Ski Club’s Sophie Mead caught up with four Freeride World Tour athletes about the equal pay, environmental awareness and following your dream to the top of a mountain
It’s 7am in the small Andorran town of Ordino and we have just found out that the Freeride World Tour competition will not run today. Athletes, media and operations staff have all been up since 5am in preparation for the third stop of the biggest off piste competition in the world. However, due to lack of snow, it will not run today. There is a feeling of disappointment in the air but also relief. At the face check yesterday, the athletes were sceptical about what tricks they would manage in the hard-packed, patchy conditions. The last time it snowed was several weeks ago and a dusting overnight was not enough to bring the face up to competition standard. The early nights, days of training and mental preparation which the athletes put in will be put on hold until the next opportunity.
With a free day ahead, I sit down with a few of the female athletes on some beanbags, to find out their thoughts on the day. On my left is USA snowboarder Erika Vikander who shares a beanbag with Australian snowboarder and competition Rookie, Michaela Davis-Meehan. On my left is Jacqueline Pollard, the most excitable skier on the tour and Canadian WildCard Claudia Avon.
Claudia you are new to the tour, how are you finding it so far?
Claudia: It actually wasn’t planned and I work as well. I’m a heavy equipment operator but I was able to come to Europe and I can do this competition and the next one then we’ll see from there. It’s cool I’m getting to slowly meet everyone which has been a highlight. My first stop was Kicking Horse which went well. The snow was good, visibility was good and I placed second there. I wanted to see how Kicking Horse went and take it from there.
How is everyone feeling about the competition being delayed?
Claudia: I’m actually feeling good about it.
Michaela: I’m glad we didn’t go up there and then it was cancelled!