I owe FIS World Slopestyle Champion skier, Anna Segal, an apology.
All these years I have referred to her as a pocket rocket of diminutive size perfect for a key ring. It would appear I am delusional, despite skiing with her in Utah for the now defunct Australian Skiing Magazine, hanging out in New Zealand and skiing in Australia for The Sydney Morning Herald.
While standing at the Alpine Grind in Rossland, waiting for the best coffee in Canada I realised we were almost eye to eye. A mere three centimetres divides us, though I suspect if it were kilos the divide would be in the double digits. So, either I’m short (and lord knows we don’t want to go there) or she was wearing insteps in her snow boots.
Either way there’s no denying her smile could light up a stadium and if the IOC has anything to do with it Australia is hoping that stadium is Olympic come 2014 when all predictions state slopestyle will be a Winter Olympic sport. No pressure, Anna.
Anna met up with myself and Australian turned Canadian photographer Vince Shuley at Red Mountain Resort this last week to get in some seriously good cat skiing at Big Red Cats during what one ski patroller called ‘the day of the season’. We were shooting for Powderhound Magazine, so I can’t show you the images nor reveal the whole story….you’ll have to wait till the mag hits the stands in May but I can tell you we had a ball.
A handful of very lucky local expert skiers got to come along for the ride and what a ride it was. In three words? Steep and deep. Throw in some trees, open gladed terrain, lots of roll overs and powder pillows and a ton of fresh dry snow. It’s a long way from the season Canada was having last year and they weren’t the only ones happy about it. Check out Jeff Amantea’s pics from the epic day.
We were guided by Kieren Gaul, owner of Big Red Cats and former skier for Australia back in the day. The man is the ultimate guide, patient, tolerant, great with group dynamics with an ability to find the best terrain and serve up fresh tracks each time. Plus, he skis like a kangaroo, he’s literally popping and jumping out of his skin with joy on every turn.
His tail guide, Chris Bouchard of Silverstar Freeski fame, was just as patient hanging back to make sure we got the shots we needed, though I suspect he was trying to hussle his way into one or two but he’ll have to wait for publication date to see if he made it. In the meantime here he is not in action.
I’ve posted some video below to give you a taster of the conditions which I am told are hanging around for the rest of March. I apologise for not showing the best stuff because who wants to video when there’s fresh lines to be had! Besides, we have to leave something for Powderhound.
Oh, and I apologise (again) to Anna for posting this tree hugging one too!