Saturday, March 8, 2008
Salomon Extreme Freeride Championships 2008
March 5-8 2008
Day 1 Wed March 5:
Posted by Aisha Weinhold, Sam Stevens, and Luke Lubchenco
We left CRMS Tuesday afternoon and drove to Molly Holmes’s house in Salida. After the treacheroius drive through the jungle as well as the desert, the Fat Boy succeeded in flying form. The rocket had landed. The Holmes met us at their beautiful house graciously. We had some amazing pizza. After dinner we had an epic jam – two banjos, two guitars, two drums.
Day 2 Wednesday March 6:
In the morning, we all ate breakfast and got on swimsuits. An idea was raised to run outside wearing nothing but swim suits, and jump into the river. After freezing our butts off in the river, we ran back up to the house and shivered, took pictures, and laughed.
We warmed up and packed up and headed for the sand dunes. The sand dunes turned into the most seasonally confusing thing ever. We trekked up the dry dunes with our skies while the wind was blowing about a hundred miles per hour and the snow was falling. The dunes were the only dry land in the entire area, except for the slight traces of snow under a small layer of sand.
Sand dunes! Sand dunes! Sand dunes! Sand dunes! This was possibly, the most epic experience of EVERYONE’S life. First to be able to be in sand in the middle of winter in Colorado and then to hike them…with skis!
Then to ski down them was amazing. The sand was sliding, the wind was blowing; to your right there was a dune, to the left there was a dune, a cornice, the a wall of mountains covered in snow. As you slid across the sand, there would be an occasional patch of snow in which you would temporarily fly. As you drop a knee your edge would catch and the sand would catch your skis, thrusting you forward, into sandy, rough, oblivion. Sand dunes! Sand dunes! Sandunes! Talk about epic!!!!
We made it to Taos, NM! The competitors had to book it to the competitors meeting at which there was much talk of skiers that have, over the last year, died doing what they love. Other than that, the food was good and the atmosphere was a combination of nervousness and joy. Watching the slides of possible lines flash up onto the screen definitely took it’s toll on the nerves.
Day 1: Prelims
Day 2: Semi Finals
The non-competitors went to eat dinner next door. They got a cute waiter who let EVERYONE order off the kids menu. Before their departure they gave the waiter Kayo’s number. Hopefully he’ll give us a call! Then, we went back to the rooms and hung out watching the “Princess Bride” and talked about possible lines in the comp and socialized. Nighty Night!
Day 3 Thursday March 7:
Prelims: 1/2 the field was cut today.
Posted by Hayden Kennedy
Skiing down mountains is sick! Everyone skied amazing and each line was solid. We started our day with an early morning and some cold cereal. Butterflies filled stomachs and nerves overruled minds. Scouting the lines was a very exciting and a new experience for many.
The comp started with the junior girls and the sick cliff hucks of Kelsey and Joan. Kelsey was one of the only chicas in the entire junior girls field to send the gnar cliffs and her line score even topped that of the guys on the team. Joan was after Kelsey and made all the other girls cry with her burl tele turns. Molly was disappointed after a fall but nevertheless, her line was sick!
Next were the junior boys, Sam and Luke looked sexy as they elegantly ripped down the course. Sam started with some nice tele turns and then a sick nasty cliff at the end. Luke was next, the start of his run was clean and fast; he then slayed through rocked out terrain. As Luke made his way to the bottom some rocks penetrated him, but his line was amazing! At the end of Luke’s run was a nice cliff followed by some fast no-turn skiing.
The next portion of the day was some godly skiing in Taos with our alpine friend Amon. He showed us some great skiing with some interesting twists in the snow conditions. Kayo fell hard but his slaying of powder covered moguls was his revenge. After a quiet lunch and some flirting with the local big mountain girl, Jake and Hayden headed up for the men’s event.
The anticipation was killing Jake and Hayden but nevertheless, they were ready to bring it. Hayden was up first. He came out of the gate with the furry of a wild antelope in mating season. He started off with a steep rock face to a nice cliff into a steep gully. After skiing the steep gully, Hayden jumped into a tight no-turn zone to the bottom. Jake the Jolly Giant was next. Jake came out with the some sick turns to a nice rock jump. Jake then entered the steep gully and skied it with grace and then finished like a Giant.
The energy was high and the vibe was so good that another run had to happen. Scouting for the semi-finals was fun but everyone was very tired. The drive back to the house was intruded by Kayo’s old age; he forgot the butter for our big pasta dinner. Our arrival to the house was great and very relaxing as we watched The Princess Bride. At 5:00, Kayo, Jake, and Hayden went to see the results from the day. It was a very happy and disappointing time for the team. “The slayer of the Chicas,” aka Kelsey, was second in her division! It was sad for the boys because no one qualified, but Jake and Hayden were so close. Sam and Luke were also so close in the junior fields. The girls pretty much killed it. This day was an amazing experience that will forever be cherished. Everyone on the team skied great and this amazing day would not have been possible without the support of the coaches. Kayo, Jack, and Meghan gave us the extra hot sauce we needed to send. Big mountain skiing is a great way to experience the mountains and all they offer.
Day 4, Friday March 8
Posted by Kayo Ogilby
Today was the girls day to shine! It also meant another 6:30 A.M. morning and butterflies for breakfast. Kayo, Jack, Hayden, Jake, Luke, and Duncan all woke up with them. We went in and caught the early lift and gave the course another scout. Sadly, Joan experienced some severe health issues that forced her to duck out of the event. With heavy hearts the rest of us reviewed the lines that Kelsey and Molly had picked out the day before.
Soon Kelsey and Molly found themselves making the hike back to the start for their runs. It is hard to find the words to describe that last climb as your brain and your nerves deal with the fact that this is it. The wind was whipping a gale this morning and the Salomon banners in the start snapped back and forth as wind ripped up the venue and off the top of the peak.
Molly was the first woman out of the gate and it was immediately evident that she was in the zone. She ripped stunning GS Telemark turns down a steep gully and then sent, and stomped, a cliff at the bottom without even pausing. Her run was a major triumph over the nerves and fall she dealt with the day before and she had just set the bar high for the rest of the womens field.
Kelsey was next. Everyone (except Kelsey, it seemed) was nervous about her run. She had picked out another super technical line that included two cliff drops into to a super tight coular, and a grand finale of a front flip off of another cliff at the bottom. The anticipation grew even more as her bright pink pants appeared at the top of the course. She nailed hop turns in the technical terrain at the top and although she got hung up in the approach to her first cliff, she stomped both cliffs into the coular. Next was the moment the entire team was waiting for - a monster front flip with a super technical take off. She approached, stopped to check her speed and launched, and stomped, a giant front flip and then ripped into the finish. The crowd went absolutely wild as they tried to comprehend what just wend down on Telemark skis.
With high spirits we sent Kelsey and Duncan off to catch a ride to the airport for a trip to Costa Rica and the rest of us climbed Kachina Peak for some absolutely stunning powder turns.
We then packed up, ate some epic New Mexican fair in Toas proper, and made the drive back to CRMS in time for Interim. The trip was topped off with a breakdown in Eagle that resulted in us having to leave the suburban and limp back to school in the bus.
The whole trip was one for the books - one that will go down in the annals of CRMS Telemark Team folk lore with stories that will be told for years to come.
Kelsey Lewis raises hell in the semi finals by stomping a huge front flip at the bottom of her run and Bass eats some serious sand in the Sand Dunes.