Moving on to surf season -- eventually
I just got back home from France 15 minutes ago, so I'm pretty ready to crash, but I wanted to give the download from my season-ender at the X Games in Tignes.
It was a tough contest, so I was psyched to walk away with the win. I was hoping to work on some new tricks and progress my riding, but the conditions didn't permit that. My riding is all about speed and historically I have had a difficult time competing in slow conditions, which is what you get when it snows. Basically, the snow magnifies any inconsistencies, and mistakes get amplified.
But less-than-perfect conditions have been a theme this year, and being able to compete in snow and overcome the conditions give me a lot of confidence going forward. When I think about the first event of the year in Breckenridge where I fell on both runs in a snowstorm, and then the last event of the season where the conditions were even worse and I came out with the gold, it just shows how far I've come.
I've had seasons where I won every event and although I didn't win everything this year, I won when it mattered. And that's big going into an Olympic year. There's nothing quite as tense as Olympic-qualifier events -- they're often more stressful than the Olympics themselves since the U.S. has such depth of talent. But I've shown this season that I can be that clutch competitor, performing under pressure. I don't think I could have finished this season on a better track for 2014.
Because of all the snow during the X Games, the day after the contest was a pow (powder) day! The mountain that hosted the X Games is an incredible resort, and we went riding all day. My brother, Tim, and his wife, Becky, had come to France, and they did a great job keeping up with basically the entire crew from the women's finals.
After that, we hung out one more day to watch the women's slopestyle and get some more time on the hill, then took the bullet train five hours into the center of Paris for a little vacation. I went with my brother and Becky, Maddy Schaffrick, Arielle Gold and Kaitlyn Farrington.
I think I could probably retire from snowboarding and be a Paris tour guide. Everyone was pretty much on autopilot, but I had the train systems wired. My map was so worn out by the time we left that it was torn in three places. I loved it! We saw a ton of Paris, had some amazing chicken and pineapple pizza and ate as many crepes as we could -- Nutella and banana is my go-to.
But let me tell you -- sometimes you just need a vacation from your vacation. I've been go-go-go all season and don't think I realized how tired I was until it was all over. It's nice to change gears and not to have to spend 99 percent of my energy focusing on just that one aspect of my life -- at least for a while.
I'm actually only home for a couple days, and then I leave at 4 a.m. on Saturday morning to go cat-boarding in British Columbia. The whole Burton women's team is going to a backcountry resort called Baldface. We go up in the mountains and take a helicopter to the lodge in the middle of the Canadian Rockies where we'll have three days of powder riding with the whole women's crew. I've never been on a trip like this where it's truly just for fun. Many thanks go out to Donna Carpenter and Burton for this special trip. No phones, no crowds -- just friends and endless terrain.
After that it's back to Mammoth for some fundraising events with my foundation -- we're partnering with a local charity, the Mammoth Mountain Community Foundation, to start a scholarship program for kids' in our local community. This will be in addition to my Foundation's other program, and we are excited about the expansion and opportunity to make a bigger impact in the lives of young snowboarders. We also have training camps that are TBD depending on the snow. Every year a private pipe is built on Mammoth Mountain with an airbag (basically the end of the halfpipe is chopped off and there's a big bag like stuntmen use in movies pulled up to the end). We use it to practice getting oriented with new tricks. It's not a free-for-all where you just chuck yourself over the edge, but it's a safer way to learn new tricks before you try it on snow.
Then, it's truly the offseason. I can't wait to ride my road bike around, get my boat out on the lake and plan this year's surf vacation. Every spring we take a well-deserved break and go in search of the sun and the sea. Gretchen Bleiler, Ellery Hollingsworth and Kimmy Fasani are regulars, and we'll see who else we can rope in for this year's trip. We're thinking of going back to Nicaragua, where we went last year.
But for now, I've got some serious sleeping to do. My body is tired!