The Ski The East Freeride Tour is back, and better than ever!!!
First and most importantly, the dates:
2/11/12 – Mad River Glen – Unconventional Terrain Competition
3/3/12 – Magic Mountain** – Southern Vermont Freeskiing Open
3/10/12 – Sugarbush – Castlerock Extreme Challenge
3/17/12 and 3/18/12 – Jay Peak Resort – Jay Peak Extreme Competition
** Magic Mountain’s annual Craig Potter Memorial Black Magic Extreme Challenge (BMEC) is scheduled for Saturday February 25, 2012. This event is separate from the Ski The East Freeride Tour’s event at Magic Mountain. The top 3 male and female contestants from the BMEC will be qualified into the remaining 3 STEFT Main Events.
There are a lot of changes happening with the tour this year, most notably a series of Junior Qualifier events, a more streamlined, consistent judging criteria, and bigger prizes!!
The 3 Junior Qualifier events (MRG, Jay Peak, Sugarbush) were added in response to the overwhelming participation from all the mountains youth freeskiing and freeride programs. By taking only the 30 top Juniors (defined as 13 and under as of 1/1/12) from the 3 Junior Qualifiers (10 from each), we've raised the bar and level of competition at the 4 STEFT Main Events and allowed a larger field to encourage some of the "local rippers" to come out and participate.
At the 4 main Ski The East Freeride Tour events, no skier ages 13 and under (as defined by January 1, 2012) will be permitted to register/ compete unless they are one of the 30 prequalified contestants who were admitted via one of the 3 Junior Qualifier Events:
1/14/12 - Mad River Glen - Jr. Unconventional Terrain Competition
1/29/12 - Jay Peak - Jr. Jay Peak Extreme Challenge
2/4/12 - Sugarbush - Jr. Castlerock Extreme Challenge
The top 10 skiers from each Junior event will move on to qualify for all 4 main STEFT stops.
Registration for the Jr. events is handled by each of the host mountains. Please refer to their websites for that info.
***Additionally, Magic Mountain's annual Craig Potter Memorial Black Magic Extreme Challenge (BMEC) is scheduled for 2/25/12. This event is separate from the Ski The East Freeride Tour's event at Magic on 3/3/12, and open to all age groups. The top 3 male and female contestants from the BMEC will be qualified into the remaining 3 STEFT main events at Magic Mountain, Sugarbush, and Jay Peak.
New Judging Criteria
One of the biggest areas for improvement from the last 2 years has been the need for consistent judging at all the events. to satisfy that demand, we worked hard with the International Free Skiers Association (IFSA), the sanctioning body of the Freeskiing World Tour (FWT), to create a co-branded STEFT/IFSA Judging Criteria sheet. There are 5 categories: line, control, fluidity, technique, and style. This judging format will be used at all the events - the 3 Junior Qualifiers and the 4 Main Events.
In order to help with the implementation of the new judging criteria, we've brought aboard a Head Judge - Mad River Glen's Andy Weis. Andy is a veteran competitor and knows both the IFSA system and our STEFT events. As Head Judge, he'll be working with each resort's volunteer judges and Sugarbush's John Egan and Jay Peak's John Witherspoon. Andy will be there supporting the judges - helping with the judges meeting before the competitions, making sure all the judges understand and are properly utilizing the judging format, and will be the main point of contact with competitors in the event of any discrepancies.
This year we've also up'ed-the-anty regarding the cash purse. We haven't finalized the exact numbers yet, but there will likely be $1,000 on the line at each of the 4 main events (compared to last year's $100 at each event). The prize money will be distributed to the top 3 male and female competitors. We've hoping this will lure more people to compete.
All of this and more can be found at www.skitheeast.net. Ski hard and have fun.. hope to see a bunch of you on tour this year!