Take 5: Dew Tour ski halfpipe medalist Brita Sigourney
Dew Tour women’s ski halfpipe final
1. Ayana Onozuka, Japan — 89.40
2. Cassie Sharpe, Canada — 87.40
3. Brita Sigourney, California — 85.00
4. Janina Kuzma, New Zealand — 80.40
5. Roz Groenewoud, Canada — 70.20
6. Annalisa Drew, Massachusetts — 48.20
Brita Sigourney is back in business.
At yesterday’s ski halfpipe final, the 25-year-old California native and U.S. Olympian came back from a mediocre first run to land a stellar — if not exactly perfect — second run. Sigourney, aka Brita Sig on social media, scored an 85.00 even to take third behind winner Ayana Onozuka of Japan and second-place finisher Cassie Sharpe of Canada.
The bronze is far from Sigourney’s first podium at Dew Tour, but it’s her first at Breckenridge in several seasons. She’s been plagued by at least one injury every season for the past five or six years, including the Sochi Olympics season when she ended in sixth overall after placing second in the finals. Since then, she’s been slowly recovering and ended last season with third-place finishes at X Games and the FIS World Championships in Tignes, France. Through it all she’s been traveling and training with the U.S. Freeskiing team out of Park City, the first of its kind for American women. She’s been a member since it was created for the 2014 Olympics, making her one of a select few females pushing the sport as it continues to get bigger, badder and tougher.
Before and after her Dew Tour podium, the Summit Daily sports desk caught up with Sigourney to talk about her history of injuries, her addiction to travel and starting the season on a high note.
Summit Daily News: First things first: Is it pronounced Brita like the water filter?
Brita Sigourney: Yes, exactly (laughs). Some people try to make it Mexican but it’s not.
SDN: Cool, wanted to check. You had about a week of training in the halfpipe before competition started. How was it feeling?
BS: The pipe is as good as it always is. It’s one of the best we see all season, and it’s nice to have that so early. First event of the year is all about getting back to where you were the year before, shaking the cobwebs off. I feel like there are more nerves in the beginning of the season, especially when you’ve only been skiing for two weeks and only have one week in the pipe. But once it’s all over it’s nice to get back into training, be more in control heading into the next competition. This is really the time to see how everyone else is doing, just see what you’re going to go up against the rest of the season.
SDN: How are you feeling right now about your season?
BS: This last year was my first time in five or six years that I went an entire year without an injury, so I’m feeling good, which is nice for once. If anything this is raising my confidence, and when I’m skiing confidently that’s when I’ll be best. Most of skiing is mental. If you go into it feeling good, just feeling excited and ready to throw down, that’s when you’ll be the best. You’re not worried about landing on a knee that’s no good or falling on a shoulder or anything else.
SDN: Talk about working through the pain. How do you balance injuries with progression?
BS: I’ve just been learning over the past few years, like knowing when I’m tired and need to call it quits for the day. Maybe you shouldn’t risk doing a new trick on that day because you have no chance of landing it safely. There’s a lot of luck, too. It’s not a matter of if you’ll get hurt — it’s a matter of when. Coming back from injuries makes you more conscious and smarter about how you ski every day.
SDN: The other day I interviewed Devin Logan, your teammate and partner on the podium in Sochi. (She did not compete at Dew Tour.) What do you like about traveling and skiing with the first U.S. women’s freeski team? The team didn’t exist until the year you joined.
BS: It’s really fun. We’ve been skiing together for four or five years now, so we’ve become really good friends. We know how to tick each other off and support each other at the same time. Obviously, when you’re traveling with people for as long as we do I consider them best friends. We’re competitive, but we still stay friendly. Before the Olympics were around there weren’t any teams, really. Everyone was rooting for everyone else. Now that it’s divided you root for your country a little more I guess.
SDN: Do you enjoy the constant travel that comes with this sport?
BS: Yes, that ‘s the best part of my career and what I’m doing so far. You get to go to places you’ve never been before and do what you love. It’s not the worst lifestyle to travel and experience these different cultures, travel and have fun. It can be kind of hard sometimes, but they usually do a good job of scheduling us so that we have a few days off between competitions. There will be stretches when we don’t get back for a month at a time. I honestly don’t mind moving around, but when we’re in the same place for a long time, like being in Summit County for a month, that can kind of wear on you. We come here every year, so the repetition gets kind of old after a while. It’s fun to go someplace you’ve never been.
SDN: Now that you have one podium under your belt what are your goals for the season?
BS: I’m working on putting a new run together. I’ve been using the same run the past few years, just because I’ve had injuries, and that got me stuck in a rut. I’m working on a few new tricks this season, just an unnatural 900 in the pipe. Halfpipe can be addicting.
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