National tour returns to Crested Butte March 8-10
by Will Dujardin, CBMST head freeride coach, westelkproject.com
The CBMST Freeride crew went down to Taos, N.M. for a double event weekend with an IFSA regional on February 7 and an IFSA national February 8-10. Showing up amidst some blowing snow and blizzard-like conditions, the West Basin venue got a good reset before playing host to four days in a row of competition, with athletes coming from all over the Rocky Mountain region and even Utah, Vermont, California and New Zealand.
The regional opened up the action on Thursday with 11 athletes throwing down. The 12-14 ski male division featured Rowan Featherman earning sixth, Rowen Downum in 10th and, unfortunately, Marin Gardner going down off a good-sized air in a field of 28 athletes.
The 15-18 ski females had two CBMST members on the podium with Austin Obourn in second and Darby Hamilton in third out of 14. Dagan Schwartz kicked off the weekend with first place in the 15-18 snowboard male division, coming back from a broken arm he suffered at the beginning of the season.
In the 15-18 ski male field of 32 athletes the CBMST took four of the top six spots led by Jon Clay Patterson in first, Marko Alling in third, Kye Matlock in fifth, and Seve Petersen in sixth. Gus Bullock and Owen Berv put in solid results in 13th and 17th, respectively.
As the West Basin venue was skied more and more, additional lines were included in the venue for the National event and CBMST athletes pushed their abilities by skiing different lines every day. Due to weather at previous events, this was the first two-run cumulative scoring competition since mid-March of last year. Strong, consistent skiing was the name of the game as the field grew and more points were on the line for the overall ranking at the National level. Austin Obourn threw down with runs down the Stauffenberg Trib to Turbinator and then a top-scoring finals run down Zdarsky’s for third place, while Darby Hamilton went down in finals after a good first run to finish 13th in a field of 20.
Rowen Downum’s first national in the 12-14 ski male division featured a run down Stauffenberg and then the Stauffenberg Trib/Turbinator combo with a couple mute grabs that put him in ninth on the weekend. Marin Gardner’s first National was a little more up and down with a solid first run getting redemption on his Stauffenberg line in the regional but unfortunately losing some control in finals to finish in 16th out of 32. Rowan Featherman had a heartbreaker on his first run as he put down what would have been a top-scoring run but unfortunately did not exit the venue in control and clipped the fence in the finish corral.
In the 15-18 ski male division, the CBMST athletes continued to push the venue expansion with different lines each day in Stauffenberg and Zdarsky’s. The risk paid off with four of the top eight in a field 45 strong coming from Crested Butte. Jon Clay Patterson led the way again with third and Marko Alling right behind in fifth. Kye Matlock threw a super exposed 360 at the top of Zdarsky’s and got a little loose with an amazing recovery but it was good enough for sixth place while Owen was in eighth place. Seve Petersen’s aggressive, consistent skiing found him in 15th on the weekend and Gus Bullock couldn’t match his great Day 1 run and went down in the finals to finish 23rd.
Not to be left out on the 15-18 male snowboarding side, cast-bearing Dagan Schwartz capped off his weekend with a half cab on his last air on yet another different line in West Basin. He took first in the field of nine with two points over second and over seven points on third, showing that despite his early season injury he is the snowboarder to beat in the Colorado and New Mexico Rocky Mountain Region.
February rolls on with a small contingent of CBMST athletes competing at Crystal, Washington this weekend and some headed to Grand Targhee, Wyoming at the end of the month. The action comes back to Crested Butte with a National over March 8-10 so please come support your local freeride and witness some of the action at Crested Butte Mountain Resort.