Eleven local athletes headed to NORAMS
by Will Dujardin, CBMST Head Freeride Coach
The freeride season is kind of a crazy thing. The Crested Butte Mountain Sports Team (CBMST) had athletes and staff at 15 events over the last nine weeks since the MLK weekend. Athletes’ participation ranges from one to seven competitions per season with many trying to qualify to the North American IFSA Junior Freeride Championships (NORAMs). This year NORAMs are being held at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort in Golden, British Columbia the week after Crested Butte Mountain Resort closes.
In the effort to earn a spot to NORAMs, the 12-14 and 15-18 ski and snowboard divisions had regional competitions at Breckenridge, March 16 and Vail, March 24. The Breck event took place on Peak 6, a venue that sits at almost 13,000 feet and had not been open to the public in over two weeks, as Colorado was pounded with early March snow. Needless to say, the venue was filled in allowing for creative lines that don’t normally “go” for competition.
The CBMST was fired up and ready to go despite the local crud sickness sweeping through town. Kye Matlock led the team and the whole event with the strongest run of the day in the 15-18 ski male category, nailing an estimated 40-foot air to take the victory. His teammates Seve Petersen and Marko Alling sent it even larger off similar airs as Kye but bit off more than they could chew and tomahawked in the soft snow.
In that field of 39, CBMST littered the top 20 with Holden Bradford in seventh, Nate Ball in 11th, Owen Berv 15th, and Luke Shull 16th. Over on the female ski side, Avery Bernholtz finished fourth place with a fluid run while Ella Haverkampf found herself in eighth out of 14. Eli Nolan was the sole CBMST representative in the 12-14 ski male category and put down a strong run but had a hip check to put him 23rd of 34.
With Vail the following weekend, the last chance for points to NORAMs was on the line. Way back in Blue Sky Basin, Lover’s Leap plays host to a fun regional venue with all types of five to 15 foot features. Dagan Schwartz was fresh off his third place at the Freeride Junior World Championships (FJWC) in Austria and wasted no time getting back on the podium, taking first by 3.5 points out of five athletes in 15-18 male snowboarding.
Rowan Featherman was able to put down a super fun run with two 360s to take second place in the very competitive 12-14 ski male category with 36 participants. Marin Gardner had a fast run with good airs to get 18th on the day, followed closely by Riley Davis in his first competition ever in 20th, and Rowen Downum in 21st. Ty Pulliam picked and executed a creative line for 26th.
On the girls side, Aiya Schwartz was able to put down a feature-laden run for ninth. Local athlete Tor Hudson was unfortunately snowsnaked after a hot start, but was recognized by the judges for his sportsmanship and high energy for the spirit award.
Ella Haverkampf got some redemption on her Breck run, earning second at the Vail event just .03 behind first amidst some strong skiing with five athletes in the 15-18 ski female category. The 15-18 ski males had two Crested Buttians on the podium with local independent and recent home turf champion, Brooks Hudson, taking third and Carson Hildebrandt in second. It was some redemption for Hildebrandt in a season that had its ups and downs with an ankle injury keeping him from getting enough points for NORAMs but still taking 16th at the FJWC a couple weeks ago. The three other CBMST members joined Carson in the top 10 with Holden Bradford, Gus Bullock and Nate Ball all lacing exciting runs in seventh, eighth, and 10th, respectively.
While Vail was going on the U12s were back in Breckenridge for two runs on Contest Bowl. Six CBMST girls represented in the U12 Ski Female category of 22 athletes. Addison Featherman and Alyssa Lodovico led the way with very strong runs in fourth and fifth, respectively. Logan Pulliam cracked the top 10 with impressive runs for ninth, while Robin Hamilton took 13th, Asha Federico in 18th and Eva Loflin put down an awesome first run but went down on her second to finish 19th.
The U12 ski male division saw eight CBMST athletes throwing down with 49 other athletes from around the state. Rowan Dishmon put a big air and a 360 to his feet for the best run in finals to move up from ninth to third. Sam Anderson put down two solid runs to finish fourth, with Wyatt Cook and Fraser Birnie close behind in eighth and 10th, respectively. Liam Hadley finished in 29th while the control issues put Zeb Bernholtz in 43rd, Wyatt Tidwell in 46th and Archer Bernholtz in 47th.
With NORAMs in a few weeks, it looks like 11 CBMST athletes and both Hudsons have qualified. Final overall standings will be determined after the NORAMs event with athletes training hard before heading up to Canada for the event.