You can watch all the Fun Jumpers episodes here: Fun Jumpers
Timy and I arrived to Europe with terrible conditions, literally not a decent turn to be found. Good thing we had a parachutes! We hooked up with Ivo Ninov and went BASE jumping in Lauterbrunnen. After a couple of eventful days of jumping, we drove to Chamonix for the first stop of the tour. All indications were that the venue would have gnarly variable conditions, including the forerunner who tore his knee on a simple turn.
Timy and chose conservative lines, ready for a survival skiing session. I drop in, and suddenly its all pow. I get lost, ski right by the only interesting section of the line and end up feeling like a total loser in the finish. Meanwhile, the rest of the competitors are absolutely teeing-off. Reine Barkered throws down a line in a zone that we had completely ruled out as doable given the conditions; steep, rocky, multiple mandatory airs with big consequences. He skied it like he had skied it a thousand times before. No hesitation, some of the best skiing I have ever scene. It landed him 3rd place behind Aurlien Ducroz and Adrien Courier. Adrien had gone first, down the same line but somehow faster and Aurlien aired into the crux, completely blind and nailed it. It must have looked like he was skiing off the edge of the world from his perspective. Bold. Bottom line, even though Timy’s stylish run earned him a top ten finish, we’d both had a huge serving of humble pie.
We pow-wowed with Jacky Passo over a pizza that afternoon, the topic essentially was “what are we doing here?” The conclusion: ski to win. The logic was this: Choose a line that takes %80 of your ability, skills and mental strength to execute and you are banking on the fact that you are %21 better than guys like Henrik Windstedt and Aurlien Ducroz. Not a good bet to make. Aurlien and Henrik may or may not be the best skiers in the world, but one would be hard pressed to find a human being that would claim to be at all better than either of them at skiing, much less better by a margin. We agreed to come out of the gate in Engadin (stop 2) charging. I chose a critical 40-ish footer that reminded me of Smooth Air off of Granite Chief peak, albeit less smooth, more to clear, shorter tranny, critical trajectory, tricky take-off, exposed. Come to think of it, it was nothing like Smooth Air, but it was one of those long airs. Timy chose a 20-footer with a lip on it; back flip jump. Going to bed, we agreed that for us, bold moves up top are key. Make or break the run right off the bat. If you bail, at least you get to free ski nice powder the remaining 1500 vertical feet to the finish line. If you stomp it, you are in your zone; psyched and confident, skiing the rest of the way on an emotional high.
Competition day was blue bird and cold. The venue, the North Face of Corvastch is rocky, shady and full of flat landings. To access it, we rappelled out of the cable car and hiked up a ridge. We charged it. I nailed the top air as smooth as Robb Gaffney landed Smooth Air in Immersion, made my run. From there, I put up with a bunch of flat landing double stagers the rest of the way down, stuff you would likely not ski outside a of a contest. 4th place. Timy got bucked going into the proud back flip cliff, sent it… short. He dug both tips, chest plant. Broke his run, but not his body. That was that.
The day belonged to Unofficial Jackson Hole’s Matt Annetts. Quite possibly the coolest dude in the world, he rode non-stop the whole way and linked up a bunch of airs, found transitions and good snow, and made it all look fun. All of Matt’s landings were perfect, he did not so much as put down a hand. He won the snowboard category by a margin and represented for Team America. Way to go Matt Annetts!