Category Archives: Missfits Team

International Women’s Ski Day 2016 Recap!

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International Women’s Ski Day is a wrap! Thanks so much to all the women who contributed to make it amazing. While IWSD events occurred in many places all over the world, here are a few recaps.

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Aspen! Laura Merino ripping around, photo by Jordan Curet. We had lots of people out skiing for International Woman’s ski day, and I was skiing around with different girls all day. It was, however, one of the biggest powder days that Aspen has seen! They reported 18 inches or so and it was snowing and socked in a haze of fog almost the entire day, so it was hard to keep track of people, let alone take a lot of pictures. Super fun day!!

Crystal Mountain! This event was put on by our good friends at SheJumps. Great snow, cold temps and a fun crew were on the menu and everyone had a blast. Congrats to our raffle winners who won K2 Fulluvit 95 skis and a K2 First Lite snowboard.

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Stevens PassOver 15 diverse women headed to the pass to celebrate IWSD while braving below normal temperatures.   Thanks to a ton of support from Stevens Pass, we were able to offer discounted ski and snowboard lessons to 10 ladies which were taught by women for women.  Another group of 6 took off to adventure around the resort in the morning to then reconvene as a full group for lunch in the lodge.  It was an awesome day where women had the opportunity to ski and ride with a diverse group of ladies both in age and cultural background.  

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Europe! Our athletes and Alliance ambassadors enjoyed sun, snow and après throughout the continent. Here are K2 women having a roaring good time in Garmisch, Zauchensee & Ischgl.

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Vail! Huge powder day, 5 degrees and tough driving but  our stalwart K2 women made it in time for some great turns. Big thanks to Kim Reichhelm for her amazing help, as always!

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Kirkwood—Awesome turnout at Kirkwood – 20 women in all! We split up into an advanced/expert group and an intermediate group. The advanced/expert group headed straight up Chair 6 at Kirkwood to an ungroomed steep run and ripped it, egging each other on! We raced each other down the groomer to ski the wind buff on Chair 10. Everyone loved the snow so much on that run we all cheered when it was suggested to do it again. Amy led the intermediate group and Leigh and her daughter joined them – they worked their way up from the groomers on Chairs 5 and 11 to some off piste runs and finished with a run on chair 6. Because women are supreme multi-taskers, our group had to splinter around lunch for various obligations, but everyone made new friends and hopes to ski with a big group of women soon! –Meghan Kellyimg_7536 img_7564 img_7565

Taos, New Mexico—A theme of this year’s IWSD seems to be bitingly cold temperatures.

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It was so cold that only half the ladies showed up for the group photo!

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We had a clinic on how to wax your skis. Taos Ski Valley, Columbine Inn Friday night.

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This was a hit.  We had also a beer and ice cream pairing (New Belgium Brewing Ice Cream Social) and we showed Teton Gravity Research Tight Loose movie. 

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Sunday we repeated all the ski clinics and finished off the IWSD weekend with a Apres-Ski Guided Meditation.  Fun weekend! –Susie Geilenfeldt

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Alpental—It was COLD on Saturday, but still had so much fun with the ladies that came out.  We had about 10 women total and we took a few runs on chair 1 and 2 then went in to have a warm up beverage and did a “cheers” to International Women’s Ski Day. -Jen-ai DeCano

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Attitash—It was another successful IWSD! This year K2 New England partnered with Attitash Mountain Resort and the event was held at Bear Peak. The location was ideal – the event demo was close to the lift and lodge. It was easy for us to set up the tent and registration room in advance. We were given dedicated space in the lodge for registration, getting ready and storing our gear. Attitash was great to work with during the development. They gave us discounted tickets (only for IWSD participants) that the ladies could purchase at the event registration.

The weather was amazing with beautiful flakes throughout the day that made for some pretty sweet snowy conditions! Even though we were at a different resort this year – we had many repeat participants from previous IWSD’s. Registration was from 9-10. In order to be part of the official Après party and be eligible for games, raffle prizes and giveaways participants needed to sign-in with us – this also allowed us to capture their information to use for future promotions and events. Participants that needed tickets bought them through us and those that wanted to demo skis also filled out the necessary forms and received their binding settings before heading out to the K2 tent.

Everyone gathered at 10 AM; we made introductions to the K2 Alliance team and talked about the meaning of the day. All dressed and booted up, a certified yoga instructor and skier lead us through a short on-snow yoga and active stretch for injury prevention. All fired up, demo skis dialed in – we all headed up the lift to rip some turns together.

We all met for lunch at the Den pub for some food and to try out our IWSD signature cocktail. Then we met Santa for a quick photo and back out on the hill for more turns. Things wrapped up with our Apres party. We played “pin the goggles on DJ mullet (see photos)”; voted on the best name for our signature IWSD drink (the winning name was: Skigaritta; runner up: Mexican K2 timer) and did raffle prizes. Good times!

There is nothing like this event. The lady stoke is always so amazing to see and experience. Something about having a dedicated ski event just for the women to share their passion for the sport takes away social barriers and age stigma, creates a comfortable space for all abilities to feel relaxed amongst peers, and builds friendships.

Sarah Baer and her daughter Michaela joined us for the day – she saw the advertising for the event and met us for the first time at registration. This is what she had to say: “What a great event! Got to ski with some great ladies, and even met a new friend! Good exposure for my daughter to see the benefit of having fellow women who are committed to skiing together.”

Thanks to all the women who came together to enjoy the mountains. We’re already looking forward to next year!

Powder Dreams — K2 Alliance

This past winter, Amie Engerbretson and McKenna Peterson went on a lot of wild ski trips. Lucky for them (and us) Mother Nature smiled upon us during our K2 Alliance Team Shoot in Utah. As soon as we arrived, big, lofty flakes started falling from the sky and didn’t let up until the last day of our trip. Taking full advantage, we went straight to Snowbird and enjoyed a few days of deep snow, high vertical and tight trees. Looking back the conditions were all time—a Powder Dream, if you will. | Filmed/Edited by Nick Meilleur | Music – “Let Go” by CMRN | #seriousfun | Take a look at the all-new women’s freeride line right here and enter below to win an ALL-NEW pair of K2 Fulluvit 95 skis! Just be sure to follow us on Instagram and Facebook to be eligible. Full contest rules here.

