Friday, March 21, 2008

12th Annual Crested Butte US Extreme Telemark Championships

Day 1 Wednesday March 20th
Meghan and Kayo drove in late Wednesday night from two days of epic powder skiing in Alta and Snowbird Utah. The next day they met Sebastian Scholl and Elle Woolaway at CRMS atnoon - Sebastian would join us on the trip down to CB and Elle stopped by to wish the team well and deliver a batch of stunning cookies. After a smooth drive we arrived just in time to register and make the competitors meeting, where we met Jake, Hayden, Kelsey, and Luke (who had come down two days early to get to know the venue) as well as Kirti and Taylor Youngflesh who were there to watch and support.
After the venue and no fall zones had been established at the competitors meeting (Sock-it-two-me Ridge), we all went in and ate Mexican food in down town CB and then dug into the customary pre-competition jam. Many thanks to Drew Sakson for letting us all crash in his condo at the base of the mountain on the first night!

Day 2 Thursday March 21st
We were up at 6:45 and on the lift at 8:00 to scout the venue. The morning was bluebird and 3 fresh inches of snow had fallen over night (on a base of 370 inches). Even though CB was reporting outstanding conditions, the adreniline began to flow as people got a dose of the technical, steep, rock and tree ridden terrain that CB is so famous for. No big clean cliff drops and wide open terrain here - only chausy, exposed lines.

Kelsey was the first girl out of the gate, and she skied a Kelsey Lewis signature line - racking up a line score (of 6) by skiing a line no other women were willing to ski and hucking a big cliff to top it all off (the same cliff Hayden is scouting in the picture above).

Next out of the gate was Luke Lubchenco, running in the middle of the junior men pack. He chose a line on the looker's left of the venue, where the more technical and difficult lines lay waiting for their prey. He was the only junior boy to venture into that terrain and he put together a stunning, and clean, run that included stomping a beautiful double cliff (below).

Molly Holmes was the next to run, in her second big mountain event, but this time in the adult women field. She put together a solid run, skiing her lines with signature grace and agility and quickly demonstrating that she was up to the challenge of the technical terrain of Crested Butte.

Next came one of the coaches - Meghan Deutering - jumping into the fray and getting after her first big mountain event. After crushing the venue and making it look like a groomer, she came through the finish all smiles and wanting more.

Sebastian Scholl was the next Crum to compete - in his first big mountain competition. As is often the case with a first big mountain events, especially in CB where the conditions can be firm and technical, he had a challenging run, with a big tumble towards the bottom. The crew was phyched to see him log his first comp run though!

The day continued to be bluebird, with the occasional blast of wind that ripped snow off the starting zone ridge. Those who had competed kicked it in the finish and enjoyed the spring conditions.

Hayden Kennedy was the first adult male to compete. We were all eager to see what line he would chose, as he was juggling between two different lines as he made his way up to the start. He charged the top of the course with the fast, fluid, and bouncy technique we have all come to know and he immediately jumped into the most technical terrain the venue had to offer. He finished by nailing a cliff with a monster crossed up grab and charging the finish line with big super-G turns.

Kayo was next, jumping into the fray with the sole purpose of trying to ski a tower with a triple pillow drop that looked like the softest snow on the venue. He successfully got up on the tower and dropped the pillows and then cartwheeled coming out of the drop, losing his pole and popping his old shoulder out. That's what happens when you are old. He finished with smiles though.

It was up to Jake to bring it home, and he did in stunning fashion. He began with his signature bouncy, energetic turns down the no fall zone lines on the top of the venue. He then took the risk of traversing over to the far lookers left, where only one other skier had ventured, and he stomped a hair, technical double cliff drop and threw in a monster spread eagle to boot.

Coaches, crowd, and judges alike were blown away at the level of skiing that CRMS athletes brought to the event. It was enough to advance Kelsey in second place in the Junior Women, Luke in second place in the Junior Men, Kayo in 19th place, Hayden in 16th place, and Jake in 4th place in the adult men. We celebrated with a monster pizza party with the VMS team, and some mean rounds of Cheese Lund.

Taylor Youngflesh pays the high price of having to lick Kayo's toe after losing in a round of the card game Cheese Lund.

