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Ash Clayton Blog Winter 23/24

Ash Clayton Blog Winter 23/24

Ski Exchange |

December had me going to Absolut Park, Austria for a week. Just like October, the weather wasn’t playing ball, but it was good to be back in the mountains before Christmas. I used the time boosting through the jump section and focusing on the rails, transferring tricks that I have on pipes at home to mountain times and rails. The highlight of that trip would have to be doing front flips again, they’re such a fun trick and it was nice to get upside down again! 

Christmas was spent at home for me, spending lots of time with family, and celebrating my sisters 17th birthday. I got a new purple hoodie to ride in and a new pair of ski trousers, but the best present of all was getting my new Factions Prodigy 1X’s from Ski Exchange, ready for my big trip away to Europe. Leading up to New Year’s Eve, I was getting nervous, checking multiple times if I had everything I needed for 4 months away from home. It’s the longest time I’ll be away so far so I wanted to make sure I had some of the luxury things that I would normally have at home, but wouldn’t bring away for a weeks trip. 

With my bags packed, I left home at a very early 4am to get to the airport. Checked my bags in and decided to go straight through security to get some breakfast. Little did I know it was going to be a long day ahead! Fast forward to 10:30am CET and I’ve arrived in Innsbruck airport with my 2 friends. On the transfer to the house, the boys were talking about going up the mountain to ride. I was shattered at this point, but agreed nonetheless. We ended up having a good shred in the park for about 3 hours, then went back to the house we were all staying at. I then get to that we have to do backyard fitness, which is very endurance based fitness. Now having only had 2 hours sleep the night before, I wasn’t best pleased! I survived that and safe to say I had a very good nights sleep.

The next day, it was all going so well. The weather was good and I had done my combos on the small jumps and was filled warmed up to make some good progress. I headed over to the bigger jumps and began hitting the first one to gauge the speed. My coach tested out the 2nd one for me because we had seen varying different speeds for it. When I went to hit it, I caught a small tail wind and went quite big, almost to the bottom. I mostly saved it, just spinning out but unfortunately I felt the pain of a bruised heel, an injury I am no stranger to. I sat out and put some ice on it, hoping that it wasn’t that bad, but it was bad enough that it hurt to walk on it. This was not good, as I was down to do the Laax Open in a week and a half. For the next 4 days, I sat at the house with my foot up, taking tablets and plunging it in an ice bath in the hopes that it would heal faster. Around day 5 I couldn’t take sitting in the house any longer, so I taped it up with some k-tape and went for a little walk to the shops. I could feel it was getting better day by day, but I didn’t want to rush anything and risk not being able to compete in Laax. I managed to get back on skis 3 days before I was due in Laax, and the heel was feeling good. I managed to get most of the tricks I wanted to do on some large jumps, and I even managed to get off a pro line the day before I left for Laax, I felt like I was ready.

Laax is one of the most prestigious events on the Slopestyle calendar and I’m super excited! 

Ash Clayton

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