Mol, Dimon finish with overall Masters titles
Crested Butte’s own Clif Dimon and Susan Mol headed to the Great White North of Alaska to compete in the North Face Masters snowboard competition in Alyeska, Alaska, April 2-6.
Both Dimon and Mol qualified for the event after winning the men’s and women’s titles at the North Face Masters competition in Snowbird, Utah in February.
With Alaska on the radar, one would think both Mol and Dimon might take the time to ride as many days as possible on Crested Butte Mountain to prepare for the upcoming event.
Instead, Dimon went to the beach and Mol continued her work on the Crested Butte Ski Patrol.
““I went out of town for two weeks to Florida,” says Dimon. “I tried to get up there but it didn’t work out.”
“I prepared by working,” adds Mol. “I needed to save some money.”
Initially, the Alaska event offered two days of competition on the ski resort with a super final third day of helicopter access riding. Unfortunately, weather forced event organizers Mountain Sports International to move the venue on the opening day and forced athletes to hike to the venue of the super final.
Dimon had trouble on the first day of the competition on a rather benign venue with brutal snow conditions, digging himself into a deep hole with a 12th-place finish.
“It was hard to stand out on that day but easy to look bad, and I fell,” says Dimon.
Mol, on the other hand, finished day one in second place following a simple recipe.
“The conditions were like stale mashed potatoes,” says Mol. “I decided to just go through the one steep part and not fall.”
Dimon started to work his way back into the fold with a top five score on day two that moved him up to seventh place overall.
Mol stumbled on day two, though. After negotiating her way through a gnarly section of rocks cleanly, Mol fell at the bottom, dropping her back to third place overall after two days.
“Falling kind of ruined it,” says Mol. “I was so excited that I made it through the gnarly part that I wasn’t concentrating.”
Both riders qualified for the super final with dreams of helicopter riding filling their heads.
After a weather day delayed the super finals and then prevented helicopters from flying on the rescheduled day, organizers had competitors hike to the top of the venue, called the Headwall.
“It was similar to ours,” says Dimon of the Alyeska Headwall. “Same amount of rocks but all above tree line. We ended up boot packing for 45 minutes.”
While the weather hampered the event in one way, it provided the competitors in the super final with powder conditions on the steep face.
Dimon posted his best score of the event on his last run but he was too far behind the leaders to reach top three and finished in fourth place.
“It was difficult to get back to the top spot,” says Dimon. “I just never could recover the points I lost on the first day.”
Mol was forced to change her riding style to shine in the specified venue.
“What we were given to work with did not fit my billy-goating style,” explains Mol. “I had to change my style.”
During course inspection, Mol found herself surrounded by guys looking at one particular feature.
“It was just me and a bunch of guys looking at it and I said I think I’ll give it a shot,” says Mol. “Since I was going first they were like ‘Great, you can be the guinea pig.’”
Essentially, Mol launched a huge cliff landing in powder to post the best score of the entire competition among the women. The effort put her back in second place in the competition, less than one point out of first.
Dimon took home $1,500 for his fourth-place finish and an extra $2,000 with the overall North Face Masters men’s title.
“I was psyched to get the overall title,” says Dimon. “I was just disappointed falling the first and second day. I was running on empty the whole time.”
Mol earned a $2,000 paycheck for second place and split $2,500 with Laura Dewey of Snowbird, Utah for the overall women’s title.
While both Mol and Dimon had a successful season of competition, neither is committed to joining the competition circuit again next year.
“We’ll see what happens next year,” says Dimon. “I’m pretty sore right now.”
“I’m not going to force myself to do it,,” adds Mol. “But, if someone wants to pay for me to do it, sure.”