K2 Ski Alliance: One of a Kind

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K2 Ski Alliance, founded in 2000.

Who We Are: A diverse group of women, all ages, nationwide, with different skiing styles and abilities that come together for the love of the sport, and to assist in the development process of K2’s women’s specific ski equipment.

The Allliance is the first industry program of it’s kind, ever. And the crazy thing is, it’s still pretty much the only one. Our biggest goal besides making great product is to act as an example for other ski companies to support women. Because who doesn’t want more girls involved in the sport?

Alliance trip at Silverton. Photo: Crystal Sagan
Alliance trip at Silverton. Photo: Crystal Sagan

Take your average lift line on a pow day. Hand pick the ones with the lucky extra X chromosome, put them in a line up and there you have a cross section of what the Alliance squad looks like. Just a little bit of everything!

A 14-year-old from Estonia who barely speaks English (and also happens to be one of the most decorated female skiers ever), teenage high schoolers barely more focused on skiing than boys, PSIA level 3 instructors, freeride rippers stronger than you’ll ever be, to grandmas in their mid-60s.

From park skiers to big mountain skiers, resort focused to dedicated backcountry girls, the K2 Ski Alliance is the perfect mix of women to contribute to a product line that is as diverse as the group of ladies developing it.

Anna Segal at Timberline
Anna Segal at Timberline

As far apart as we are from each other, we are a family. We communicate with each other and our ski engineers to produce the best product on the market. We make mistakes and are happy to admit it. We learn from them and fully embrace the process of trial and error.

Overall, we aim to provide a sense of community to our customers; for them to feel like they are a part of something bigger, an Alliance of like-minded females, no matter what the level of skiing is or where they live in the world.

The ladies feelin' the luv.
The ladies feelin’ the luv.

The Three Tiers of the Alliance:

Research and Development, i.e. R&D: These girls work with K2 engineers and designers to dream up, test and create the next wave of future product.

Regional Alliance: A network of women around the world who are local brand ambassadors. These girls work with their territory reps to spread the K2 luv on hill, at their local shops and at events and demos in their region.

Athletes: These ladies represent K2 in the spotlight and each contribute to the brand’s personality on and off the mountain. We look to these girls to give us product feedback in order to help us design and promote the gear they use and love.

Then there is you. If you like K2, if you identify yourself as a female and you want to be part of this collective, then welcome to the family. We are hooked on skiing and want to share our passion with you.

All K2 womens skis are tried and true.
Remedy and Luv skis developed for women, by women. Photo: Crystal Sagan

Let’s hear the truth about these so-called “women’s” products you make:

What does it actually mean to have women’s specific product?

It means the gear performs at the optimal level because it’s built with the female skier in mind. It is product with features designed specifically for girls from concept to creation (engineering to graphic production).

What actually goes into making women’s specific product?

Check out the testing blurb below. It’s a wild process. And it’s a long one. But we like doing it and we hope you like what we make for you! Out of the gates to the finish line, we try and make sure females are involved in each and every product we make.

Are all women’s K2 products different than the men’s product?

Depending on the needs of the product, there are shared innovations between the categories.

For example, a few of our women’s skis share the same construction as the men’s version. Why is this? When a good engineering concept is born and proven to be successful, we may use it across a spectrum of products.

Don’t forget we produce skis, boots, poles, helmets, goggles and accessories! We can proudly say though, that our entire women’s product line is tested and approved by girls, with most items having a unique build for the gals.

How specific to women are these products?

It depends on what we’re talking about. For skis, it can vary in the materials used (different types of wood, metal, urethane or carbon compounds), stature or weight of the incorporated bindings, type of steel edge, style of tip protector, color of the sidewall, texture of the topsheet, ink variations of the graphic, flex profile, aesthetic of the logo and much more!

Other product categories have components that are built specifically to fit a woman’s body: pole grips designed for women, boot liners and cuff heights, helmet shapes, goggle frames, etc. The list goes on and on.

In the rare case that the construction doesn’t vary much from the men’s version, you can be sure everything else about the product will be tailored specifically for the female customer.

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Longtime Alliance member, Heather-Paul Featherman, ripping it up at Copper!

What is the bigger picture?

Well of course the goal is to make gear that makes you comfortable and confident on the slopes. We are here to help you have a good time because #seriousfun is what it’s all about, right?

The Alliance also has input on graphic concepts and designs, model names, marketing initiatives, social content and collaboration, as well as events.

>K2 proudly started International Women’s Ski Day in 2013, which has grown into a grassroots, worldwide celebration. Follow along with us by checking out the hashtag #IWSD.

>>Thank you for taking the time to learn about the Ski Alliance. We take great pride in this program and hope that it inspires you to spend more time in the mountains.

>>>Keep up with us on social media and make sure to hop on the chairlift with one of the Alliance members if you have the chance. In all that we do, we #luvk2!

Instagram and Facebook

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For over 15 years, K2 Sports has supported the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF). To date, K2 has contributed over $1,150,000.00 to research efforts. To show additional support, we proudly place a pink ribbon on our women’s skis.

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Not a bad view at Silverton. Photo: Crystal Sagan

A glance at the TEST life:

Before the R&D Alliance gets on snow, we meet in house to go over concept designs. The engineers present their ideas to the Alliance and get initial feedback. They tweak their comps as needed and produce a huge round of prototypes for testing. For this purpose, we’re going to focus on skis.

Because we’re working on product a full year and half before it hits the ski wall at shops, the prime time for testing is in the spring and summer. At Mt. Bachelor or Mt. Hood in Oregon, we average four trips over the testing season and typically there are five or six of us, depending on the amount of prototypes we have.

You may have read about the process at magazine tests (producing your fall Buyer’s Guide results) but our method is quite a bit different, and maybe a bit more intense.

An example test day would be waking up at 5:15 or so to be out of the door by 6am. Chugging coffee in the car and scarfing down a bagel, we arrive at the mountain and get briefed by our engineers on what category skis we will be working with for the day. They hand out waterproof test cards and pencils and talk to us about the test groups. There are four groupings of skis on average, with each group usually having five or six skis. Groups are identified by letters: A, B, C, etc. and skis are numbered 1, 2, 3 and so on.

