Zack Black’s life on the road
With so many contests in Colorado this winter I was glad to have more opportunity than usual to train and prepare at the perfect halfpipe in Breckenridge in between my busy contest schedule. In January I spent very little time at home, traveling to contests in Copper, Aspen, Park City, Sochi, Vail, and Oslo until I finally returned home two days ago. The few days I spent at home I was pleased to have such a perfectly cared for park and pike to keep momentum and progress between contests.
Life on the road can be exhausting and I find it important to treasure the time I get at home to recharge my batteries. The traveling competitive lifestyle is full of jet lag, 36-hour travel days, and limited supplies. These adversities are a very small price to pay for the opportunities and sights that I have the fortune to experience first hand in new places every week. During my two and a half month haul from January until mid-March I found myself once again visiting new places and experiencing cultures very diverse from my own.
In Mid-February I traveled to Sochi, Russia for the Olympic test event in the halfpipe where the 2014 Olympics will be held. Russia was unlike any other event I had experienced. From Gondola security that included an X-ray machine, credentials, metal detectors, full pat down, and large dogs, the security at the resort exceeded most airports. Very few people spoke English, but they understood more English than I understood Russian. I had to go up three gondolas to reach the top of the mountain. It could be raining at the top of the first gondola and snowing 2 meters, 6 feet, at the top of the third gondola.
Going there for a test event meant they were making sure a lot of the people that will be working the event next year understood and were proficient at their jobs. The event ran smoothly, as expected, but the real shock was how much more construction will need be finished in less than a year. The construction goes 24/7 with three shifts of workers from Sochi and hundreds of different construction sites. They have already spent their budget and are dumping even more in to finish the project in time for 2014. The real question I have is will they managed to complete all of the work in time, I guess only time will tell. I look forward to next February and hopefully returning to Russia to see all of the changes.
For now however, it is good to be back home in Breckenridge, recovering from this season and preparing for next years Olympic push.
– Zack Black