Whistler Shredder Crystal Rose-Lee Wins World Freeskiing Championships
The final stop of the Subaru U.S. Freeskiing Series and the Freeskiing World Tour wrapped up today at Alyeska Resort, Alaska. The emotional day of competition began this morning as nearly 200 competitors hiked to the top of Alyeska peak to pay tribute to fallen competitor John Nicoletta of Aspen, Colorado.
A memorial took place on the peak where competitors shared their favorite stories and memories of Nicoletta. Before the first competitor left the start gate a large group of Aspen athletes foreran the venue in unison and dedicated it to their lost friend.
With half the field of competitors unable to complete their runs yesterday, the decision was made to run the remainder of the field this morning. Incidentally, four out of the top five overall male competitors ran yesterday including Jake Cohn of Telluride, CO, whose run included a high speed straight-line with a sizeable cliff-drop. Cohn finished fifth with 34.69 points. Luke Nelson of Fernie, B.C., finished fourth with 35.75 points just ahead of Aaron Schmidt also of Fernie, BC. Schmidt, who ran today, pioneered a new line which he skied with authority, earning him 36 points overall. Craig Garbiel of Kirkwood, California, skied an incredibly fast run, gaining precious line score points by skiing through exposure, to finish second with 36.25. Kent Hyden of Alta, Utah, executed four perfect cliff drops with no hesitation. His speed and aggressive line choice earned him a total of 36.63 points, which put him on the top of the podium.
“I was looking up the venue this morning and had an idea of what I wanted to ski,” overall winner Kent Hyden said yesterday. “Right before my start, I looked down at my line and was able to see my take-off and where I would land I figured and I knew that as long as I had enough speed I would be alright. It worked out pretty well.”
The international women’s field represented five nations and was one of the deepest in history. Ex U.S. National Ski Team member Crystal Wright of Jackson Hole, Wyoming, skied a technical line with a few impressive cliff-drops, skiing into the bowl with controlled speed, which earned her 29.88 points and fifth place overall. One of the youngest competitors in the event, 19 year-old Jacqui Edgerly of Aspen, Colorado, impressed the judges with her extremely fast run, earning her 30.88 points and fourth place on the day. Former Freeskiing World Tour champion Jess McMillan finished third overall with 31 points just ahead of Janina Kuzma of Fernie, BC, who skied her exposed line with confidence, landing her in second position overall with 31.75 points. Tour veteran Crystal-Rose Lee of Whistler, BC, made quick work of the venue, skiing a fast, technical line littered with cliff-drops, which earned her the first position overall with 32.25 points.
“This was the most nervous and weird I have ever felt in a competition,” said third place finisher Jess McMillan. “I always ski to ski another day, and after yesterday, the weight of that was heavy. Today I wanted to ski for myself, for John… and for the sake of skiing. I didn’t really care how I did, I just wanted to make it down to the bottom and it feels really good to be down here.”
Although the awards ceremony will take place tomorrow, overall tour winners were released this evening solidifying a Whistler, B.C., sweep of the Freeskiing World Tour as Brett Crabtree won his first title and Jen Ashton claimed her fourth. The Subaru U.S. Freeskiing Series titles went to Josh Daiek of Kirkwood, CA, and Crystal-Rose Lee of Whistler, B.C. Log onto www.usfreeskiing.com for a complete list of tour results. For Sickbird buckle winner and The North Face Young Gun winner, please log onto www.usfreeskiing.com tomorrow.
Mountain Sports International presented a live webcast of the Subaru Freeskiing World Championships. Check out highlights at www.usfreeskiing.com, which features state of the art video and photo player technology. The daily uploads of video, photos, news and results are available after each day concludes.