Practice

Last weekend was nice. I went to the gym and walked around with Jess on Saturday and admired the views of the mountain and the lower village. It is so beautiful here! When we got off of our bus from the airport, you couldn’t see anything. The entire mountain was socked in with fog. It was hard to navigate our way to the cafeteria for dinner, let alone figure out where we were on the mountain or where the mountain even was. I woke up, looked out the window, and found my answer.

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Right there – that’s the mountain.

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 Rosa Khutor

 Sunday was great. Karly, Jess, Jamie and I went up to the very top of the mountain and had an epic pow day. Pretty much the entire mountain is fair game and since it’s closed to the public right now for all of the Olympic preparation, there were virtually no tracks. We got 3 top-to-bottom runs full of white-room slashes, face shots, and smiles. I had some of the best turns of my life. It was incredible. I would have never guessed that I would ride insane terrain and get my first pow day of the season at the Olympics!

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Jamie, Karly, and I shredding the mountain! Photo: Jessika Jenson (@jessikajenson) 

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After-slash shot by Jamie Anderson (@jamieandersonsnow)

 Practice started on Monday. The course is pretty big. Not a lot of girls were hitting the jumps and the rail section is hard to get used to. I taco-ed the donkey rail on the first feature twice and managed to smash my knee (first try) and elbow (second try) on it pretty hard on the way down. It wasn’t a big deal though; I kept riding. By the end of the day, I was confident that they’d make the necessary changes to the course and I’d be ready to turn it up the next day.

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View from the top of the course during an early practice.

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The course got the better of me on day #1 of practice.

 Suffice it to say that the first feature is giving me some issues. I tried to do a few different things yesterday and each one worked out about as well as the last. My first bad idea was trying to heelside creeper the down-flat-down ledge. I got caught between the rail and the ledge, tried to jump out, and went to my chest on the stairset. I penguin slid down, hit my knee again, got another bruise on my elbow, and did a bit of continuous knocking- the-wind-out-of-myself that I’m sure is only possible when you’re going headfirst down a set of metal stairs. Again, I got up and went back for more. I was determined to make this course “my home”.

On the positive side, I’m feeling pretty comfortable with the jumps. They’re lofty but smooth and yesterday I was able to start working into my run. All of that was pretty short-lived though, because a few laps after my awesome firecracker belly slide I made another questionable decision. I hit the far-right down rail at the end of the rhythm section and tried to cross the course to hit the far-left cannon. It was a little bumpy and there was some loose snow; I lost too much speed for the cannon. Unfortunately, the whole course is cut. There’s a death gap onto the butter pad with the cannon at the end and the back of it is cut as well. I was past the point of no return when I realized how slow I was going. It was too late to stop and I rode up the cannon literally yelling, “No, no, no, no!” before I fell 20 ft. to the uphill deck. I bruised my right heel and needed to call it a day.

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Icing my arm, knee, and heel in the medical office at the end of the day.

 With some help, I hobbled down from the mountain. I couldn’t walk. I was given a set of crutches. Torstein Horgmo, another slopestyle rider, broke his collarbone on the first day of training. He said it right in a little blurb about his crash- “…injuries and falls are part of this sport, but the timing is just really bad.” Luckily, my injury is not as bad as his. At this point, I’m doing whatever I can to put myself in the best position for the competition. Today was supposed to be the 3rd day of practice, but I woke up and still couldn’t put all of my weight on my heel.

Tomorrow is qualifiers, but everybody that competes makes it through to the semi-final at the very least (the top 4 will go straight to finals). As of right now, the plan for tomorrow is to get an injection with a numbing agent in the morning and use the day for more practice. I’ll take my runs but keep it mellow, and then work on something better into the weekend that will get me to finals on Sunday.

I’m staying positive. Don’t get me wrong, it sucks that I’m all bruised-and-battered going into my Olympic event, but I’m not stressing or letting it get me down. I made it this far and I’m confident enough in my riding to know that I have the ability to push through and give it my all. So, anyway, here’s to looking forward and making the most out of the cards in my hand.

The journey continues…

-Ty Walker

3 comments

  1. Ho Ty!!! Can’t you wear a full armour under your clothes and protect yourself? It sounds so painful… Take care of yourself, we’re cheering for you from Stowe and wishing you all the best. Now take it easy until it REALLY counts! Cheers,
    pascale xxx

  2. Hey Ty – your picture above (icing all body parts) looks like what I bet Peyton Manning looked like on Monday after the ass-kicking the Broncos took!!!!
    Hope you feel better on Thursday for quals, but more importantly be strong for semis……

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