The Nendaz Experience (Part 2)
After a late-ish night of what felt like endlessly searching for lines out of a bunch of photos on the computer, we woke up to another ultra early morning and prepared ourselves for the big day to come.
At 6.20am Sam drove the car with a bunch of sleepy kiwis to the bottom of the gondola which accessed the beautiful yet gnarly finals face, called Mont Gond.
645am starts with Blake Marshall
We booted up, caught the gondola and headed to the cafe/viewing area to do another inspection of the face while we could.
Those who were dropping early had to head straight up, while those of us who were a bit later in the field were able to get a warm up lap on the gondola as well.
The hike up for Mont Gond was a bit longer and more technical than the previous day but with a small amount of wind, we were able to keep the excessive sweating to a minimum, even if I did gain a few knuckle scratches from the rocks while climbing.
We sat at the top, watching the last of the male riders disappear over the blind roll into the middle parts of their runs, all the while listening to music to try and amp ourselves up. (my playlist includes The Offpring, Blur, Yelawolf and Weezer)
The moment before dropping in was pretty daunting, you can see the top of your first hit, but you have no idea what is going to be underneath it. What I did discover after the first part of my double at the top, was that it wasnt a double at all and that the second takeoff didnt exist and was just a boulder. After a little improvising at the top, I found my main cliff which I was really stoked on, which led into a fast and loose runout, into another small cliffs at the bottom.
Nothing is better than making it through that finish arch, having stayed on your feet!
After many big hugs and sitting in the hot seat, I came away with the win! Lots and lots more hugs were to follow.
Finn Duffy came away with the win in the snowboard mens with a perfectly executed backflip and huge, clean line. Trick of the day went to him and he deserved it so much!
Initial prize giving was done at the top of the gondola, with everyone sitting around in deck chairs in the sun. Main prize giving was to follow at the bottom in town.
We found our way back to the apartment, showered and put on some of our last changes of clean clothes. At prize giving, those last changes of clothes got soaked in a whole lot of beer while we ran for cover!
The next day consisted of a bunch of hungover kiwis cleaning and finding their way back to their European homes.
Nendaz, what an amazing event! Will definitely be heading back again next year!
Finals Face-Mont Gond