Erika at the Aspen Open

Lapping the pipe.  Erika also rides for Niche SnowboardsWith no place to stay the night of the 7th, myself and four friends drove to Glenwood Springs to stay the night. Having just beat the huge cold front, and storm that was moving in, we safely made it to our hotel. I-70 was closed due to an accident, so fortunately for us, Aspen was the last open exit you could take. We have all driven by the hot springs almost every time we come through Colorado, although none of us have ever stopped to enjoy the natural hot springs. At 9pm we decided to go for a quick dip, before winding down for the night, and embarking on our journey to Aspen the next day for training.

It had been relentlessly snowing all night, and it hadn't let up much the next morning. Apprehensive as to whether or not we would even be able to hit the course, we got to Buttermilk around 9:30am. With so much snow overnight, we were told the course was unable to open until further notice. A couple of us decided to go check into our place in Aspen, and get settled. The weather forecasted sun for the next few days after, so we were anxious to train the next day.

It proved to be sunny, and bitter cold the next day. The course was big, and fast. With a semi-sore ankle still, I was nervous on the course. The jumps are big step downs, which have bad consequences if you don't clear them. I trained for a couple hours, and planned to visualize my runs, which usually ends up being just as helpful as actually doing them. After a long day of skiing, we wound down at our condo next to the fireplace.

Thursday the 10th was another beautiful sunny day. With a little bit of the chill dissipating from the air, it was a much more inviting day. After drinking some coffee, and sleeping in, we went up to the hill around 11am. I hadn't intended on snowboarding, and was going to film Jonny in the halfpipe, when I looked around and realized, there was only one other girl riding the halfpipe! I walked down to registration to find out there were only 5 girls registered to compete in the competition which was taking place the next day, so I signed up. Halfpipe is not my strong point, but I do have fun riding it, so I figured I'd give it my best shot! I bought a ticket for the day, and lapped the pipe. With some solid runs through, I called it day, and got some rest for the next day.

The next morning was just as beautiful, I got up at 9:30am, registered, and took the extremely long lift ride to the top of the mountain. With a quick warm-up lap under my feet, I dropped into the halfpipe, made it to the bottom, and figured well that's about as good as it will get! All of the girls stood up top anticipating the others' drop. I was very last, so I got to watch everyone throw down! When it came to my turn, I took in a lot of speed, did some good grabs, and some alley-oop spins in the pipe. The 3 run final seemed to fly by, due to the snowmobile rides we were getting back to the top of the pipe after every run. When it was all over I wasn't sure how I was really going to match up to the other girls who only ride pipe. I ended up in 4th, which I was pretty excited about considering I haven't done a halfpipe contest in years.
Saturday the 12th, more sun in the sky, I took a couple laps in order to get ready for the rail jam that was taking place that afternoon, only to find out that they called it off for girls! Apparently there were only about 3 of us signed up, so they decided to just kick us out entirely. That did not sit well with me, but it was fun to watch my friends kill it, and I enjoyed cheering them on. We got back to our condo around 6 o'clock, and got some well needed rest before my slopestyle contest on Sunday.

I still had reservations about the course, mainly because my ankle was still sore, and weak. So when I showed up on Sunday morning to practice, I was scared. I rolled through the course without hitting anything twice, and then decided to hit the first jump the next time around. Bad idea. I came up short on that jump by about 5 feet, and seriously hurt my ankle, figuring I would definitely clear it next time, and charged even harder into the jump, and came up even shorter! Ouch. That was it for me, I decided to call it a day and not compete. With a sore ankle, and a knee that started to hurt after that silly mistake, it really wasn't worth it to end my season for the Aspen Open. But watch out next year!


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