February 4th, 2020
Emma's Adventures II
The first stop of the Freeride World Tour in Hakuba was everything I expected, and then some. Despite the lack of snow and big tumble, I really wouldn’t change a thing. Going into the FWT as a rookie was (and still is) nerve-racking to say the least… do I belong here? Is my skiing up to par with these professional skiers? Visual inspection?... what is that? My other competitors welcomed me with open arms and made it the best possible first competition.
On inspection day, we stood at the judges’ point for two hours with binoculars, and memorized the entire face. I chose a conservative line thinking it would be the smart decision to stay on my feet, and just ski it fast. I had the line down, skied it many times over in my head, and woke up competition day ready to do what I knew was best.
Competition day, I got to the top of the venue while the male snowboarders were dropping. The light was absolutely magical, and a big line at the bottom of the venue started to make its way into my head. I pulled out my binoculars, took one look, and said to my dad, “that’s what I’m doing today. That’s why I’m here.”
Prior to dropping into my run, sure, I was nervous, but honestly more excited for what I was about to ski. That’s what freeride skiing’s all about; skiing big lines and having a huge smile on your face while doing just that.
In the start gate, I did my routine of following the ridgelines 360° around. “Emma Patterson in the gate…” I took a deep breath, danced to my music a little more, then “3, 2, 1… DROPIN.” I skied a bit timidly to start, then found a good rhythm. The snow was great, the light was perfect. As I approached the bigger feature at the bottom of my run, the butterflies were really flying. I came into the run-in and pointed ‘em. STOMP! I saw my landing, felt my skis hit the snow, and I took my first breath I could remember since the start. I began to turn and shut down the speed and took a big tumble with multiple tomahawks in the variable snow.
Thinking back on my line now, I really wouldn’t change a thing. I skied the way I know how, and I skied the line I wanted to. That’s freeride skiing. We take chances, and count on our strength and durability to pull us through those big mountain lines.
Now is time for the second stop of the Freeride World Tour. Kicking Horse Mountain Resort will host this one, outside of Golden, British Columbia. The venue is steep, and has lots of fun features. I’m torn between taking a smaller line and ensuring I stay on my feet to chase points, or sending another fun line. The comp window is February 6th-12th, with some weather in the forecast. Thanks for reading, and stay tuned!