Words: Hannah Whitney

Photos: Eben Wight, http://www.usfreeskiing.com,

all photos are owned by Mountain Sports International

High Life Ridge – looker’s right side of the venue

CFS team rider Lauren Alkire killing it deep in Toilet

Life – between Toilet Bowl and High Life



Honestly, I’m glad to be vegged out on the couch doing a

whole lot of nothing for a change. Granted, it’s only been a month since the

tour started, but it seems like it was nonstop! So the 17th Annual Crested

Butte Extreme Freeskiing Championship is over...with a world tour twist. It was

the first year this event has been a part of the International Freeskiing

Association (IFSA) tour, and run by Mountain Sport International (MSI). It

brought some great organization, judging, and fun to the already SICK arena.

That’s right; I’m talking about Big Hourglass and the Bermuda Triangle. I skied

it, hucked it, and ate shit! But that’s no place to start.

Since I used to live in Gunnison and ski

Crested Butte, and that’s where my boyfriend Kyle grew up, we decided to take a

full week to stay back there and catch up with friends. If you’ve never had the

chance to visit the Gunnison

Valley, you have to. It

rocks whether its summer or winter. Plus, if you’re looking to go to school

Western State College of Colorado

is awesome! And you could visit Jesse and Gabe at the Colorado FreeSkier, slope

side at the resort! But really, you want to go for the skiing; for Teocalli

bowl, the North Face, Spellbound, Third bowl and so much more.

We got in late on Tuesday and stayed in Gunnison.

Then we were up early so I could register, pay the big bucks, and ski

Wednesday. The junior comp had started Wednesday...and we could hear the cheers

of people watching those young rippers while we were checking out the Headwall

and other possible venues. I helped some friends scout lines for the qualifier

the following day which would be held the next day on Headwall. I can’t tell

you how nice it was to be pre-qualified and not to have to ski Angle Gully,

dubbed Angle “Quarry” after over 150 freakin’ competitors were sent through

it!!! That’s exactly what happened on Thursday. Starting with the juniors who

had qualified to day one of their competition, and proceeding through seniors’

women and men and on to the 18-39 crew. I spent my day between watching some competitors

battle the quarry and inspecting High Life to Dead End for day one on Friday.

I’m always impressed by some skiers on Headwall, and also see repeated

mistakes...beware when hucking over nasty loose rocks into big hard moguls!!!

Spellbound Cliffs – nice job staying on the ground


CFS team rider Ben Somrak recovering from a hang up in the bottom of Spellbound


in the Lookout Cliffs

In my inspections of High Life, all I gained was

the realization that I did not want to ski there during the competition. A good

portion of the area was awkwardly steep and tree covered, and I just couldn’t

ski it smoothly. So during my inspection Friday just after 8am, I had some big

decisions to make. How to pick a line that is impressive enough to get some

good points, and isn’t the same exact line as many others, but also isn’t too

much of a risk of falling? I took my time looking at two possibilities from the

top of spellbound cliffs. Then I skied around and checked them out from below

to look at the landing and run out. Going back and forth I picked the one that

I thought fewer people would ski so that my run might be more memorable. The

one I chose also looked a little bigger and more challenging. From there I had

to decide what was the next feature I could get to fast without traversing too

much. It was a small air but I could hit it fast and smooth. Then I cut to the

right of the giant double and picked a final air with a tight run out between

two trees and then to the Subaru arch.

Me skiing lower Spellbound Bowl

For having one inspection, my run went as well

as I could have hoped for, and put me into 3rd place. I was only 0.1 points

behind Carrie, but we were then around 3 points behind former champ Jen Ashton!

We had some ground to make up during Saturday’s finals. It was an awesome

Friday watching people jump off big stuff, especially Deuter’s Double and some

of those huge airs into trees up in “No Way In, No Way Out”...anyone? Jesse?

Andy? Oh yeah!

