[Pro skier McRae Williams, a Park City, Utah, native has been competing in slopestyle contests for years, but he wasn't achieving the results he'd hoped for. Last January at X Games Aspen, he failed to qualify for finals. But then in March, at X Games Tignes in France, something clicked for Williams. He won his first X Games gold, surprising even himself. So what happened that triggered the change? Find here out. These are his words.]
The majority of my career so far has been focused on slopestyle competitions, going from comp to comp, season after season. I began competing at a young age, but I never really did well under pressure, and finally, when I was 19, I qualified for the Dew Tour. My career began to take off, and before I knew it, I was standing on top of the X Games slopestyle course in Tignes, France, last March.
My whole trip to France was totally surreal and a bit of a blur. It all started when I arrived in Geneva, Switzerland, without my bags. I had an interesting few days trying to track down the bags and borrow skis for practice. Luckily, I carried my boots on the plane or I would have been out of the contest entirely.
Thankfully, my ski sponsor Amplid was able to overnight me some skis and bindings, and I was all set. I managed to sneak through the qualifying round in some bizarre, stormy weather, but the next day dawned perfect conditions for finals. I woke up feeling stoked. It was on.
The night before I decided to switch up my rail line, and I got that dialed right away in practice before finals. I began stomping my run time after time, so I decided to call it a bit earlier so I didn't overdo it.
You know those days when things just go your way and it takes on a bit of a snowball effect? For me, this was one of those days -- and what a day to have one of those days. I scored a 90 flat on my first run, and then I switched up a grab and stomped harder for a 94.33 on my second run. Being on the podium with some of my good friends that I have grown up with in the sport couldn't have made the day any better. I was officially an X Games gold medalist. Was I dreaming?
This season, I am hoping to carry that momentum and tackle the comp circuit harder than ever. I spent the summer water ramping, as well as working out and bouncing on the trampoline at the U.S. Ski Team's Center of Excellence in Park City. It'll be a big year with slopestyle's Olympic debut in Sochi in February. I hope to compete there, but I'm also on a mission to show people a side of me they haven't really seen before.
Next week, I'll be introducing a new webisode series, which was created with help from Amplid and filmed by Mike McLeod at 4bi9 Media. So stay tuned for future edits from what is bound to be an action-packed season.