I just wrapped up my 5th World Cup Race of the year at Cypress , BC. I was having a lot of fun training on the Olympic course all week and qualified 6th on Thursday. Friday was race day and my friends and family showed up to support me - it was so nice to have them all there!
I won the first heat by a fair amount. In the second heat I was hot on Meryll’s tails and actually had to push her forward to prevent running over her. This sent me back a bit and the other two girls passed me. I made a pass into one of the big banked turns after a long flat section with two doubles on it. I was gaining on the other girl and thought I had to pass her to advance to the semi final. I pointed it right off the last hip jump instead of scrubbing speed for direction so I could make the pass but I overshot that tranny and couldn't hold it. I went down. I got up and skied down assuming that I had not advanced to the semi-finals. Turns out, Clara had already been disqualified for something that had happened up to when I attempted to pass her so I was still in the race!
In the semi-final I had a good start and skied well down the entire course finishing first. I had made it to the FINALS!!!
I came out of the gate first in the final, but got tangled up with Ophelie, opening the door for Aleisha to slide out front. Ophelie and I battled it out down the whole course until she got a little wild on one of the lower features and crashed hard. I made a good move off it and managed to get my skis back on the snow, just as I saw her flying up beside me, stilling gaining vert, partway through a backflip. I finished the race in 2nd! Pretty exciting to get the SILVER MEDAL on the Olympic Course!!!
As I was standing on the podium and they were playing our National Anthem, it hit me...I have a really good shot at winning and Olympic Medal.
Canadians took 5 out of the 6 medals at the Cypress Skicross World Cup. It was a pretty amazing day for the whole team!
I just got back from my first week back on snow after my shoulder surgery. It’s coming along nicely. I wasn’t quite far enough post-op to starting sending it in the course, and spent a lot of time getting used to my new Stoeckli’s.
Yes, I switched to Stoeckli, and I’m pretty stoked about that. I ran the course in sections many times and got my airs dialed-in. I actually had a bit of a break-through with my technique in the air. I nailed the big table-top over and over again.
We have new physiotherapists and they are really great. I was able to work with Chris Napier a ton while we were up at camp and he got me on to some new progressions of my shoulder exercises. He and Dave Terlicher will be sharing the physio duties for the season.
The really nice thing about this camp was that I got to share my world with my sister. She came up to try out for the team. She improved more than anyone could have ever imagined she would. Despite not having been on race skis since she was about 14, she was pinning it right off all of the jumps with solid skill by the end of the camp.
So yesterday was pretty exciting! It was a gorgeous sunny day at Les Contamines so the track was substantially faster than it had been during training and qualifying. Perfect for me, cause a lot of the girls get intimidated hitting jumps at these speeds.
I was fastest out of the start in my quarter-final, with Hedda Berndtsen of Norway right behind me. I came off the side-hill double with a loaded ski and my feet just shot out from under me. I somehow held it together, but Hedda went rippin' by me. I stayed right on her the whole way down and went flying by her off the first set of doubles coming into the finish to take the win in that heat. My semi-final was even more intense. I was way out in front...just killin' it...and I got bucked by this one little roller before the final straight-stretch and dislocated my shoulder on the fly. I don't know how I did it, but I just dropped back into a half-tuck and sent it off the two doubles, holding on to my lead right through the finish. That was when it got ugly. I had so many different people yanking on it trying to get it back in, speaking in French, and it just wasn't happening for us. I had to try and remain calm for about 20 minutes of that and then, finally, the French doctor got it back in. It was quite the scene! At one point I let a piercing scream of agony slip out and I heard the crowd go "oooh".
Coach Arch got on the radio and suggested that I head back up and just slide out of the start for the finals, in case there was a crash and I could just cruise right into 3rd place. I was all for it, but they ran the race just before I got to the start. So I ended-up in 4th, which is still pretty killer, if you ask me! The girl that I beat in both my heats ended-up 2nd, and Ophelie David took the win.
Based on my results at the Farnham Camp and my strong showing at fitness testing, I have been named to the Canadian National Skicross Team. The season kicks-off VERY soon!
So there you have it...All that hard work has paid off for me! I've been spending a lot of time in the gym and cross-training and have squeezed a bit more surfing in at Sombrio as well as some quality wet-season fly fishing.
Ashleigh grew-up alpine ski-racing and got into Ski Cross in January 2003. She immediately qualified for the X Games—dominated the X Qualifier at Tahoe despite dislocating her shoulder in training—and went on to have an amazing season as the youngest on the Ski Cross circuit. Her natural talent and ability, in conjunction with unmatched charisma drew TV producers in and she was often the featured athlete on programs covering the events. She got used to racing with a mic on her jersey and quickly became an ambassador for the new sport. EXPN followed Ashleigh for an insider’s look at what goes on at the X Games as part of an hour long special, called EXPN 2Day, which boasted 145 million viewers.
After returning from an extremely successful trip to Europe in ’04—2nd in her first World Cup Ski Cross—the rookie went on to win the US Freeskiing Open in Vail. These events were heavily televised by CTV’s ‘Roger’s Sportsnet’ and NBC Sports, respectively. The media exposure that Ashleigh received in response to her results and her friendly, outgoing personality put her in the public eye as the face of Skicross. This put her in a good position to expand her ‘brand’. Ashleigh began shooting with the industry’s most renowned photographers, namely Blake Jorgenson, Scott Markowitz, and Paul Morrison, as well as top fashion photographers like Bryce Duffy. TV shows including Pontiac World of Skiing, and Ride Guide had her travelling the world to different events and heli-skiing with other pros. She even made her runway modeling debut in New York City at an event Vail Resorts put together called “Skiing is Sexy”.
Ski Cross went through a bit of a lull when it was not sure to be picked up by the IOC as an Olympic sport; the North American circuit was fading out due to a lack of funding. This was the perfect opportunity for Ashleigh to focus on these other avenues and have fun skiing some fresh Powder!