The 2014 Olympic Winter Games are around the corner. Recently we had the exciting opportunity to catch up with Head Coach Mike Jankowski at the VISA U.S. Freeskiing Grand Prix Event at Park City Mountain Resort, which was also the final Olympic qualifier for Freeskiing. We chatted with Mike about all things skiing and snowboarding including the much anticipated Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.
Starting off the conversation, we asked Coach Mike where his favorite spot in the world is for snowboarding and he said without a doubt, it’s definitely Wanaka, New Zealand. On the hill there, skiers and snowboarders can check out the half pipe, the park and if they’re feeling really crazy, even give heli-skiing a shot. Off the hill, there’s tons of adventure activities offered year-round, from hiking to sky diving and to even bungee jumping.
Now as with any outdoor sport, everyone is at the mercy of Mother Nature, so we asked Coach Mike where he experienced the worst weather conditions for a competition. He replied saying the craziest weather he had experienced was in Saas Fee, Switzerland. The athletes and coaches had to battle zero visibility, avoid getting swallowed up by giant crevaces and ride in the front of the ski cat basket just to get up the hill. Not to mention the freezing temperatures.
Some of you reading right now might not have ever tried skiing or snowboarding, so here’s your opportunity to try something new with recommendations straight from the expert. We asked Coach Mike what mountain resort he would recommend for newcomers to the sport and he touts Mammoth Mountain in California. The terrain is visible and the resort offers easy access to beginner trails so it’s not intimidating when you get on the hill. There is also a nice progression of trails as you start to get the hang of the sport.
We couldn’t miss out on the opportunity to ask Coach Mike about the long road to Sochi over the past four years and what all of us at home in the states can expect for this year’s Olympic Winter Games. To start, as Head Coach for 32 athletes competing this year we asked Coach Mike what key items are packed in his suitcase for the Games. Without a doubt he said his phone/computer chargers, aux batteries and Mophi in order to ensure seamless communication with everyone on his team which is extremely important. Plus he never gets on the hill without his Oakley goggles for maximum visibility. After all, the Head Coach has to be able to see his athletes perfectly when their mid trick, sky-high in the air.