Ski Like a Girl

Jillian Betterly (outdoor DIVAS hard goods manager) shares of her first big mtn. competition in the Weekend Warrior Tour hosted at Winter Park Resort in the Mary Jane Chutes by Nick Whittemore and Adam Burke.

Jillian Betterly Skis Like a Girl at Winter Park Intensity was not what my first big mountain comp was all about, learning through good and bad judgements was the lesson of the weekend. While sitting in on our early morning meeting Saturday it finally hit me, this wasn’t a day of skiing with friends, this was a competition. Maybe I should have tried to get closer to 8 hours of sleep instead of the brief shut eye I got. On top of the butterflies fluttering in my stomach, the proposed venue was closed, which meant a new line. I would have to adjust my already rehearsed line and be ready to ski the unknown. Complete chaos circled my brain. To beat the nerves I went and scoped the new venue. Fresh with dicey moguls, a pitch that disappeared and tight lines. Oh boy, not feeling better. In this unsure situation a good friend came along, served me with some confidence and told me get in the chute. All of sudden I dove right in without hesitation. I was here to compete not for the win but for the love of skiing. A big part of big mountain skiing is being able to calm the nerves and just ride and this is what I planned on doing.

During my inspection of the Chutes in Mary Jane, I learned my first rule of good judgement; secure a line and do not change it. For those not familiar with big mountain competitions they consist of gnarly terrain and a judging on line choice, control, fluidity and style. Line choice is important, this score sets the parameters for the next three, pick a solid line that covers a variety of features. I was feeling good about the line chosen, I could even play back each turn in my head like clock work. Inspection was over, and it was time to begin. Since we were a small group of females, our pack ran first. I sat up top running through the line in my head. As my name was called I pointed to the entrance. Dropping in the butterflies calmed and I just skied, focused yet relaxed, and before I knew it I was on my first feature a spine with a few tight turns, traveling to the second which was clearing a rock left turning right in the in the air, setting myself up for a rock drop and cleanly rounding out home. It was a short amount of time but a rush that will last forever. With Day One in the bag and feeling quite proud of myself, it was time to enjoy camaraderie. This was where bad judgement came into play, too much enjoyment. Never underestimate sleep and there is no fun points on your score sheet. Second rule of good judgement, rest and relax, your body will thank you.

Day two was a rough one, but I was up, and anxious to go. The original venue was open, you could feel the excitement about fresh snow and more features. After a fun snowmobile tow out to the venue, I looked down to see infinite possibilities, my mind once again circled with chaos. Remember how line choice is important, this is where I broke the first rule. After inspection, I decided to change my line, which left me blank on my replays in my head. When it came time to drop in, I pointed to my side, dropped and missed the first spine. Without a clear line, I ended up in some gnarly rocks, got out to make my the second feature only to biff good and then a rock drop off to the finish. I came in feeling more defeated than day one. When reflecting back on my Day Two performance, I wish I could have done better but the mistakes I made have only made me more prepared for next time. In all, I built a new confidence for my skiing ability and reason to progress as a skier. I will be back next year, and with all these lessons learned, ready to slay!

Way to Ski Like a Girl!