Winter 2015/16 season is over *cries in a darkened room*
In her final blog post of the season, pro freeride snowboarder Angelica Sykes tells all about her season. And although it didn’t go as planned, she’s stacked full of positivity for the 2016/17 winter!
So winter is over for us Northern Hemisphere dwellers and what can we say about the winter just gone? For holidaymakers, tourists, seasonnaires and pros alike, it’s hard to find someone who did not notice the very obvious changes, namely in the weather. Don’t worry, you don’t have to stop reading for fear of this turning into another hippie-dippie article about climate change but still, I can’t go without mentioning the very harsh reality that faces people like myself; people who’s lives, passion and actual occupations are in the mountains. Not only that but as a more active competitor like me, I can safely say – I am writing this winter off. Although it’s not all doom and gloom, as I met some incredible people and I have grown a lot as a rider and as a person in many ways.
Where to begin, let’s get those negatives out of the way then. So competitively speaking, I flopped; imagine a fish that’s landed on the ground and is writhing around to get back into the water – that was me this winter. It was me when I tried to nail a cliff, it was me when I was in a competition. I had a few magical days where I was just feeling the love from the mountain and I would go for a drop and land it perfectly; then I would try to jump in the comps and I would end up either on my bum or with a boring run.
However, I only physically competed 3 times. That was because if a comp wasn’t cancelled altogether, it was re-scheduled to a time where I couldn’t drive or where I actually couldn’t negotiate the Italian transport system to whichever other alpine country I needed to get too. I won’t get started about all the issues with the execution of the comps once I got there, as I hope that this year was a one-time anomaly due to the terrible winter we had. But otherwise I am to never speak a bad word about the Freeride World Tour and Qualifier series EVER!
Not only that, if you are an avid follower of my journey on social media, I think there is like 2 of you and one is my mum, then you know I was trying to film the All Girls Freeride Edit. This was my baby, an idea I was so proud of and like any creative type, and I just wanted to see my dream come to life. With my best skier gal in tow and the efforts of the incredible Viktor Wallmark and Jesper Bornesjo as filmers and contributors, I thought I could make it happen. I thought a few weeks and some dedication we could film all aspects of the movie and nail it. I was wrong.
Bearing in mind it didn’t snow considerably until January we got so little usable material and I never wanted to forgo the original idea of promoting females in freeride so I decided to call it off. Lucikly my sponsors have been so sweet and they will support me for as long as it takes. So if we can increase that dedicated following to like 5 people (?), you will see me travel even further to meet some women I admire in the sport; see them ride and the landscape of the best destinations to do so. USA, Cervinia, Verbier, Rikgransen, Zermatt and many many more – watch out, this British gal is coming for ya with earl grey tea, dry sarcasm with equal amounts of politeness.
There have been many positives, like I mentioned. I had all my Christmases come at once when I found my roommates and the guys I rode with. Our Facebook group chat was crazy all the time, talking about when to meet, plans for the day and generally how to try and make the most of what felt like the endless spring. These people as a group were genuine, wonderful and trustworthy friends. I have met many people over my time doing seasons, gosh I am only 23 but I will be on my 11th season of winter and summer, but these guys rocked. I say in every article I write, every person I meet; you learn so much from the people you ride with, different techniques, safety know-how and overall style. To them I am massively thankful as they helped make me a better rider.
I am so ready for next winter on many levels. It is no secret that I have had my issues with anxiety and mild depression. I suffered terribly at the hands of it this winter. From an athlete’s perspective when you are not at the top of your game and your whole life is that sport, it can be tough. Don’t get too soppy and sad on me now though readers as I am so happy to say I am going 100% better. It was never a part of me, it being the insecurity and anxiety, it was just something that had passed me by.
A few months of being at home and looking at all aspects of my life, diet and exercise included, I am in a great spot. Going vegan has helped massively. I feel so light, I feel fearless and full of power. I have new energy to go into next season with positivity and a massive cheesy full teeth grin. I want to travel more this winter, to the States, and hook up with some of my favourite riders. I want to snowboard more. Regardless of the weather I want to be out there, even if it’s just to pick up a cheeky beer and do a few runs I want to grab every opportunity as a rider – filming, training and meeting new people. I have had such incredible feedback from new brands too so stay tuned to see what collabs I am working on for next winter.
Finally, expect a lot of rather corny yoga stuff this summer. Yoga has really helped me find my inner zen, no joke (I thought it was a hype too, but it’s legit, I am sooooooo zen. . . okay maybe not but yoga really is amazing). But also expect an edit to come your way showing great sports to do in the down season and a little ecotourism for outdoor enthusiasts thrown in when I head to Lake Garda and lastly – I AM GETTING MY TITLE BACK AS BRITISH FREERIDE CHAMP! It’s on!
Peace and Love