Crested Butte Freeskiing Competition
Words & Photos by Holly Walker
The drive from Salt Lake was short, especially since I was riding with Colorado local Lindsey McIntire, and there was no chance of getting lost. We arrived just before 11pm and moved into our condo on the hill; ski-in ski-out, not bad. The Salt Lake posse was already settled in — Team F-2 — our condo unit number.
On Wednesday we registered, stored our schwag bags and headed up the hill to inspect the rocky venues. The girls made a slight detour; we were in search of Susan Medville and our Ten Star helmets (our gracious comp sponsor).
THURSDAY: HEADWALL QUALIFIER: JESSE BRYAN AND CASEY WILSON SHINE
The Headwall was schralped after one hundred competitors had inspected the course on Wednesday, so on Thursday the chaos began. Sparks where flying off skis and in the end, two individuals topped the charts. Jesse Bryan of Team F-2 stomped an enormous air and Casey Wilson skied fast and aggressive.
The day ended with a meeting and all you could eat fajita fest — competitors fueled up for Day 1.
FRIDAY: DAY ONE: DOUBLE LADIES DAY
The Crested Butte comp is notorious for two things, rocks and local biased judges — and there were lots of both. But the women ran first and Jenn Ashton of Whistler smashed the stereotype by stomping a huge double clean and earning the highest score of the day. The men followed, putting together creative lines. Everything from Slot Rocks to Body Bag to Dead End Chutes was fair game. Somehow Elijah Lee of Mt Baker managed to almost miss the venue, sending it huge from half way up the hill.
By 2pm the men were finished and the top fourteen women were announced to go up and ski a second run. Despite the women's protest to running a second time on a venue with little snow left, the comp went on and ski bases were thrashed twice in a day. Thanks H-Bomb! In the end, the field was cut to the top 8 women and 26 men who would advance to the finals.
SATURDAY: FINALS / SUPER FINALS: THE DAY OF THE FALL
The sun came out and as the temperatures rose to 10C/50F the Pabst Blue Ribbon started flowing.
A big crowd had come out to watch the final day of carnage on the permanent closures of Hour Glass and Bermuda Triangle. I ran first, yielding fresh tracks down the uncharted territory with mixed snow conditions. I joined the crowd, got comfy, and watched the remainder of the competitors pioneering new pillow lines. Judges were gracious and crashes were acceptable, one guy even finished with one ski and moved on to the super finals.
On the men's side, Chris Tatsuno sent a huge front flip in an attempt to nab the coveted Sick Bird Award. Brady Smedsrud went from sixth to the hospital, after charging fast and taking it into the trees. We wish you a fast recovery!
Local poster boy Jesse Hall skied his line twice, the second time not getting stuck in the tree and took 3rd. Ryan Sutton of Gunnison Colorado took 2nd and 'Dark Hose' Griffin Post of Team F-2 took 1st after skiing an enormous pillow line.
The Awards and roast dinner followed. Jenn Ashton and Jesse Hall were awarded the Competitor's Choice Award and a free Club Med trip. Bobby Block was awarded the Sick Bird Award for skiing with one ski and taking a 30-footer. According to IFSA rules a "competitor and both skis must cross the finish line" but I guess it doesn't matter if its on your feet or not! Next came the booze and the live music, but myself and the other Ten Star girls headed for the private party.
THE TEN STAR PARTY
Ten Star was gracious enough to host a party in downtown Crested Butte for a select group of competitors. The place was packed, freeskiers and strippers partying under one roof, and the free drinks flowed all night. I won't name names but some got naked, some got wasted and some just couldn't get in to possibly this year's rowdiest ski party.
The next morning Team F-2 congregated at the Paradise Cafe in downtown Crested Butte for breakfast to reminisce over the last week and its champions before we each headed off in our separate ways.
For full comp results, click here.
About The Author
Holly Walker is sponsored by Dynastar/Look/Lange, Icebreaker, Smith, Giro, Gordini, www.SouthAmericaSki.com. She enjoys working on her goggle tan on the Snowbird tram deck while dreaming of exotic destinations.