CFS team rider Tyson Bolduc going HUGE in Toilet Life

Trees – this was easily 60’

Tyson glowing with the nectar of the Gods

It’s been said a bunch, but this was only the

fourth time ever that the Big Hourglass and the Bermuda Triangle have been

opened. I felt so lucky to have the chance to ski it at all. Everyone is pretty

much in the same boat on this venue. We got to poke around it during inspection

to get a feel for the snow, which was so sugary in some places that it would

just dissipate down to rock under your skis. The new challenge here was the

possibility that if someone skied the line you wanted to before you, there’s a

chance that it won’t have much snow left on it. At the same time, the snow on

it can also be better after a couple people have jumped through it. I really

felt like I was just skiing during my run; going where it looked good, not

where I felt I had to go because I had planned on it before hand. And it was

sick! The snow was good and I hit some super fun pillows and a nice big air

into the Bermuda Triangle at the bottom. It was an awesome feeling having so

many friends cheering me on down at the bottom. I love you guys!!!

Suzanne Graham hanging in the Hourglass Start Gate

The perspective from the Start Gate – there is a ton of

vert in this venue!!

Suzanne Graham hucking in the Bermuda Triangle

Me sending in the Bermuda Triangle

Speaking to the people, and psyched to be going to the

Women’s Superfinals!!

My run was far from perfect, but it got me into

the superfinal in 2nd place. I’m very sorry to say that Carrie tumbled and did

serious damage to her knee. I know she would have had a bad ass line had she

gotten the chance to get to it all. I wish her the best in recovery...we all

know she’s tough! Unfortunately most of the women, all great skiers, were taken

down by the variable snow, so only Colby Adams and Jen were in the superfinals

with me. And now I was 7 points behind Jen!

I had to make a decision to either step up my line and try to make up some of

those points Jen had on me, or ski a similar line that I could be more

confident would keep me in second. I decided I wanted to get more lost in the

Bermuda Triangle! Plus the snow on the line I was scoping from the bottom

looked good and hadn’t been skied. If you’ve looked on usfreeskiing.com at the

CB superfinals videos, you know how this turned out for me! I felt good about

it, the snow was good, and I seemed so close to the finish corral before those

last two jump turns and taking the drop.

Superfinals run, hucking through Bermuda Triangle

Spot the landing

The next thing I knew I was awkwardly in a tree well with the wind knocked out

of me and soreness all over.

I had help walking through the finish line, got some

oxygen, and then a snowmobile ride to the clinic after spitting up some blood.

Sara Kay told me there were a bunch of rumors about what

was wrong with me...I was bleeding internally or blew my knee...yikes! I admit

I was kinda scared. Luckily I had just bitten the back of my tongue where

patrollers couldn’t see, so they wanted to be sure it wasn’t my kidneys. I’m

really sorry that I scared people! I just wanted to watch the men’s


Gabe triple logoing in the drunken corral at the bottom

of the venue

It was an awesome day nonetheless. I made it to

the awards fine, and got full updates of everyone’s amazing runs. Like Kiffor’s

huge hucks earning him the Sickbird belt buckle for the second time in his

career. And I was blown away to stand on the podium with him and receive a

Crested Butte Sickbird award...it’s such an honor and tribute. On top of that I

still ended up with third place which feels great. It feels good to do well for

myself on what still feels like my home mountain, and also to represent my

sponsors, Colorado Freeskier of course, Scott USA, Helly Hansen, and my new

body armor sponsor UFO Plast (whose products I was very happy to have on during

my tumble!). Still need skis, bindings, and boots though...

3rd place on World Tour Stop #1 – congrats to

Jen and Colby too!


Hannah Whitney and Kiffor share sickbird award for

Crested Butte event

It’s a week+ after my fall and I’m still sore and taking

time off from skiing because it hurts...so hopefully I’ll be good by Jackson Hole! I guess I lied about making these updates

shorter, but I’ll see you then!!!


From jessew: 

thanks Hannah!  What a killer time

it was having all the athletes here for the IFSA event.  Thanks again to Eben Wight with MSI and http://www.usfreeskiing.com for the photos,

and to CBMR for hosting this awesome event!

Just a reminder, everything in the store is now between

40-60% off – all skis, accessories, outerwear, and casual clothes are flying

out the door, so make sure you check out http://www.coloradofreeskier.com for the

best deals going!