Inside the Mind of a World Championships Athlete.

Jonathon Lillis and Ashley Caldwell proudly swept gold in aerials at Freestyle World Championships in Sierra Nevada, Spain. (Sierra Nevada – Pepe Marii)

PARK CITY, Utah – With only two weeks to go until the 2019 FIS Snowboard, Freestyle and Freeski World Championships, presented by Toyota kicks off in Utah, many of the athletes expected to compete are well on their way to ensuring they are in the best possible physical condition to pull off a podium-worthy performance. But while the principles of physical preparation – getting enough sleep, eating well, avoiding overtraining, etc. – are fairly similar, the way each athlete readies themselves psychologically for this huge event – considered second only to Olympic competition – are very different.

 

For freestyle aerialist Ashley Caldwell, the 2019 World Championships holds significance in a number of ways. First, having lived and trained in Park City for the past seven years, she’s looking forward competing in her own backyard. Second, this season Caldwell is recovering from shoulder surgery after she injured it the day before competing in the 2018 PyeongChang Olympic Winter Games. And finally, she not only won the aerials competition at the 2017 World Championships, but did so by landing a full-double full-full, the most difficult jump successfully completed by a female aerialist ever. “My signature style is to perform the hardest tricks and that’s my plan for the 2019 World Championships, but this injury has put me on the little different trajectory,” Caldwell says.

 

Caldwell will have competed in just one other event this season prior to stepping into the White Owl jumps start gate during the World Championships next month. And so to alleviate some of the obvious pressure this event will present, Caldwell is looking forward to staying as busy as possible in the days leading up to the competition, while stretching just a little more or going to bed just a little earlier. She hasn’t decided whether or not she’ll go for repeat performance of a full-double full-full – Caldwell considers several factors when deciding what jumps to perform and often doesn’t make a final decision until the day of a competition. “But then again, Deer Valley is the most hyped-up event of our season where you get to feel like a rock star,” she says. “And the weather could be terrible, my shoulder might be feeling not great and yet, because the crowds are so great and the volunteers are so great, I could be pushed to want to do something really awesome.”

 

Mogul skier Bradley Wilson’s sentiments for Deer Valley are similar to Caldwell’s. “Deer Valley has been a World Cup moguls venue for so long, and I grew up watching and competing in plenty of events there, including seeing Jonny Moseley pull off the Dinner Roll and Shannon Bahrke win two medals there during the 2002 Olympic Winter Games,” he says. “Because of that, the Champion moguls run is really considered hallowed ground for moguls skiers. I don’t know any athlete that doesn’t look forward to competing there.”

 

But sacred or not, because of its length, pitch and size of the jumps, Champion is also considered one of the most challenging moguls courses in the world. Wilson admits that it’s taken him awhile to figure out how to keep the pressure presented by any one event – World Championships and others – from holding him back. His strategy: focusing on performance rather than results. “In judged sports like moguls, getting too results oriented can take away a lot of the fun of competing,” he says. “And so I have learned to just show up and do what I know how to do.” And when his day to compete in the World Championships arrives, Wilson says he figures he has two choices. “I can let it take my breath away or I can just smile and enjoy it,” he says. “I’m going to choose to take the second option.”

 

Snowboardcross athlete Lindsey Jacobellis maintains her perspective by considering every competition – X Games, World Cup, the Olympics and World Championships – in the same way. “Yes, World Champs has a bigger crowd, marketing and TV time,” Jacobellis admits. “But the field will include all the same athletes I have been racing with for years. I just focus on what I have to do and remember how long I have been doing this and have been successful.”

 

The 2019 World Championships’ mixed gender snowboardcross team event will present a new and different aspect of competition for Jacobellis, but one that she’s fully embracing and looking forward to. “I am so excited to mix things up,” she says. “The men and women always train and race on the same course and the ladies are fully capable of being in the mix with the men. We are still figuring out what the race format will be, but it will be a really fun and exciting race, especially as a spectator – the ultimate relay race!”

 

As of press time, halfpipe skier Brita Sigourney was actually still working on getting back into the competition headspace. She had just returned from a two-week break – spent powder skiing in Japan with her parents and boyfriend – and was at Copper Mountain for her first day back in the halfpipe. “Because every competition was an Olympic qualifier, last year was really stressful and so I decided to take a break this year, which I’ve never done before,” Sigourney says. Sigourney’s plan leading up to the World Championships include “skiing like I know how” at the X Games (January 24 – 27), and taking care of herself. “I’m not as young as many of the athletes and need to take more time managing some aches and pains,” and having fun. “Park City is where I live and I’m really excited to get to compete in front of my friends, my family and my boyfriend’s family.”

