This past week has been the Les Arcs Freeride week, which is made up of two 2* competitions and one 4*. I had signed up for the 2*.
The first comp was just above Arc 1950, the annoying thing was that the changed the face twice and then once more the night before the even which meant that any prep and line choices had to be changed last minute.
Conditions wernt great, the snow was very crusty in some places and icy in others, but this is all part of freeride.....its not all powder. You have to take all this into account when choosing your line, it forces you to make good decisions. I love freeride for this reason, using binoculars to scope the fact, trying to work out hobbit that drop is, where are the technical sections and looking for landmarks so you don't get lost when the moment matters.
My line wasn't very risky, i just wanted to get down without falling and out a solid run in. The day of the comp was nice, the sun came out and by the time i dropped in the snow had softened up a bit. I got a few small drops in at the top, and found some fresh snow in a couloir and that was the end of my run. Me and some of the other freeriders then went out for a ride for the afternoon. This is probably the best thing about Freeride comps....the friends you make so quickly.
I ended up in 25th place which i wasn't too happy about, i felt my run was a lot better then that but for my first comp of the season i can't really complain.
We had a day in before the next comp in which we could go and spot our lines again. The venue was now on the Malgovets face above Arc 1600, its a super short face but is loaded with big cliffs and creative lines.
The snow gods looked down on us that day and delivered over 30cm of fresh snow, meaning people were going to go big.
Thursday started well and the weather was good, my bib number had changed from 112 to 88.....so i was stoked. I had picked my line and stuck to it, no last minute changes. Two big drops, one of which was a double that i wanted to gap. Overall i was happy with my run, apart from i had a small fall at the end of the last drop.
Everyone was buzzing thanks to the new snow, a lot of the skiers were picking ridiculous lines and the snowboarders were getting really creative with theirs.
I finished in 12th place, which I'm really happy with......without that fall i would have finished a lot higher....something to build on before the next one!
The freeride tour has become a lot more then just a competition to me now. Its definitely a way of life. I have met some amazing people this week, who i hope to stay in contact with and hopefully get to ride their home mountains.
There is o much to take away from these events, I think freeride brings about a special kind of person. The dedication, the hard work and the spirit are all embraced by the competitors, although competitor is not the right work, its more like a Freeride family. Theres is a unique spirit amongst them, like an understanding that everyone is there to push themselves and inspire the person next to them. Its the attitude of "lets just ski" and have fun.
To me, this is living.
Thanks to Neversummer snowbaords and Fitwell