.
Somehow, I managed to talk my way into the rest of the Dew Tours and X Games slopestyle. Needless to say, with my recent lack of practice, I was very ill prepared for the Games and ended up not making finals. My leg still hurt, I hadn’t been practicing any new tricks, and a film crew was trying to film with me DURING the contest, ON the contest course! The filming alone was a disaster for my mind. I had fun doing it, of course, but it wrote me off mentally for the entire trip. I managed to make it a distraction from the painful loss in the contest which I was trying to shrug off.
By the time the final Dew Tour stop came around, I was over it. Nothing seemed to be going my way. I hadn’t even started filming with MSP for my segment, I had no contest results, and the only productive thing that I had done was some character and advertisement online videos for my sponsors. The stress of doing well at this last contest really started to get to me. I was doomed before practice even started.
By the time I was getting ready for my second run of slopestyle qualifiers, I knew I wasn’t in contention for finals. I had nothing trick-wise that compared to what everyone else was doing and my confidence was shattered as well as my mood. I under rotated a double 1260 on the final jump and landed on the knuckle on the side of my left knee. My MCL was partially torn and I knew it immediately. It was the first real injury I have had besides concussions or sprained ankles and it all stemmed from my tattered mental state of mind.
I tried to put it behind me and look toward filming with MSP, doing more voice overs, and funny internet videos, but of course none of that worked to curb my terrible mental state. I was depressed as hell while trying to get my knee better so I could ski again. My mind drifted away and I didn’t care to even try to hold onto it. I had all but given up hope on competing and I started to do even more funny commercials and videos. I was subconsciously trying to pull myself away from the pain of what felt like an entire season of failure.
Needless to say, I lost a lot of confidence, but I found some of my stubborn ambition starting to push through around the time when the introduction of Slopestyle skiing into the Olympics was announced. Suddenly, I wanted to be part of it all again. I went straight to work on my MSP segment and managed to pull something fun together for the film. Another ray of hope came in email form from the people at the Telus Festival in Whistler. They wanted me to do the slopestyle and big air for the World Skiing Invitational. I suddenly had a new skiing goal. The season was not finished yet and this time I was an underdog again. When I first started trying to be a pro skier, ten years ago, the odds were stacked against me, and stacked high. I had that old familiar “under-the-radar” feeling when I headed up to Canada. I wasn’t a threat to anyone and I wasn’t considered a contender. I actually like it that way, I realized. My stubborn “I’ll show them” attitude got me into the finals at the WSI Big Air, my best result all season. Still not amazing, but a good boost of positivity. The motivation came flooding back after that and I have been pushing hard since then. With the growth of my confidence has come new tricks and new ideas for the upcoming season.
Sometimes things don’t go your way and life turns out to be a little short on fun and games, no matter how awesome it may have been going at the moment. Hang in there, it’ll get better. I promise.
I am not a huge fan of quoting people, but I stumbled apon this one from a guy named John Wooden, which seems rather appropriate at the moment…
“If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?”
I get one shot at being a pro skier and maybe just one shot at the Olympics. Now is my chance to do it right because there is no doing it over.
Stay tuned! I’m starting up the ol’ blog machine again! Lots of fun shit, including a possible internet web-series.
If you’d like to check out my silly segment in the new Matchstick Productions film, here is the tour schedule. Good times at those events. Lots of pimp Mo’Fo’s.
Have fun out there in the mountains. Winter is almost here. See you out there!