The final competition of the season for the Western State College Freeride Ski Team was the Freeskiing World Tour Championships held at Snowbird, Utah from March 9th-12th. The team was stoked to be able to get a chance to compete at Snowbird, known for big, fast faces and heavy snowfall. The two qualifying days were filled with nearly 100 competitiors each day which constituted for drastic cuts to make it to day one. The highlight of the qualifying days being Ciera qualifying in first place for the first qualifying day. Day one was a perfect day for the comp, warm weather and blue skies. During day one Ciera had a smooth and fluid run going but got caught up on a tree in the middle of her final straightline . Mark, being pre-qualified, crushed his qualifying run and survived the cut in the middle of the pack. The finals day was unfortunately stormy and there were constant course holds throughout the day to wait for the fog to lift so the judges could see the competitiors. Mark, being the only WSCFST skier left, had a big line planned for the finals but didn’t find the “pop” he was looking for off the lip he tried to backflip. Drew Tabke, the final competitor of the day was forced to wait at the top for several hours waiting for the weather to clear but it was worth his while since he one the Snowbird event and was crowned World Champion.
Directly following the Colorado Freeride Championships hosted at Aspen Colorado, the Western State College Freeride Ski Team headed to beautiful Taos, New Mexico to compete in the Salomon Extreme Freeride Championships. Unfortunately the 2011 ski season has been a poor snow year for Taos leaving them with barely a 50 inch bases meaning thin coverage and firm snow unlike the DEEP powder they were blessed with last season. The qualifier day went exceptionally well with nine of the ten competitors moving onto day one. Coach Eric Freson qualified in 3rd place for the men along with his good friend and Crested Butte local Rob Dickinson who qualified in 2nd. Kaytlin Hughes also qualified in 2nd for the women.
Day one was held on the same venue as the qualifier day, West Basin Ridge, and the amount of terrain accessible to competitors was doubled. Many people chose to explore the new terrain while others chose to ski the same zone as the qualifying day. Both Rob and Eric decided to ski the same line they had in the qualifying day, displaying a mastery in both fluidity and control which landed them in 2nd and 3rd place respectively. Kaytlin also crushed her run and made her way into the finals on Kachina Peak.
The final day of the competition was held on a new venue, Kachina Peak, a large face requiring a 45 minute hike but rewarding athletes with softer snow. In the final both Matt and Eric laid down great runs and found themselves in 15th and 8th respectively. Good work to both of them, nice to see you out competing again Eric! Rob threw down one of the smoothest and fastest runs of the day which allowed him to hang on to his second place spot, way to represent the Butte! And finally Kaytlin once again crushed her run and found herself next to the podium in the 4th place position, awesome work!!!
February 25 to 27th the WSC Freeride Ski Team headed to Snowmass mountain in Aspen, Colorado for the Colorado Freeride Championships. The first day of competition was scheduled to be on Friday the 25th however due to heavy snow fall and blizzard conditions the competition was pushed back and scheduled to start on Saturday leaving the team free to ski some fresh powder and check out the mountain. Saturday marked the first day of competition for the weekend, and once again the competition was postponed to the following day after only making it through the women’s field leaving Carly in 2nd place. On Sunday it was decided that the competition would only be a one run event and the men’s field was sent for their run. Jason, coach of the team, finished in 4th place followed by Scott in 7th. Also because Carly only had one run she stood on the podium in the second place spot. Excellent work team!
February 17th to 20th was emphasized as an incredibly important weekend for the the WSC Freeride Ski Team because it was the Freeskiing World Tour Stop at Crested Butte where we knew we would be expected to ski hard and represent the home mountain well. Thursday the 17th was scheduled to be the qualifying day on Headwall, however due to heavy snowfall and adverse conditions the qualifying day was pushed to Friday where competitors were pleased to receive a fresh blanket of snow to smooth out the moguls in the run out. Friday was a great display of skiing all around with Francesca and Ciera both displaying smooth lines through “angle gully”, Mikey stomping (likely the first ever) switch 180 off of “box rock”, Alex making angle gully look like a groomer, and both Max and Matt airing “keyhole” huge and taking it to their feet. At the end of the day both Ciera and Francesca moved on to day one, as well as Alex and Max who were joined by Mark Mikos who is pre-qualified after Jackson Hole.
