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Between 30-40 competitors showed for Saturday's IFSA Sanctioned event at Jay Peak. A late season storm had refreshed surfaces nicely just prior to the event and the Jay Cloud was holding strong despite reports of clearing later in the day. Competition organizers pushed forward but the visibility ultimately kept the contest at bay. After much deliberation, officials decided it was best to postpone until Sunday.
The delay may as well have been the qualifying run, naturally separating the day-trippers from locals, and core. 15-20 competitors made the early Sunday start time. One local ripper arrived just a bit too late, it was a bluebird day and nothing was stopping the IFSA on a perfect day.
Last years champion Brad Kennison returned in force, leading the qualifier and ultimately taking first prize in the event. OPK with a very similar run from the previous year which earned a second was holding 5th after the qualifier. The field was strong with a jovial vibe in the air; friends, familiar faces, and accomplished freeriders pushing each other in the springtime sun.
11 riders advanced to the next round where competitors would be judged on the chutes and cliffs of The Face under Vermont's only aerial tramway. Second round started at 12:45 pm with "Johnny come lately" as our forerunner. The temperature was approaching 45 degrees and the snow had corned up perfectly edgeable and super-fast on the top of the face. The lower run-out section was pretty manky where the sun-baked fresh had yet to enter the corn-cycle.
The main features for the face are the finger-chutes, many niche features in the scrub-pine laden rock outcroppings and of course the big double cliff. Knowing everyone would be going huge for what we thought was the final run, Yours truly attempted the big double as a single and blewup on impact and became the free-slide test-dummy cart-wheeling 250 feet down the center throat..
Sam Wunsch stole the show on the first run with a solid negotiation of the double cliff and then an incredible execution of the center piney-cliff obstacle - he just pointed it straight and bomb-dropped it so tight.
The first run on The Face was over. The crowd was a buzz, waiting for the word on who was going to the super-final last run on The Face. After a very short huddle, the judges awarded all with a second run and the super-final was on!
Start-order got thrown out the window as time was of the essence as the light waned from under the tram. This is where it all gets a little fuzzy with adrenaline - we'll have more details after video review. Remember, the only thing you can see from the top of The Face is a rocky-cliff drop-off then Canada. Having botched the big double on the first try, there was no other option for me though my mind was racing with thoughts of a safety-line. The solution for a failed attempt?- GO BIGGER - hesitation kills. 2 turns to get set, then you are in the air over the double - 2 turns to negotiate the throat and it's over- It was not enough to get over a DQ in the first run but it was the line I came to do and a top linescore of the day.
Big thanks to Jay Peak for hosting, Johnny Witherspoon for representing the IFSA and making it happen. JPV thanks go out to Patman5000, Boston Joe, and David Tepper for hiking around the gear and shooting this event - footage is coming together now and will be posted ASAP.
2008 Jay Peak IFSA Big Mountain Extreme Competition Results
1 - Brad Kennison2 - Ben Leonie
3 - Sam Wunsch
4 - Collin Boyd
5 - Ryan Amsden
6 - Dom Malassena
7 - Simon Pouliot
8 - Bill Chilton
9 - Kevin Joudrey
10 - Brian Kelley
11 - Joe Fitzpatrick