The 2011 Winter X Women's Ski SuperPipe silver medalist Brita Sigourney started this season off in style by winning the first North American event of the year, the U.S. Grand Prix in Copper Mountain, Colo. On Saturday, Sigourney will take to the pipe again at Winter X Games 2012 in Aspen.
"It was such a relief to start the season with a win, and it was a surprise," Sigourney says. "I always put so much pressure on myself, and it's just so nice to get the first competition out of the way."
Flying under the radar at Winter X 2011, Sigourney, an event rookie, used amplitude and tricks like the 900 for silver. "I think my strength is that I go pretty big," she says. "I like airing it out. I like how it feels when you're flying."
She rode her WX momentum to her first major career win, coming at her very next event, the Dew Tour stop in Snowbasin, Utah, last winter. But after clinching the title, she attempted a 1080 on the last hit of her last run. She crashed, breaking her pelvis.
While doctors told Sigourney the injury would take six to eight weeks to heal, she says, "I really wanted to go to Europe for Winter X." And that was only a month away. So despite doctors' orders, Sigourney caught a flight to Tignes, France, eager to get back in the pipe. And while her pelvis seemed OK, she ended up breaking her right collarbone in practice. A week later she had surgery and the season was over.
Still, Sigourney considers her winter a huge success. "It was my best season so far," she says. "It was my first time doing all those big comps, and I'm really happy."
Sigourney was recently asked to join the newly formed U.S. Freeskiing team. With skiing halfpipe now on the Olympic roster, Sigourney is one of the top U.S. females being groomed for its debut in Sochi, Russia, along with Devin Logan, Jess Reedy and Jen Hudak. "It's really nice to have so much extra support now," Sigourney says. "We have a whole coaching staff and a physical therapist, and we actually have a schedule and off-snow training."
The Carmel, Calif., native also decided to put school on hold. For the last three years, Sigourney has attended the University of California, Davis, where she majors in graphic design. The move wasn't popular with her parents, who are both teachers. "It's taken some time to convince them it was good decision," Sigourney admits. "But they know how much I love to ski, and they finally gave up and are supporting my career."
When Sigourney drops into the pipe on Saturday, one thing is certain: She will enjoy herself. "Last year, I was just skiing to have a good time and I was excited to make it to the level I did," she explains. "Not much has changed. I'm always just trying to have fun."