In the A group for example, the engineer may say, “Group A has 85mm-waisted, metal laminate skis. You are to focus on overall versatility and performance.” They tell us that while skiing, think about, for example, how the tips feel- are they damp and solid with good initiation? Or are you feeling/seeing some chatter going on? How is the edge hold of the ski on hard pack? Enough camber? Does the ski feel damp enough in the variable snow?

The engineers have specific questions for each group of skis. After briefing us on the day’s fleet, we break up into pairs or small groups depending on boot size.

Tip: if we group girls together by their boot sizes, then we don’t have to adjust the bindings as many times i.e making each run transition go more smoothly.

McKenna Peterson catching the last light of the day.

During these tests, time is so valuable. We have to ensure we get up for first chair so the mountain is as empty as possible and snow conditions are prime.

When we head to the lift, we are usually carrying at least three pair of skis and have a backpack full of goodies- a screwdriver, an extra pairs of gloves, a spare Goretex jacket, water, a snack and an extra goggle lens just in case.

(The weather in Oregon during the spring and summer is extremely variable).

Sometimes we’re testing in 70 degree weather on the glacier and sometimes it’s 30 degrees, pouring rain and no visibility.

The skis we’re testing are all masked with a white top sheet. We are encouraged to not look down at the models we’re testing. It’s all supposed to be about feeling and getting to know what you like and do not like about the ski in one to two runs. Why ski each ski for such a limited time? The goal is to not adjust your skiing style to the ski but to go off of your initial feelings about the prototype.

Usually, you can tell what you’re feeling in the ski within the first ten turns. The things you don’t like scream out at you and the things you do like are noticed right away. You make mental notes throughout the run, solidifying your feelings and continuing to change up your turn shape and speed so that you can get a feel for the model in varying styles of skiing, putting yourself in the mindset of the person that that ski is being designed for. Are you a beginner that is comfortable on only greens and maybe some blue runs? If so, you’re going to ski slower in longer and wider turns with less carving and probably not in soft or off-piste snow. Or are you an ex-racer, looking to flex and really work the ski? Seeing how well it lays over and how well you’re able to initiate your turn.

The testers also need to take many things into account such as the weather and snow conditions that are changing throughout the test day, as well as the lengths of the test skis and even small things such as the weight of the demo bindings on them. Every little thing warrants an extra consideration.

After the day of testing is complete, we head down from the mountain to do our debrief with the engineers. At this point we have ranked which ski we like best and why, to our least favorite and why. We go over the results as a group and so ensues the afternoon of back and forth conversation of why one prototype skied the way it did. Or why one that in theory should be so similar to the one before, skied so differently. The engineers then divulge the varying construction profiles of each of the skis and we compare the K2 protos to the competitor benchmarks.

After all is said and done from three days of repeatedly testing the same prototypes, hopefully the Alliance team has decided on a direction for the next round of test skis. The engineers and in house team drives back to our headquarters in Seattle and gets to work producing a new fleet of skis with the desired changes. This process continues over the spring + summer months until the new models have been fine-tuned and are signed off for production.

It’s a lengthy process, but as mentioned earlier, we love it and hope that you enjoy the product that really is developed by women, for women.

A group of ladies from the K2 Alliance!
United we SKI!!!

 

The All-New OoolaLuv 85Ti

Developed by women for women, we are excited to be bringing back the the Luv!  The new Luv skis provide ladies with strength and stability, but also forgiveness and control thanks to the all-new channel light core technology. The staple ski in the new Luv line is the OoolaLuv 85ti. Created by the K2 Ski Alliance, this is the quintessential all-mountain ski. With a versatile waist width of 85mm underfoot, the OoolaLuv can ski everywhere.  The new core gives skiers a lighter ski that results in reduced swing weight and a smooth flex that a hard charging all-mountain ski needs. Click play on the video above to see it in action and for an in-depth look at the latest from the K2 Ski Alliance.

 

Road to Recovery: Maggie Voisin

K2 Skis: What’s one word that describes your current mood?
Maggie: Content

Not always a bad thing. Where are you at the moment?
Park City, Utah

I know you stay up on your pop culture. Have you become addicted to any TV shows since your injury?
(Laughs) I always get asked this but not yet.  I have a lot of school that should probably get my full attention.

Dedication, nice. How are you feeling physically?
Physically i’m feeling as strong as I can be at 6 weeks. I am just really looking forward to a strong recovery.

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All smiles! Photo: Shay Williams

I’m sure you’ve been dreaming about skiing. Anything in particular? A certain trick a favorite slope course?
Lately I have been been reading a lot of articles and have been seeing lots of photos of the skiing in Japan. It’s been awhile since I have done any kind of skiing outside of the park and skiing deep pow right now sounds like such a blast and Japan seems like the place to go!

Japan did look epic. Two of your amigos got injured this season. What does it mean for you that two of your best friends are now in your situation (I.e Julia and Darian)?
I wish more than anything for those girls to still be out there killing it but unfortunately it doesn’t always work in our favor. I know with all three of us together we will push each other just as hard as we do when we are skiing. I think having them is really going to contribute to a huge part of my recovery.

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Maggie in her element. Photo: Shay Williams

What have you been doing to rehab?
After surgery my doctor let me come home for the first six weeks and start my rehab out here in Montana. The first six weeks are the slowest and seem to me,  to be the least progressive but I’ve been really working on my, range of motion, swelling and working on engaging my quad. Also because I had a meniscal repair I haven’t been able to walk
for six weeks and i’m very excited to say that my 6 weeks is up!

Have any feel good advice for others going through an knee injury?
The best thing I have to say is to not dwell on your injury. I understand that’s easier to say then to do but try and find the positive out of the situation. Listen to your doctors, yours physical therapist and work hard to get healthy.

Have you been getting some school done in your down time?
Yes, school and physical therapy have been occupying most of my time.

When can people expect to see back on skis?
I’m hoping to get back on snow in the next 8 months. I’m going to have to work hard but i’m excited to get back doing what I love!

Have you been working with trainers to rehab?
I’ve done my first 6 weeks of rehab in Montana and now I’m in Park City training and rehabbing with the U.S Ski Team.

