Ed: Our girl Meredith Eades has been competing in the Subaru Freeride Series this season, we asked her to tell us about her last stop. Let's just say there might have been some over travelling.
Telluride might be the most challenging venues of the season for me to get to. My journey there started at 1:45am in Vancouver. I hopped in the car drove 3 hours to Seattle to catch a 2 hour flight to Salt Lake City. From there I was picked up by a fellow athlete Jacqueline where we started the 7 hour drive to Telluride. All in all a 17 hour commute for what would have been a 21 hour drive... why am I doing this again?? Lol! Although a bit of a logistical nightmare, the drive from Salt Lake City to Telluride alone, was completely worth it and I was excited to get on the mountain and explore this place!
It had been quite warm which made for relatively soft conditions and what looked to be a really fun qualifying venue. On qualifying day, I skied last for the ladies. My run had 3 drops in it and I stomped them all. Evidently the judges liked this, as my run landed me in 1st place going into finals the following day on Dihedral face which would mean I would ski last for the ladies again the next day. At this point in time I'm sitting in 4th place overall on the Freeride World Qualifiers and only the top 2 ladies qualify for the Northface Freeride World Tour, so finishing strong is pretty important with only this event and Big Sky Montana left.
For finals, I had a pretty solid run picked out with 2 smaller hits at the top and bottom and a rather large one right in the middle above some exposure. As these events are visual inspection only it's hard to know what the take offs and landings of your hits will be like until you're actually skiing them. Things look way different from the top than they do from the bottom and in my case, I couldn't get into my first hit and the take off on my second hit was gnarly and dangerous looking. As such, I had to opt for a safer route down leaving me with only my bottom hit to impress the judges. I nailed this one... Yay!
That said, after skiing comp runs like these, you know when you killed it and you know when you didn't. I knew that I didn't, but wasn't sure where it would leave me compared to the other ladies that had skied before me. They announced the results in the village later that afternoon. While being excited for my friends and fellow competitors, I was pretty disappointed to learn that I had gone from 1st place to 4th place. Despite that, you always rally for the athlete party and celebrate your friends victories!
My journey home has started, I'm more than half way back as I sit on the plane and write this. I've already spend 7 hours in the car with Jacqueline dissecting everything about skiing and life in general, and I feel so thankful for everything that I've gained from competing on this tour. Ultimately, these comps are just as much a mental game as they are a physical one. Although my 4th place was not the result I was after, the points I gained from it have moved me from 4th to 3rd place in the overall rankings and I know where I can improve for the last FWQ event in Montana April 2-4.
Yesterday was my last day on skis before Montana so I'll be the girl jumping off stuff in the street as an alternative to prepare myself for the next week and a half! Already excited for whats to come and finish off the comp season!