Big Airs and Good Times at Wrangle The Chute 2014
In a time where events are more synonymous with athletes, training and season point totals, Wrangle the Chute takes us back to the glory days of free skiing where there are skiers, skiing and one hell of an after party. One of the most anticipated events of the year has come and gone and left us with sore cheeks from smiling and a little bit of a hangover.
There were many new changes in place for Wrangle the Chute that had a lot of people concerned. For five amazing years WTC went down on a small mini-golf style face. Skiers and snowboarders came out of their line and were thrown on a peer driven bucking bronco. For the first few years there was even a booter at bottom. Crowds and athletes partied together at the finish line with beer and burgers and an entire temporary village. This year the entire formula was changed.
First and foremost, there was a need for a new venue. The old zone had been skied so hard that people were pushing themselves to the very edge of the venue, and their abilities. A new face was chosen. Three times the size, coming right off the most prominent peak in front of the Golden Eagle Gondola, Terminator North would be the new stomping grounds. Food and drinks were unable to be served at the bottom and the bronco was sent to the butchers. A small village was created with lawn chairs, stadium seating, demos and a DJ. But things happened a little different than expected.
Crowds gathered all over the mountain from a variety of viewing platforms. Casual viewing happened right off the Gondola top for those who were keen on skiing all day. The adjacent mountainside became littered with hundreds of spectators dug into the steep treed walls with an eagle’s eye view of the venue. Skiers and riders sacrificed their backs getting on all fours so the fun of E.J Hector would live on with an impromptu bronco ride. Tunes flooded the packed bowl and the energy was high as the skiing took center stage.
And what a show it was. With a hanging permanent closure opened up just for the event and big rowdy terrain to spare, things got heated in no time. Fifty skiers and snowboarders, men and women, ripped into the face. Jessica Pettet, the lone female snowboarder, held her ground while she pioneered new hits and arced powerful turns at high speeds. Laura Sliva got technical in the hanging permanent closure and took home the gold for the ladies. Hometown hero, Ave Perry took home snowboard gold with fast strong riding, big hits and stomped threes. The men’s skiing got extra rowdy. Logan Pehota blew a ski but still decided to please the crowd with a 40 foot 360 off of the Pyramid super sender that only 2 people sacked up to.
Jordy Kidner skied movie lines going fast and big with an unbelievably clean style like no other, landing him in third. Vinzenz Keller grabbed a silver medal with some big ole nasty 3s and landings that would make Hugo jealous. No longer more famous for his Wrangle edits than his skiing, Dylan Siggers spun threes and 720s after skiing the technical perma-closure at the top of his runs to claim the spot as top dog.
In the true spirit of competition, all the fun and games continued through the night with a brand new athletes banquet and awards ceremony that was just foreplay for the real big show. The one-once family friendly day lodge cafeteria turned into one of the most brain melting concert venues thanks to the hard rocking tunes of the Calgary based High Kicks. Ski patrol, mountain staff, competitors and the general public laughed, drank and moshed the night away in what has instantly become a legendary after party. The new venue, format and after party ended up being a great success because everybody was all in it for the same reason, fun. With a group of skiers and snowboarders all this stoked to ride and laugh, there is no way you can’t have a good time.