April 10, 2014

SFS and JFT 2014 Wrap up at Big Sky, CB Women Represent


The Subaru Freeride Series and Junior Freeride Tour held their season finals at Big Sky Resort, Montana this past weekend.  The event also closed out the Freeride World Qualifier season, where the top athletes make it through to the Freeride World Tour. The women from Crested Butte represented in the both the ski and snowboard divisions, where Francesca Pavillard-Cain and Ashley Bembenek took 1st and 3rd skiing, respectively, while Mary Boddington finished 4th on the snowboarding side and punched her ticket to the Freeride World Tour.  You can watch the replay of the webcast here.

Above photo: Francesca Pavillard-Cain sits on top of the podium with Hazel Birnbaum in 2nd and Ashley Bembenek in 3rd. PC: Will Dujardin

We think this is Colin Boyd sticking his shifty but not the landing. Photo: Eliza Cress

We think this is Colin Boyd sticking his shifty but not the landing. Photo: Eliza Cress

Crested Butte dotted the start lists as the home resort for many athletes in attendance to battle it out on the Headwaters venue.  There was a strong Western State Colorado University contingent athletes headed by coaches Ed Dujardin and Dave Sugnet. Tom Runcie and Mark Mikos were the house with CBMST coaches Will Dujardin and Ryan Hoynacki and Montana/CB transplants Randy and Matt Evans. Freeride World Tour athlete Francesca Pavillard-Cain couldn’t keep herself away from competition while Ashley Bembenek and Alex Riedman also made the trip. Robbie Vandervoort and Mary Boddington represented CB’s snowboarding cohorts up in Montana as well.

Teton Brown stuck this massive backy in the finals to take home the Sickbird. Photo: Eliza Cress

Teton Brown stuck this massive backy in the finals to take home the Sickbird. Photo: Eliza Cress

The 2-star competition came and went on Thursday with some solid skiing and solid crashes to set the tone for the weekend.  Ed Dujardin had the strongest local finish in 10th while Little Cottonwood’s Andrew Pollard took 1st, adding another notable result after his 4th in the Telluride 4-star event in his first year competing as an adult.

The venue shifted to the lookers’ right side of the Headwaters for the 4-star event.  A long, steep run with some technical sections at the bottom, competitors either lit up the venue or crashed spectacularly. Mark Mikos’ fall through a cliff band left him bruised and in need of stitches on his face and knee while Tom Runcie actually broke the talus bone in his ankle on his first hit entering the venue. Ryan Hoynacki fell over some rocks after tumbling much of the middle part of the venue and coming out unscathed.  Dave Sugnet and Alex Riedman had crashes early in their run as well, removing themselves from contention. Randy Evans, Matt Evans, and Will Dujardin represented Crested Butte bright spots on the men’s side of competition laying down good runs. While some cleanliness issues kept Will out of the finals in 22nd, Matt found himself tied for 7th and Randy in 5th among the top North American skiers and a couple strong Euros. Francesca Pavillard-Cain and Ashley Bembenek were 1st and 2nd, respectively, going into the finals while Mary Boddington rode herself into 3rd place and secured her FWT spot before the competition was even over.

Francesca Pavillard-Cain exited the Hell's Half-Acre with high speed. Photo: Eliza Cress

Francesca Pavillard-Cain exited the Hell’s Half-Acre with high speed. Photo: Eliza Cress

Weather started to roll in for the finals as spectators and judges settled in for a long day on Saturday.  Junior action preceded the adults and after all was said and done the final adult competitor dropped in around 5 PM. Amidst the carnage that defined the weekend, Forrest Jillison of Jackson Hole was able to come on top with the win in the Men’s ski competition. Forrest’s strong and consistent skiing with a creative double in the finals defined the skiing necessary to win.  The sharks were out in force on the venue and crash after crash left spectators holding their breaths.  Luckily, no serious injuries occurred, though one skier was taken down in a toboggan. Randy Evans had a semi-scary fall where a back protector saved him from an impact with a rock, finishing in 12th. Young Matt Evans was able to maintain and take 4th, his second 4th place at a 4-star event this year. A big congrats goes out to Kyle Taylor and George Rodney for earning 2 of 3 of the FWT spots for region 2 at the event and to Teton Brown for absolutely stomping a huge backflip for the Sickbird belt buckle. Andrew Irwin edged out his Squaw Valley comrade, Christopher Galvin, by less than a point to take the win on the Men’s Snowboarding side while the Canadian, Jonathan Penfield, made up some serious ground to finish 3rd and took home the snowboarding Sick Bird.

Having already accomplished the bigger goal, Mary Boddington wanted to lay down a smooth run. She found some sharks for a quick loss of control at the top of her run but finished 4th, slotting herself in the 1st overall qualifier spot in the FWQ system between both Region 1 (Europe and Oceania) and Region 2 (the Americas), which is quite the accomplishment.  Ashley Bembenek had some frustrating finishes earlier in the year and knew she had to ski strong to stay on the podium.  A fast, hard-charging run with a big 15-footer at the bottom was good enough to do just that, she found herself in 3rd place after Hazel Birnbaum and Francesca skied the double in the “Hell’s Half-Acre” section finishing in 2nd and 1st, respectively. Hazel’s finish earned her a ticket to join Francesca on the FWT next year.

Matt Evans capped his finals run off with a handrag  3. Photo: Eliza Cress

Matt Evans capped his final’s run off with a handrag 3. Photo: Eliza Cress

The Junior Freeride Tour World Championships were held following the SFS events and did not disappoint. Young athletes from Europe and North America threw down on the same venue as their elder role models and future competition. Christian Kinnison of Alta, UT took the victory in the Men’s Ski division while Teo Jedrzejczyk of France won the Men’s Snowboard division. Amber Nelson of Grand Targhee, WY won a small Women’s snowboard division and Illona Carlod of France won the Women’s ski division.  Notable performances include Sam Casper of AltaBird Freeride taking 3rd and Erik Hilb of Vail taking 4th while Erika Klenk of Sugar Bowl, CA taking 3rd.

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.