Mike Schultz Winter X Games Adaptive Boarder X Report
Winter X Race Report
02.01.12 This was one of the craziest X Games ever!! It was a different feeling showing up there from the airport with a few pieces of luggage and a snowboard. The sled, truck and trailer stayed home on this one. As soon as we arrived we got suited up and were able to hop on the chair lift to check out the course. To my surprise the six person start gate was suspended about 10ft. Off the snow and dropped into a crazy set of jumps and obstacles man, what did I get myself into!! I bypassed the course for a while and got a few runs in down the mountain to ease the nerves a bit. A few hours later we were able to do a full course inspection to check it out top to bottom. For the most part I felt fairly comfortable, however there were a couple obstacles I didnt know if I could do; the first was a 30ft road gap, it was called that because there was a road cut through for the groomer to pass through...hmmm. The second was the 55ft kicker on the bottom of the hill right before the finish line. Not much of a problem on a dirtbike or snowmobile but with a 3/8 thick piece of fiberglass and wax strapped under me, well that was a little crazy I thought. After riding the mountain and getting a couple more days of experience my nerves settled a little and on Friday morning we lined up for a practice run and then did a timed run for gate position in the final. As I lined up on the gate for the timed run, my goal was to run it from top to bottom without crashing...and I was still unsure about doing the 55 ft. kicker on the bottom (none of us adaptive guys had hit it yet ) . It was a funny, the guys running the course said everything will be fine, dont speed check and just hit it as fast as you can. Thanks guys, great words of encouragement! I was able to jump out of the gate and drop 10ft onto the snow and start my way down the course. As I got to the bottom and began dropping into the big kicker...well I guess Im going to go for it. I pointed the board straight downhill, and just went with it and hoped for the best! Well, I kept everything straight and true and stomped the landing and road away! That was awesome!! I qualified sixth and had the last gate position to the outside for the final. I do need to mention that I was the only above knee amputee competing in this, which is a huge disadvantage, all the other competitors were missing a foot. Along with that I had a total of 17 days on a snowboard- Ill have to say I was doing pretty darn good for a one legged boarder who just started a month and a half ago, haha!
My strategy for the race was to hold for half a second out of the gate so I could pull in behind them into the first set of jumps, after that I just wanted to keep it upright from top to bottom and hope they all took each other out...hey, it works sometimes! The gate dropped and I pulled in behind them, I kept it smooth, was able to hit all the obstacles and one after one they made a few mistakes and I found myself in third place about half way down the coarse! Things were looking good and I was flying through a set of berms and as I exited I made a mistake and caught my heel edge and was slammed to the ground. I popped up as quick as possible but was passed by two guys. I aimed myself down the course and did what I could to keep going. I lined up for the big kicker at the bottom and launched myself down the hill to cross the line in 5th place! I was pumped anyway, I felt like I conquered the course, thats what my goal originally was anyway. What a great experience, I never thought Id have the chance to do. Huge thanks to the Adaptive Action Sports for giving me the is opportunity!! Next up I will be headed to British Columbia to do some snowboard filming for the Edge Factor production.