Griffin Post & Whitney Win Telluride Freeskiing Open
After another day of bluebird skies and deep, steep skiing, Griffin Post and Hannah Whitney broke away from the pack today to win the 3rd Annual Subaru Telluride Freeskiing Open. They each sailed through some of Telluride’s most extreme terrain, dropping cliffs, slicing through couloirs and laying down unforgettable turns.
Their victories capped two days of extreme big-mountain skiing in the shadow of Telluride’s Palmyra Peak. The skies were jewel-clear for today’s finals, and the deep snow gave nearly 50 competitors a chance to break out their best stuff on some truly heroic lines. With the stakes higher for the final round, both the men and women turned up the juice. The hundreds of spectators witnessed back and front flips, 360’s off huge cornices and athletes sending it off 30-foot cliff drops. Telluride locals marveled that the Prospect Basin had never seen so many skiers going so big.
In the men’s super final, all of the top three finishers put on stunning performances. Josh Daiek of Kirkwood, CA, launched off the Dihedral Chute ribs and sailed through the tight lower turns, earning third place and an overall score of 100.38. John Nicoletta of Aspen, CO, grabbed some of the day’s biggest air up top and took home second place, scoring 101.50 overall.
But nobody could get by Post. He won with 107 points, a 5.5-point margin over second place. “I’m pumped,” he said. “To stay in first is just –well, I’m glad I didn’t blow it.”
Hannah Whitney, of Crested Butte, CO, came into today’s comps tied for second place, but she put in a strong showing on her first run and edged past Crystal Wright, of Jackson Hole, WY. Both women skied fast and fluid in the super final, but Whitney held onto her lead. She won with 95.76 points, less than a point ahead of Wright.
The North Face Young Gun Award, which honors outstanding freeskiers under 21, went to Scott McBrayer of Alta, UT. He put in three strong runs during the competition and came in sixth overall. But the most poignant moment of the competition was this year’s Tobias Lee Sickbird Award, which is handed out to the skier who puts in the most spirited, most extraordinary competition run. The award went to Tobias’s older brother, Elijah Lee, of Mount Baker, WA,(the two brothers were skiing a steep chute together at Mount Baker in 2006 when an avalanche broke, killing 25-year-old Tobias). Elijah put in an amazing, aggressive performance today in Telluride, and he was moved to tears when the judges awarded him this year’s first Sickbird buckle.
The U.S. Freeskiing Series heads next to Squaw Valley USA, CA, February 13th through 16th.
Once again, MSI will be posting same-day video webcasts on the newly redesigned usfreeskiing.com which features state of the art video and photo player technology. The daily uploads of video, photos, news and results of each day’s competition action will be available after each day concludes.