February 2, 2015

Western Skiers and Riders Take Top Spots in Grand Targhee

photo: Conor Michael sending. Photo: Mason Strehl

The WSCU Freeride Team journeyed  up to Grand Targhee Resort for the first ever Collegiate Freeride Competion.  This recap is provided by Dustin Eldridge of the Top o’the World Newspaper at Western State Colorado University.

Above: Conor Michael airing it out for a Mason Strehl photo outside of competition; he finished 7th..

Durtschi on top of the men's ski podium.

Durtschi on top of the men’s ski podium.

Western Freeriders Max Durtschi and Peter Noon both took first place in the Men’s Ski and Men’s Snowboard divisions, respectively, for the first ever stop of the Collegiate Freeride Series (CFS). The event took place over two days, Jan. 31 and Feb. 1, on the precipitous slopes of Grand Targhee’s Peaked Mountain. Other notable finishes for Western athletes included Joey Odneal placing second in the Men’s Snowboarding division with Dustin Eldridge and Ethan Fields placing fourth and fifth respectively. Sierra “Sisi” Sawyer placed 6th for the Western lady skiers and Connor Michael placed 7th in the Men’s Ski division. Competitors who scored highly the first day moved on to Finals and had their scores combined from both days.

Durtschi, an Alaska native, displayed highly controlled and fluid skiing while stomping multiple airs and cliff drops. “Max didn’t do the biggest or most difficult things on the venue but won the event with his speed and technicality,” said Freeride Coach Ed Dujardin. Durtschi beat out competitors from colleges all over the continent including skiers from Fort Lewis, University of British Columbia, University of Utah, and Montana State University.

Peter Noon and Joey Odneal took 1st and 2nd respectively.

Peter Noon and Joey Odneal took 1st and 2nd respectively.

Noon, another Alaska native, put down two solid runs to take the top spot for the Male snowboarders. Western snowboarders made up around half of the Men’s field and fielded four of the five finalists. Peter had stylish airs, fluidity, and overall consistency over the weekend. He was the first to enter uncharted territory in the Finals and the judges rewarded him for it. Odneal also displayed consistent, solid snowboarding despite this competition being his first.

“Sisi skied what would have been the winning line but washed out at the very bottom of the runout,” said Dujardin. Sawyer had the highest line score of all women skiers, meaning she took the most difficult line down the competition venue. Camilla Laughlin, of the University of British Columbia, took first for the lady skiers followed by Laura Gaylord and Josie Bryon, both competing for CU-Boulder.

Originally scheduled for Feb. 14-16, the second stop of the CFS at Crested Butte will likely be postponed due to poor snow coverage. The next stop will likely occur at Snowbird, Utah March 15 through 18.

Max Durtschi throws a smooth shifty to cap off his finals run. Photo: Orion Willits

Max Durtschi throws a smooth shifty to cap off his finals run. Photo: Orion Willits

About the Author

1. Ed Dujardin
After moving out west for college, Ed took summer school so he could spend winters in Crested Butte. These days, he coaches the Western State Colorado University Freeride Team, and spends as much time as he can fishing the incredible rivers of the area.