Lauren Cameron was gunning to be on the Freeride World Tour (FWT) for the 2016-17 season.
She's a year ahead of schedule.
The 22-year-old Whistler Freeride Club graduate earned her way onto the tour for next season after finishing second in her final event of the Freeride World Qualifying Tour year, Wrangle the Chute 2 at Kicking Horse, late last month. The FWT announced Cameron was the second of two Region 2 skiers to make it through along with American Mali Noyes. There was no Canadian woman on the ski tour this past season.
"My friend had predicted that I was going to make it, so I had time to process it," she said. "I was still quite shocked. I was not expecting it to happen this year. It surprised me when I found out after my competition a couple weeks ago."
Cameron noted some of the competitions slated for this season were cancelled, but she had a strong showing in events that went ahead. That includes a win at Snowbird, Utah and a fifth-place finish at Crested Butte.
In a technical sense, Cameron felt her form was improved this season as she sought to impress the judges. But skiing can be a fight as much internally as externally, and Cameron felt herself winning there as well.
"(I was better at) preparing myself mentally," she said. "Going into the first comp, I struggled to put (myself) back in the mindset of competing, forgetting the people below, focusing on your run and having fun.
"By the end of it, by my last run, I was just focusing on doing it and having fun and not worrying about what other people are watching, are seeing."
Cameron explained she strives to be an entertaining skier to watch, seeking out a challenge and trying to jazz up her runs.
"I'm fast and energetic when I ski. In my turns, I get quite poppy and it plays off as fun and energetic," she explained. "I am definitely more aggressive. I will pick out a bigger line or (ski) what draws or captures my attention.
"If it's bigger, I'll hit it. I like to hit the bigger cliffs and if I can, I will."
Cameron, who started freeskiing about six years ago after transitioning from racing, admitted she didn't pay too much attention to the FWT growing up and didn't necessarily feel she missed out on having a Canadian role model. She hopes to make an impression in the country as part of the loop.
"I want to represent Canada well and I want to do well to prove our country (belongs)," she said.
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