With her first-place finish and qualifying score at last weekend’s Masters Last Chance Qualifier at Sunset Lakes, Brooke Baldwin, 16, earned the right to ski in the Masters Women’s slalom field. But doing so comes at a price: forgoing the chance to defend her three consecutive junior overall and two consecutive junior slalom titles.
In the end, she decided she was ready to make the jump in slalom. GOODE recently talked to her about that decision and what she expects this weekend.
GOODE: At the last chance qualifier you needed 2.5@39 to qualify and the first round you got 2. What were you thinking heading into the second and final round?
Brooke: In the first round I thought I got around three ball. I fell at the ball but I thought it was 50/50 that I got around it but I must have just skied inside it. I was actually surprised how nervous I was going into the second round. Prior to the tournament I didn’t think I’d ski the Women’s event, even if I did qualify. But I was really stressing out after the first round because I wanted to make it.
GOODE: In the end, why did you decide to ski in the Open Women’s slalom event at the Masters?
Brooke: It’s fun to ski with the pros and to be able to say that I’m going to be able to ski on Saturday. Not a lot of people can say that. It’s a big deal. And this may be the only set I ever ski on Robin Lake for fun. There are really no expectations. I can just go and enjoy it instead of being stressed out all the time.
GOODE: What were those couple days you spent making your decision like?
Brooke: I was really back and forth on this decision. I don’t remember the last time I thought about something so hard.
GOODE: You are going to be on the starting dock with all the big names in the sport. Will that affect you?
Brooke: I’m not that intimidated by them because I’ve been skiing against them for so long. I grew up with so many of them and more than half of them have seen me as a baby.
GOODE: What do you hope to accomplish this weekend?
Brooke: I would like to stand up my trick run, place in jump in the junior event, and I just hope that I have fun in slalom. I want to ski well, but as long and I’m just enjoying it and having fun, it’ll all fall in place. No matter what I do in slalom I’m going to be happy because I get to ski on Saturday.