World Freeride Qualifier at Crystal: A Recap From the Athletes

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Crystal held its first World Freeride Qualifier last week, and in spite of the bitter cold conditions the event was a success. This is the road to the WFT we’re talking about here, and these athletes weren’t kidding around.

Day 1 Northway Bowl, photo by Paul Moseley

Day 1 Northway Bowl, photo by Paul Moseley

The first venue of this two-day Four Star Qualifier was Northway Bowl. Right away athletes were hucking big off cliffs, laying down serious lines and raising the bar high. The next day the venue moved to the north side of the King, home of some of Crystal’s gnarliest lines. While not all of these lines were filled in, these men and women proved they could still go big and hit hard.

Home boy Colby Vavolotis of Crystal came in second place. Here’s what he had to say about the event:

My favorite venue was the King.  It was my first time skiing that face, and being a coach at crystal I have been looking at it all season waiting for conditions to permit it to open.  There are a lot of line options on the King which allows riders to be creative. In choosing my line I took a lot of time trying to decide if I was going to go left or right off the top.  After I went down Brain Damage on a whim, I took took a bit of time finding my first feature, but after I found it the rest of my line fell into place.  I took a line that I wanted to ski, thought I could ski well and have fun so I didn’t have any second thoughts.

Day 2 the King, photo by Paul Moseley

Day 2 on the King, photo by Paul Moseley

Meredith Eades of Vancouver BC, who took second in the women’s division, also preferred the King.

I preferred the King to Northway. The King is a zone that I wanted to hit when I had first come to Crystal last year.  It’s a little less accessible than Northway and as such the snow in there was better. It’s also quite a bit bigger which allowed for more line options and creativity which always makes for a great show at the end of the day! I hit the lines I had planned. There was one hairy cliff in qualifier that I was a bit nervous to hit given the hard pack fast run out. That said I was committed to doing it and I’m glad that I did. It worked out well and was definitely gave me the rush that I love about skiing! I did opt out out of one little tree zone at the end of my second day run just because I felt it would affect my fluidity points more than anything. The cold weather definitely made things a little more challenging. Ie. Managing cold feet and hands, I had a couple friends get frost bite on their toes, which I had never actually seen before.

All the athletes preformed well. The organizers did an amazing job with all the behind-the-scenes logistics, and the weather gods provided just enough snow to make it happen. Way to go everyone! Let’s hope we get to host another WFQ next year. For more information about the event click here.

Men's Final Scores

Men’s Final Scores

 

Women's Final Scores

Women’s Final Scores

 

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2 responses »

  1. life sounds full on your end !!!

    loved the last post about your “hold-up” at tokyo airport … & best of all : you had fun, making the best out of the situation & created unforgettable memories ! after the “hotel california” experience @ the airport, how was the skiing in Japan ? fluffy light snow as expected ? no need to ask how good the sushi & onsens …

    exciting to read that you also hosted a 4 star World Freeride qualifier. how did Crystal get that event ? help from the Backstroms ? sooo excited for you !!! can’t wait to show Eric your amazing terrain & the King.

    we’re soon prepping for the Nendaz qualifier. actually, helping this year after connecting with main organiser needing some help. and what a season so far … snow, snow, snow !

    and thanx to YOU & my quick visit to Seattle/ Crystal have been keeping up a few daily runs with Eric. this has definitely improved our quality of life in these busy times.

    thank you soooo much for being a positive trigger in my life !

    sending lots of love to you & John form tons of snow !

    • So glad to hear about snow in Nendaz. Also saw the upcoming qualifier there. Are you helping to organize? Our ski school and freeride team did all the work here. It was a great event. Good luck to you guys.
      Sante!
      -k

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