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X Games: An Interview with Anna Segal

Pro freeskier Michelle Parker talks to last year's X Games women's slopestyle winner Anna Segal—who's sitting out this weekend's competition in Aspen due to a knee injury—about teddy bears, after parties, and her picks for top three men and women in slope and pipe.

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Australian Anna Segal won X Games gold in slopestyle last year, and had planned to compete at this weekend’s event, but due to a minor knee injury, she’s opted out and will be supporting her competitors from the bottom of the course. She’s not shy in the park—I’ve seen her stomp rodeos. No doubt she would have been in the running for the podium this year had it not been for her injury.

Do you have any rituals that you stick to while competing?
I try to treat competing like any other day of skiing. I find that if I change my usual routine, I start getting nervous. So I eat my usual breakfast, check my e-mails, stretch a little, pack my bag, then I’m out the door. Nothing special

It’s the night before the comp, what’s going through your head?
The main thing going through my head is skiing. I’ll keep thinking about my run over and over. Then I’ll start getting frustrated that I can’t sleep, because I’m thinking too much—I’m a really bad sleeper. So I usually resort to a sleeping tablet and pass out. I know that’s a really bad habit, but it’s how it’s been since I was little.

Do you travel with a teddy bear?
No. Sadly, I lost my childhood teddy a few years ago in Europe. I haven’t found another teddy special enough to replace him.

What does this competition mean to you?
To me X Games is one of the most important competitions because ESPN broadcasts our sport to a huge amount of people that would otherwise have no idea it exists.

You took home the gold last year, how did that feel? What was the first thing you did?
It felt completely surreal. From when I was first invited to the event, the thought of winning really never crossed my mind. My goal was to just land a run. So when I realized that I had one, I felt like I was in a hazy dream (as cliché as that sounds). The first thing I did was call my mum.

Did you already have your run in your head for this X Games?
I have a few tricks that I have been working on that I would like to include, but I’ve learned that competition runs hardly ever come together as planned.

Can you describe the feeling of competing at X Games? What’s the vibe like? The after parties?
The vibe is both competitive and fun. As competitors we’re all checking out what each other are doing and you can tell that some people get a little stressed. But once the competition is over and the tension has been released, everyone is out to party pretty hard. The after parties can get pretty crazy.

Who are your picks for top three in pipe and in slopestyle?
Girls’ slope: Kaya Turski, Ash Battersby, and Grete Eliassen. Girls’ pipe: Jen Hudak, Sarah Burke, and Anais Caradeux. Guys’ slope, I would say Tom Wallisch, Andreas Hatveit, and Matt Walker (bit of a dark horse, but has been killing it lately). Guys’ pipe: Justin Dorey, Simon Dumont and, Taylor Seaton (dark horse again).