Any favorite songs lately?
Im going to have to say Blank Spaces by Taylor Swift just because thats what the girls and I used to blast before we went skiing.

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Air Voisin. Photo: Shay Williams

Who doesn’t love T-Swift? She’s a boss. Any last shout outs?
I would love to thank my family, friends, sponsors and everyone who has supported me throughout my skiing especially through my lows. I am so thankful to be in such a wonderful community of people and i’m looking forward to a fun and exciting future.

MissFits Moment: Yuki Tsubota

 

Name: Yuki Tsubota
Age: 20
Hometown: Whistler
Other sponsors: The North Face, Sushi Village, Giro, Skullcandy
K2 skis of choice: MissConduct

Yuki! What’s up girl? How is life!??
Things have been really good! Haven’t done a whole lot since the Olympics but it’s so so so nice to have some down time to myself.

Tell us what you’ve been up to this summer…!
I’ve been slowly getting back into the swing of things, had a camp in Mt. Hood a couple of weeks ago. Coached a session at Momentum which was a blast and now I’m getting ready to head back down to Hood again. There’s been a lot of lake days and hanging with my friends which has been the best! Hoping to get out at least once for a camping trip.

How has your life changed since the Olympics?
I wouldn’t say my life has changed that significantly. There definitely has been more media and interviews and people asking how it was and how I’m doing. There are a lot more “wow you went to the Olympics?” I get from people, but if anything it was more of an amazing experience for me and I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to be a part of our sport debuting at the games.

What is your favorite memory from last season?
Probably the day I was officially announced to the Olympic team. I was in Aspen at X Games and I got up early to watch the TV broadcast of the team being announced and of course everything about being at the games also was unforgettable. It didn’t really kick in for me that I was at the Olympics until I walked in with Canada at the opening ceremonies; what a night that was. Surprisingly though when it came to competing there, it wasn’t that much different then any other contest for me beside the a little more pressure but only in qualifiers. Once I made it to finals I was fine, I was there to do what I came to do and no matter what happened I was proud of myself because I skied the best I could.

Tell us a bit about your injury from Sochi. And how are you doing now?
So on my final run I came up short on the knuckle switch and kneed myself. I ended up fracturing my cheek in two spots and a concussion. I stayed in the hospital over night and flew home two days later. I was able to get surgery quickly after I got home and take everything real easy. I think I seemed fine at the time but I hardly remember anything after the accident for about two weeks, for the longest time I thought somebody packed my bags for me but apparently I did it myself and no recollection of the flight home. I couldn’t really do anything for about a month after which was the toughest I couldn’t drive at all so I had to have someone take me everywhere and be with me. I’m almost back to 100% now beside the vibrations I get though my face on hard impact but it’s been slowly going away.

What do you have in the books for this winter?
My season is looking really great, very similar to the last two season without the pressure of the Olympics so that will be nice. Dew Tour, World Cups, and X Games. If I find the time I would really like to get out to Japan and ski if not I want to get out and ski more back country and do a few trips out.

Give us some insight on what it’s like to grow up in Whistler. Is it is crazy as my vacations always are?!
I don’t think you could give a kid a better place to grow up! I’ve lived here since I was 3 moved up from Vancouver and haven’t left yet and have no plans to ever. Growing up I did every sport you could think of and trying to jam it all in every week was a task but slowly they got weeded out and I ended up with hockey and skiing, and at the age of 12 I put everything into skiing and it’s been my life ever since. The schooling here is great too with all the teachers being very accommodating with your schedule, helping you catch up and making sure we understood what we missed.
…and yes it’s always crazy as your vacations here, living in Whistler is like living in a vacation. Go skiing all day, hang out by the lake, do what every you want then theres the village to go partying, shopping or out for dinner. Thats why you get all these people that come to visit and never leave.

I think you pretty much have the best sponsor EVER (besides us of course;)  Tell us about it puuhhlease!
I sure do! I can’t thank them enough for everything they have done. Ladies and gentlemen I’d like to give a big big thank you to Sushi Village. If you’ve been to Whistler before you know the place and how awesome it is. Hands down the best sushi and saki margs. All of the crazy nights we’ve all had in there… team dinners, birthdays, pants off parties…theres no better place to do it right. Putting that all to the side though they have been amazing support to me over the last two years and I give the biggest thanks to Miki and Naoko.

Do you have any rituals you do at the top of the slope course or before a comp?
I have one but I can’t tell you because it’s a secret. I do have a left and right ski that I’m very superstitious about and I also have a ziploc of notes and small charms that I ski with everyday, I know it’s weird but i’ve done it for so long now that it’s become a part of me.

Do you see yourself living in Whistler for a long time?
I sure do! This is the place I want to live forever and I can’t see my self living anywhere else, it’s home for me and always will be. Growing up here as a kid, I want my kids to grow up here and have all the opportunities I had.

What are the top three things on your bucket list?
That’s tough and I don’t really know if I even have any, I have the top three places I’d like to go but I know they aren’t very difficult places to get to and I will visit them way before I die. The first is to ski powder in Japan, I’ve visited Japan many times but only in the Summer and fall never to ski. I’ll find the time one day to go over there. Second is to go to Africa and do a couple week safari, I don’t know what it is but being able to see and be close to lions and elephants is very intriguing to me. My third is New York, it’s not very special but it’s somewhere I’ve always wanted to go. Just to see the main places, Time Square, Central Park, Statue of Liberty ect.

Do you speak Japanese? Have you been to Japan much?
I do, I can almost speak fluent Japanese but my writing and reading is non-existent. I get to speak it sometimes with my mum, family back in Japan or a few people that around town but beside that not really. I’ve been to Japan around 8-9 times hopefully the next time is to ski too. It’s one of my favourite places to go, the food is to die for and the shopping is up there too.

What’s your favorite K2 ski and why?
The ski and ride and is my favourite is the MissConduct. It’s got the shape of a traditional ski which I love and perfect stiffness for me, last year I went up a size which really helped me, it’s made it easier to land having more tip and tail to land on. What I’m really excited for is the Remedy 112 for next year it’s a completely new ski that I can’t wait to try out.

