March 15, 2016

CBMST Holds it Down as IFSA Junior Athletes Battle it Out at CBMR National

Grifen Moller on top of the 15-18 Ski Men podium with Kevin Nichols in 2nd, Aiden Pruett in 3rd, Jon Clay Patterson 4th, and Finn Andersson 5th.

The IFSA National Series rolled into town this weekend at Crested Butte Mountain Resort and the talent just keeps getting stronger and stronger.  After a strong showing at the regional a month ago in February, the CBMST was ready to take on all challengers on the Hawk’s Nest and Sock-It-To-Me venues.  The competition tends to step it up at the National events, where more points are on the line and athletes came from Utah, Wyoming, New Mexico, Colorado, and even one from Alaska.  When all was said and done, Crested Butte would have two athletes taking the victories in 12-14 Ski and Snowboard divisions and 2 top 10s in the older 15-18 Ski Men division.

Kevin Nichols airing through Little Hourglass. Photo: Chris Segal / CBMR

Kevin Nichols airing through Little Hourglass. Photo: Chris Segal / CBMR

The action started off on the often-used Hawk’s Nest venue during Friday and Saturday’s Day 1 action.  The 12-14 year-olds and 15-18 women skied on Friday while the 15-18 men skied Saturday.  In a smaller field of 3 athletes, CBMST’s Dagan Schwartz opened up the action by taking a commanding 7-point lead in the 12-14 Snowboard division.  Unfortunately, Ella Haverkampf, the CBMST’s lone female in competition, took a fall after a strong top section, leaving the regional favorite from Vail, Austin Obourn, a clear path to the lead in the 12-14 skier girl’s division.  Three local boys, Kye Matlock, Brooks Hudson, and Carson Hildebrandt, showed their knowledge of the home field terrain by just absolutely lacing runs down Hawk’s Nest and Old Pro, finishing in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, respectively going into the finals out of 32 athletes.  Nate Ball laid down an awesome effort but just missed the stiff cut in 19th.

Grifen Moller taking Little Hourglass from the top on his way to victory. Photo: Chris Segal / CBMR

Grifen Moller taking Little Hourglass from the top on his way to victory. Photo: Chris Segal / CBMR


The older guys came into Saturday on Hawk’s Nest ready to fire it up. Grifen Moller, the Regional winner from Team Summit, threw down a line that probably would have won the recent adult event on Hawk’s Nest when he did a 3 over all of Slipper into the finish corral, taking top score of the day (clip below).  Vail’s Kevin Nichols got super creative with switch 1 off the top rock in Old Pro, following it up with a 3 by the tree island and clearing all of the Slipper the biggest of the day for 3rd behind the super strong skiing of Aiden Pruett of Altabird Freeride in 2nd.  The CBMST athletes, Jon Clay Patterson and Turner Petersen both laid down impressive, solid runs to finish in 5th and 9th, respectively, looking to make moves in the finals.  On the women’s side, Morgan Westfall of Winter Park was in the lead with Elsa Smith of Jackson, Wyoming close on her heels in 2nd.  In Men’s Snowboarding, Mikey Tuck and Noah Hagan were leading in 1st and 2nd, respectively, going into finals.

The Sock-It-To-Me venue might be a little shorter, but it offers some very technical options and big moves with the steep skiing and riding through Cesspool and the mandatory air in Little Hourglass. The 12-14 skiers and riders were limited to Cesspool but that didn’t hold them back from skiing like they live here.  Aaron Cook of Vail threw a quick 3 in the upper section of Cesspool before greasing the choke, good enough for 3rd place overall. Unfortunately, Kye Matlock, fresh off his trip to Japan, wasn’t able to hold on to first after he smoked through Cesspool but high-sided in his run out, taking a fall that would finish him in 14th.  That left a battle for the top spot between Carson Hildebrandt and Brooks Hudson, the local shredders.  Carson had a slightly stronger line with his double through Cesspool while Brooks had an extra feature up in the top of his line and showcased his powerful skiing through Cesspool.  In the end, Brooks edged Carson by .04 of a point in their scores in the finals and took the overall victory by .45 of a point. Austin Obourn of Vail was able to continue her regional domination by taking the victory ahead of Maya Ordonez in 2nd and top finals scorer, Alexandra Carey, in 3rd.  Dagan Schwartz just had to stay on his feet to wrap up the victory and his 2nd National win and he did just that, winning the finals day by another 6 points over London Albrecht and Seth Mossman. Mia Farley, the lone 12-14 Snowboard girl, kept it together to walk away with the victory.

The older athletes were ready to rip it up with the addition of Little Hourglass to the venue.  The ladies threw down through Cesspool and Elsa Smith was able to catch up to Morgan Westfall to take the overall victory.  Morgan held on to 2nd place and Vail’s Jordan Glendining almost caught her for 3rd place.  On the snowboard side, Stacy Gaskill had two solid runs over the competition to win over Jenna Paller in 2nd and Meredith Kemp in 3rd.  The 15-18 snowboard men did a little shuffle up top with Noah Hagan throwing down the cleanest line through Cesspool to edge out Mikey Tuck in 2nd with Lucas Stanfield in 3rd.  The 15-18 skier men did not hold back as a majority of the top skiers made Little Hourglass look like child’s play and would have held their own against the adults who competed there a couple weeks ago.  Turner Petersen moved up from 9th to 6th with a clean double through Little Hourglass and Jon Clay Patterson moved up a spot to 4th place with the 4th best run of the finals, probably making it down the venue the fastest of the day through Little Hourglass. He was .2 points behind Aiden Pruett, who was able to hold on to 3rd place.  Kevin Nichols did his standard thing and sent the skier’s left of Little Hourglass for a big air to stomp and moved up to 2nd place.  Grifen Moller, who has already committed to Western State Colorado University for next year, getting the locals excited, kept up his strong skiing and won the day again by over 2 points. He singled the big pillow stack on the skier’s right of Little Hourglass for 30-35 feet. Finn Andresson kept up the strong Vail presence by rounding out the top 5.  Matthew Harper-Johnston of the CBMST took home one of his strongest national performances moving up from a tie in 32nd to 24th.

Overall, this event showcased just how technical and strong the skiing and riding has become in the IFSA series, especially in the steep venues of Crested Butte Mountain Resort.  There are still a couple regionals left around Colorado, a few Nationals around the country as well, but athletes are starting to look forward to North American Championships which will take place in Whistler, BC, the week after our resort closes, April 7th-10th.  Good luck to all athletes trying to make the trip and thank you for displaying the sick, and most importantly, safe, skiing and riding we saw this weekend.  A big thanks goes out to the CBMR event staff and Ski Patrol for putting on an awesome event!


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.