|Surf's up for Jennifer Heil.|
Canada’s freestyle skiers couldn’t help themselves at the recent Olympic Excellence Series in Vancouver. Sure, one of the main topics of conversations was getting ready for the 2010 Winter Games, but they also had other things on their minds.
“All we did, the freestylers is talk about surfing,” said moguls coach Dominick Gauthier. “We are so tired of being on the mountains in the winter that we just look forward to being in the warm water on the beach instead of being on the cold glacier somewhere.”
Gauthier was the first freestyle to catch the surfing bug and it’s spread like wildfire since. Many of the skiers were riding the waves after another great season of performances, including Olympic moguls champion Jenn Heil, Gauthier’s girlfriend (pictured in Nicaragua), and aerials champion Steve Omischl.
Gauthier said there’s a bit of a parallel between freestyle skiing and surfing in the balance required and finding the right place to be to generate the speed needed. He said moguls is like an “illusion sport,” where you’re trying to show the judges you’re totally control while being completely out of control.
|Jennifer Heil catches a wave.|
“It’s just finding that perfect balance of knowing that everything will be fine – and you do get that on the wave,” he said. “Even though the wave could be 10 feet, if you have the right takeoff at the right moment, it just becomes so easy. It’s kind of similar to the moguls.”
Gauthier said the freestyle skiers are conservative in their approach, opting out when the waves appear a bit sketchy, although they don’t want it too easy, either.
“As long as there’s not a little fear factor attached to it, I think freestylers are bored.”