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

challenging!

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!

~Hannah

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 info@coloradofreeskier.com

with any questions!  Cheers!


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