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?
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.