Words by Riley Snyder
Park City Mountain Resort played host to the 6th annual Queens Cup Open this past weekend, which unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, is a girl’s only competition involving a rail jam, slopestyle and halfpipe events. The event is meant to help progress women’s freestyle skiing in many disciplines, all while having fun.
Erica Durtchi getting shown how to hula that hoop. Photo: Riley Snyder
The event kicked off with a ski and snowboard rail jam at the bottom of the halfpipe. In the words of eventual winner Veronica Kelly, “I really liked the setup. Park City always knows how to build things perfectly. It had something for everyone to hit, and a great variety with the badminton net jump. It was really awesome to win the rail jam, and I was glad to see such a large turnout of girl snowboarders and skiers to make it a success! Everyone was super supportive of the girls in the rail jam, and I saw so many high fives from the crowd and the Park City park staff, who kept the rail jam features in pristine condition!”
Emma Whitman locking into a 270 on the flat box. Photo: Riley Snyder
Energy at the event was high with all the girls pushing each other despite the slow snow. Girls were throwing 270s left and right and getting down on the creative course.
Alexi Micinski stomping a steezy 270 on. Photo: Riley Snyder
Unfortunately there could only be one winner of the $500, even though all the girls were throwing some very impressive stuff throughout the whole jam. Judge Megan Gunning had this to say about the jam and the winner: “The rail jam was really impressive. We saw a lot of blind and forward switch-ups. Lots of 270 outs and even a couple of 270s on. Vern makes everything look so easy on rails and boxes. I really like her style and the way she approached the feature, and she also did the most banger tricks in the jam.” The rail jam raised $400 for the High Fives Non-Profit Foundation, which raises money and awareness for those who have suffered a life altering injury while pursuing a winter action sports dream.
Winner Vern Kelly, with a larger than average sized check. Photo: Riley Snyder
Saturday then came, which meant it was time for the slopestyle portion of the event, which was held in the 3 Kings Terrain Park.
Competitors eyeing up the course right before an early practice. Photo: Riley Snyder
The course had a bunch of traditional features with some creative ones thrown into the mix courtesy of the park crew, which included an up box with a small gap to down box and a down over down rail to let the girls strut their stuff! A total of 30 girls came out for the competition from as far away as Australia and Whistler. There was a plethora of talent, which showed a deep pool of young up and comers who gave a glimpse at what we have to look forward to in the future of women’s skiing.
Maggie Voisin getting at the first down box zealously. Photo: Ray J. Gadd
Riding tables is a picnic for Catherine Warchal. Photo: Riley Snyder
Tricks on all features were impressive including cork 720s, 270s on and off of features, blunts and flips.
Taylor Lundquist is not afraid to slide the big Park City rails. Photo: Riley Snyder
Coach amERICA Durtchi spotting to spin out. Photo: Riley Snyder
The girls seemed to be no stranger to jumps either, with some impressive flips, spins and grabs. No matter what trick they threw, they made sure to turn the swagger on to make it look good.
Alexi doing a misty 540 on the first jump. Photo: Josh Draper
Taylor with a stylish 360 blunt. Photo: Josh Draper
Cat getting gnarly with a flat 3 on the jump. Photo: Riley Snyder
Nadia Gonzales with an easy switch 360. Photo: Ray J. Gadd
Emma getting that cork 720 on lock. Photo: Ray J. Gadd
The infamous Moo Eakin spinning around 540 degrees to complete her trick. Photo: Riley Snyder
Cat does a frontflip right next to teammate Alexi while she does a backflip for their team fun run. Photo: Riley Snyder
The format included a team fun run, where after everyone had done their two runs everyone on each team went at once and tried to hit the features. Luckily there were not any injuries having 30 riders on course at once, which was awesome for everyone involved…and I am sure ski patrol was happy about it too!
(left to right) Taylor Lundquist (2nd), Nadia Gonzales (1st), Emma Whitman (3rd). Photo: Riley Snyder
1) Nadia Gonzales - 83
2) Taylor Lundquist - 80
3) Emma Whitman - 64.5
4) Catherine Warchal - 60
5) Julia Krass - 59
6) Julia Marino - 54
7) Veronica Kelly - 50
8) Marley Rodwick - 48
8) Moo Eakin - 48
8) Maggie Voisin - 48
9) Alexi Micinski - 46
10) Annabel Blake - 43.5
Best Trick: Taylor Lunquist - 270 on, K-Fed
Best Team Overall: Erica Durtchi's team...