Who was your biggest influence in the industry growing up?
Growing up in Whistler I looked up to all the pro skiers in town, I would see them around town and on the hill and be starstruck. Of course though Sarah was the one I looked up to the most even when I was a mogul skier she was the one. She did what the guys did and was just such a big influence on women’s skiing.

I know Paul Walker was your #1 man. Sorry for your loss. Do you have your eyes set on anyone new?
Really? Do we really need to talk about this? Yes Paul Walker was my man and we were gonna get married and drive fast cars. I remember the day I got the news, it was so devastating and I cried. There will never be anyone that can replace my love for him.

Any shoutouts?
My family for always being behind me on everything I’ve ever done, my sponsors for supporting me, my coaches for getting me to where I am and making all my dreams real and a big special one to my best friend Annik and my man Ryan for putting up with me all the time because I’m so high maintenance. 

MissFits Moment: Sochi

K2 athletes, Anna Segal (AUS), Brita Sigourney (USA), Eveline Bhend (CH) and Yuki Tsubota (CAN), spent a few weeks in Russia to participate in the Sochi games last month. Anna, Eveline and Yuki competed in the first ever slopestyle competition on the prestigious world stage, while Brita represented in the halfpipe. Now that the games are over, the girls are home and the hype has died down, we caught up with the ladies to chat about their time abroad. Check out what they had to say in the latest MissFits Moment…

One word to describe your experience?
A: Exhausting

E: Unforgettable

B: Fun!

Y: Unforgettable

What was your most memorable moment in Sochi?
A: Hugging my family at the bottom of the slopestyle course. My mum, dad, step-mum, step-dad, brother and sister all made a massive effort to be there. It made me so happy to see them so excited.

E: At the opening ceremony, the entrance into the stadium.

B: Competing under the lights for my event but also watching the men’s slopestyle sweep.

Y: Walking into opening ceremonies with Team Canada.

Did you mingle with athletes from other countries much or pretty much hang with your team?
A: I did hang with the Australian team a lot. Aus has a small snow community and I’ve know a lot of the other team members from way back. It was awesome to catch up with them and share the stoke while watching other Aussies compete. I also wanted to take the opportunity to meet new people who were competing for Aus in sports I wasn’t so familiar with (like skeleton, bobsled and alpine). However, I did hang out with my good friends from other countries. It was cool to share the experience with the crew that I’ve been skiing with for the last 7 years.

E: I mostly hung out with athletes from other countries. Mostly with two girls from Sweden and Slovakia. Later my husband arrived, he competed in halfpipe. So we were hanging out together as well – for sure 🙂

B: I don’t think the freeskiers did a very good job of meeting new people. We had a lot of team bonding time, which was nice, but we mostly hung with the foreigners we already know and love like the Canadians and New Zealanders. Freeskiing seems to attract a certain type of person and I think we are all just used to that.

Y: Mostly my team but I did meet other athletes from Canada in other disciplines though.

Did you get to freeski much? If so, what was the terrain like and was it fun?
A: Sadly I didn’t freeski much. I went into Sochi with a torn ACL. It was pretty risky competing on it and quite sore. Apart from skiing the course, I stayed off my knee as much as possible. I had to in order give it the best chance to recover for the next day.

E: Until my contest started, I mostly practiced for my run for slopestyle. Once I went to the very top of the ski resort for skiing and this was very exciting. A wonderful view over the Caucasus Mountains. For the rest of the time I hung out in the different villages.

B: We got to Sochi about a week and a half before our first practice so I did a lot of freeskiing during the first few days. I’d been to Rosa Khutor the year before so I knew what it would be like and I made sure to pack my powder skis. The terrain there is insane. Huge mountains with tons of chutes right off the gondola and the longest runs of your life. It’s so fun!

How much free McDonalds did you consume?
A: I didn’t get any free Maccas! I was staying up in the Mountain Village (with all the other freeskiers) where we were deprived of free cheeseburgers and fries. The Coastal Village had a free McDonalds, but I didn’t make it there.

E: Twice. Once I took a mango smoothie and once I had a cherry pie for dessert. No burgers for me 😉

B: Enough to never want McDonald’s again. I’ve never been excited about McDonalds until I got to Sochi and it was the best meal option we had. I feel sick talking about it.

So are the rumors true about all of the risky business in the Olympic Village?
A: I mean…. I wasn’t eyewitness to the so-called adulterous behaviour, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. I did hear a few funny stories, but I don’t think it was any more scandalous than other big freeski or snowboard events.

E: Honestly – I don’t know. I only had eyes for my husband 🙂 but yes, I heard some stories.

B: I think that gets blown out of proportion a little bit. I’d say there wasn’t any more sex than any other events we’ve been to. Sad to say I didn’t see a single condom with Olympic rings on it. But I was also doing my best to stay away from the party scene since our event was towards the end.

Did you meet any foreign hotties?
A: There were definitely some babes around. The food hall was a good area to scope. But I didn’t make a huge effort to meet them. I had bigger things on my mind.

E: Yes for sure there were some eye catchers – many, to be honest.

B: Not really but I admired from afar. I think the hockey teams were looking pretty good or maybe that was just our own hockey team. Haha

Compared to the best parks and pipes in the US, how did the Rosa Khutur features rank?
A: The Sochi slope course wasn’t the best course I’ve skied- it was average in comparison to Breck or Keystone’s parks. However it wasn’t bad. The first few days of practice were quite rough. The jumps were built as massive step downs with loads of impact onto boiler plate ice. But the builders did their best to accommodate our requests. The take-offs were shaved down and the landings softened up, so by comp day it was a really fun to ski.

E: The slopestyle course was amazing. When I first saw it, I thought it’s huge. But day by day I felt more confortable with it…they did good work. I was never riding the pipe but it looked huge and spectacular as well. So compared to the US, the park in Rosa Khutor was as well shaped as I know the parks in the US.

B: The pipe definitely took some getting used to. It wasn’t like we just showed up to X-Games. But I think by the night we competed they finally had it dialed. Besides the snow being incredibly soft and a little scary slushy, the shape was really good.

Y: It was a difficult course to get used to and a lot of people had their difficulties. Good thing we had lots of training to get used to it, the last two days softened right up and the course became more forgiving.

