China was quite the experience I have to say. I landed and had 1 day in the Mecca that is Beijing. When it comes to being a foreigner, I definitely felt like one here, with the language barrier and the lack of English speakers! I linked up with Seppe Smits and his coach JV and we managed to mission on over to the Great Wall of China. It was amazing to explore the magnificent man made structure up close and personal!
Beijing itself is CRAZY, when it comes to road rules, there are Zero! Cars, bikes, electric bikes you name it, they send it…
From Beijing it was a 2 hour flight straight to Harbin, a 3.5 hour drive through rural Chinese farmland to the mountainous northeastern province of Heilongjiang. We arrived in Yabuli, via Police escort from the airport in a brigade of coaches. In total it took 5.5 hours!
First day it was freezing, we had been warned that temperatures could change drastically due to it's location on the boarder of Siberia. Luckily it was only the first day we got hit with snow and freezing temperatures, however I have never been to such a windy place in my life. Every day gale force winds swept through the Slopestyle course, it was like a funnel, constantly changing direction but always blowing straight through the course. This instantly made things challenging! However the wind meant, no clouds so it was SUNNY!
Slopestyle went well for me to start. In the gale force winds… no joke haha, I managed to put down a Solid run that qualified me through in 8th place out of the 24 riders to the Semi-Finals.
Round 2 however didn’t go so well for me, I went for my step up run, which included Back Rodeo to start, first run I stomped it and then on the 2nd kicker a gust took me which blew me back 1 Meter short to the knuckle. Luckily I bounced and only ended up a little bruised. To be honest I was gutted at the result as I really wanted to lay down the marker with my run…
China is definitely different..from the toilets, lack of soap, and zero toilet paper in public toilets it was a culture shock. I did however like the theory of the squatting toilet haha. I wasn’t the biggest fan of the local cuisine , the guys tried fried Scorpion and Tarantula. I stuck more to the fruit, which was amazing. I love Dragon Fruit!
Yabuli itself is a crazy resort, imagine Disney Land, with Ice Sculptures, bright lights and Chinese symbols flashing. As far as snowboarding goes, It's the largest resort in China with the largest ski jumping facilities in the country... yep, that's what we used as the big air landing ;) The runs very steep, but with the wind and icy conditions It wouldn’t be my go to holiday recommendation ha.
Right now I am sat on board en route back to the UK for one night, before heading onto the European Alps. I have another contest coming up at Absolut Park over the next 2 days. I can’t wait to get back there and enjoy some Spring riding.
That’s a wrap of China for you… Over and out :)