Posts Tagged ‘janina kuzma’

3rd Place at the NZ Freeski Open

August 19, 2010

The big mountain contest for the NZ Freeski Open was held today in the Motatapu Chutes at Treble Cone. Conditions turned out to be better than expected, with firm yet grippy snow. Shutting down after any bigger drop was very challenging today, so most skiers opted for more technical lines in steep and rocky terrain which is actually very suited to the chutes. I decided to ski the venue on my Kästle FX84 (84mm under the binding) which I usually use for groomers and firm snow conditions. I was able to come in third after a fast run with good technique. New Zealand Olympian Mitchey Greig came in 2nd with Janina Kuzma taking first place for the 6th time in a row. Yeah girls!

Womens podium NZ Freeski Open Big Mountain

The next contest in the NZ Freeride Series is the K2 Big Mountain Chill Series, a 2-star event from 25 to 29 August in Craigieburn and Mt. Olympus, followed by the Export Gold Extreme, a 3-star event in Mt. Ruapehu, which I will hopefully be starting at!

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Freeride World Tour Chamonix: 4th place

February 2, 2010

After an amazing day of fresh powder and fun cliff drops last Friday with my mates in St. Anton, I received a call saying I have a starting place at the Freeride World Tour in Chamonix. This is an amazing chance for me and exactly what I want: to compete alongside some of the best female big mountain skiers in the Freeride World Tour. Luckily, Saturday was inspection day so I had enough time to drive to the French mountaineering and skiing capital.

On Sunday I was the very last person to start which gave me a chance to watch the first male skiers and snowboarders on the day of the event. It had snowed 30 to 50 cm 2 days before, but before the snow fall the south facing aspects were known to have been very icy. The result was that the fresh snow was sliding off the hard old layer. Forerunner Martin Winkler skied from the top of start 2, the starting choice of the majority of the competitors, and triggered a soft slab avalanche coming into a steep flank. Only a sheet of ice was left. Although I knew snow conditions were variable and challenging, and after much debating with fellow competitor Jess McMillan who ranked 3rd in the FWT 2009, I decided to pull through with the original line I chose from starting gate 2. I skied my line fairly fluently considering the conditions. To be honest I was happy to have stayed on my feet and land the 2 cliffs I had planned. New Zealand’s Janina Kuzma and I had a very similar run but finally the judges decided the place Janina 3rd since she skied over more exposure than I did. Fellow Austrian skier Eva Walkner skied a fast line placing her in 2nd position, and the winner of the day in the end was Jess McMillan! Her decision to not shred the gnar, but shred the pow, payed off with an original line over some nice airs from starting gate 1. Overall the level of girls skiing was very strong.

Checking my line ©NISSAN FREERIDE DE CHAMONIX-MONT-BLANC 2010 / T. REPO

©NISSAN FREERIDE DE CHAMONIX-MONT-BLANC 2010 / D. DAHER

The competition in the male field was intense. In the end Candide Thovex, international freestyle legend, persuaded the judges with a super fast and fun line also from starting gate 1. Swedish Kaj Zackrisson is one of the veterans on the tour, and a Chamonix local since 10 years. The strong skier took second with an extremely powerful and consistent run, taking clean and big air. American rising star and newcomer Tim Dutton impressed the judges as he chose an original line down the face; creative, exposed and finding the good snow. My mate Stefan Häusl had the run of his life and came in 6th after some huge aggressive airs. The most consistent run among the snowboarders was Austrian Mitch Toelderer’s line, with an interesting line interpretation in the middle, steep section of the course, and taking two solid airs towards the end. Austria is looking pretty strong for this year’s Freeride World Tour!

Next stop for me are some Freeride World Qualifiers in Flaine, France and Engadin, Switzerland and then the Freeride World Tour in Fieberbrunn which is going to be amazing! Fieberbrunn has finally received some fresh snow and conditions there are good.

“Pentes de l’Hôtel” face at the Brévent ski area

3rd place at the NZ Freeski Open big mountain finals!

August 16, 2009

I woke up to the sound of my alarm at 05:45 am on Saturday morning: it’s big mountain finals day! Competitors staying in Wanaka had to make an early start to make it to the Remarkables near Queenstown at 8:00 am. The decision to relocate the finals to the Alta Chutes at the Remarkables was made yesterday due to the high avalanche danger still present at Treble Cone. I had checked out the venue together with my mate Janina Kuzma yesterday and had mixed feelings about it. Snow conditions were definitely good thanks to the southern aspect of the Alta chutes (the shady aspect in the Southern hemisphere), but I didn’t feel entirely comfortable with the sharks (rocks hidden in the snow) or the “rock garden” style of terrain. Here, “billy goaters” would rejoice in the many lines they could hop through and around the rocks. But I made myself stay positive, it definitely wasn’t a bad venue.

The finals venue, the Alta Chutes at the Remarkables ski area

The finals venue, the Alta Chutes at the Remarkables ski area

Once I had chosen a line studying the photos I had made the day before, I definitely felt better. But during our inspection run, my heart sank. The main feature I had planned to drop was a no-go. The run out was much steeper and gnarlier than I thought – it meant I would have to straight line down the entire chute over rocks – too risky. Ok, I need an alternative…I quickly pieced together a new line, open but with some nice drops. More my style. Another quick look and I had to ski to the lift and hike up to the start.  10 minutes later I hear the head judge’s voice crackling over the radio: “the judges are ready for Lorraine Huber”. “Ok 5 seconds Lorraine”, you can drop in now.”

A few minutes before my start

A few minutes before my start

I hit my first bump, land, arching turns through the chopped-up, heavy powder, spot my first drop: a shelf on my right, dropped it, so far so good. I ended up further right than I had planned, but could get back to the shoulder on my left without stopping my flow, I had slowed down considerably though. I lined up my next drop, stomped it, and then…I just skied past my final and largest drop! All too quickly I was down at the bottom, panting. 70 seconds of high intensity skiing, but I hadn’t managed to ski what I wanted. Bugger! Man was I disappointed! But I couldn’t stay disappointed for too long hanging out in the sun with my mates and watching some amazing skiing from the guys.

Rebecka, Janina and I after our run

Rebecka, Janina and me after our run

After the comp I hiked back up the venue and skied my line again, this time as I had planed. For some reason I still haven’t managed to ski in competition as I usually do when skiing alone or with my mates.  Finding out why is a great challenge, one that I’m working on right now. Lets see how I go in the K2 Big Mountain Chill Series coming up at the end of the month.

In the end I was stoked to come 3rd at this comp, and especially to compete with skiers like Janina and Rebecka, who are both competing in the Freeride World Tour 201o. Visit the NZ Freeski Open website for video footage and full results.

It was awesome being on the podium with my mates

It was awesome being on the podium with my mates