Do you foresee Sochi/Rosa being a destination for winter vacationers from here on out?
A: I can see Rosa Khutor becoming a popular destination for passionate ski vacationers and people that are searching for something different. However I don’t see it becoming an international destination for recreational resort skiers. The place has ridiculous chair accessible terrain; crazy steeps and spines as far as you can see. But Russia isn’t an easy place to travel to and around. It’s exotic and exciting but in no way convenient.

E: For the Games, the Russians have built a great ski resort. The surrounding, the views, and the constructions are amazing. I really hope that the Russian people, as well as different nations, will use and profit from it.

B: I think if you have the chance you should definitely go just because the terrain is so insane. It would be so fun to plan a powder trip with a group of friends. I’m not sure how well the buildings and infrastructure will hold up over the years but the mountains are totally worth it!

I can imagine that the parties were crazy! What was the scene?
A: I had one big night while I was there. It involved medals, shots, shattered glass, lingerie clad pole dancers, creepy Russian guys and arriving home at 8 in the morning.

E: I preferred to have a nice and fancy dinner in the Swiss house or some ping-pong games. No parties for me with blackout stories.

B: Crazy. Imagine any Euro club and Russia’s the same. Lots of half naked girls dancing on stages and floors so crowded everyone is sweating and dancing way too close.

Did you spend even a dollar while you were there or was it VIP all the way?
A: I bought a few drinks one night, but that was the extent of my spending.

E: We had free food and drinks everywhere. The only time I used money was at the airport in Sochi: a bottle of water. Cheap holiday, hehehe.

B: I spent some money on food and drinks but everything in the athlete village was free. I definitely saved a lot by going to Russia for a month.

Y: We didn’t have to pay for anything while we were there, though I bought a few gifts for my brother and sister back home.

Were you able to spend much time with your family if they were there?
A: My family was in Russia for a few days before my comp, but I decided to wait until after my event to see them. I brought my brother and sister into the athlete village for the afternoon then went down into town for dinner with the rest of my family that night. They all had to leave the next day, but I was so appreciative that I got to spend even that short amount of time with them.

E: My husband was in Sochi too as he competed in the halfpipe. We spent some nice days together. Watching some other competitions and the Coastal Village. There were no other relatives in Sochi. I told them to watch me on t.v. But I had a wonderful surprising welcome at the airport. I also got my personal diploma from my family which is irreplaceable

B: I saw my family a decent amount. Before we went, I was told we wouldn’t see our family at all and to not count on being with them so I’m glad that wasn’t true. I met them in town before my event for lunch one day and I spent the whole day after our event with them in the Park.

Y: I had my mother grandma and cousin come out but with my unfortunate crash I spent the couple days after the contest in the hospital, so didn’t get the chance to really see them at all.

I hear security was insane, which is a good thing obviously, but describe a typical day of getting around…
E: Everyone had his personal badge. Without the badge we weren’t able to get food or enter the ski resort. To enter the ski resort we had to pass a security tent. The resort itself was barricaded. The sky was always filled with helicopters that checked everything. If we entered a bus, the doors were sealed until the next checkpoint.

B: Security wasn’t too bad; we just had to show our credentials everywhere we went. Everyone was really nice for the most part but I wasn’t about to mess with those AK47s.

Were the locals friendly?
A: All the local volunteers in the athlete venues were extremely friendly. They always wanted to chat. Outside the Sochi “bubble” was another story. Russians seem to have a very grave/stern manner. I don’t think they mean to be rude, it’s more of a cultural difference.

E: I met different locals, some got a real poker face and some were extremely friendly. But to communicate with them was quite difficult as most of them didn’t speak English.

B: All of the volunteers were super nice and loved Americans. Everywhere we went they wanted to take pictures with us and chanted USA as we walked by. There were still a handful of surly waitresses and security guys that we dealt with but maybe they were just having a bad day.

What was the craziest food you tried?
A: I didn’t see or try anything too crazy. The Russian section of the food hall always had a lot of potato, beetroot and cabbage -No Beluga caviar unfortunately.

B: I never got too adventurous in my food selections. I tried to keep it pretty safe so I wouldn’t get sick and mostly ate pasta with red sauce or bread and cheese and yogurt and fruit. I definitely had some skeptical dumpling things at one point but never really branched out again after that.

What was your favorite event?
A: I had a really good time watching men and women’s aerials. I’ve spent a lot of time with the Australian aerialists over the last couple of years so it was awesome finally getting to see them compete. The tricks they do are insane! Plus Australia won two medals, which got everyone really hyped.
E: I went to the Russia – USA ice hockey match. It was amazing to sit in the middle of the Russian fans.

B: Obviously watching all of the slopestyle and halfpipe events were my favorite because I knew most of the athletes and it was fun to watch my friends showcase their sports to the world.

Assuming you’re aware of the contest, do you want to #datenickgoepper ?
A: Haha. Goepper is a little young for me! He is a really sweet kid though. I hope he got his wish to go on a date with T-Swift.

B: Ha. No thanks.

Would you go back to Sochi to ski or are you over it?
A: I would definitely go back to ski. Both times I’ve visited the area I haven’t been able to take advantage of the terrain as I’ve been injured. I have unfinished business in those mountains. We should do a K2 alliance trip there next season 😉

E: I saw the amazing mountains over there. It looked like you could have lots of fun to ski there. It would be interesting to go to Sochi again after some years to see how everything changed and developed.

B: I would go back in the future but I’d be ok with not going to Russia for a little bit, too. I feel like I’ve experienced enough of it to last me a while.

What’s on the agenda for the rest of the season?
A: My season is done 🙁 I’m currently on a flight back to Australia. I start back at University tomorrow and also have an appointment with my knee surgeon this week. By the end of the year I’ll be done with school, have a strong knee and will be ready to start shredding again!!

E: I now want to relax a bit. Amongst the Games and all the preparation for it I didn’t feel how tired I am actually. I am a bit powerless now and I enjoy being home for a moment. But there are some comps coming up like another world cup in Silvaplana and the European open in Laax.

