March 10, 2014

CBMST Dominates Podium at IFSA National at CBMR


People say that home-field advantage has its merits, and there are few sports where it’s as true as it is in freeskiing. Familiarity with a venue can really boost an athlete’s confidence and aggressiveness (please refer to earlier competitions at CBMR this year for the adults and juniors as evidence). When the IFSA National Series rolled into town over the weekend, the CBMST was ready to throw down.  When all was said and done, 7 out of 10 CBMST athletes made the finals and 4 of them ended up on the podium.

The action kicked off on Headwall for run 1. CBMST’s Josie Byron and Brittany Barefield opened up the day with strong runs down the Angle Gully.  After lighting up both choke moves through Angle, Brittany was on her way to 1st place only to have it unravel approximately 50 yards from the finish due to an unscheduled meeting with a large mogul.  That crash opened up the door for Josie Byron to take 1st place out of 13 women on the day with her excellent run through the Angle Gully, followed closely by Caroline Hardy of Team Summit in 2nd and Emma Patterson of Taos, NM in 3rd.

The men were ready to build on their previous successes on Headwall this year.  Bill Klein, who won the JFT event in February on Headwall, led CBMST’s opening salvo, finding himself in 4th place with a huge entry air towards Box Rock which he hit with a massive corked right-side 3. Commentator Ben Somrak thought it was the “best run of the day”, but Bill was less than a point out of 1st behind Vail’s Erik Hilb which isn’t too shabby, and that’s the difference between IFSA and Overall Impression judging. The athlete’s line score plays a very important part in the IFSA judging and that can set the tone for the rest of the scores the athlete receives to make the overall score.

Conrad Truettner, the lone telemarker in the event, was able to lace a run down Angle Gully with exceptional control and technique, putting him in 14th after run 1.  Patrick Curvin and Oz Scott were close behind in 19th and 20th, respectively, with good runs down Angle.  Matthew Harper-Johnston got in on the Angle Gully party as well and was sitting in 30th. Solon Gray had slight control issues in Angle that put him back in 36th, but he made the cut and had big plans for the finals.  Lane Griffin and Peter Hunt took some beautiful falls on their exit moves out of Angle Gully that, while spectacular, eliminated them from competition.

The finals were held Sunday on a modified Staircase venue that included Body Bag Chute but not Slot Rocks.  This is where familiarity with the venue came into play, Staircase is an impressive venue itself that has been used countless times, but the addition of Body Bag really starts to ramp up the technicality and pucker factor of the venue.  Solon Gray, with his low score from the day before, was the first CBMST member to drop and the first athlete to take on Body Bag.  Not only did he ski Body Bag almost as best anyone could, but he doubled out on his exit over 40 vertical feet and earned himself what would be the best score of the finals, a 39.00.  The move was only matched by Ben Goertzen of Bozeman, MT who skied immediately following Solon and earned a 38.53  It was good enough for Ben and Solon to make massive moves to the podium, they started in 35th and 36th, respectively, and found themselves and 5th and 4th, respectively, when all was said and done.

The 15-18 Men's Podium: 1) Erik Hilb 2) Patrick Curvin 3) Oz Scott 4) Solon Gray 5) Ben Goertzen

The 15-18 Men’s Podium: 1) Erik Hilb 2) Patrick Curvin 3) Oz Scott 4) Solon Gray 5) Ben Goertzen

It became clear the Body Bag was the way to go (the line score was almost a full point and a half higher than just Staircase, and that means a lot), and Conrad Truettner, Oz Scott, and Patrick Curvin did not back down from the challenge. Conrad was able to improve from 14th to 6th with his Body Bag run and Oz Scott made Body Bag look easy with his big jump turns and fun double exit on the skier’s left of the chute. Patrick Curvin, who competed in Big Air on Elk the night before (as did Solon Gray, Lane Griffin, and Bill Klein), followed immediately after Oz showcasing a little more control and fluidity on the same line earning a 38.67. Patrick and Oz would finish in 2nd and 3rd, respectively, while our friend from Vail, Erik Hilb, slashed the choke moves in Staircase and traversed to the top of Body Bag and destroyed it, earning a 38.97 and holding on to 1st place. A shout out goes to Pierce McCrerey of Team Summit who absolutely slayed the Staircase and Handrail, but was outdone by the line score in Body Bag and found himself in 7th overall. One more goes to CBMST member Bill Klein, who also crushed the Staircase and Handrail with a big three at the bottom of the venue, but was done in by a controversial judging decision when he hit the fence in the finish and was deemed out of control.

The 15-18 Women's Podium: 1) Caroline Hardy 2) Josie Byron 3) Emma Patterson 4) Eliza Donahue 5) Maggie Cleaver

The 15-18 Women’s Podium: 1) Caroline Hardy 2) Josie Byron 3) Emma Patterson 4) Eliza Donahue 5) Maggie Cleaver

On the women’s side, just over a point separated the top three girls, Josie Byron, Caroline Hardy, and Emma Patterson.  With a little bit of variation between them, they all skied the Staircase and the Handrail.  The separating factor was Caroline’s strong entrance in the Staircase, and despite an additional feature at the bottom that Josie Byron hit, the girls switched spots at the end and Emma Patterson stayed in 3rd. Eliza Donahue of Taos skied the strongest run of the day by almost half a point to move up from 6th to 4th and Maggie Cleaver of the Winter Park Big Mountain Team finished in 5th.

The CBMST is on the home stretch with events leading up to the IFSA North American Finals at Snowbird in early April.  Up next is the Winter Park Regional, and following that is either the Grand Targhee National or Breckenridge Regional, the last chances to qualify for the Snowbird Finals.

About the Author

2. Will Dujardin
Will Dujardin is our content editor at West Elk Project. He competes in big mountain competitions and coaches the Crested Butte Mountain Sports Team. Skiing is his life and he likes to mix it with other fun things like DH mountain biking and traveling.