These World Championships have been a challenging time. The downhill track was really long, but half of it was really flat, which does not benefit me because I have the least amount of mass of the entire men’s monoski field. The second half of the track was quite steep, but the turns were not technically challenging, so I couldn’t make up all the time I had lost in the flats. Regardless, I skied as fast a run as I was able, but all I could manage was 10th place. The super-g was the same situation but the field became slightly more competitive and I ended up in 12th.
The rest of the races ended up even worse for me. I did not manage to finish the super-combined, giant slalom or slalom due my equipment setup and the snow conditions. All of these events require a great deal of stivot turns, which means that you pivot your ski at the top of the turn to give the ski more direction towards the next turn than you would have with a normal, carved turn. Stivots are used when you can’t generate enough pressure quickly enough to make the turn in a clean arc because of the high speed, snow conditions, and/or steepness of the hill. My monoski carves an amazing turn, but does not stivot very well when the snow is really hard, which it was.
The World Championships were not a complete loss, however. On the last day we had a team event in the form of a mini skier-cross. We had an 18 second track with berms and bumps and we each went down it one at a time, with the three fastest times from your country recorded. As a team we managed second place, and I was the second fastest monoskier down the track, only a few hundredths off the fastest. I felt quite at home after many years of X-Games. It was not the most important race of the event, but it made the entire team a little bit happier.
The pressure of an even like the World Championships and to a greater extent the Paralympics, are unique in the world of ski racing. If you want to win, everything has to come together for you in one brief moment lasting no more than two minutes. All your training and media exposure you experience in the years prior is all focused on winning in these two main events, and you only have one shot every few years. If one tiny thing goes wrong, it seems like you have just wasted years of your life for nothing. If you can’t tell yet, I am not a fan of these events. The regular world cup is, in a sense, much harder and a better gauge for who is a better skier. To win a world cup overall title, you have to ski consistently well the entire season. In this environment I have done much better, winning three overall titles in two disciplines in my career. I have never had success at the World Championships or Paralympics, and those two events are all people seem to remember and care about. It is a uniquely infuriating circumstance, but that is what powder days are for.
Here are some pictures from the World Championships.