Les Arcs hosts one stop on the Freeride World Tour Qualifier series. There are qualifier events hosted all over the world though out winter, if competitors want to make it on the the main tour then they have to compete in the qualifiers and accumulate points. At the end of the season the very best will make it on the the following years tour.
The events have different ratings depending on difficulty ranging from 1 star events thorough to 4 star.
The les arc event is a 2 star, and this year Sam, Sarah and i decided to take part as a bit of fun and to challenge ourselves. We have been riding pretty hard all season and all felt good. This was my first event where as the other two had competed when they were younger back in NZ so i was a bit nervous going into it. The days leading up to it were spent looking at the face we thought it was going to be on, until they decided to move it to another venue two days before.......which threw a spanner in the works as we thought we had an advantage.
The new face looked fun though, lots of features even though it wasn't particularly long.
The morning of the comp i was pretty nervous, everyone looked focused on what they were going to do. I had picked my line, but as i made my way to the start gate i suddenly decided to ditch my plan and go for something bigger.
I had seen a drop right at the top which looked big, i figured if there was a time to just go for it then now was it.
The anticipation of dropping is a very surreal feeling, its a mix of nerves and excitement. The suspense builds pretty quickly, i was 35th to drop in so i didn't have to long to wait where as sam was 64th. My time came to drop and i could hear the MC at the bottom announce my name, the event marshall next to me counted down.....5...4...3..2..1 and i dropped.
I felt really calm and focused all of a sudden and sent it off my first drop. It was by far the biggest i have ever done and i stomped it, i had so much speed coming out of it that i missed my second drop and pretty much screw the rest of my run. But it was smooth and i didn't fall.
I crossed the finish line with so much adrenaline i didn't know what to do, so i smashed down a Red Bull.....probably not the best idea!
I was pretty stoked to say the least, the event had a wicked vibe and everyone was pumped to be involved.
Sarah put down an amazing run and qualified for the finals, she ended up 4th...
Sam dropped the biggest cliff of his life, it was sick. he dropped his pole though which meant he didn't qualify for the finals.
I came 10th and just missed out too, but to be honest i was stoked to finish 10th in my first freeride comp. I scored really high considering i only got one drop in.
Overall it was probably one of the best things i have ever done. I've missed the feeling that competition gives you. It makes you push yourself and take yourself out of your confront zone.
People say that competiton isn't the best thing for winter sports as it takes something away from the free spirit of the sport. I think its the opposite, your not competing against rivals, your competing against yourself.........thats the beauty, thats what makes humans push the limits, that inner battle with yourself. Its not like other competitive sports, all the other riders are stoked if you put down a good run.....they are happy for you. Its like a community.....which is what this lifestyle is about.
I have signed up for another qualifier in St Foy at the end of the month.......