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CBMST Freeride kicks off March with multiple podiums

Big comp March 8-10 at CBMR

by Will Dujardin, Crested Butte Mountain Sports Head Coach

What a whirlwind over the past couple weeks for Crested Butte Mountain Sports (CBMST) Freeride. There was a small squad at Crystal, Wash. over the February 22-24 weekend while there were 33 u12 athletes competing at a U12 Regional at Monarch mountain. Last weekend had junior athletes competing at Sunlight, Aspen Highlands and Grand Targhee.

The Monarch event had the largest number of participants in an event in CBMST’s existence. Thirty-three CBMST athletes in snowboarding and skiing u12 divisions were a part of a 108-deep field of juniors from around Colorado. The future is bright for our local rippers with many of the athletes showcasing strong competition skiing technique with fall-line turns and big, controlled airs.

Mirkwood over at Monarch played the venue on Sunday, February 24 with many athletes putting down their first competition runs ever and fresh snow that week made for a fun, rip-able venue. Six of the top 10 in a boys ski field of 65 athletes were from CBMST, with Sam Bullock in 10th, Brooks Miller in eighth, Decker Jones in seventh, Fraser Birnie in fifth, Rowan Dishmon in third, and Wyatt Cook leading the way with a 30.6667 run for first place.

The girls represented with five in the top 10 out of 24 as Robin Hamilton took eighth, Addison Featherman sixth, Eva Loflin fifth, Finley Nolan fourth, and Brie Polster leading the CBMST contingent in third.

The CBMST snowboarders made up the four-deep boys division with Devun Skinner in fourth, Hugh Raines third, Temple Robertson second, and Wyatt Osmundson in first place with two points on his teammates with 26.9997.

Teagan Turner might have been the only girl snowboarder at the event but she threw down the strongest snowboard run of the day with a 28.2333.

Some u12s kept the action rolling into the next weekend at Sunlight over by Glenwood Springs last weekend. Three CBMST athletes battled it out in another deep field of 44 athletes with Liam Hadley finishing in 27th, Wyatt Cook had a fast run with a bobble putting him in sixth, and Fraser Birnie laced a run for second place on the day. The victory went to local young gun Niko Hudson with a 29.0667.

A small squadron of CBMST athletes went to Crystal Mountain in Washington for an IFSA National competition occurring simultaneously to the Monarch event. While the results weren’t exactly what the athletes hoped for, they got to ski deep pow in the PNW with coach Grant Spear. Carson Hildebrandt finished 32nd after a strong day one run but falling in finals, Nate Ball finished in 25th after two solid runs and Ella Haverkampf went for it on day one but got snow-snaked to finish in 24th.

After Crystal, Carson Hildebrandt went to Aspen Highlands this weekend after helping out with the u12s at Sunlight, but the event was cancelled due to too much snow so he got to ski pow with coach Nolan Blunck.

The rush of events was capped off with a big trip to Grand Targhee, Wyo. with a contingent of eight athletes and coaches Matt Evans, Will Dujardin and Josh Gallen. The team arrived amidst a historic dump that shut down a bunch of roads in the area. A weather day was used so the team skied pow and hit cliffs off the Sacajawea lift while training for the event.

After day one Holden Bradford found himself leading the CBMST team in third, Jon Clay Patterson was in sixth and Gus Bullock in seventh. Austin Obourn placed third while Rowan Featherman was tied for 13th in the 12-14 division. Dagan Schwartz put down a great run but washed out on a three at the bottom and was first cut for fourth at the event. Marin Gardner put down one of his best comp runs yet but got to experience bubble boy heartbreak and was cut in 21st while Avery Bernholtz had a great run going but was bucked by some unexpected hard pack.

The finals took place on Bobcat in top-notch conditions. Rowan Featherman and Jon Clay Patterson went down on their final features while Austin Obourn was able to hold on to her third-place position. Gus Bullock and Holden Bradford put down some of the best runs of the day and finished in third and first, respectively. That’s no small feat for these boys as Gus is in his first year in the 15- to 18-year old age category and that national event brought some of the best Freeride athletes around in between Colorado and Montana.

The season is on the homestretch as athletes look to qualify for the IFSA North American Junior Freeride Championships at Kicking Horse, British Columbia in April. The Crested Butte National is happening this weekend, March 8-10, so come support your local junior Freeride athletes.

Three local athletes are also headed to Austria for the Freeride Junior World Championships in Kappl. Jon Clay Patterson, Carson Hildebrandt and Dagan Schwartz will be representing Crested Butte and Team USA. After that there are a couple of regionals in Breckenridge and Vail to wrap up the season as athletes look to lock in spots at NORAMS.

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