B: I think I’m going to head to France in the middle of March for one more AFP event but I mostly just want to ski and have fun. I can’t wait to shred this summer in Whistler and Mammoth and learn a bunch of new tricks. I also have a couple of beach trips planned that I can’t wait to go on.

Y: The rest of my season is looking very mellow. I just got surgery the other day so it’s time to recover for about 2-4 weeks. I’ll see how I feel then and decide. There are a few contests I’d like to go to around here but I’d really like to just take the time and ski at home with friends.

MissFits Moment: Anna Segal

Name: Anna Segal
Age: 27
Home Mtn:  Breckenridge, CO and Thredbo, Australia
K2 Skis of Choice: MissConduct, Remedy 117
Sponsors: K2, Dakine, Bolle, Thredbo, Breckenridge, Full Tilt

What do you love most about skiing?
A combination of the adrenaline rush, the progression, constant challenge and above all, being outdoors with my friends on a daily basis.

Growing up in Australia, away from most of the industry, who was your biggest skiing mentor?
Even though I grew up on the other side of the world, I had access to the international ski scene through ski movies. I used to watch old ski movies like Propoganda, Happy Days and Shanghai Six on repeat! I loved watching the guys, but my favourite segments were of girls such as Sarah Burke, Kristi Leskinen and Marie Martinod. All those girls acted as mentors for me. They inspired me to think that if they could do it, so could I.

How is your knee recovering and can you give us an update on your overall health?
My knee is coming along well. It’s been a slow process taking longer than I first anticipated, which at times has been frustrating. I spent 4 months up in Sydney working with the Australian team trainer. During this time it felt like all I was doing was training, icing, eating and sleeping. But I did what I needed to do to get back on snow as soon as possible. I’m now back jumping, hitting rails and I even got a few sneaky pow days in Aus.

What are your future skiing plans?
That’s a hard one. My main focus right now is the 2014 Olympics in Russia. However once that is done…… Ahhhh. I have so many ideas and things I want to do with my skiing. I want to ski pow, build back country jumps, film and shoot photos. I’ve put all these things on the back burner this last year. I’m just craving to go on some adventures!! I’m going to keep my mind open and see what opportunities come my way.

Of all your gold medals (FIS FSWC 2011, Winter X-Games 2009, US Freeski Open 2007), which are you most proud of and why?
It’s hard to pick one which I am most proud of. None of them came easy, nor were any of them expected. The 2007 US Freeski Open was my first professional comp and I had a broken wrist and a smashed up face. For X-Games I skied with a torn meniscus and had the flu and before the 2011 FIS World Champs I was struggling with my skiing confidence. So for each one I feel like I overcame some hard times, which made each win that much sweeter.

Do you listen to tunes when you ride? If so, what jams get you going?
Yeh, almost all the time. I’m always switching up what I’m listening to depending on my mood. At the moment I’m pretty into Flume, Aluna George and the Foals’ new album. But I have some staples that I’ll always go back to; The White Stripes, Rage Against the Machine, The Fugees and lots of old school hip hop. Kind of a strange mix.

Being from Australia, would your rather own a koala or kangaroo as a pet?
I think a Koala would be easier to look after. They just chill in the trees and get stoned on Eucalyptus oils.

Which upcoming contest are you most excited for?
I think the first one, which will be the Breckenridge Dew Tour. I love competing at my home mountain because I don’t have to travel anywhere! Plus Breck has the best jumps, so I know the course will be money! I haven’t competed since February and I’m really looking forward to getting back into it.

Is there a particular park feature that you like best?
It depends on the day, my mood and how I’m skiing. So no, I don’t have one favourite feature.

Any new tricks in store for the 2014 season?
I’m all about learning new tricks, it’s why I love skiing park- there’s always progression to be made. There’s a lot of tricks I’d like to stomp and bring to competition next season, but I’m not going to claim them until I’ve got them on lock.

Which resort has the best park? Why?
That’s easy- Breckenridge. The park crew has jump building down to a fine art and they never slack on raking.  Plus, Breck has two full runs dedicated to the park which they jam pack full of features and continue to change it up throughout the season.

Favorite ski resort in the world and why?
Breckenridge in the Northern hemisphere and Thredbo down in Australia. There’s nothing more fun than skiing at your home resort. When it snows, I know where all the good stashes are and on any given day there are always heaps of friends around to ski with.

Who is your favorite skier to watch and who has the best style?
Ahh, there are too many…… I love watching B-dog for his creativity, Wallisch for his landings, Pettit’s ability to ski massive lines and still get playful with them, Kaya Turski for her park skills and Candide for being an all round badass. That’s just to name a few.

If you could be pro in any other sport, what would it be?
I’d be a pro surfer (not that I assume that this would have ever happened)- I always joke with my mum that she should have brought me up as a surfer as I’d be able to spend a lot more time at home in Australia.

How can you best describe the difference between ski culture in the the northern hemisphere vs. the southern?
Down in Aus we are less spoiled with long runs, long seasons and lots of snow. People are just stoked if it isn’t raining and 4 inches of fresh is considered a pow day! People have lower expectations as far as conditions go, which is refreshing. Shredding back home reminds me that skiing is all about having fun, getting creative and being outdoors with my friends. No expectations!

How are you training for the Olympics?
On the physical side of things, I’ve been doing a lot of work in the gym, trying to make myself bullet proof so I’m less likely to get injured on snow. Over the last year I’ve also been working a lot on the mental side of things. I’ve been learning how to stay happy and focused no matter what the situation.

What do you most look forward to about competing in Sochi?
I’m looking forward to representing my country. Previously in freeskiing I’ve represented myself and my sponsors. Which is fun and all, but I think there will be something more special in being on the world stage and representing my home country.

What are your passions besides skiing?
I LOVE surfing. I’m not great at it, but it’s the only other thing that gives me the same happiness as skiing.

What are your tips for aspiring professional female skiers?
Keeping your body strong is key. Most female skiers want to be hitting the same features as the guys, which is totally do-able. But  our bodies are not naturally as strong. Putting in time in the gym isn’t always fun, but it will prevent injuries and help you progress faster. Most girls realise this after their first big injury. My advice is to discover it before.

Missfits Moment: Christine Hargin

FWT favorite Christine Hargin gives you a little insight to life as one of the world’s best female big mountain skiers!