Day one was held on Staircase, a classic tight and technical Crested Butte venue. Francesca nailed her line, skiing fast and smooth the entire way, unfortunately Ciera didn’t have as good of a run at lost a ski towards the top. For the men both Alex and Max skied their lines aggressively and with zero hesitation, but both had mishap’s coming off of their airs that resulted in small crashes. Mark made good work of the upper part of the venue, hitting and stomping every feature possible, however coming into his final move, “body bag”, the heel piece of his ski ripped out leaving him stranded in the middle of a mandatory air. Mark definitely deserved a reward for his impressive display of boot skiing as he slid over the exposure standing up on just his ski boots. At the end of the day Francesca was the only competitor to move onto the final day.
The finals were held in Spellbound Bowl and High Life area and competitors were lucky enough to receive a foot of fresh snow over night. The entire day was filled with incredible skiing, all competitors taking advantage of the soft snow. Francesca skied an impressive line with multiple airs littered throughout it and found herself in 4th place overall. Congratulations Fran! Also, Crested Butte local and friend of the team Tom Runcie found himself on the podium in 2nd place after battling through the qualifier, day one, and the finals. Good work Tom!
The Western State College Freeride Ski Team participated in their first competition of the 2011 season January 29th and 30th in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, a prime venue for such a competition. Jackson Hole has had an incredible snow year thus far; however there was no new powder for either day of the comp which failed to faze members of the WSCFST as they laid down their qualifying run’s during Day One in Casper Bowl. Female skiers, Ciera Glenn and Sierra Halverson both unfortunately crashed near the end of their run’s in the large mogul field; Glenn’s spectacular crash got her a Sick Bird Award call out and a spot in the highlight video. Male skiers Matt Byrne and Matt Clark both flashed great line choices for the crowd and judges, but weren’t able to hold on during the rough landings on their airs. At the end of the qualifying day, Max Lindsey ended up being just two spots shy of qualifying for the final day and Mark Mikos was able to qualify in the top ten with a comfortable spot in 8th. The finals venue was in an area known as Tower 3, a closed area with challenging cliffs and more forgiving landings. Mark handled Tower 3 like skiing through a playground and left a lasting impression on the judges who gave him the fourth place spot. A huge congratulations to Mark Mikos for getting fourth place and now being pre-qualified for the rest of the season!
The next competition that the WSCFST will be competing in is the Crested Butte stop of the Freeskiing World Tour. Stop by Crested Butte February 17-19th to see our athletes rip up the home terrain! The WSCFST will also be hosting another rail jam on February 17th in conjunction with Program Council’s Winterfest. Featuring new rail features, a chili cook off, and live band!
Posted by Eric Booton
Vice President WSCFST
The 2nd Annual College Center Campus Jam, hosted by the WSC Freeride Ski Team on January 21st as a fund raiser for the upcoming competition season, was incredibly successful for the second year running! In the brutally cold Friday night temperatures nearly 30 competitiors and a large dedicated crowd toughed it out to watch an impressive display of “jibbin” from both boarders and skiers. At the end of the night results were as follows:
Skier 3rd: Jon Kane
Skier 2nd: Casey Sellingham
Skier 1st: John O’ Rourke
Snowboard 3rd: Hunter Knoll
Snowboard 2nd: Andrew Burgen
Snowboard 1st: Brendan Sullivan
And props to our only female competitor, snowboarder Laurel Sweeney!
The WSC Freeride Ski Team will once again be hosting the annual College Center Campus Jam on January 21st at 6pm on the College Center Lawn. Entry fee is only $10 and gets you a free dinner and chance to compete for some excellent prizes for both skiers and boarders. There are only 30 spots available so be sure to come and pre-register in the College Center January 19th-21st from 11:30-1:30 in the College Center, pre-registration will be the ONLY registration available. This is a fundraiser for WSCFST’s upcoming competition season.
Post by Eric Booton, Vice President