Best overall team: (left to right) Maggie Voisin, Moo Eakin, Erica Durtchi, Alana English and Taylor Lundquist. Photo: Riley Snyder
“As head judge of the Queens Cup slopestyle, I would have to say that it was probably the smoothest and most impressive women’s comp I have ever personally worked on or seen. The weather was awesome and everyone was in high spirits. The talent that these girls have to offer these days has truly made this sport more attractive to the general public. They see these girls doing front flips, backflips, mistys, switch hits and big smooth spins. It really portrays the athleticism and drive of women in today’s action sport scene. Although it was probably the year with the least amount of competitors, most of the big name females being out of town made it quite nice, as it gave prior 4th and 5th place finishers from past seasons a chance to podium, which is refreshing. I got to meet a lot of driven, up and coming talented women skiers and am very excited for next year.” - Austin Ramaley, Head Judge
The group of girls getting ready to get the warm feeling of face shots of pow in the sun. Photo: Riley Snyder
The halfpipe portion of the competition was scheduled for Sunday morning, but an unexpected dump of a foot of fresh Saturday night was a major obstacle. Everyone tried to slip the pipe but the snow was too deep and the sun was out. The general consensus was to ditch the halfpipe and head over to Jupiter Peak to ride powder together. Lucky for us, the snow was good and the sun was out.
Coach Jessie Sharp getting in some turns while guiding us around the mountain. Photo: Riley Snyder
Vern Kelly guided us though some trees to get some fresh turns. Photo: Riley Snyder
You could not get the girls to stop smiling, but then again who would be sad on a sunny pow day?
Moo Eakin smiling about the sunshine and powder. Photo: Riley Snyder
Jessie suggested we get some tracks a little higher up so we all popped out of our bindings and started to boot pack up Pioneer Ridge. The East Face was prime that time of day with deep snow, cliffs and of course sun!
Ashleigh Low getting some steep turns in Puma Bowl. Photo: Riley Snyder
You would be all smiles like Annabel Blake if you were from Australia riding that famous Utah powder. Photo: Riley Snyder
After riding down Puma Bowl, we all headed over to another side of the mountain to ride some trees. At this point, everyone was splitting up into smaller groups and shredding different parts of the mountain. Vern took us through some fun tree runs that gave the girls the biggest smiles I have ever seen.
Alexi getting a slash in on the steeps. Photo: Riley Snyder
You know that feeling you get riding powder on a sunny day? Well that is what Ashleigh is feeling. Photo: Riley Snyder
Oh, and I forgot to mention that we also hit a cliff in East Face that turned out some banger images which only made the smiles bigger and bigger. What better a way then to end the Queens Cup Open with your mouth hurting from having so much fun!
Girls send cliffs too! Alexi going deep first hit in East Face. Photo: Riley Snyder
The event was probably one of the best weekends at Park City, and it will surely only get better next year. Without the sponsors, the event would not have been so successful, so big thanks go out to Park City Mountain Resort, Skullcandy, Evolve Chile, The Advent Group, Park City Freestyle Team, High Fives Foundation, Discrete Headwear, Paul Mitchell, Bern, Dakine, Moment Skis, BoomBotix, Bendis Skin Care, All Seasons, Smith Optics and The Corner Store.
Queens Cup Open 2011 from Hennie vJ on Vimeo.
Queens Cup 2011 Highlights from Bennett Duchin on Vimeo.
And now for the moment you all have been waiting for…the winner of the Evolve Chile Throwdown 2011 Video contest: Annabel Blake, who has won herself a free trip to Evolve Chile ski camp at Valle Navado! Go to Evolve Chile's Facebook fan page to check out the videos of girls who entered. Annabel will be blogging about her experience all the way from the Queens Cup Open to Chile this summer on Evolve's website: http://www.evolvechile.com.
Congratulations Annabel, and enjoy your free session at Evolve Chile this summer!
Special thanks to Annaleah De Masi, Rebecca Babicz, Park City Mountain Resort, High Fives Foundation, the judges, emcees, media and everyone else who helped make the 6th annual Queens Cup Open happen!