Words & photos: Julie Weinberger
As I sit here in a bit of fog from the final Freeskiing World Tour after party of the season, I’m a little lost for words. So, to put it bluntly, the World Championships at Snowbird this past weekend (March 19-20) was the sickest display of skiing I’ve ever seen at a big mountain contest.
After three days of qualifying (the second day was cut short due to weather), competitors took to the famed Silver Fox venue for Day 1 of the last tour stop of the season. With a few inches of new snow from the previous night and brilliantly blue skies, the north facing zone was in good shape despite all the freeze-thaw weather the Wasatch was experiencing.
Crystal Wright and Hannah Whitney with and a crisp Silver Fox venue. No reason not to be stoked.
All the flips and spins throughout the day stood out from past events. Vail’s Claudia Bouvier started it off, taking her park game to the big mountain scene with a lofty 3.
From there, it seemed like nearly half the men threw some kind of trickery. Vail’s Patrick Baskins threw a 3 to a 1, skiing switch through the bottom of the venue.
At the end of the day, Snowbird’s Angel Collinson was on top of the board with a fast, technical line. Alta’s Drew Stoecklin lead the men’s field with aggressive skiing, a big back flip and a 3.
The top 45 men and 13 women were set to move onto the final day.
Day 2 went off just like Day 1. Sunny skies and the feature filled North Baldy venue did not disappoint the thousand or so fans.
The women came out charging. Again, Bouvier upped the anti, this time throwing a 7. While she didn’t get the landing gear down, it was definitely a crowd pleaser and a taste of what we’re going to be seeing next season. Jacqui Edgerly had one of the best runs going, but unfortunately, she snagged an edge at the bottom, knocking her out of advancing to the super final and taking her out of contention for the overall tour title where she was in a first place tie with Collinson.
Aspen’s Emily Teague held it down in third. Snowbird’s Alaina Huestis and Sara Mancuso of Squaw were close behind. With the biggest air on the women’s side, Mancuso took home the tour stop Young Gun award.
After winding up in eighth place after the first day, last year’s tour winner Crystal Wright jumped to second with fast, aggressive skiing in the finals and remained there after the super final.
The day, and overall season, ultimately belonged to tour rookie Collinson. Along with winning the event, she also took home the overall tour title, now appropriately named the McConkey Cup. The overall North Face Young gun award was also hers.
On the men’s side, nearly half the field seemed to get a Sickbird nomination, alluding to just how impressive the skiing was. The coveted award ultimately went to Snowbird’s Nick Greener who sent the biggest air of the day. Among the other standouts was Matt Luczkow’s cork 7 in the middle of the venue. And, just like on Day 1, we saw tons of 3s, back flips and front flips.
Nick Greener – Sending the double from the top on his way to a Sickbird belt buckle.
After knocking on the door the last couple of seasons, Mad River Glen’s Lars Chickering-Ayers finally held it together in the super final to take the win, going huge off the Flying Squirrel air and then straight lining into the bottom double.
Snowbird’s Drew Stoecklin and Oakley White-Allen rounded it out in second and third.
Going into the event, Jackson Hole’s Griffin Post held the overall tour lead. In the final, he sent the top airs bigger than anyone else, but came up a tiny bit short on the bottom air that Greener hit, clipping some brush and going for a tumble.
That left the door open for Revelstoke winner Arne Backstrom to make a move. With consistently solid skiing, Backstrom’s ninth place finish was enough to sneak him by Post for the overall McConkey Cup by one point.
Awards capped off the 2010 Freeskiing World Tour. Cheers rang throughout the Snowbird tram dock for CR and Shane for all they have done for freeskiing. Shane was instrumental in getting the IFSA (the tour’s governing body) together and getting events to show off big mountain skiing. Seeing all the tricks thrown into these gnarly lines can only be attributed to what we’ve seen CR do over his illustrious career. Huge thanks to both for their contributions to this wonderful sport. They’d be stoked to see this kind of progression.
Crystal Wright, Angel Collinson, Emily Teague and Alaina Huestis make sure Angel gets sufficiently soaked since she’s too young to drink her Sierra Nevada. Good thing she wore a raincoat.
Women’s Top 3 Superfinal Runs
Drew Stoecklein, Lars Chickerying-Ayers, Oakley White-Allen
Men’s Top 3 Superfinal Runs