Salomon Extremes 2013 – Day 1 at Taos
Day 1 of the 2013 Salomon Extreme Freeride Championships in Taos New Mexico went off today, blue bird and all. With Crested Butte being postponed due to low snowpack, this was the first FWQ event of the season. Taos is a 4* event, being the highest level of competition on the qualifier circuit; the best of the best were brought out. This has to be the most mind blowing day of qualifiers I have ever witnessed, the level of skiing and snowboarding blew my mind.
The number of athletes was the highest on record with 138 skiers and snowboarder descending down West Basin Ridge. The women's snowboarders started the event off with 1st place going to Tess Carney, 2nd place Kaitlin Elliot of Snowbird and 3rd place Michelle Locke from Alberta.
Next was the Women Ski category, starting off was Kaytlin Hughes of Crested Butte, who flew down the venue hitting a few cliffs on her way down. Top spot went to Francesca Pavillard-Cain of Crested Butte, looking to start off her competition year in a top spot. Sole Diaz finished second with a solid top section of the venue and a straight line to the finish after airing a cliff. 3rd place went to Desiree Touchette of Park Citty.
The men were up next with Snowboarders going first. Christopher Galvin of Squaw Valley impressed the judges and crowed by his hard charging line mixed with tricks to award with top honours after day 1. Second place went to Justin Bobb of Taos and 3rd going to Brian Bozack of Sugar Bowl.
Next up were the Skier Men, and what a show it was. There were so many good runs that it's hard to talk about all of them. Jake Sakson of Grand Targhee was up to his usually telemarking antics stomping a massive air and finishing in 9th. Conor Pelton of Crystal Mountain threw three 360's in his run finishing in 7th. Brandon Clabaugh of Crested Butte sent a large air at the bottom, scraping rocks on his landing and finishing in 4th. Johnny Rossman finished in 3rd with the largest cliff of the day, somehow finding a way to ski away from it. Second place went to Ian Borgeson of Arapahoe Basin and first place to Drew Peterson.
Tomorrow is day 2 (of 3) of the Taos Extremes, watch it live at http://www.skitaos.org/freeride/ starting at 10am M.T.
*Ed – Reporter/competitor Matt Francisty finished a respectable 12th today, so he'll be movin' up to Day 2 with more competitor's-eye-view for y'all to enjoy. Here's his run from Day 1…