April 12, 2016

Hildebrandt and Schwartz Lead CBMST at IFSA Junior NORAM Champs at Whistler

FullSizeRender (14)

The 2016 IFSA Junior season officially wrapped up this weekend up in Whistler, British Columbia, at the IFSA Junior North American Championships.  Crested Butte had 6 athletes in attendance, 5 on the Crested Butte Mountain Sports Team being Dagan Schwartz, Carson Hildebrandt, Kye Matlock, Turner Petersen, and Jon Clay Patterson with the local independent Brooks Hudson traveling up there as well.  The top competition around the USA and Canada was there with the top 15% of the total IFSA Junior field invited to take part.  While being the Championship event, it also serves as the culmination of the season where the overall champions and rankings are settled.  The CBMST was represented well on the event and overall podiums through Carson Hildebrandt in 5th at the event of 44 athletes and 5th in the overall rankings of 386 athletes while Dagan Schwartz took 2nd at the event of six and 2nd overall of 27 in their respective 12-14 ski and snowboard divisions.

Above Photo: Dagan Schwartz on the 12-14 Snowboard boys Overall Rankings podium.

The CBMST arrived amidst snowy, rainy, and foggy conditions to check the infamous Whistler Blackcomb the day before the event began.  Rumor had it that Diamond Bowl, a venue that hadn’t been used for a freeride event since a scary adult competition in 2004, was going to be the venue after the original Couloir Extreme venue wasn’t softening up.  As the skies began to clear through inspection day Wednesday, the judges made some closure decisions in respect to athlete safety and snow conditions while the snow started softening up in for some classic spring skiing.  The Diamond Bowl venue off Spanky’s Ladder was ready to showcase the best junior freeride skiing and snowboarding around North America.

The Crested Butte athletes having fun on inspection day.

The Crested Butte athletes having fun on inspection day.

The younger athletes took on a slushy venue on Thursday and Dagan Schwartz was the 4th overall athlete out of the gate.  He was tied with Nathan Bromley of Truckee, CA for the overall lead in the 12-14 Snowboard Boys division before the event and laid down a great run to finish 2nd on the day behind Bromley out of 6 athletes.  Dagan’s strong top air and dicing of the middle “Oreo Cookie” section was almost marred by a quick hiccup but he held it together and stomped his bottom air. Kye Matlock started off the CBMST action in the 12-14 ski boys after the local Brooks Hudson, sitting in 5th overall in the division, had an unfortunate wash out on his bottom air, eliminating Brooks from finals contention.  Kye’s run showcased his aggressive, angulated style with a 3 strong airs with a couple popular hip jumps in between to finish 11th on the day.  Carson Hildebrandt, sitting just behind Brooks Hudson in 6th overall in the division, followed up later in the action with a similar line choice to Kye’s and finished in 14th right ahead of his fellow Rocky Mountain Region and Team Summit friend, Tanner Moller.  The judges and event organizers made tight cuts and they only took 15 of the 44 athletes due to the snow conditions for the finals.

Turner Petersen and Jon Clay Patterson had some super stiff competition in the 15-18 Ski Men division on Friday.  They both had strong, aggressive runs going, Turner had an impressive double through the Oreo Cookie section while Jon Clay singled a large section of area.  Unfortunately, both fell victim to going bigger than expected on a large bottom air transition gap that was getting hit throughout the day towards the end of the venue; the air only had a general 50% success rate among the athletes who attempted it.  Sam Kuch of Whitewater Freeride was able to stomp a super clean 3 off that same hit to take 1st place on the day while the Rocky Mountain region was represented by Cam Dudiak of Team Summit in 5th and Kevin Nichols of Ski Club Vail in 17th. Another tight cut was made with only 19 of 55 athletes being brought through to finals.  On the women’s side of things the Rocky Mountain region was not able to fare well with Alexandra Carey of Ski Club Vail, Mia Farley of Winter Park, and Stacy Gaskill of Winter Park being the only females in both the 12-14 and 15-18 age groups of skiers and snowboarders to make it through to finals.

The finals went down on Saturday in surprisingly hard conditions despite the warm temps and bluebird sunshine.  The venue was extended further down into Diamond Bowl with a big wide open section and big wave/cornice feature towards the bottom skier’s right of the venue.  Dagan Schwartz was able to clean up his run and switched up his bottom feature so that he could stomp a quick three on a wind lip before cruising to the finish. It wasn’t enough to catch up to Nathan Bromley, however, and the boys finished 1 and 2 in the overall IFSA Snowboard Boy’s rankings as well.

Carson Hildebrandt in 5th on there IFSA Junior NORAM Champs podium.

Carson Hildebrandt in 5th on there IFSA Junior NORAM Champs podium.

The skiing in the 12-14 was not as consistent as the day 1 results as more athletes were “going for it” out of the 15 that made finals.  Carson Hildebrandt was 2nd to drop in the division and threw down a super solid, clean run including his top features from day 1 while adding a fun gap feature before doing a double on the “North Shore Wave” feature into the finish line. The run was good enough to catapult Carson from 14th to 5th, putting him in good position to move up from 6th to 5th in the overall rankings for the 12-14 Ski boys.  Kye Matlock laid down a good run but was bucked by a little air between the bottom gap and the wave, just holding on to stay on his feet before hitting the double to move up a spot to 10th as other athletes faltered. Fellow Rocky Mountain Regional athletes Trempealeau Morninglight of Taos finished in 9th and Tanner Moller moved up from 15th to 6th. Canadians Cole Richardson and Simon Hillis took 1st and 2nd, respectively, in front of Turner Drummond and Westan Lubin of the Tahoe area in 3rd and 4th, respectively, rounding out the top 5.

With Rocky Mountain Region athletes sparsely spread out amongst the older categories, Kevin Nichols moved up to 12th while a washout bumped Cam Dudiak down to 16th.  Sam Kuch held on to the win with another massive 3 in front of last year’s champion, Xander Guldman in second, effectively flip-flopping last year’s overall results in the 15-18 Ski men. Stacy Gaskill from Winter Park finished in 2nd while her younger cohort, Mia Farley also took 2nd in the 12-14 Snowboard girls.  In the 15-18 Ski Women division Mia Winans of SquawFree took the victory with Elsa Smith of Jackson Hole Ski and Snowboard Club in 2nd and Maria Lovely of Canada in 3rd. In the 15-18 Snowboard men, Holden Samuels sent a huge air to win the finals and take the victory with Tucker Pratt from Snowbird throwing down a solid run 2nd.  Jesse Aves and Dylan Zellers finished in 3rd and 4th, respectively, while Blake Moller rounded out the top 5 for the older snowboard men.

This event served as an awesome culmination to the long IFSA junior season.  Whistler Blackcomb hosted a great event and the judges were super stoked on the quality of the decision making, skiing, and riding. The weather was awesome for the event and the everyone was pleased to end the season on such a high note.  The CBMST will be training hard this summer biking and having thinking about next season’s turns.  A big thanks goes out to the Crested Butte Community School, the Crested Butte Snowsports Foundation, and Crested Butte Mountain Resort.  See you next season!

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.