March 30, 2015

FWQ Series Concludes at Kicking Horse: Durtschi Wins Overall Ski Title


The final stop of the Freeride World Qualifier series wrapped up this weekend at Wrangle the Chute up on Kicking Horse Mountain Resort in British Colombia. Western State Colorado University freshman Max Durtschi secured the overall Americas title with a third place finish.

In a season marred by low snow totals and event cancellations, Wrangle the Chute was a bright spot. Event venues Truth and Dare both contained close to 1000 feet of vertical and are littered with large features for the athletes to showcase their skills on. While the snow was warm and heavy, sunny skies created edgeable conditions, and the athletes did not disappoint.

The women’s snowboarding field was dominated by Canadian Audrey Hepbert, who built on her day one lead to finish the competition 3.5 points over Michelle Locke and Marissa Krawczak.

Canadian Jonathan Penfield continued his supremacy of men’s snowboarding season (he took 1st at CB and Taos), taking yet another victory and securing his spot on next year’s Freeride World Tour. Brian Bozak, who started the day in 1st, bobbled mid way down the venue, but still finished the event in second place. Kiwi Jacob Koia took the third podium spot by laying down the highest scoring run of the day.

In the female ski category, Kylie Sivell and Lauren Cameron put down statement performances that took the top two spots on the podium. Though we wont be seeing them on the big show next year, the young Canadians absolutely dominated the biggest venues of the season, displaying mountain awareness and control well beyond their age. The podium was rounded out by FWT veteran Hadley Hammer.

Max Durtschi sending an air on day one. PC: Tucker Vollbrecht

Max Durtschi sending an air on day one. PC: Tucker Vollbrecht

Going into men’s ski finals, Martin Lentz seemed to have a stranglehold on the contest. He carried a two point lead after laying down a day one run with an enormous, perfectly stomped double, which he followed with a solid 30 foot drop, to a perfectly floated sidehill 360. Alex Blaise, Trace Cooke, Max Durtschi, and Garrett Wilson, rounded out the top five after putting down impressive runs.

The finals were a spectacle of high speed runs full of huge tricks and big drops. Cooke, Durtschi, and Wilson all put down remarkable clean runs. But it was not enough to catch Lentz. Lentz did bobble early on in a technical section of the Truth venue. However, he rebounded by stomping the hell out of the biggest air on the venue, followed another large stomp and throwing his signature huge side hill 360.

At the end of the day, Lentz held on to first, followed by Trace Cooke and Max Durtschi. All three members of the podium advance to the Freeride World Tour next season.  All three are 19 years old. Big congratulations to Western State Colorado University freshman Max Durtschi for claiming the overall ski title for the Americas.

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Edward Dujardin 2.0