I competed at the 2019 World Cup race in Pyha, Finland on the 3rd and 4th of December 2019.
These races weren’t my best finishes if you look at ranking (a fourth and fifth place), but it was a great finish when it comes to pushing limits as a female in a male-dominant sport.
I was the only female who was hitting the same jumps as the men; for me, this was a huge win.
To take the “female line” or “chicken line” (I hate that this is even a thing), I would’ve had to slow down and almost come to a complete stop to hit a smaller jump, and for me, this was not an option. I wasn’t willing to slow down on a course to get a better ranking. I was in second place, coming out of the fourth turn, after making an inside pass, and I only had a split second to decide my fate. I could slow down and take the “chicken line” or hit the ‘”men’s jump” and possibly win a gold.
So I took a calculated risk, I decided I wouldn’t take the easier jump, I was going to do the same jump as the men.
The difference was an 18-foot jump versus a 50-foot jump from take-off to landing, and when I hit the jump I ended up sending the jump about 65 feet, I got excited and wanted to pass the girl in the lead, and ended up going down.
As I watched the three other women cross the finish line, I was upset, not because I didn’t finish on a podium, but because I wasn’t out ridden.
I was beaten because there was an easier route, and I’m not the type to take the easy way out of anything.
When I crossed the finish line with my head down, goggles missing off my helmet from the crash, snow up my back and down my pants, I looked up, and the best men riders in the world were coming up to give me huge hugs and props for “sending the jump bigger than any of the men.”
I was able to earn respect as a female rider from the men because I wasn’t willing to take the easy path.
I’m here to progress our sport, to grow the women competing, to show what adaptive women can do, and to stand on a podium in 2022. This race was a test of grit and determination, and I stand by my decision and am proud of my accomplishment.