Words: Hannah Whitney
Photos: Eben Wight MSI, http://www.ebbflowdesign.com
It’s hard to believe that its only one week after my win in
Telluride, and the Squaw Valley competition is
already over. Yesterday my travel
buddies and I got back from California. I’ll chill in SLC for a couple days, working
up at Watson’s Shelter at Alta, before loading my gear up again to get to
Crested Butte, Colorado for the US Extreme Freeskiing Championship. YESSSSSSS!!!
I can’t wait to get back to my Colorado
home, hang out with the CFS crew, and ski the bad ass terrain I know and
love. But first, everyone needs to know
about the huck fest that was the second annual Squaw Valley Freeskiing Open.
This was my first time at Squaw, and I’m impressed! Its freakin’ huge! Lifts going every which way and gorgeous
terrain. We stayed with Daryn and
Whitney’s buddy in Hirschdale. They had
a hammock roped up in the rafters, it was sweet! We had to go through a produce checkpoint
everyday going to the mountain, but luckily we kept it cool and they didn’t
uncover our underground utah-cali banana cross-breeding operation. Whew!
Really though, they’ve got the BEST produce out there! I bought two of the most honkin’ huge
artichokes ever, down in Truckee.
Deeeelicious! If you knew me, you’d know
about my artichoke obsession. It’s a
healthy addiction I’d say!
Once we made our way to the resort on Wednesday, we were
more than ready to get on our skis again.
Unfortunately they didn’t give us as good of a deal on tickets as
Telluride, but we got through the same old paperwork and got on the hill. People seemed to know where the venue would
be for the next day, so we followed the “crowd” of familiar faces from the week
before up the KT-22 lift. This venue had
a little traverse in the middle, but nothing like the Telluride finals. Looking around was interesting because it was
super windy and cold. The snow was hard
and ice-like in spots, and when you turned your icy spray blew right in your
face! Makes ya wanna huck! Yeah right!
I kinda picked a line and figured once again I’d wait until the next morning
to decide for sure depending on conditions.
My couch was comfy, that’s all that really mattered that night.
It was still blowing the next day – bummer. Still cold, too. I just have to remember to ski agressively,
no stopping and looking, which can be hard.
Mike Wilson was there competing, and he was kind enough to be out there
with a shovel during inspection softening my landing off a small double near
the bottom of the venue. Thanks
buddy! My run went well I’d say. I skied over some rocks and stuff, hit the
double, went way backseat off this lip at the bottom, nothing special. I got myself into 3rd at the end of the
day. There were some hard crashes and
big hucks into crappy snow that day.
Props to everyone that did it! I
was super impressed by the effortless skiing of local Jackie Paaso (another who
grew up in Maine!)
who skied stronger than lots of the guys and was in first that day.
We all shared more Coronas that night, but no
limes...WTF? We got results, shared our
congrats and condolences with friends, and grabbed our $175 t-shirts before
calling it a night. Judged events can be
hard. Some people are always going to be
disappointed, but I hope everyone can try to learn from it, and still have
fun! It would be awesome if everyone
could experience being on top, but it’s just not realistic. Comps are just not like cruising around with
your friends, and you have to take them for what they are...fun and
The finals venue was a bigger animal, and before the sun
softened it up I called it the Icy Death Venue...maybe a little on the dramatic
side. Let me tell you, it went down that
Friday! Jesse’s backflip...SICK! I got a little sloppy on my run, and dropped
from 3rd the 5th, but they sent 7 women to the superfinal, so I had another
chance. I thought if I got my shit
together and took my double bigger, I might make podium, but it wasn’t meant to
be. At the top of my run I was in the
middle of an aggressive turn and all of a sudden my ski was gone and I was tumbling
fast. I didn’t even get to hit any of my
airs! One of the fabulous MSI ninjas
brought me my unfaithful ski and I skied down with tears in my eyes. I was shaken up and frustrated, but with hugs
from great friends like Tanya, Whitney, and Lex, I was over it quickly. 7th is still pretty sweet. Plus then I got to share some brown water
with Dak, Pauldo, and Frankie, say hello to the great McConkey, and watch the
craziness ensue in the sunshine!
Jackie had a bigger bummer than me when she walked out of
her ski after an awesome run, which would have had her in first. But that’s what I was talking about with the
nature of competitive skiing. Elyse who
ended up winning skied really strong and earned the title. The same went for the men. I can’t even describe their runs, you’ve just
gotta check out the clips on http://www.usfreeskiing.com, because it was awesome. Those who podiumed and those who didn’t skied
so well and put on an awesome show. All
the skiers put on a good show on the dance floor that night too! Yee Haw!
See ya next time!
From jessew: make sure to check in with http://www.coloradofreeskier.com for
sales ranging from 30-55% off everything in the store – give us a ring at
970.349.6664 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
with any questions! Cheers!