Day 1 Results:

Junior Women
  • Francesca Pavillard-Cain 28.80
  • Kelsey Lewis 26.00
CUT OFF------------------------------------
  • Riley Ebel 20.00

Junior Men
  • Kjell Ellefson 33.40
  • Luke Lubchenco 32.00
  • Rob Wear 29.20
  • Forrest Graves 28.60
  • Carder Lamb
  • Christian Kloser 27.00
  • Luke Cutler 26.40
CUT OFF-------------------------------------------------------
  • Danny Pylman 25.60
  • Cole Graskamp 25.60
  • Jordan Goldstein 17.00
  • Sebastian Scholl 12.60

Master Women
  • Deanna Pratt
Master Men
  • Mark Phwah 27.80
  • Launce Gouw 26.60
  • Rick Pratt 26.60
  • Bill Lerch 25.20
CUT OFF--------------------------------------------------
  • Randy Leeds 20.60
Adult Women
  • Megan Michaelson 32.20
  • Paige Brady 27.80
  • Rather Hosch 25.40
  • Molly Etters 24.00
  • Amelia Peacock 23.80
  • Hannah Hosch 23.20
  • Louise Sanseau 23.20
  • Di Bridges 22.80
  • Kirsten Fraser 22.80
  • Angie Mauldin 22.40
CUT OFF-----------------------------------------------------
  • Karina Steele 22.00
  • Molly Holmes 20.80
  • Brittnea Cordial 20.20
  • Lucy Sackbauer 20.00
  • Tina Kempin 20.00
  • Tara Johnson 17.80
  • Elizabeth Bushell 17.60
  • Meghan Detering 16.80
Adult Men
  • Seaton MacMillan 34.80
  • Ben Morello 34.60
  • Jason Layh 34.60
  • Jake Sakson 34.20
  • Phil Spinner 32.80
  • JT Robinson 32.60
  • Colin MacMillan 32.20
  • Yu Kuwabara 32.00
  • Justin Stout 31.60
  • Conor Davis 31.40
  • Eric Panebaker 31.40
  • Ryan Leard 31.00
  • Kellen Sams 31.00
  • Andy Jacobsen 31.00
  • David Paulik 30.20
  • Hayden Kennedy 30.00
  • Paul Kimbrough 29.60
  • Kent May 29.60
  • Kayo Ogilby 29.40
  • Henrik Langeland 29.20
  • Ryan Young 29.00
  • Andrew Kastning 28.80
  • Peter Hudnut 28.40
  • Daniel Krajewski 28.40
  • Erik Nauman 27.60
  • Brandon Snyder 27.40
  • Danny Minahan 27.20
  • Simon Schaad 27.00
CUT OFF-----------------------------------------------------------
  • David Magoffin 26.40
  • Richard Leeds 26.40
  • Shawn Craig 26.40
  • Ross Beane 26.20
  • Tommy Gogolen 26.20
  • Taylor Wisner 25.20
  • James Donald 24.80
  • Ben Johnson 24.80
  • Paul Majewski 24.80
  • Isaac Portz 24.60
  • Roman Koodziej 22.00
  • Dawson Paschall 21.60
  • Steiner Nes 21.00
  • Ryan Portz 20.80
  • Dustin Swan 20.20

Day 3 Friday March 22: Finals and Super Finals
What? What!!? WHAT?!
CRMS Athletes elicit incredulous responses all day long from monster crowds Saturday as they send stunning lines and shake things up in the finals of the US Extreme Telemark Championships.

Another early morning and a breakfast of adreniline and butterflies. As the morning sun pushed the shadows off the mountain and shone its first light on the new coordiroy at the base, we arrived and ate breakfast burritos as we waited to catch the 8:00 athlete chair.

Soon we were on the lift ascending the mountain under cloudless skies. The venue for the finals was the notorious Dead End Chutes (marked by the neon blur in the photo below), Body Bag (the chute to the left of the big band of trees in the center of the photo), Stair Case (a no fall zone at the very top of the bumped-out chute to the right of center of the photo) and Slot Rocks (the snow covered cliff band that ends in trees to the far right of the photo) - a long, technical run with 50 degree no-fall-zone terrain littered with rocks and trees at the bottom - perfectly situated for the spectators at the end of the run but not so perfect for the athletes who would be dealing with fatigue.

Kayo showed Kelsey some technical lines on the lookers right side of the venue - through the Staircase and Slot Rocks area - while Luke picked out lines in Body Bag and Jake and Hayden scouted the Dead End Chutes.

Coaches and the Sebass then dug in and got comfortable in the finish as Kelsey and Luke cycled up to the top for their runs.

Kelsey was the first competetor of the day and her bright pink pants and white jacket were soon visible at the top of Stair Case. Excitement stirred in the crowd as she dropped the biggest rock Staircase had to offer and stuck her landing in a steep, no fall-zone gully. At this point, everyone including the judges expected her to ski the easiest line down through a steep bump field to the finish. Kelsey had other plans however, and she cut out of the main slope, dropped another feature and began to traverse across Slot Rocks. At this point you could hear people in the crowd murmering "who is this girl?". She sent a cliff on the far end of Slot Rocks to the tune of multiple "WHATS?!" and then dissapeared in a cloud of snow. It turned out that she did fall coming out of her cliff line, in what was still considered a no fall zone, which would prohibit her from taking the title that everyone knew she deserved that day, but everyone was in agreement that this girl was shaking the status quo of junior women's big mountain skiing.

