Here is an update from Alex Hassman, who has been competing in the Bridger Gully Freeride Competition:

This past weekend at Bridger Bowl Montana was the annual Bridger Gully Freeride Competition. As a veteran of the US Telemark Freeskiing Series, I cut my teeth skiing Big Mountain competitions throughout the western United States, for almost 10 years.  The appeal of these competitions is simple really. It is the one competitive avenue for recreational and professional free skiers to demonstrate the skill set that they have been working on throughout the season.  It’s no different then entering a bike race or a marathon at the end of the summer.  It’s no different then running a hard river, a test piece rapid, or attempting to climb a new route.  I think in large part it is human nature to want to compare, showcase or prove things. Having done well at this discipline and done so many of these competitions I don’t find myself needing this forum as much anymore.

But like an old vise, every once in a while I find the urge to spend an entire day waiting for a 3 minute slot where I can hurl myself off a mountain side in what you hope is an artful and calculated demonstration of skill, balls and creativity.

Bridger Bowl is our neighboring ski area to the North of Bozeman.

Bridger, as it is simply called, embodies the essence of skiing and has produced skiers like the late great Doug Coombs as well as Scott Schmidt. With a unique mergence of the Montana culture combined with the progressive end of the ski industry. Bridger has forged a reputation as being one of the best ski areas in the world. So with it’s tightly packed rock buttresses, fins, shoots and gullies. Bridger is the perfect place to showcase the areas top level free skiers.

With skiers from Jackson Hole, Alta, Snowbird, Sun Valley and Big Sky, to name a few represented area, the Gully Free Ride Competition was stacked with talented skiers.  I would be lying if I said I didn’t go to Bridger to win, but at last I didn’t win and to my disappointment I was farther from the top than I expected.  Truthfully I don’t care, I know these comps are judged events like figure skating. Having been on both sides of the swing I know the score.  At the end of the day, I put my reputation on the line.  I represented Faction, Cloudveil and my home resort.  I skied a cool line, that was fun.  I saw friends that I hadn’t seen in awhile, we drank beer, talk about skiing and kept the stoke alive.  Maybe if I had spent less time skiing in a fir coat and drinking Lattes I would have done better.  See Alex’s last update to understand this last comment, but also 16th out of a field of 60 is not too shabby we don’t reckon.


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