Age: 33
Home Mountain: None really since I live in Stockholm, but I travel to ski all over the world.
K2 Skis of choice: Pettitor (Shreditor 120)
Sponsors: K2, Norrøna, Kombi, Sweet Protection gear, Yniq.

What have you been up to this summer? I’ve been focusing on physical training; started to work with a trainer and have been training on the water jump to learn some tricks. I’ve also gotten in a few surfing days.

Tell us a bit about your last season… It started well with two victories in the Freeride World Tour, had an amazing trip to California with both skiing and surfing and ended the season a bit early due to a minor injury.

How does it feel to be the FWT Champion from 2012 and in the top 5 the past 3 years? It feels great! Also the tour is growing and I feel lucky to have been a part of it. Its a great combination for me to be part of the world tour and also to be involved in some interesting projects.

We see that you’ve been hitting the water ramps, any new tricks you’ve nailed? Yeah, I think that I need to get better with tricks overall so I started with some basic flips and hopefully I can take them to the backcountry this winter. It would be cool to take them to the world tour as well. It’s also important for air control so I don’t forget that feeling during the summer break.

What are you looking forward to this upcoming season? Looking forward to being back on the world tour, some film projects and to visit new, amazing places in the world.

Any big trips planned? Lofoten, Norway and Alaska.

What’s the most challenging part of dropping cliffs in competition opposed to riding for fun? You can’t see it closely and you have to nail it on the first try!

What’s the biggest thing you’ve ever hucked off of? My last part in Freeradicals, The Sunny Side. It is a cliff with an icefall, where the sluff pushed me out. Watch it in my edit!

Any advice to girls wanting to build confidence to drop cliffs? Start jumping off of cliffs everywhere while riding and also be in the park a bit to get used to the air time. It has to be a thing you always do when you ride, you cant wait to practice in contests. Start with some small stuff and develop from that, so that you stay away from being injured.

Where is the biggest/best spine you’ve ever ridden?  Verbier, Bec de rosses

Favorite après ski town to party in after a hard day riding?Favorite bar there? In Verbier, France. Also in Åre, Dalboms.

What are you doing when you’re not skiing? Surfing, skateboarding and arranging events.

What’s your favorite summertime activity? Traveling and living in my VW-van!

Skier you look up to the most? Why? My brother Mattias and my sister Janette because of their strong riding styles. Also those who can rip all over the mountain; freeride, park and everything in between.

Craziest person you’ve ever skied with? I’d have to say my boyfriend Adam- watch my Instagram (@krikkan_) for some proof this winter!

Photo by: Hannes Soderlund

 

MissFits Moment: Kelly Sildaru

Name: Kelly Sildaru
Age: 11
Home Mountain: Nõmme Lumepark
K2 Ski of choice: Missy
Sponsors: K2, Red Bull, Nike, Oakley, Blue Tomato, Mariine, Dalbello

How is summer in Estonia?
Summer is always great. I don’t have to go to school, get to sleep as long as I want in the mornings and stay up late. I wish summer would be warmer in Estonia so I could spend more time on the beach; longboarding and wakeboarding are also good fun.

What are your typical activities every day there?
Sleeping and eating of course, playing and fighting with my brother, just chilling and hanging around, meeting up with friends, sometimes doing workouts or longboarding, wakeboarding or cycling to the beach. Also my mother wants me to do some cleaning after myself, but I often forget that.

Where do you plan on travelling for skiing this winter?
I am dreaming of reaching some new destinations, but not sure if it will come true.

What are you most excited for this season?
IF3 Tokyo and even more for the Olympics.

Have you learned any new tricks recently?
Everything new will get revealed in my new season edit, so stay tuned!

Who is your favorite skiing partner?
Madi Rowlands, a girl from the UK who I met last summer in L2A. Since then I’m always hoping she shows up in the comps I go to so that we can ski and hang out together. It is huge for me to ski with someone my age and even more importantly with a girl.

Are you excited to see the Olympics unfold and to hopefully be a part of them someday?
I am super exited about that and how it will all turn out. Right now no one has any experience with the jumps or judging. Also it is very interesting to see how it will affect freestyle skiing, especially the girls scene. I wish I could already be a part of it but I just have to wait until I am old enough to represent my country in such a grand event as the Olympics. With slopestyle and pipe skiing added to Olympics there has been an idea rolling in my head; how they should name the medals `Sarah` to carry on her legacy to many generations and also to honor her. Grammys and Oscars are being given, it would be very beautiful to give and own a `Sarah`
but it is just an idea of mine and most likely it would be possible with a competition other than the Olympics.

Do you go to school full time?
Yes, but I’m not fully there. During the winter I am away a few times for a few weeks and then I take assignments from teachers that I do abroad. If competitions are not involved then we set my trips to the time when it is school break and everybody is off.

What is your favorite subject in school?
Math and physical education. I like doing sports and I am destined for that. In math I have a nice teacher and I also do well.

Who is your favorite girl skier to watch?
I like to keep my eye on every girl in the scene, to see how they progress and maybe even be affected by that; mostly I think it is not about pushing yourself to learn one big trick but to be versatile and to be comfortable first. Everything comes step by step.

Who is your favorite guy skier to watch?
Aspen Spora. He is my friend and we are about the same age so I can compare myself with him; also he has tons of style and is very enjoyable to watch.

Which skier has the best style?
No other than Wallisch with his afterbang landings. Impressive, I’m trying to get there 😀

What do you want to be when you grow up?
It changes all the time. I have wanted to become a shop clerk, now I’m thinking about a physical education teacher.

What are your hobbies besides skiing?
Everything you can think of. At the moment, most of all cruising with my longboard and learning how to golf.

What is your favorite memory from the 12/13 ski season?
Oh, I have so many good memories but if I have to choose, then the most outstanding is going to Euro X-Games by heli that Nike organized for their athletes.

Where’s the coolest place you’ve ever been? Why?
Europa Park in Germany because I like rollercoasters. Now I’m already big enough that I get to go on the craziest ones!

How many languages do you speak?
I only speak one language, Estonian, but I’m learning German and English in school.

Any last words…?
Traditionally I want to thank my sponsors, family, friends and fans; everyone who is there for me.