Video of the bottom part of Kelsey's Finals Run:

We then began the nervous wait for Luke's planned run through Body Bag. As the junior men began their runs, in reverse placement order, it became evident that no other boys were willing to venture into the terrain that Luke had chosen. After what seemed like an eternal wait, Luke's mustard pants appeared through the trees at the top of the venue. At times, cascades of snow were the only visible manifestation of his progress through the chute. He then appeared at the bottom of the Body Bag chute and before anyone even had time to catch their breath he sent and cleared the cliffs and debris out of the bottom and stomped his landing in apron. He had completed his second clean run of the competition to the tune of even more WHAT's?!

Then began the men's field and the anticipation of Hayden and Jakes runs were almost too much to bear. They had carefully picked out stunning and creative lines and had mapped out every detail from above and below. Hayden planned to jump into the chaucy gnarlyness of rocks and trees that was the border of Body Bag and Dead End Chutes, some of the scariest, most technical terrain of any big mountain venue in the country, and Jake had managed to find a pillow of snow no one else had seen that hung half way down a hair raising and highly exposed cliff in Dead End Chutes. Hayden headed up to the start first and the wait began.

What the crowd experienced next, in both Hayden's and Jakes runs, was telemark skiing at the absolute top of the game, and it quickly became evident that these two 18 year olds were going to give the podium a run and send shivers up the spines of the older and more experienced men's field.

Where as most competetors had picked their way through the exposed rocks and trees of Dead End Chutes by traversing and weaving through, Hayden charged a direct fall line, navigating the technical terrain with monster billy goats and hop turns. He finished his line by stomping the money cliff at the bottom and sped into the finish area to deafening cheers. The best run of the day had been unquestionably laid down an there was no question in anyone's minds that this young man had just earned a place in the top ten, after entering the day in 19th, and would advance to the Super Finals.

Video of Hayden's finals run:

Then the wait for Jake's run began. Since the success of his line depended on the quality of the elusive hanging pillow in the middle of the cliff band, we had hatched a plan that would allow him to know if anyone else had skied the line ahead of him. The team would stand at the bottom of the venue in a previously agreed upon place. If we had our poles raised in the air, it would signal Jake that the line had been skied and he would have to resort to plan B. If there were no poles in the air, the line was good to go. The only clincher was that the signal would not become visible to Jake until he was halfway down the course - he would have to decide halfway into his run how he would finish it.

We waited.

As we received our first glimpse of Jake, we kept our hands and poles low - the line was good to go. Jake charged the top of his line with such clean and aggressive turns that he had the attention of the entire crowd. His approach was like a machine - a stunning display of technique, creativity, and aggression. Soon he was standing on top of the massive triangle shaped cliff band at the bottom of the venue. We had seen skiers navigate the margins of this all day, but no one had yet stood at the top of it with eyes towards attacking the face of it. The crowd went wild. With one last giant leap he billy-goated towards his secret pillow, disapeared into a cloud of snow, and came charging off the second half of the cliff band, stomping his landing and finding one big monster Telemark turn across the finish apron. The crowd went wild again. Another 18 year old was going to the Men's Super Finals.

Video of Jake's finals run:

Super Finals! Jake and Hayden advance to a top 10 Super Final Round.

Video of Jake's Super Final Run:

Video of Hayden's Super Final Run:

Final Results:
Junior Women
  • Francesca Pavillard-Cain 56.40
  • Kelsey Lewis 42.80
  • riley Ebel 20.0

Junior Men
  • Kjell Ellefson 64.80
  • Luke Lubchenco 56.60
  • Rob Wear 54.40
  • Luke Cutler 53.80
  • Forrest Graves 52.00
  • Christian Kloser 49.40
  • Carder Lamb 38.40

Master Women
  • Deana Pratt 32.60

Master Men
  • Mark Phwah 56.80
  • Luance Gouw 51.60
  • Bill Lerch 51.20
  • Rick Pratt 48.20

Adult Women
  • Megan Michaelson 95.80
  • Paige Brady 80.20
  • Louise Sanseau 78.40
  • Amelia Peacock 78.00
  • Rather Hosch 74.20
  • Di Bridges 73.80
  • Molly Etters 48.40
  • Angie Mauldin 46.00
  • Karina Steele 44.40
  • Kirsten Fraser 43.00
  • Hannah Hosch 42.80

Adult Men
  • Ben Morello 111.20
  • Seaton MacMillan 102.80
  • JT Robinson 102.00
  • Jake Sakson 100.00
  • Phil Spinner 99.60
  • Andy Jacobsen 99.00
  • Jason Layh 97.80
  • Colin MacMillan 96.00
  • Justin Stout 93.60
  • Hayden Kennedy 93.40
  • Ryan Young 62.00

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