<< News Home

JOI and Vattenfall Ski Challenge
Thursday, April 28, 2011

Are, Sweden - Last week I was in Sweden for two really impressive events JOI and Vattenfall Ski Challenge. JOI is the Jon Olsson Invitational, which took place on a ridiculously huge big air kicker with about 90 feet from take off to the start of the landing. It was as high as a surrounding five story building. Before I came to Are, I asked Jon what day to show up and he told me the housing started on Tuesday so I booked my flight to arrive on Tuesday. I knew most of the other races were coming later so when I arrived I spent three full days without much of a reason to be there, which meant I spent all my time hanging out with the big air crew. I couldn't believe how friendly, open, and nice they were and by the end some of them seemed like brothers.

On Friday, the rest of the alpine guys Jens Byggmark, Ted Ligety, Reinfried Herbst, Axel Baeck, Marcus Larsson, Mattis Hargin, Truls Ove Karlsen, Marcus Nilson, and Leif Kristian Haugan, Tommy Ford, and Hans Olsson rolled into town. We did a qualifier to see what teams would race against each other the following day meanwhile JOI was doing qualifying. For the JOI event, only 20 could compete so 4 or 5 guys didn't make the cut. During training on the jump, both Tommy and Ted, hit it. I was impressed with how fired up they were to hit the jump - they were killing it. I told the world on Facebook that if Ted and Hans hit it I would too. Hans and I checked it out earlier in the day and decided it was a pretty bad idea since we never hit jumps that look anything like a wall of snow. But after Ted and Tommy hit it the competitive juices started taking over. This is right after I was sitting with Reinfried Herbst who said he wouldn't even consider hitting it for 20,000 Euros. I didn't say much. All I could think was I gotta hit that thing. I told quite a few of the big air riders that I was thinking about it so they were hounding me too. Then Tommy gave me the rental skis he used to hit the jump. The bindings were set at an 8 DIN, which means the bindings could come off extremely easily. They fit my boot so I hammered up the hill with Russ Henshaw, one of the best riders there. When we arrived at the top, I wasn't very nervous since I thought we had some time to prepare. He goes alright just stay the same distance behind me and you'll be fine. We gave each other a pound and the next thing I knew we were hammering down the in run. He was faster to start so I got into a tuck to speed up then approaching the jump I definitely had more speed. At the transition, I braked and then got forward. Next thing I knew, I was in the air flying. I kept watching Russ and as he started to go down I kept going up. Damn it. Not good. I stayed forward and got ready for impact. Since my binding were on 8, I was certain they were going to explode, but I landed smoothly pretty deep in the landing and everything worked out perfectly. It was amazing to hit it. I haven't hit a kicker in ages. I hit a couple a year and a half ago at a skier cross, but we weren't going nearly that big. I immediately thanked Russ for not killing me and took a few moments to breath. It was nearly qualifying time so I stopped while I was ahead to switch back to race skis. It was nice to finally hit one of Jon's jumps. In New Zealand I thought about hitting that one a ton and it just didn't make much sense. This jump was perfect.

Anyway, it was time for qualifying. The Vattenfall Ski Challenge was a dual slalom style about 18 meters between gates over a pro jump at the top of a pitch into the finish. The finish had VIP spectators on a bridge over the finish with TV monitors for sponsors. Most of us fully stripped down in our suits to catch a ride to the top. I was one of the last and when I walked over to the snowmobile line (we had 7 or 8 sleds constantly lapping to the start) it was so cool to see some of the best big air riders in the world in their baggy clothing waiting next some of the best ski racers in the world wearing their downhill suits. I took a step back and realized how innovative and different this event really was.

After the qualifying Leif and I were in 6th. We were matched up with Larsson and Byggmark. Leif went first and lost his heat by a couple tenths on the slightly slower course. I was up against Byggmark. The starting gate was a dropping gate - similar to the ones used in skier cross - we both had a similar start. I had a little trouble up top, but at the jump we were even. The blue course - the faster one, which I was on - opened up a little into the finish. Unfortunately, I came off the pro jump with barley enough direction so I found myself grinding down the three turns on the pitch so I wasn't able to take advantage of the faster course. I lost and just like that both Leif and I were done for the day. Ted won his heat, but Tommy lost so they were also out in the first round so we had some friends to hang out with in the finish.

We hung around and watched some good skiing as Hargin/Beack won, Byggmark/Larsson took second, and Nilson/Karlsen took third. As that was going on the JOI final was taking place. This jump was just so big these guys were for the first time ever doing triple flips in competition. Bobby Brown did the first one about a year ago, but there hasn't been a jump big enough to do one in competition. Three guys tried them in the final. Alex Schlopy, Erik's cousin, got hurt on his first try (not badly he was certainly out that night), Russ Hennshaw (hurt his knee on his final attempt), and Elias Ambuhl didn't land his first, landed his second, and perfectly landed his third. It was impressive. He ended up giving 60 percent of his price money - around 10,000 euros - to Pekka. Pekka Hyysalo is an amazing, yet very painful story. He competed in Jon's event last year and then went home to Finland to over shoot a jump so far that he was in a coma for a month and when he woke up was told he'd never walk again (which he has already over come). Unfortunately, Pekka didn't have any insurance and with all of costs it was a godsend to have Elias help him out. Pekka is a really good guy and one of my housemates last week. He was so psyched to be there as a judge hanging out with his ski buddies. We took him to the dance club one night and with a little help he was so psyched to have a couple girls hold him up. He still can't walk down hills, but he has come a really long way.

After the event, I moved in with Jon in some ridiculous suite (that sleeps 8) in TOTT Hotel and planned our next move. Yesterday we took a helicopter across Norway to Folgefonna, Norway for some training. It's so nice to get away from the intensity of Are. That place is out of control. We're living in a very small house built in the early 1800s and traveling primarily by helicopter to and from the mountain. The glacier is closed so the two of us, his new filmer, and the pilot are ripping around the glacier on snowmobiles getting in some killer free skiing. They groomed us a nice lane last night and in another couple days we'll start setting courses. We have Lars, an insanely fun pilot, and the heli here with us until Monday before he rips home. Earlier today, Jon's GRT car just showed up. Our flight from Are was 2 and a half hours while the car took 12 to show up. He had someone drive it here so we wouldn't have to deal with it. For the last two days I have only traveled by heli, awesome.

That's about it from here. I'm staying over here until May 16th, but this set up is pretty wild. Wake up, fly to the glacier over the most impressive fjords in the world, and lap on a closed glacier with snowmobiles. Things are definitely getting out of perspective. Oh well :-). w

posted by Warner at 4/28/2011 03:44:00 PM


Anonymous Anonymous said...

After getting more than 10000 visitors/day to my website I thought your warnernickerson.blogspot.com website also need unstoppable flow of traffic...

Use this BRAND NEW software and get all the traffic for your website you will ever need ...

= = > > http://get-massive-autopilot-traffic.com

In testing phase it generated 867,981 visitors and $540,340.

Then another $86,299.13 in 90 days to be exact. That's $958.88 a

And all it took was 10 minutes to set up and run.

But how does it work??

You just configure the system, click the mouse button a few
times, activate the software, copy and paste a few links and
you're done!!

Click the link BELOW as you're about to witness a software that
could be a MAJOR turning point to your success.

= = > > http://get-massive-autopilot-traffic.com

9:11 AM  

Post a Comment

<< News Home