Images: MSI/ Mike Schirf
Words: Daryn Edmunds
The 4-Star FWQ at Snowbird was held last weekend and man was it ever a shredfest. Riders from all over North America descended on the classic venues of Silver Fox and North Baldy to crush pow, send airs, and earn points in the final stop of this seasons Subaru Freeride Series. The weather was epic on Friday for Day One on Silver Fox, with soft snow and amazing light. Day Two on North Baldy was a whole lot colder and stormier making for tougher skiing and spectating. All of these photos are from Day 1.
Will Dujardin was on a mission after two strong finishes at Crested Butte a couple weeks ago. He skied well on Day 1 and had a banger run going on Day 2 before going down on his final air. He hit the Broom Closet off the big side with no hesitation and came within inches of hanging onto the landing. Good to see our old homie back in the game.
Hazel Birnbaum of Kirkwood California did some ass kicking as usual and ended up in 4th overall at Snowbird. Her powerful skiing and strong line choice has made her one of my favorites to watch all season. I think the FWT is in her not-to-distant future.
Alta skier and professional Trout Bum Zac Horrocks showed that an East Coast mogul skier can hang with the best of them by finishing 6th overall. Zac’s great attitude and dreamy hair have been a welcome addition to the tour the past two seasons. I have a feeling that he will become a top 10 fixture in the future as well.
Young buck Andrew Pollard made this years SFS at Snowbird his first adult comp. He showed everyone why he has been smashing JFT events for years with his fast fluid style and solid air sense. Andrew finished 11th overall and made a statement to all the players that he is in the game to play hard.
Another fairly new player is Scot Chrisman. Scot and his buddie Scottie Williams bring a passion and flair to the comps that has been missed for the last few year. Scot stuck a wild 720 gap move at Crested Butte that was worthy of a “Hell yeah”, and is usually the first guy to hand you a beer in the finish corral. This air of the White Side of Frenchie Rock did not work out too well for Mr. Chrisman, but it is one of my favorite wreck images ever:)
Another fairly new fella on the tour is Patty Baskins. After a top finish at Moonlight this season Patty decided to put down his pipe skis for a bit and try some more big mountain comps. It worked out well for him with another top 10 at Snowbird. It looks like Patty will be binging the open jacket/tall tee steeze to Europe next year on the FWT as well. This guy is a blas to watch on the hill and even more of a blast to party with after.
A not-so-new player of the game is Mr. Cliff Bennett. Cliff has a Sickbird Buckle and a fist full of top 5 finishes over the last 8-10 seasons. After a short break from competing Cliff came back on the scene this year at Taos, NM. A crash in Taos kept him off the podium, but if he had not gone down I would have put money on him to be in the top 3 there. In the above image, my favorite besides the one of Scot Chrisman, Cliff shows you how to send the Sh*t out of the Black Side of Frenchie Rock. He absolutely stomped his line on Day One, and a small hip down on Day Two before sending Broom Closet from the big side kept him off the podium. That one mistake was the only hole in his game last weekend and he landed in 6th. Glad to see you back Cliff. Lets do it again next year.
I am pretty damn sure that this is Kaitlin Hughes from CB. She is a super strong ripper who put up some big numbers on Day 1. Her Day 2 run ended in a lost ski which gives you a score of 0. That is a real bummer because she was in postion to make a big move in the Finals. I would like to thank her and the rest of the CB gang for their hospitality while we were in town a few weeks back and for showing me Rambo, one of the coolest trails ever!
An unstoppable force descended on FWQ this season in the form of Ian Borgeson. “I-Borg” as I like to call him is not made of the same stuff as the rest of us. He has a combination of vison, leg strength and balls that the world of Freeskiing has not seen in a long time, or perhaps ever. Sending the largest gap jumps I have ever seen on nearly every venue of the season helped put The I-Borg in 1st place overall for the FWQ Americas this season. He won by a mile at Taos earlier this year and took Snowbird by nearly 9 points by capping off his Day 2 run with a cork 3 over most of the Amphitheater at the bottom of North Baldy. I look forward to watching him shred on the FWT next year. Oh yeah…he also won a Sickbird Buckle at Snowbird this year at the ripe old age of 18.
The other big story on the Men’s side of the FWQ this season was Conor Pelton. Representing Detroit and spinning off of damn near everything this season Conor put himself on the podium multiple times. He also earned a Sick Bird Buckle along the way to add to his collection of hardware. Mr. Pelton will also be stepping up to the FWT next season, so look for his big smile streaming live on the internet from Europe in 2014:)
Another Kaytiln Hughes shot. Sorry to the other ladies who shredded for not posting more of their pics. They just didn’t come out as well as the shots of Kaytilin. She just happened to pic the line right on top on top of the photog.
Canadian Matt Francisty of good ole Whistler, BC has been in the points chase all year. With a couple top tens and a win a Castle Matt arrived at Snowbird looking for a few more points so he could join fellow Whistler Freerider Laurent Gauthier on the FWT. Unfortunately it did not go Matt’s way this year at Snowbird. He sent the White Side of the Frenchie Rock a bit too deep and landed in the flats causing a knee to face that none of us would have enjoyed. Matt took a few stitches home with him to Canada, but I am sure he will be back sending in no time.
The aftermath of a devastating knee to face. Matt Francisty took it like a champ. There were a few other injuries to mention from Day 2. Perry Martin took a mean crash at the bottom of the Amphitheater and had to be taken off by Snowbird’s Ski Patrol. I have heard through the grapevine that she suffered a broken Tib/Fib. With a little luck she will heal quickly and be back on snow next November. Andrew Binder of Colorado also took a hit on his Broom Closet landing that has him sidelined with a knee injury of the MCL variety. Both he and Perry are young, so I am hopeful for a full recovery. The show stopper of the weekend was Dylan Crossman. Two hip checks on Silver Fox put him in 15th after Day 1. I had heard rumors of a score in the area of 97 if he had stuck his run cleanly. It included two 360s, multiple spraffys and the Smoke Stack Double sent waaaayyyyy deeper than anyone else. He switched it up on Day 2 going with two backflips and some of the most aggressive skiing of the comp. A slight mistake on his final takeoff angle sent Dylan about 40+ ft into a nasty rock pile which totaled his ski and his ankle. It was probably the best run I have ever seen in 11 years of watching freeskiing comps up until the final second. Dylan is a top notch competitor and a super tough guy. I would not be surprised to see him out crushing bikes in a couple months. To all our injured friends: Heal fast!
Congrats once again to Ian Borgeson, Conor Pelton, Garrett Altmann, and Patty Baskins for pushing up to the FWT for next year. On the ladies side, the top three finishers at Snowbird were dominant all season long and all three will be bumping onto the FWT as well. Big ups to Sasha Dingle, Francesca Pavillard-Cain and Hadley Hammer!