Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Wild Day of Slope Practice

They say that NZ is one of the few countries that lacks any dangerous wildlife, but check out the way these chickens swarmed our dryland crew! Mike took his squad on a nature/wildlife hike yesterday but kept them safe (even forbidding Serena from attempting to capture a bird).
We awoke to light rain and headed up early for NZ Open registration which went well. With the exception of Connor Hudson, everyone made it into slopestyle (bummer, he will be missed). As we headed out to practice the winds picked up big time and snow and rain began whipping down the hill. Fences were flying and we were soaked in 10 minutes. Practice was postponed and we returned to the lodge to wait out the storm. By 1:00 the sky's cleared up and the wind and precip died down. Girls and guys practice was combined and it was on. The wet snow made for a choppy course which was already a bit intimidating because of a kicky, large third jump. It took a few runs before a few riders attempted this last jump, one of the first 10 being Tikos, who got bucked by the choppy take-off and slammed hard, breaking his board but not his body. Yoga and fitness surely paid off for the young man! Undeterred and determined to avenge their sidelined teammate, Randall, James, Spencer, and Eric ran the course with authority. Eric linked rodeos to cab 5s, James gapped to front board, and Spencer linked a cab 7 to switch back 9!
I had been a bit apprehensive sending young Phoebe and Makayla into the fray but Mike assured me that with a careful approach they were not over their heads. How right he was! Those two enjoyed the practice more than anyone I saw on the course and are going into tomorrow's qualifier with confidence and excitement. Below is a shot of blog-hog Phoebe Novello attacking jump 2 with style. Big day of qualifiers tomorrow, and the forecast calls for snow and wind again. Challenging, but nothing the SMS crew can't handle.

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