In its first weekend of the 2011 season, the Gatorade Free Flow Tour returned to Mountain High and Vail Ski Resort for freeski slopestyle and superpipe contests. The Mt. High event in Wrightwood, California saw Lars Ellingson take the slopestyle win. With a full field of competitors, Vail winners Tanner Coulter (slopestyle) and Brian Kish (superpipe) had to fight for their spots on the top of the podium.
Under sunny skies at Mt. High, 20-year-old Ellingson earned the victory over a field of 20 amateurs, stomping a run that included a switch rodeo 540, a 900, and a switch cork 900. The California native fended off tough competition from runner up Clint Kasten and third place finisher Robby Franco.
“Oh man, I can’t believe I won,” Ellingson said. “Thank you so much! Today was super fun and the event was great.”
Robby Franco (3rd), Lars Ellingson (1st), Clint Kasten (2nd)
Over in Vail, Colorado, the skiers were in abundance as they took to the park, the first contest in the Tour’s history that sold out in pre-registration. Repeating his 2009 victory, Vail local Coulter won Saturday’s slopestyle event on his home mountain. Coming in second place was Noah Wallace, with Mark Nowakiwski rounding out the podium in third.
Noah Wallace (2nd), Tanner Coulter (1st), Mark Nowakiwski (3rd)
Sunday’s pipe contest was an impressive showdown, with Kish’s left five mute, right five late mute, left cork 9 into an alley-oop cork 7 and switch down the pipe 9 earning him the top spot. Coming in second place was Aaron Blunck, and in third place was Alex Ferriera.
“I’m super stoked about it! I can’t wait to get to the Finals in Snowbasin, to try my hardest and hopefully get a spot in the Winter Dew Tour, and just have a really good time,” said Kish of his win.
Alex Ferreira (3rd), Brian Kish (1st), Aaron Blunck (2nd)
With their wins, the three earn automatic bids into the Gatorade Free Flow Tour Finals that will take place at the Winter Dew Tour’s Toyota Championship, February 10-13, 2011 at Snowbasin Resort in Utah.
1) Lars Ellingson
2) Clint Kasten
3) Robby Franco
4) Jason Arens
5) Tim George
1) Tanner Coulter
2) Noah Wallace
3) Mark Nowakiwski
4) Erik Lukkari
5) James Machon
1) Brian Kish
2) Aaron Blunck
3) Alex Ferreira
4) James Machon
5) Matt Evans
The winners in each of the 54 contests (30 slopestyle and 24 superpipe) will be flown to the Gatorade Free Flow Tour Finals, taking place in conjunction with the Winter Dew Tour’s Toyota Championship, February 12-13 at Snowbasin Resort in Utah. Encompassing the “Flow to Pro” theme that is the cornerstone of the Gatorade Free Flow Tour, the two overall snowboard superpipe and slopestyle champions and the overall freeski superpipe and slopestyle champions will earn a spot to compete against the pros at the first stop of the 2011-12 Winter Dew Tour the following season.