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.
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.
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.