Crested Butte represented at Snowbird! Eight Crested Butte athletes were skiing in the finals. Tom Runcie led the charge taking 3rd place and earning the coveted Backcountry.com Sickbird Belt Buckle.
Despite poor snow conditions around the Rocky Mountains this winter, Snowbird was able to put on a show for the North American Freeskiing Championships on the Subaru Freeskiing World Tour March 15th-17th, 2012. It was Snowbird’s 14th year in a row hosting an event on the Freeskiing World Tour and the athletes lived up to the name by flashing high speed lines and airs on the famed venues of Silver Fox and North Baldy.
Going in to the finals, Francesca Pavillard-Cain was sitting in 4th place for the Crested Butte women. Her butt-check moved her back to 10th, while Ashley Bembenek finished 6th and Alex Reidman finished in 9th. Those girls really pushed their skiing and showcased their ability to arc turns down North Baldy and stomp airs. Francesca earned the North Face Young Gun award, given to the most impressive skier 21 and under.
All 5 of the CB men who skied Day 1 on Silver Fox made it to the finals on North Baldy. Randy Evans lit up the qualifier on Thursday with a backflip taking 1st place. He was bubble boy going in to the finals, skied the 3rd best scoring run of the day to catapult himself up to 9th place. Mark Mikos skied 2 strong runs and stomped his air through the “Broom Closet” of the “Amphitheater” to finish in 8th place. Brandon Clabaugh and Rob Dickinson (check the cover photo from Dana Allen) were sitting in 17th and 2nd place, respectively, unfortunately they both had crashes that moved them to the back. Tom Runcie was in 6th place going in to the finals. After his high-speed double on Silver Fox we knew that Tom was capable of another in the Amphitheater on North Baldy. Check the video (it autoplayed) for men’s highlights and the top 3 runs combo’d with info on the Flyin’ Ryan Foundation. Tom wholeheartedly deserved the Sickbird and we were super stoked to see him take 3rd place and get on the podium again!
Silas Chickering-Ayers of Green Mountain Freeride and Mad River Glen, VT took top honors for the men. Newcomer, former US Ski Team member, and 2-time Olympian Kaylin Richardson of Park City, UT wowed the crowds with her speed, technique, and airs to take 1st place for the women. Snowbird put on another great show and we can’t wait to see Crested Butte represent there again at the Junior Freeskiing Tour Championships April 5-7!
Thanks to Ron Pankey and Dana Allen for photos! Dana writes and takes photos for ESPN, check out his work here: danaallenphoto.com