 

Spectator Information Guide: https://2019worldchamps.com/general/

 

HOW TO WATCH
All times EST
Preliminary broadcast schedule, subject to change
Streaming schedule TBA
*Same-day broadcast
**Next-day broadcast

 

Friday, Feb. 1
1:00 p.m. – Men and women’s snowboardcross finals – NBCSN

 

Saturday, Feb. 2
3:00 p.m. – Men and women’s skicross finals – Olympic Channel
9:00 p.m. – Men and women’s freeski big air – Olympic Channel

 

Sunday, Feb. 3
1:00 a.m. – Men and women’s skicross – NBCSN**
1:00 p.m. – Team snowboardcross – Olympic Channel
3:30 p.m. – Men and women’s freeski big air – NBCSN**
5:00 p.m.- Team snowboardcross – NBCSN*

 

Monday, Feb. 4
3:00 p.m. – Parallel giant slalom – Olympic Channel
7:30 p.m. – Parallel giant slalom – NBCSN*

 

Tuesday, Feb. 5
3:00 p.m. – Parallel slalom – NBCSN
9:00 p.m. – Men and women’s snowboard big air – NBCSN

 

Wednesday, Feb. 6
1:00 p.m. – Men and women’s freeski slopestyle finals – NBCSN
9:00 p.m. – Men and women’s aerials – Olympic Channel

 

Thursday, Feb. 7
12:00 a.m. – Men and women’s aerials – NBCSN*
9:00 p.m. – Team aerials – NBCSN

 

Friday, Feb. 8
1:00 p.m. – Men and women’s snowboard halfpipe – NBCSN
9:00 p.m. – Men and women’s moguls – NBCSN

 

Saturday, Feb. 9
1:00 p.m.- Men and women’s freeski halfpipe – NBC
9:00 p.m.- Men and women’s dual moguls – Olympic Channel

 

Sunday, Feb. 10
2:00 a.m. – Men and women’s dual moguls – NBCSN**
1:00 p.m. – Men and women’s snowboard slopestyle – Olympic Channel
4:30 p.m. – Men and women’s snowboard slopestyle – NBC*

 

EVENT SCHEDULE
All times MST (local time)

 

Friday, Feb. 1
11:00 a.m. – Snowboardcross final – Solitude Mountain Resort

 

Saturday, Feb. 2
1:00 p.m. – Skicross final – Solitude Mountain Resort
7:00 p.m. – Freeski big air final – Canyons Village – Park City Mountain

 

Sunday, Feb. 3
11:00 a.m. – Mixed gender team snowboardcross final – Solitude Mountain Resort

 

Monday, Feb. 4
11:00 a.m. – Parallel giant slalom final – Park City Village at Park City Mountain

 

Tuesday, Feb. 5
11:00 a.m. – Parallel slalom final – Park City Village at Park City Mountain
7:00 p.m. – Snowboard big air final – Canyons Village – Park City Mountain

 

Wednesday, Feb. 6
11:00 a.m. – Freeski slopestyle final – Park City Village at Park City Mountain
7:00 p.m. – Freestyle aerials final – Deer Valley Resort

 

Thursday, Feb. 7
7:00 p.m. – Freestyle team aerials final – Deer Valley Resort

 

Friday, Feb. 8
11:00 a.m. – Snowboard halfpipe final – Park City Village at Park City Mountain
7:00 p.m. – Freestyle moguls final – Deer Valley Resort

 

Saturday, Feb. 9
11:00 a.m. – Freeski halfpipe final – Park City Village at Park City Mountain
7:00 p.m. – Freestyle dual moguls final – Deer Valley Resort

 

Sunday, Feb. 10
11:00 a.m. – Snowboard slopestyle final – Park City Village at Park City Mountain

 

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FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
Tom Webb
Director of Marketing and Communications, U.S. Ski & Snowboard
+1.435.602.9644
FOR ACCREDITED MEDIA INQUIRIES:
Tom Kelly
Chief of Press
+1.435.602.9799